Monday, March 17, 2003

Aconcagua: Diary of a Mountain

Earlier this year I mentioned that I would post a short story I wrote in 1977 about climbing Aconcagua. This is fiction written by a 14 year old. I will post this each day as if they were entries in a log.

Part 1 of 7

Friday, March 17, 1972 Today I begin the log. The log of the climb of Aconcagua. We are waiting for our equipment to arrive from Santiago. All of us - Bundy, Feld, Lyford, Velez, and Ulloa, plus myself - arrived yesterday.

We stand looking at all that rock we are going to climb I have no need to answer the question "why?" It is answered from within.

LATER (within a few hours): We received our equipment, but Peter (Lyford) didn't have his claim tickets. Spent a half-hour arguing with the customs clerk, who demanded to see every paper Peter had been officially given. The red tape is thick here! We finally left with Peter's packages, only to find that they had been neatly tampered with. He only lost some toothpaste and his electric razor.

Aconcagua stood in silence. All that was heard was the slow stirring of the leaves as the wind blew over the fields around the town. I stood in the field, gazing up at the jagged arrete that formed the backbone of the mountain. The wind was dry, and I had to blink, not only to stop the constant dryness, but to shut out the bright glare, something I was not quite used to. Uspeche, the base town, was at an altitude of 9,000 feet. That altitude could be felt, not only in the temperature, but in the extra breathing it took to do any work. Within a few days, we were going to be well over twice as high. Aconcagua was twenty-two thousand eight hundred feet high. We had a lot of foot work to go.