All posts by bens game

Honduras

Well, I feel awful, a combination of a week of Doxycycline, A yellow fever shot, and running a few miles in tropic heat. Its not all bad, although Karli is also feeling bad from the Doxy. I can’t wait to be out of here and living somewhere I dont wake to the feeling of wanting to pass out, but with heat beating down and humidity rising I am forced up.

We visited some Mayan ruins called ‘Copan’. The ruins were nice, but it was about 15 American dollars to enter, 7 to go into the tunnels, another 10 or so to enter the museum, where most the artifacts have been removed too, and a few more dollars to enter the culture museum. It felt a bit of a rip so we just entered the main site and left it at that. Central America has been pretty good at emptying the wallet at every opportunity. Walking around the carvings it soon became clear the big statues were all replicas except one they had not figured out how to replicate yet due to the intricacies of the carving. O well. It was a sunny day and there was also a good lawn to sit on. The ruins themselves are pretty impressive once you realise the scale of them after climbing the first pyramid.

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. Now, Honduras, Its hard for me to accept that to walk a footpath I have to pay 4 times the price the locals are asked to pay ($8), or pay anything at all for the mile or so path is to the waterfall we wanted to visit yesterday. At the cost of every attraction or bit of nature being high, I feel poor. Three nights ago we drove into the night checking prices of hotels along the way, 1200, 1100, 600 lempiras. Once again despite warnings not to drive at night we pushed though. Ending up at a rundown hotel for 500 lempiras, whIch we accepted, it was nice to have showers and a/c to sleep. The beaches are lined with properties and hotels willing to charge to be near the water, and most the national forest areas on the map seem to be mosquito infested with a second unidentified fly that has a bite similar. We drove  few lanes the other night and arrived at a beach area next to forest. After intruding on private land, the property owner, Winston, welcomed us to camp beside his house at no cost. It was nice to be welcomed somewhere. This gave a wonderful sunset and a few more mosi bites to remember it by. Last nights camp was on a river in its flood area, Stoney but flat. With it being near the end of the flood season we decided the sky probably wouldn’t rain and flood the camp so we pitched up. There were remarkably only on or two mosquitoes this night.

Today was my first run in a few weeks. It was hot and not all that pleasant, the first half all uphill. I would like to say it revived me but it didn’t. The swim in the river after however was pretty decent. Something that felt alive brushed my leg and made me question what might lurk beneath.

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The city a mile from camp is prettier comfortable, good coffee from  nice shop about $1-1.50. Other exciting news- I have a new pair of sunglasses, its the first time in month I have worn them without having to look at scratches. Bad news- the horrible box of wine we bought back at the very start of the trip is down to its last litre. Soon it will be no more. It tastes bad now.

Im kinda bored of writing now so will finish/edit this later 😉

 

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Getting A Yellow fever Vaccination On The Road In Central America

So, 6weeks ago I decided to join Karli on a drive to Argentina climbing along the way. For this I decided it might be worth getting anti-malaria tablets and a yellow fever vaccination since its likely I would be going to a few melting pot areas for all the nasty infections and diseases.

Now, big pharma in the states is known for charging a lot for prescription drugs and I do put a limit of the cost of my good health, so, proceed through the states without buying any. The plan was mexico for both. A week before entering Mexico I decided to try to get a price for the goods. I managed to find out that several Walgreens and walmarts with pharmacies could give a yellow fever vac at around 120-150dollars. And it is possible to get Doxcyiline, but the costs are kinda high and a consultation at extra cost is required, an eXtra 40dollars. My poor life isn’t valued that high, I’m a cost cutter. So against the usual kind of advice from wealthy practitioners saying don’t trust lower cost care, I achieved lower costs.

Now, in Mexico any pharmacy will sell you prescription drugs without a prescription. Which is great. In a small town I went into a pharmacy and paid about 20dollars for a 70 day supply of doxyciline. Which was the easy part.

Yellow Fever Vaccination proved a different beast. The pharmacies sent me to the hospitals, the hospitals sent me to the general public hospitals and on and on it went in every town and city along the way. After about 10 hospitals we found ourselves waiting to talk to a doctor. When he arrived speaking good concise English he slowly explained that the vaccination wasn’t normally available in Mexico, only an after care as it wasn’t genrally a problem in Mexico. He told us to wait till we are in El Salvador, Honduras or Nicaragua as it would be widely available there. He also wrote a note to pass to the next hospital to make it easier. “vacun fiebre amarilla”.

In Le Ciela, Honduras, we started looking for a hospital, the daily mosquito bites were a driving force. Into the firs hospital, they pointed us to the second. The second was rundown and looked closed, so we went to the third. In the third hospital. The ‘medico’ we were directed up a staircase. Up the staircase we were directed to a door. Inside the door was a receptionist and a waiting room. We asked for ‘vacu fiebre amarilla’, she invited us to take a seat. This seemed positive so we complied.

The receptionist informed Karli, who is now speaking pretty reasonable Spanish, that the doctor was on lunch break but would be back soon. An hour wen by and the doctor arrived. Again, like the last, the doctor speaks slowly and concisely in English. He informs us he can give the injection there and then, but for the vaccination passport/cert we would have to take a note to a different building Monday morning. After receiving the shot I proceeded down the stairs to pay. The shot cost approx 100dollars. Still cheaper that the states. All in so far its cost 100 for the yellow vac and about 20dollars for 70days of doxcyiline. Total $120.

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getting yellow fever vaccine

I feel this is a saving of about 120 to 150 dollars. roughly based on

130 for yellow, 70dollars for 70days of doxy, and a consultation at 40dollars. total $270. Win.  Now I feel fully prepared to strip naked and run through jungle laughing at the mosquitoes biting me in awkward places without the worry of half the tropic bacteria, fevers and nasties.

I will also add that while each of the many hospitals we entered were a little worn, they were very clean, being actively cleaned and mopped and the staff all very professional. All in the same as any trip to a western hospital.

 

Volcanoes On Guatemala and They Put Up A Concrete Block

So, It was a week or so in Guatemala, Im not gonna lie, Its been bad. My keyboard is broken and I no longer ave te G or H keys, or backspace.  Hence the Typos you are about to be subject to. There is a virtual keyboard which is just getting me by but its painfully slow. On top my laptop is under warranty but i need a permnant shipping address for 10days at least to ave it fixed.

We tried to do a lot of tings out here. But the Guatemalan people were onto us. Everywhere we go there are tolls. For entering towns, for using roads, if they could charge, they did. We stopped a few days at lake Atitlan. We haggled a little for the 40q hotel room. The local volcano National Park entrance cost 100 Quetzales (about 10quid), so we didn’t enter the park. This is the most expensive entrance fee for one day in a park I have come across in the world. The problem is Guatemala has realized tourists have money, and charge accordingly.

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Atitlan Used to be described as the most beautiful lake in the world. I couldn’t help but see a concrete high rise hotel race, a work of tourism. Instead of fishing, locals now drive tuktuks. I have also read there is a big problem with blue green algae which causes a odour problem, didn’t experience it though while there

 

The first volcano charge wasn’t too off-putting, as there are several active on our list to visit. We ditched out of Atitlan and drove for Fuego, which ajoins onto Acatenango. It provides a 5000ft climb through rain forest over black rock. We arrived the evening before the climb to smoke rising out the top and had a quick scout of the way up, a maze of twisting trails through the crops on the fertile slopes. In the morning we would set off at 3am for the sunrise from the summit. The forecast showed a clear window from 5am till 10am. We camped outside a guides house and in the darkest hour rose, picked up our prepacked bags, drank a caffine shot each and departed. The rain started 1000ft up. I didn’t know the tropics could reproduce weather similar to Scotland on a wet winter day. On went warm layers and waterproofs. But still painfully numb hands. By half way the rainfall was going up hill. We told ourselves it was definately going to clear despite the deterioration in visibility. The summit was a beautiful windswept mars like surface, but blackish.

We ran down the mountain to warmer weather, and by that I mean rain. The descent route went down deep narrow chutes washed out by the rain. It was great from running down, Karli fell over several times. At the entrance to the park attendants informed us we have to pay more money, another 50 each. We were up early enough to miss them, but they always catch you in the end.

In Antigua the situation worsened. It was like being in a western city. Nothing but hotels and hostels in every building, beautiful as they were. A hideous one way system tried to thwart our departure but after a hour or two we were out. The last volcano on the list was Pacaya. On arriving guides ran up to our vehicle stating we had to pay 100Q per person to climb up to a col, but an extra hundred was needed to go to the active rim. It wasnt allowed to climb without a guide. This was the final straw. We left and headed for the cost. Driving into the night and seeing motorcycles with no lights,dogs and people appear out the dark like ghosts and disappear as quickly. Bumping over every pothole, Karli telling me it will be a mile away, then two, then ten, we rolled up to a hostel late. It was owned by westerners charging 380Q for the last double room in the hostel. More than most western cities. This isn’t what we came her for. The hostel owner did however point us across the road to a restaurant that might let us camp the night. We crossed the road and found Soul Food Kitchen, with the owner Gary, a south African man who said we could camp for 40Q. That’s more like it. He also made brilliant curries for 45Q. We stopped a couple of nights relaxing. Finally someone not trying to extort us for trying to breathe. Even the local were eating there. Outside there was a lovely pool and we were welcomed to use the showers and wash clothes at no extra cost. He also allowed us to pick coconuts, with my feeble body hanging off one trying to pull it down. Then Karli wildly swinging a machete to try and open it. The local restraunt girl eventually helping.

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Yesterday we crossed into El Salvador. After a few hours back and forwards at the border crossing not understanding a lot of what was happening we were in. Its much the same here. They have even embraced  the american dollar, you cant get to a lakeside without paying for at least drink in a hotel. The lakeside road is lined by 8foot concrete with barbed wire and gates. The national park only has hotels, not even a car park, well, so far at least. C’mon central, what are you playing at. We should have known at the entrance to El Sal, as we were passed a Disney style map showing hotels, attractions, board hire etc.

Im not saying its all bad, it is beautiful. But I hate the feeling of being an ant trapped between concrete walls were even a forest cost money to be in.

My training routine has been interrupted by the cost of going anywhere that isn’t either 100 quetzal a time or guards with pump action shotguns telling us its too dangerous for us to be there. Seriously, every delivery wagon, even milk wagons come with their own armed shotgun guard! its one extreme or the other. O well, maybe something fun and free will present itself.

that’s all for now folks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mexico Into Guatamala

After leaving Orizaba behind we reached the beach 10hours from the Guatamalan Border. Beautiful, empty, no tourists, dollar beers and waves. A local business owner said we are free to camp anywhere on the beach we would like, nobody cares. This is a stark contrast to the States near businesses and homes, where many would take offence. She said her business is normally booming on the weekends, but had gone quiet after the earthquakes so she was just relaxing. Four of her dogs kept us entertained most the time and one wild but very tame dog also.

 

We planned on staying there a few days. After the second day we realised the insurance had already expired for Mexico so hastily packed up and sped off. The drive to the border was dull. We aimed once again at a green patch on the map, a national forest. It rained the whole way. We were encouraged by signs indicating beaches. When we arrived at the end of the road it was rainforest and mangroves. With a small concrete dock and small wooden boats lined up to ferry people back and forward. We enquired with a local bar owner while enjoying 10 pesos beers and he told us the only way in is boat, and there are houses to rent on the beaches. He offered to look after the car for a few pesos if we decided to go. He also warned us it was not a safe place to camp on the main land around there due to some locals. We accepted his advice and drove for a motel. A shabby place, which offered prices by the hour. But $8 USD per night couldn’t be turned down. The place was empty and quiet. A nice break from a roof tent with space to swing a cat and covered parking with a fabric door to hide the car.

The next day we drove to the border. I started calm and I grew more furious with every local getting in the way and trying to tell us how hard the process of crossing the border is, but for a few pesos can assist. Every step of the way people trying to charge us for an endless list of services, parking, moving forward while parking, fumigation for mosquitoes, security, paying the officers to look after the car, offers of a dollar from guards to get our stamp for Guatamala and skip the Que. Trying to extort 3000 Quetzales (Guatamalan money) for a vehicle permit and saying they can sort the permit if we pass them the money (about 10 times the cost of the actual permit). It sickened me off, constantly telling them to go. The officials didn’t seem to care about the scamming business, but then again, the guards were in on it too. It felt like a descent into madness. Don’t get me started on the money exchange men walking around and at desks trying to offer half the value currency in exchange. Parasites. After getting across the border into the first town things returned to normal.

We drove for a few hours before stopping the night once again in a motel. The next day driving to Lake Atitlan. In San Pedro on the shore of the lake we found ourselves being told there is no camping. But at an advantage of being there in the rainy season, with few tourists and plenty of competition. Its very touristy. Every shop front dedicated to selling tours, coffee, beers or trinkets. Not my kind of place, but we have got hold of a room in the centre for two of us costing a total of £12 for three nights. £2 per person per night. I’ll be honest, the room is not brilliant, but at less than half the cost of the hostel per person for a dorm room; its a win. The hot shower we were sold to get our business is cold, and a shard of glass hangs from the bathroom window ready to either swing in while showering and slice me, or, drop to the street below and decapitate someone.

Today (the 3rd oct) we decided to go to a coffee plantation to see how my favourite thing is made. Seriously my world would end without it. We went to the tourist adventure desks which populate half the town and after getting prices decided we could do better. The two companies we approached quoted 150 and 120 Quetzales respectively. We went around the coffee shops in the town asking and managed to get a horseback ride for about 3-4hours upto a plantation for 150. I consider that a win. I said to Karli she could pick which horse she wanted. One was big, one was small. She jumped to the big one straight away. I was then was stuck with my tiny stead I feared would die on the climb. After all the hiking I have done and hatred towards horses for the muck and foul stench they leave on trails, it was interesting to be on the other end of things. But I still don’t quite get it, it just seems to be a lazier slower way to get in and out of places than walking and leaves you with a sore backside and an extra mouth to feed. I can understand using them as pack animals to haul greater amounts of gear than can be carried, but I just don’t get it. Maybe one day.

The local volcano costs about £10 to climb. A permit for entry. I think that makes this the most expensive national park I have come across. And the entrances are closely guarded by police and national park staff. Also there are small charges per vehicle to each town/ area around the lake (negligible but still have to make sure you carry cash at all times).  Not entirely sure what to make of Guatemala yet; but I’m sure there will be free parks and camping elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico Day 2 and 3

The second day of our Mexican journey was a lot of driving. We drove from half seven in the morning until around 7 in the evening. We made two stops for fuel and one for tacos. Ben felt the tacos were over priced-even ‘American in price’. But that’s only because his good friend led on that we would be eating only 8 cent tacos during our time here. But on that note, I’d like to mention that Ben refused food for the both of us throughout the entire day. I ate half a yogurt for breakfast while he enjoyed a stale cinnamon roll. My pleas for tacos throughout the day went on unheard until around 5pm when I finally held a pocket knife to his throat and forced him to pull over along with the rest of the traveling wagons. This is how we’ve decided to judge preliminary whether or not a restaurant will be favorable or not – is whether there is a gaggle of semi-trucks blocking our way in.

Anyways.

So we made three stops. Gas. Gas. Tacos. Our bodies were feeling sore at the end of the day. Not the kind we’re used to, where the muscles are sore from exertion, but rather from being confined to a small space for hours on end.

Our destination was a small city at the base of Pico de Orizaba by the name of Tlachichuca, and despite the both of us desperately wanting to be there by the time the sun fell over the mountains, we decided to aim for a small green patch on the maps which preceded the city by 90km. Upon arriving at the mysterious green patch on the map, we discovered our path barred by a barrier and a guard, almost military like. The guard approached us and introduced us to the national park that was hiding just beyond the gate, and let us know that we would be safe camping for the evening. He wished us a good evening and raised the barrier.

The winding dirt road eventually led us to find a quaint little camping spot for us to enjoy a pot of noodles accompanied by old sauce and a can of tuna. Only one mosquito bite later, and we were bundled up in the tent.

Day 3

The day began with thick cloud cover, left over dew, mossy trees outside our mesh windows, and Ben’s continued ranting over Reeces’ promised 8 cent tacos. As I took solace in the last few minutes with my sleeping bag, I was interrupted by Ben’s manly, high pitched, screams. Maybe I should have been more concerned, but instead I took my sweet time wiggling my shoes onto my feet before I leaned out the tent to make sure he wasn’t experience extreme blood loss. He wasn’t. He just hit himself in the head with the tent poled, blaming the moisture for his accident. (ben- it really was a slick pole)

We left camp without breakfast, and high hopes to find a spot in Tlechichuca where we could prop open the portable stove and boil up some oatmeal. Pleasantly, after winding our way down the opposite side of the mountain, we were greeted by a brightly colored Sunday market. After a few laps up and down the street, we found ourselves the proud new owners of a bag of spicy peanuts and hot potato chips. We ditched the idea of oatmeal when we came across a couple of ladies serving up tacos across from where we had parked. We were delighted to find out, after our meal, that our tacos and mystery drink had only cost us 13 pesos-about 75 american cent.
We left the market and continued our journey toward Orizaba. About an hour later we found a pharmacy where Ben was able to procure an anti-malarial for the next couple of months of our journey. They were cheap (about 30 dollars for a 70 day supply) and hopefully not counterfeit. Only the next few months will tell.

Eventually we found ourselves in Tlachichuca and again, tempted by the Sunday market they had going on. This one was large enough that there was a police presence to direct the traffic and had a good friendly feel. We bought a deep fried fish with chilli powder and lime, a corn on the cob (elote) with butter, cheese, chili powder, and lime (this disgust me but Karli loved it) and ice cream to finish with some nice notes of lime and coffee. Walking around the market I couldnt help but notice i was taller than everybody else and had to stoop continuously under the tarps shading the stalls.


We departed the market and drove up the volcano. The road started well and finished poor. The mighty subaru cruised to half way on the rutted mud track but the last 2000ft of trail are steep and so far evading us. Karli gave it a whacking great try rallying up the way, till a sharp turn and steeper terrain suited to 4x4s with low gears and knobbly tyres stumped us. The car told us it was not happy with a great deal of smoke from the clutvh. We have backed down to a flat area to regroup and work out a plan of attack on the remaining 6500ft of ascent.

Our campsite this evening is an abandoned village composed of 4 decomposing cottages, a common bathroom, and some sort of lookout post. Still trying to decipher what this area was used for (ben thinks cartel post due to the watch tower, but then again, Ben thinks everything is cartel), once upon a time. I sat up in the lookout post for a bit while Ben traipsed around, discovering whatever there was to be discovered. The echoing sound of a dogs bark accompanied us for the greater portion of an hour until Ben finally decided to locate the howls. He stumbled upon a shivering and scared pup sitting at the bottom of a 10ft hole. After a few moments he shouted for me to come over.

After a few moments of discusion and with the hole being muddy we unbolted the roof tent ladder and dropped it down. Karli put on a thick jacket and padded gloves and descended. The dog was cold, scared and snappish. She spent a about 15minutes gently stroking it to calm it down, we dropped a towel over to warm him and a short while later Karli picked him up and carried him up the ladder. The poor fella hunched for a few minutes berfore first slowly getting up and walking a few paces, then a little quicker, then he ran. The last we saw of him was a small speck bolting down towards the village. Not ever a thanks (but thats ok).

We are now collecting rainwater with the help of a small roof and a tarp sheet.

 

Day 1 of Mexico

This is the second crossing into mexico. This time there are lots of concrete bollards and loud buzzers and soldiers, we get waved into a booth to be quickly searched before being let in. Immediately in the next town there are police and soldiers in the street armed with loaded automatic weapons. The plan is to drive a couple hundered kilometers (120miles) past the border to safer areas. Inside Mexico, a lot of friendly faces.

Trying to find somewhere to camp we drove into a village in the hills, drove through slowly with locals standing in the road looking at us, then turned around at the end of the village and drove back out. It was slightly embarassing. In the end we stopped yesterday behind a restaurant where we purchased two sodas and sweet bun for the equivalent of 2 US dollars. We asked the restaurant if we could camp around the back. Louis, a local boy didn’t speak any English indicated we would be fine and guided us to a small patch of scrappy grass. He kept us company in silence for a majority of the night after we offered him a beer. Ignoring health advice not to pet animals in mexico we befriended a dog that I named Hero, on multiple occasions he tried to leap in the car.  Hero slept behind the Subaru after we climbed into the roof tent and kept us safe throughout the night by barking away any intruders (or so I presume, he could have just been barking. Because he’s a dog. Maybe there was a squirrel. But I insisted on giving him bread and praising him for unknown tasks).


I bought a cappuccino from the gas station this morning. Not sure yet if the water it was made with will be good or bad, but I’m sure time will decide, I feel lucky. It’s nearly too sweet to drink, so I stole Karli’s drink and used that to wash down my grossly dry sweet bun.

We’re still undecided if we should be tipping the fuel service attendants for filling us up and washing our windshield. This isn’t a service we request but they don’t give us a choice in the matter.

Karli has been practising her Spanish. I have been persisting with sign language. She seems to be nearly conversational in the language, but I couldn’t say for sure. She could just be making up the words for all I know but it seems convincing.

We had one encounter in which the roadside police waved us over for, presumably an inspection. Once we were to the side of the road they waved us to continue on. Not sure if it’s the language barrier that changed their mind, or something else entirely. Mabe they just don’t want to take the time to deal with us Gringos.

Still no sign of any cartel, but that being said-we don’t really know what the ‘cartel’ would look like. Still searching, hope to befriend them soon.

Acute Mountain Sickness And What Makes A Sucessful Trip

After backing down from 12,500ft in the Subara which didn’t quite have the power to go up the volcano on the 4 wheel drive track, and having a nights rest we descended to one of the lower villages knocking on doors to find the local guiding company that could give rides up to the mountain hut. I will admit Karli’s Spanish was more useful here than my charade/ hand signal language. Eventually descending right back to the valley bottom we were directed after several attempts to the mountain guides hotel. We asked the owner Roberto for a lift to the hut for a summit attempt. He gave us a great price of 1600 dollars (Mex) which is around 80 US dollars for a ride up to 14,500ft(4420m, taking around a hour or so), ride down back to 10,000ft, clean water and an extra camping mat for in the hut. This is just out of the tourist season for the peak which starts in a couple of weeks after the rainy season. The ride up was rough, the mud trail we drove down in the morning was a raging torrent of washouts and collapsed road sections getting bigger by the minute. Half way up at one of the guides houses in a small village we changed to a beautiful old maroon jeep. The kind of machine where you hear two whacking great chunks of metal smash together when engaging 4 wheel drive mode. The part of trail that stopped us originally on our attempt was more impassable with water raging down. We were glad we descended when we did in the subaru, this was definately too much for the traction control, road tyres and low ground clearance. The guide told us its normal rain for this time of year. At one point stopping the vehicle to hack tonnes of mud to create a smooth run down into a dip where previously was a road. We arrived at around 14,500ft about 5pm in the afternoon feeling good for our summit attempt beginning midnight. Quickly prepping kit, preparing the evening meal-ramen and packing bags for the early depart. Karli wasn’t enthusiastic about eating the Ramen which made me slightly concerned because a lack of appetite up that high is not good. But to be honest I wasn’t overjoyed at the thought of them either. But we did have a big box full of it we bought back in the states so it had to be used. At about half 6 we went to bed ready for our midnight ascent.

 
Now, for the past weeks I had been going on about Altitude sickness to Karli to the point she was sick of hearing about it and didn’t want to know. I think this changed just before setting off at midnight when I became aware she wasn’t sleeping, had a cracking headache, and felt like she was going to vomit. To partially quote her, ‘Worst hangover Ever’.

We had been talking about this mountain for weeks. We had waited a week for my package and a few extra days for Karli’s package to arrive with the sole purpose of Orizaba in mind. We had been waking up to stare at it’s snow covered peak for the last few mornings. To get there and not even start the hike to the glacier was slightly disappointing, but AMS be AMS and you can’t fight the right decision for safety.
The journey here was fun, through the laughter and anger and smoke of trying to force a car up a muddy high altitude dirt road. Of filtering tarp rain water into a small pot and waking up with wet pillows and Karli’s deliciously prepared pancakes, making fools of ourselves trying to speak Spanish in a game of charades.  There was so much more to this adventure than the mountain that was staring back at us.

We went into this mountain knowing we were close to the limit for acclimatising, the past week we slowly camped higher, the previous week had been spent around 5000ft. then 7000ft, 9000, 9000, 10,000, 12,000, and finally 14,500 (the hut height), which was a 6hour stop before a dash to the summit and descend back to 10k. We hoped to have longer but with nearly 10days of delayed equipment and being stuck near the US border, the time was gone. We went in with the knowledge a turn back was likely.

Karli seemed much better by the time we reached 10,000ft, though the headache persisted for a while. Roberto had a full breakfast of three courses waiting for us when we arrived back at the base and kindly let us use his hotel showers.
On any climbing trip the safety of the team comes first. Altitude sickness can hit anybody, no matter how fit or carefully acclimatised. There are a few basic rules – If you have symptoms, don’t go any higher, If you have symptoms, descend as soon as possible. If someone has symptoms, do not leave them alone. Symptoms- lack of appetite, headache, nausea, flu like. They progress to confusion, drunken like behaviour, eventually unconsciousness and can lead to death if not handled promptly. The only way to stop the symptoms is to descend. The worst part is it’s silent, and gets worse with time so stealthily it’s hard to notice. descending even a couple thousand feet can reduce it.
It’s a reminder of just how frail the human body is. Change altitude by a few thousand feet too fast and it can kill us. The standard advice is above 8-10,000ft (the point at which sickness usually begins) ascend at a rate of around 1000ft per day, and every 3000ft have an extra days rest. If possible, hike high, sleep low.

I don’t care that we didn’t make the mountain top, this was a cracking sunrise and great fun meeting locals on the mountain. And we are both down ok.