Hello everyone who is following along at home, especially TeleTech
employees and friends and family of the DNA climbers!!! Below are messages
from each of the climbers for those of you thinking of them at home. Be
assured that they are thinking of YOU too!!!
Yesterday the group took care of paperwork in Mendoza in order to get their
climbing permits for the mountain. With stops at the bank and several
different offices, one of them a couple of times (yes, bureaucracy is alive
and well in Argentina too) the permits were obtained. A final stop at the
travel office to secure rooms for after the climb and we were off, out of
The drive out of Mendoza to Peunta del Inca was absolutely spectacular!
Vineyards and orchards gave way to steep mountain cliffs in an incredible
river valley. The weather was clear, so site seeing out of the van windows
was a good way to pass the three-hour-drive.
Plaza del Inca, and the hostel where we stayed, were above the expectations
of most, if not all, of the climbers. After lunch the climbers sorted
through their gear one more time: what to leave behind, what to put in a
large bag that would be carried by the mules, and what to carry in their day
packs. Everyone completed the task very quickly – a sure sign of confidence
in what they were doing and what equipment they needed. There was time left
to view the old bathhouse and church across the river, along the bridge that
used to allow you to go across and go into them has been shut down. A small
market next to the hostel offered shopping to those that wanted to peruse
the local wares. After dinner at 9 pm everyone retired for what we hope was
a good rest.
Today breakfast was at 9 am, followed by distribution of pack lunches and a
final drop of anything that the climbers wanted to leave behind. At 10:30
climbers loaded up in two separate van loads for a short drive to the
trailhead and ranger station. The second group, while awaiting the return of
the van, was treated to seeing a condor! What a spectacular site, and a
special opportunity that we’re sure will bode well for all on the trip.
We began our trek to Confluenza at 11 am, trekking very slowly, as is the
protocol for acclimatization and ensuring that the climbers reserve their
energy for when they really need it later in the climb, especially on summit
day. Everyone did very, very well today! Absolutely no problems and no
complaints. It is a fit and happy group – we’re happy to have each and every
member of the group. The weather was spectacular: sunny, clear, and warm. We
couldn’t have asked for a better day.
A special message about the kids, Malcolm and Renya. What a JOY to have them
along. In speaking with Renya we’ve learned about her family, including
siblings, and their work in the fields. She wants to continue her education,
beyond high school, to become a teacher or a nurse. Marieke, who is from the
Netherlands and actually speaks six languages, including Spanish, has spent
a lot of time with Reyna, and is even working on teaching her English, as
Reyna definitely would like to learn it., Malcolm has dreams of becoming
either a policeman or an accountant. When asked if he liked numbers or
money, he said definitely numbers – mathematics is it for him! The challenge
for both of them will be finding funding, or a program, that will provide
the funds to allow them to continue their education, as is their dream.
Especially for Renya, she would need funding to come live in the city.
Hopefully they will both be able to put their dreams in action…. with help
and support and lots of hard work, as they are both willing to put in, as
they showed today on the trail. Both Malcolm and Reyna were solid today –
moving at a consistent pace, even during some pretty steep uphills. Never a
complaint. Never a request to stop. Just smiles and much looking around at
the spectacular scenery as we came up the valley.
The amount of green grass and wildflowers were a surprise, at least to me,
I’ve heard about how dry it is here. The small song birds were all around…
especially when we stopped for lunch. Obviously these birds are used to
trekkers! We also saw the mules coming up, loaded with gear for various
expeditions and, later in the day, the same mules running down the valley,
smelling the barn! They are truly amazing and beautiful creatures. The
gauchos, or muleteers, definitely keep them moving, and ride with a grace
and smoothness that is really quite beautiful to behold.
The group arrived at Confluenza at about 4 pm with everyone feeling fine.
Amazingly, there is an actual toilet, that FLUSHES, with a sink to wash your
hands. The dinning tent was laid out with snacks (as if lunch wasn’t
generous enough — it was fantastic), hot water, and tang. Certainly I
feel iincredibly spoiled; or, at least, well taken care of.
Everyone has learned how to set up their tents and have settled in for
two-nights stay here at Confluenzia. Tomorrow an acclimatization hike to
Francia and return to Confluenzia for the night. But, first dinner and a
relaxing evening. And, now, a word from YOUR climbers!!!
Alex here. Just made it to Confluencza. Maybe 11500 feet. Beautiful day
today. Feeling good. Great group of people. Julie,Sam Asher,and Lucy. I miss
: Hellovery much. Cant wait to see you. Frank and Chels thinking about you
guys as well. I will check back with you soon. P.s. Try not to leave Charlie
From Theresa: Hello TeleTech from Confluencia. The views of Aconcagua’s
summit are spectacular. Thanks for your contribution to making this
experience possible for me.
Jim here checking in from Confluencia Camp. It was a beautiful and
relatively easy hike in. Seth would love all the cliffs to climb around
here! Things are pretty luxurious at this point: flush toilets and great
food. At this rate, I’m going to gain weight on this trip! Missing Lecia
and all my girls and boys! Love you all!
Gary here. The hike today has been gorgeous! We are at Confluencia at
11,000 feet. We are surrounded by majestic mountain vertical faces. The
views of Aconcagua are spectacular. It is breezy but expect much more wind.
Love to Dawn, Rachel and Spencer. Miss you.
Hi Paulette, Evan, Corinne, Family and Friends,
We had beautiful weather today and climbed to 11150. It is very dry here,
and very beautiful. We got our first view of Aconcagua this morning. Very
impressive. I hope you are doing well and glad that Grandma is there.
(Thanks Judy!). I’ll call again on Monday, 11Jan. Much Love, Michael.
This is Rick. Hello to Cat, Bryce, Logan and my extended family! The scale
of the mountains here is incredible. Very tall & rugged. We have a
fantastic group, including the guides. I feel great, and I am taking a ton
of pictures. It is extremely dry, windy, and dusty, but the Confluencia
camp is better than I expected-I’-we have a dining tent and cooks, and even
a toilet! Miss you all, Rick.
Hola, Hello & Lieve Allemaal, here is Marieke with Reyna from Confluencia,
We had an incredible day and a beautiful hike. It is good to be here again
for me, and after today everything will be new for me. Everything is new for
Reyna one of our teenager kids and she is doing very well, her highest
elevation ever (3400m). The mountains are incredible and the geology is
fantastic. Today was the day of the imbricated thrusts. Reyna says she is
very happy to be here and thinks that the mountains are very beautiful!
Ciao from Robin @ Confluencia. This landscape is be
autiful and fantastic
and I’m enjoying it lots. I hold you in my heart until I see you again.
ola from Bruce ! we hiked from 9000′ up to 11,000′ today. it took about 4
hours (6 miles). i got some shots of the local birds for the brown nystrom
kids. we also got a great view of the summit from the park entrance. The
weather was pretty warm. still well hydrated though and feel great. good way
to start my 54th year ! love to all – Bruce
Mick Donoff This is just the first day of the experience of a lifetime!
Great group and guides. Love to all back home (Sharon). Bill and Kirk I’ve
still got some brain cell Old Dog
Mike Monahan: Great day of hiking. Beautiful high peace Love and miss..
guides and Great people., Love and miss you Sandy, you too Bob