Well, no one ever said mountain climbing is free from obstacles. And, well, things don’t always go as planned. So sometimes you’ve got to just go with the flow. . .
Jeff and team were up at the crack of dawn at Base Camp, packed up all their camping gear (no simple task) and were anxious to climb up to Camp 1. But first, they had a little detour; all climbers must obtain a compulsory medical clearance from the Aconcagua doctors before beginning the climb to Camp 1. It’s a simple procedure involving a few forms, a few questions and a quick look. The purpose of this is to determine if a climber is healthy enough to make it safely to the summit and back, and to check that the climber is acclimating properly to the altitude. If the doctor feels a climber is not up to the task, that climber must sign a waiver that states he or she will pay out-of-pocket expenses for the rescue helicoptor, should an unfortunate need arise to use one.
Sounds simple. So what was the problem? Well, have you ever seen a long waiting line on a mountain? You know, the kind you experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles when you are trying to renew your license? There were so many climbers awaiting medical clearance that the procedure took hours. And because the procedure took hours, there was not enough daylight left for the men to make it up to Camp 1 today. And because there was not enough time to make it up to Camp 1, the team had to unpack all their gear and set it up for another – very unexpected – night of camping there.
“This was a frustrating day that is setting us back,” explained Jeff. “But we’ll just have to chill out (literally) and wait for tomorrow to get going. All is good, and I’m feeling terrific.”
Oh, and as far as Jeff getting medical clearance, he handed in his medical forms and told the doctor about how he climbed Everest last summer. The doctor looked at him, somewhat in disbelief and naturally gave him the go ahead.
What do you suppose Jeff might have said to that doctor? We can only guess it was something like, “I’m just a regular guy with RA who climbs really tall moutains. It’s really no big deal.”
Let’s hope the guys have a much more productive day tomorrow.