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Derek Keller Survives South America!

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  • dpfabie
    The Following Email was received from Derek on 01/16/02 - the full story of his incredible trip and lots of pictures can be found in the Photos Section of
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 30, 2002
      The Following Email was received from Derek on
      01/16/02 - the full story of his incredible trip and lots
      of pictures can be found in the "Photos" Section of
      this web site in the folder "Keller/Aconcagua". THANKS
      DEREK!<br>------------------------------------------------<br><br>Greetings all,<br>I've returned from the Mountain, with
      great success! On Sunday, January 6th 2002, along with
      my two highly supportive teammates, I summited
      Aconcagua (23,000 feet) in Northwestern Argentina. It was a
      12 day approach to our<br>high camp (Camp Four) at
      20,000 (the highest altitude I've ever slept
      at).<br><br>Two days after a heavy snow storm we had clear skies
      and low wind for our summit bid. The day began at 4
      am and we reached the summit at 1:30 pm, spent a
      little over an hour on the summit making calls from the
      satellite phone, taking pictures, and congratulating one
      another on our success (everyone, all the international
      groups on the summit, folks from Switzerland, Germany,
      Ecuador, and Brazil - 11 total). It was the fastest hour
      I'd ever experienced. Although it was low winds and
      100 mile visibility (or what felt like it) on the
      summit, shortly before 3 pm we saw some clouds forming
      out in the distance and decided it was time to get
      off the summit (as weather can change very quickly
      and become dangerous). <br><br>We made back to high
      camp in good time and then began preparing to descend.
      Over the course of the next two days we descended
      11,000 feet over an 20 mile stretch (day one 6,000 feet
      / 1 mile, day two 5,000 feet / 18.5 miles) - with
      very heavy packs and lots of downhill stepping the
      difficulty of the decent was far under estimated. <br>
      <br>After getting off the mountain we learned of
      Argentina's five interim presidents and the devaluation that
      made the pesos we carried up on<br>to and over the
      mountain worth just peanuts ('peanuts' because no one else
      knew what they were worth either). I made back to
      civilization, Medoza (pop. 1 million) and then on to Buenos
      Aires (pop. 8 million) in one piece. When I landed in
      BA, it was a very different feeling in the city than
      when I'd left it three weeks prior. I arrived in
      Argentina in December on the<br>day the President was asked
      (forced) to resign. In two words, "mild chaos" (it wasn't
      Bosnia, but I felt similarities). In December, the
      hotel<br>suggested I stay in and order room service, personal safety
      was an issue. <br><br>On my second go at BA the taxi
      drove me through one of BA's many parks. It was picture
      post card perfect day; sunny, a few clouds, 78
      degrees, people running, walking dogs, throwing Frisbee,
      men practicing fly fishing in the pond - night and
      day compared to December. Don't get me wrong the
      country still has enormous economic problems but the mood
      is very, very different.<br>But pictures and
      reporting of ongoing gross looting and riots are over
      exaggerated. Regardless, I spent the remaining days of my
      vacation (four total) decompressing from the climb and
      seeing BA - it was delightful. I<br>returned home
      yesterday to a cold New York and a mountain of projects at
      the office... but as they say "It was time and I was
      ready". Glad to be home and elated by the memory of
      Aconcagua.<br><br>I hope this finds everyone well... I'll be taking
      questions over the next few days, so don't be shy...Cheers,
      Derek <br><br>Please enjoy the pictures (a more
      detailed pictorial story to follow after assembly)...
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