Day 2 Climb - Laguna Verde
igh above I spied our first objective - Pico Humboldt. But minutes along the trail, it appeared too snowy, too lofty, too otherwordly to be associated with our current theme of grasses and shrubs. I quickly removed its seeming inaccessibility from my thoughts.
The route was shorter than yesterday, albeit steeper in several sections. There was some class 2 rock scrambling, all the while at an ever-rising altitude that provided shortness of breath if only because my pack weighed nearly one-half as much as myself.
View down the valley to Laguna La Coromoto.
Note the cloud layer.
Edward and I forged ahead of Bob and Enrique. Somehow we took a wrong turn and winded up negotiating a steep scree slope. We stopped and pondered. I ate much snack food and then took a nap! I awoke to Edward hollering from above that we were off-route, that he had spoken to Bob directly, and that we should get going: we were not ahead of Bob and Enrique - our navigation blunder had left us behind them.
We reached Laguna Verde around 3:30 p.m., the final section of our route being a two hundred foot descent from atop an overlook that required surmounting to reach our desired campsite. Our elevation was about 4,000 meters, some 13,100 feet. A sharp wind quickly became an unwelcome threat to our comfort as soon as the sun dipped below a nearby ridge.
The wind made cooking supper difficult. The entrance vestibule of our tent served as kitchen, with backpacks and rocks as windbreaks.
We ate separate meals because each of us has unique dietary needs and desires. To this end our two stoves were shared, with somebody using the open flame of any given stove at any one time.
Adam (in front) and Enrique along
the route to Laguna Verde.
Pico Humboldt looms over our
camp near Laguna Verde.
Enrique's pack was clearly heavier than any of ours, presumably because he carried the tent and rope while we carried the lighter (but still overly massive) fuel canisters and stoves. However I was surprised to see Enrique with a stereo sound system for his radio; quantities of food and spices that could not possibly be used up by one person over six days; and other items that I would never dare take on an overnight climb.
With the cold wind and fatigue from another arduous day, we were asleep (or at least lying down) by just seven o'clock. Most of the vertical gain with full packs was behind us. What lay ahead was some real climbing. I knew from experience that reaching sixteen thousand feet on just the third day of an ascent was pushing my body's ability to acclimatize. Tomorrow would tell all.
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