Saturday the 29th of March 2003- Day 39.
The ice treak goes from the hostel to Camp D Agostinti (2 hour 15) – Laguna Torre (3.00 h) to the Glacier Grande. 35km over all. My usual walk or capacity to walk would be between 15-20km per day. Therefore it was a hard day. Three people from the hostel were doing the trek – myself, Justin – A Malaysian and Kevin – an Asian American. We were met by Paula at 7.00am and we started straight away for Camp D Agostinti. It was still dark and very cold with front on the ground and trees(maybe -5 oc). We got to the camp at 9.15am where we met Ricardo. We had coffee, got gloves, a harness and cramptons for ice walking. We got to the river ar 10.15. We had to cross the river by rope pulleys.
The next part was the hard part of the walk. It took about 2 hours to reach the glacier as the walk was sreep with little paths to navigate. We had to climb vertical with our hands and feet, we had to skirt around mountain ledges with only one foot keeping us safe or a fall to our deaths hundreds of feet below. Some bits were scary, on this ledges and skirting over waterfalls. The two guides had their hands full, but the pace was still fast. We had to keep moving in order to be back before dark. At least you can drink the water from the rivers and waterfalls directly. Beautiful water. We reached the glacier and had to put on our cramptons. These are the spikes you put on to walk on ice. 2 spikes sticking out front and two on back. Eight below. We also had to put on sun block, glasses, gloves because there is little ozone here, and you can easily get burnt even in the cold.
As you can see, it was amazing, but we didnt have much time. We knew we had to leave at 3.30pm to get back before dark. We had a good time looking ar the ice rivers, caves and had two chances to ice climb. Basically, you climb with the aid of two ice axes and the spikes on the front of your cramptons.
Time to head home then…. Even though it was downhill in some parts, it was harder than going up, as we had to be so careful. One slip….. We were exhausted going back and it was hard to concentrate. We arrived back at 7.30pm, with a fast pace. 35km…..
As soon as we got in, we collapsed and ordered 3 bottles of beer. We stayed there exahusted until 1.00am. We drank with Leah and Jay (Dr Greene from ER lookalike) from Canada and Hilary and Nickie from my room. Jay and Leah were getting the early 6.30am bus the next day like me, but he was drinking for Canada. Had to go to bed. Sore all over. I also fell once on the ice and had some bruising to my leg and elbow.