Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A windy week in Camp Donkey

Just returned from seven days camped out beside the Arroyo de los Burros, in what became known as Camp Donkey. This base gave us access to a picturesque valley a few hours touring west from Las Lenas. We were served a generous portion of the infamous Andean wind- it blasted our camp constantly and on the ridge tops was strong enough to blow us off our feet on occassion. These strong winds combined with a rapidly melting snowpack meant that we didn't realize all of the ski plans we had in mind.

Still we enjoyed plenty of laps on the nearby Cuchilla de los Bajos in a variety of different snow conditions from windblown pow, to breakable crust, to boilerplate to corn. 

The approach route alternated between hiking a 4WD track and skinning narrow strips of snow in a creek.

Evenings were spent beside the campfire, enjoying spectacular sunsets, smoking pipes and eating a variety of powdered foods.

 Mel farming corn early in the week 

 Celebrating a new summit.

 Photo by Mel

The snow was mostly wind hammered, however the occassional turn was delightfully soft. (Photo by Mel)

 Every day started and ended with crossing a creek, it wasn't any warmer than it looks. (Photo by Mel)

 This shot shows how windy it usually was (Photo by Mel)

 Photo by Mel

 Our main objective for the trip was Cerro Matancilla, however a lack of snow in the two couloirs on its south face turned us back, going to have to come back next year.

The last turns before arriving back at Camp Donkey

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