Day 17 & 18, Thursday: The last two days have been a rush and a fight to get back in time for the flights home. After some tough days in the ice, it eased somewhat and they could even use the sledges in parts. Wednesday they woke up to great weather again but had to backtrack to get the last bit of their equipment down. That took the best part of 5 hours. Then the focus was t0 get off the ice. This they managed and had the full camp on solid ground that night.More
Posts in category Patagonia 2012
Day 16, Monday: If yesterday was hard, Monday was harder. Though it started very well. The first icefall was very kind to them, but the second proved a real challenge. It took most of the day and they had to do 4 rappels, one of them quite tricky. But this was Mikes’s territory and he just loved the chance to excel with ropes and difficulties. – But it seemed all enjoyed themselves, even though the day was very long and they did not quite get as many kilometres as hoped.More
Day 13-14, Saturday: What a difference a day makes! Friday was still very windy, but they wee dammed they should move and out they went. They started to dig up the tents, but the storm had covered the tents plastered the ground so hard and it took them more than 6 hours to get them out. After that they managed to ski, but the day was all in all lost, and with perfect weather being promised for Saturday they wanted to start afresh and not be warned out. So distance was down but spirit very much up!
And as hoped. Saturday dawned with no winds and no clouds! It was Patagonia at it’s absolutely best. The view was great. The sky was high. The mountains stunning. – And the sunburn shocking…
They climbed to nearly 1900 metres before starting to descend. It was very hard work going up and a lot of laughs, thrills and spills going down. But they were really focused on getting over the highest point so that they could see the mountains and the beginning of the icefall on the other side. While the whole day the Cerro San Valentine towered over them.
The next 4 days looks very good too, so after the sluggish start they are in great shape and very excited to do a very long ad hard day to be back on track. They did a double day-stint compared to last year and are really gunning for getting over in time.
Day 11-12, Thursday: It was a bit of misunderstanding. They could not get the last loads up on Tuesday. But as Wednesday dawned with beautiful weather they went down and got everything in place. But as they got back to camp the wind started building up again. They broke camp and set off on skis, but just 5 kilometres onto the Ice they had to camp. The wind got serious with the gusts in the storm category. They dug the tent down and felt safe as they were in the tents at 20:30. But through the night the wind kept building and was hitting 30 m/s.
It did not ease much during Thursday, but the weather prospects look very good for tomorrow so they get themselves ready.
But the positive is that they had time to send us some photos.
Day 8-10, Tuesday: Thomas arrived back at Lake Bertrand early Sunday morning and with the wind down was able to cross the lake. They then got the horses needed surprisingly fast and set off up the valley. They reached the camp late in the day and soon after started the descent with Bill. His back pain had eased off a bit which must have been quite a relief with a tough horse ride and long drive in front of him. Early Tuesday morning they were back in Coyhaque!
Thomas had brought some fresh bread and cheese (etc?) so we suspect the rest of Sunday was for eating and enjoying themselves. Monday dawned with superb weather and they used the first hours to dry everything and then moved the camp up through the Keyhole and onto the glacier. But they did not have time to return down and pick up the last bits from when they were forced back by the wind.
Tuesday was a disappointment as it rained cats and dogs. That was not part of the plan, but they duly collected the last bit and got themselves ready for skiing. The weather is supposed to change again during Wednesday and then a high pressure period should follow. If this proved correct they should get some stunning days later in the week.
Day 6 & 7: Friday and Saturday turned out a bit more eventful than hoped. First the wind picked up, and so much so that several cords tore. They had to pull the camp down and into the shelter of the forest. But before this happened Bill took a severe tumble in the windy and slippery conditions and hurt his back. He could still walk, but during the night he started to feel pain going down his leg. During Saturday they did several tests to see if he could continue, but late in the day he threw in the towel.
The plan is now for our man Thomas to drive down from Cayaique during the night. Hopefully the wind has died down somewhat so that he can get over the lake. There he has do a deal with the horsemen and gather the horses running around - and ride up and get him.
We are not quite sure quite when they will be up in the camp – as this is Patagonia... Bengt & Co still have plenty food, and even though they end up being a some days after the plan the weather for the next days is very high winds and they might have lost the days anyway. If they get a break in the weather the crossing is still on track as this is a very strong group.
Day 5, Thursday 2nd Nov: They stayed in the tents for the morning awaiting the horses. But as the clock ticked past noon, they started being worried. By one they began making emergency plans as they would run out of food later in the day; two should go up to the depot layed down the day before in the Keyhole to fetch some food, and others descend to a cabin further down. This can be seen from the settlement by the lake, and the plan was to lit a fire and use the smoke to attract attention.
Luckily it all came to nought as the horses arrived at 14:00!
They quickly packed up and started the last push to the depot. They almost reached up, camped at the entrance to the Keyhole, but were happy with that. Tomorrow the plan is to push through and get the camp onto snow!
Day 4, Wednesday 1st November: In mixed weather they started out right after breakfast and made their zigzag way up the valley. It was a good first test and they reached up to the Keyhole which is the telling name of the point were they will go onto the icecap proper. First test well done!
Later in the day they were back in camp, and stayed. The reason that the last bit of equipment had not arrived and no horses were seen.
Late in the day it appeared that the rain the day before had flooded the river and the horseman did not want to go up alone. He preferred to wait for the others and two are supposed to be up by 10:00 the next morning. – ‘what’s wrong with tomorrow’… the gauchos could not be stressed. We’ll see tomorrow how things develop.
Day 3, Tuesday 31th October: This was Patagonia at its most Patagonian as they went through about every chapter en the weather dictionary. Drizzle, calm, some wind, spots of sun, rain, a bit of snow and dry again.
As yesterday they were slow out of the blocks. And again it was some horses missing. The locals could not comprehend the stress as they live by ‘what’s wrong with tomorrow’. But as soon as they were on the horses they were able to do good progress and at five in the evening they reached the camp that marks the end of the road for the horses.
Tomorrow will be the first big test as they aim to do the first round of carrying the equipment up and as close to the ice as possible.