News and Updates

Day 3 in Patagonia
Written by Tonya Clement   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00

Today began with a simple breakfast, a great view and good coffee.  Today is the day we were to leave for the mountain so it was important for me to see if I could locate Jim Donini.  In speaking with Malcolm Daly just before leaving the US, he told me the mountain we were climbing was very near to Jim's house yet after corresponding with email with Jim's wife Angela, I learned the town was getting a cell tower and new internet access while we were there.  There was no easy way to reach him.  My walk upon my arrival  to the Terra Luna Lodge revealed no real addresses in this little town of 400 people so the search would be a little bit of a challenge.  Gerome offered to drive me up the road to see if we could find the house he lived in.  He felt certain he knew which one it was.  Here Chile is a rather large country we are what appeared to be just a mile and a half away from Jim's house so I could not resist. 

When we arrived at his gate it was locked.  Gerome and I looked at one another and instantly agreed to climb over.  We walked another quarter mile up the road only to find no car near the house.  I had pre-written a note to leave on the door stating where we were headed and when we would return in the hopes we could meet up on the tail end of the trip.  The door was not note friendly....nothing to hang a piece of paper from or attach to.  So after knocking and getting no response I turned the knob and the door opened.  Gerome and I again looked at one another and our smiles were the agreement to enter and place the note inside.  All we saw were what looked like women's sandals.  There was no sign of gear or men's clothing or shoes.  I noticed a journal on the couch and opened it to the last page and saw two words that assured me I was in the right place:  Trango and American Alpine Club.  There was no longer any doubt.  Before leaving we sat the note on the kitchen counter and took one more look at the amazing views through the floor to ceiling windows.  


When I returned to the cabin I found Brad reviewing gear with Brian and David.  He always performs that one last gear check to make sure we each have just enough and not too much.  Lunch proved to be even better than dinner.  We had pasta with tuna, tomatoes, egg and cheese followed by a fruit salad with sweet cream.  We asked Gerome to join us for lunch as we needed to see him about 1:15 we took off for the camp where we would spend one night and then rely on horses to get us to base camp. On the way to the farm we stopped in Cochran at a little supermarket so Brad could get us some Avocados for the trip.  One cannot travel to Chile without some fresh avocados.  

It was a fun trip yet a very rough ride on dirty dusty roads.  As we got closer to the farm the roads turned worse.  There was a raging river crossing just before the gate entrance.  Gerome felt it was doable so we held our breath and across he went.  The water was above the tires a good foot.....but we popped out safely on the other side.  Driving into the camp was was absolutely gorgeous.  


We saw the green grass against the black pinnacles of rock covered in snow....and horses in the field.  It was a absolutely stunning.   One could make this their sole destination and have a great trip.  Lucy and Luis, the proprietors of el Fundo greeted us with big smiles.  They had a NOLS student named Matt doing an internship with them the past nine days.  We enjoyed meeting him but learned he would be leaving the next day.  We took the next hour to set up camp in the sheep field right outside of the main house.  We decided to travel in style utilizing the Marmot Thor 2 person tents.  We found these to be the perfect tents for wet and windy conditions.  They offer a lot of extra room and have a great ventilation.  


By the time we had camp set, Lucy had prepared us a great rice and sheep meat meal.  She served us in her kitchen near the warm stove.  I was fortunate to get to sit in the furry chair and be queen for the evening.  We fell asleep knowing that tomorrow we get to go to the mountain.