November 6, 2004

Valdivia the base for Antarctica?

39.51S/073.19W, Valdivia, Chile, day 717

Biking total: 77 days, 3079 km, 21'200 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118'400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13'669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)

The big mess after the storm is sorted out. We have had 1036 mb W and 1000 mb E of us on the crossing from Easter Island to Valdivia: Pachamama was beating S between the High and the Low where the isobars nearly came together.

Valdivia our new base is great: People are very friendly and we got an audience with the mayor where we started organizing our school visits and sport activities with the local kids.
After 36 days navigating in the Southern Ocean we enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables on the market. The fish market is just on the river Valdivia where sea lions profit from gifts from the fisher men: - they have only to open their mouth to become a monster!

Yesterday we have done a public presentation at the Valdivia Yacht Club. Three newspapers and a radio station already reported about the TOPtoTOP message "sport and environment".

Sunstone and a small fisher boat are Pachamama's neighbors. Our friends Tom and Vicky on Sunstone were our neighbors already in Ecuador and Galapagos!

Tomorrow we start biking from our base Alwoplast to Mendoza in Argentina. There we meet our friend Michi and together we will try to climb Aconcagua, TOP of South America. We will be back on Pachamama just before Xmas.

2005 we spend in Chile: school visits; sport and environmental activities with kids are the priorities. In the mean time we prepare and train for Antarctica: First climb of Mount Vinson by nature's force from the shore! Till now all climbers flew to the base camp. - We started already planning with our friend Guillaume Dargaud. He is a researcher in an Antarctic camp and an experienced climber. Our plan at the moment: We sail about 2500 nm from Valdivia via Patagonian channels - Drake Passage - Antarctic Peninsula to the Bellinghausen Sea where we will ski from its shore 600 km over the ice to Vinson base camp. On the way back we may ski-sail using the wind.

But Antarctica will be only possible when we find enough sponsorship! That's why we plan to do a presentation tourney between June and August in Europe. If you would like to support us, try to organize an interview with a potential sponsor. - There is also the possibility to click on "Make a Donation" at the bottom of our homepage, if you win too much in the next lottery.

Posted by dario at 6:24 AM

November 17, 2004

Biking to Santiago

Santiago, Chile, day 728

Biking total: 88 days, 4118 km, 22'700 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118'400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13'669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)

In 9 days we biked from Valdivia to Santiago ad met wonderful German -, Swiss - and Chilean people on the way, who offered us food and shelter: Carolina and Hernard, Kirsten and Hani,Engelmann, Garcia, Guinez.

The landscape with vulcans, lakes, lovely tows and rivers was just beautiful.

On the base of the vulcan Villarica we took a 2 days rest at the Kirsten's; after 12 years cruising they settled down on this paradise of land and live from farming and rent a guest-house to tourists (phone 0056 9 443 11 99).

We have had sunny spring weather the first days. But then the weather changed to wind, cold and rain because of El Nino. That makes biking difficult on the unpaved roads.

In Victoria we were invited by Louis Meynet, president of the local Swiss Club, and his family. There we presented the Swiss Alpine Song to the big Swiss community.

Biking further to Santiago the urbanisation starts. Bivouacking in our tent was getting more and more dangerous! So we slept in a cheap 24h-hotel (4000 pesos = US 6.-): We covered the bed with our sleeping bags to prefent to end up with an illness! There was no lock on the door, so we blocked the entrance with our CANYON bikes. BUT we could not sleep even we biked a long distance that day: - the noise of the shaking next doors and the sound of music every hour to remember the other couples that the hour has gone was a torture and far worse then the storm between Easter Island and Valdivia.

But TOPtoTOP lives from contrary experiences!: Arrived in Santiago the other day our friend, the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen, invited us to use his residence as our base camp. He is very kind and will help us to contact media, potential sponsors, and schools. A big help to organize school visits was also the meeting with the cultural coordinator Carlos Diaz Villaroel.

Yesterday we have had a warm welcome from the Swiss Ambassador Charles-Edouard Held and Swiss Consul Jean-Didier Javet.

Posted by dario at 5:31 PM

November 25, 2004

The hardest bit with our bikes!

Mendoza, Argentina, day 736

Biking total: 96 days, 4373 km, 26'100 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118'400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13'669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)

On the 19.November we started relaxed with our Bikes the last but hardest bit to the Base of Aconcagua. The TOP of South America. After 3 hours we found the way out of Santiago de Chile and biked 90 km to Los Andes 800m altitude. There Georgia invited us to stay with her family and so we cooked a good and typical Suisse food; Plaine in Pina. It is not only good; it gives also a loot of energy what we needed to arrive to the pass by Portillo with 3400m altitude!

The next morning we where almost alone on the street becouse the pass were closed while they had to clean the road from a big stone- avalange. At two clocks they finished their work and so we had to share the narrow Street with the big Trucks! It was quite a work to arrive to the pass! But to bike down to Punta del Inca it was a great pleasure.
In Punta del Inca starts the way to Aconcagua. First of all we had to take the Permits for the Nature Park in Mendoza Argentina. On Sunday we met Michael Illien our friend with his group from Switzerland. So we prepare everything and will start climbing the 25 of November to the highest TOP of South America: El Aconcagua with 6962 m altitude.
Pictures follow, when we come back the 9th of December.

Posted by dario at 9:29 PM