Topo Mena led a team of Rapid Ascent™ climbers on Ojos del Salado this season. Below is a full expedition recap.
January 17 – Team arrives in Santiago
Most of the team arrived on time and in good spirits on Friday, January 17. They spent the day having a hearty lunch in downtown before taking a cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for some sightseeing. The final client arrived that evening and with that, the team was complete and ready to head to the mountains.
January 18 – Travel day to Copiapó with final destination of Laguna Santa Rosa
As part of our expedition, we fly to Copiapoó to avoid a long drive. From there we head to a lodge on the edge of Laguna Santa Rosa where the team can get the last bit of WiFi before heading towards Laguna Verde. On this day the team did a short hike up to 13,000′ to aid in acclimatization. Topo reported that the team was good and healthy.
January 19 – Travel day to Laguna Verde
After breakfast, the team then moved on to Laguna Verde. There they overnighted in a hut at 14,700′ because of storm activity in the area. Topo was a bit concerned about weather at this point as he could see a lot of storm activity including lightning on the upper mountain. That night Topo reported that everyone had a good night at altitude, giving him confidence that this is a strong team who is well acclimatized from sleeping in their hypoxico tents before the trip began.
January 20 – Move to Atacama Base Camp
Just 4 days into the expedition, the team moved to base camp and hiked above to further aid in acclimatization. The team worked well together in setting up camp and the acclimatization hike could not have gone better.
January 21 – Prepare for Summit Push
After another good night of sleep, the team was ready for their summit push. Topo took some of the down time to go over techniques for using fixed lines higher up on the mountain. Everyone enjoyed the learning session and was feeling ready for a summit push that night. Topo reported that weather had cleared and things were looking really good for a summit push.
January 22 – Summit Success!!
At 12:00am local time, the team drove to the trailhead at 19,000′. Under starry skies they began the climb. At 10:30am local time the team made the summit. One member turned around during the climb due to tiredness, but the rest of the team pushed on to the eventual summit. Congratulations guys!