December 9, 2004

3 - highlights: New crew - Bronze Medal - second TOP: Aconcagua

Santiago, Chile, day 750

Biking total: 98 days, 4628 km, 27'000 altimeters.
Climbing total: 252 days, 3401 km, 127'400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13'669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)

Highlight 1:
TOP of the TOP - we will get a new crew!

Highlight 2:
Our member Thierry Schmitter got the Bronze Medal at the Paralympics in Athens with sailing. Queen Beatrice welcome Thierry in her palace!

Highlight 3:
Clean up 300 kg on Aconcagua, highest peak of America and the Western hemisphere; - climbed on the 30th of November 2004 from sea level to the very TOP with human power only! TOPtoTOP reached the second TOP of the 7-Summits non-stop round-the-world expedition at 13 h. Aconcagua is with 6962 m the second highest mountain after Mount Everest on this first 7-Summits expedition using just human powered means: climbing, biking and sailing.

We biked 1294 km from Valdivia (Northern Patagonia) to Puente de Inca at the base of Aconcagua (see also last report).

To leave Santiago was not easy: The main roads were blocked because of the visit of president Bush (APEC).

From Santiago we got to Los Andes where we met Gregoria on the market. Soon after, we were invited in her house and cooked the Swiss meal plain-in-pignia for the whole family Saavedra.

An avalanche blocked the road over the Andes for several days. We were just in time and had to wait only one day till the Portillo pass was open again. Unfortunately it produced a lot of traffic on this main connection between Chile and Argentina. It was a hard climb with endless turns and over 3000 altimeters.

In Puente de Inca we met our our friend Michi and the TOPtoTOP-Aconcagua-crew:
Ursula Spoerri, Christian Sonderegger, Paul Degonda, Erwin Graf, Vitus Walder, Claudio Canova, Ernst Naef, Patrick Furger und Reto Casutt.

From Puente de Inca we reached in 3 days Plaza de Mulas, the base camp in the Horcones Valley.
Sabine went back to Santiago because our new crew in her stomach does not like 6962 m yet.

The days before we got to the base camp on 4370 m it was 35 degrees Celsius with snow and a lot of wind.

The 27th of November was a black day for our member Vitus: During the night from the 26th to the 27th of November the blood oxygen of Vitus fall down to 34 percent. Claudio, our doctor has done a very good job till the morning! Dario Saua, the official doctor in the camp organized together with the Park rangers a very efficient rescue by helicopter to the next hospital. I joined Vitus, contacted the Swiss Embassy and made sure that everything went smooth.

Together with Claudio Canova, I climbed Aconcagua in 3 days (55 h) from Puente de Inca (reached by bike from Valdivia) over Plaza de Mulas and Camp Nido. Only 6 climbers reached the TOP this November. We were number 3 and 4! Many expeditions were not successful because of strong winds and bad weather conditions. May a cause of EL Nino - a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe? - By the way: This climb might be also the first time from sea to the TOP by human power only!

After we toped the highest peak of America we started to clean up this giant and collected a total of 300 kg of rubbish!

An idea for other expeditions: We had a lot of good food left on base camp. We took it down and will distribute it in the slums of Santiago the following days.

Thanks to
- Leopoldo Leon, Romano Guillermo and all rangers of the Aconcagua Nature Park for the collaboration
- the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen that we can stay at his place in Santiago!
- the Swiss Consul Jean-Didier Javet for the TOPtoTOP-Aconcagua welcome party tomorrow!
- the hotel Rugendas for the hospitality for the TOPtoTOP-crew and the offer to use their Internet facilities!

Tip for young people: Season kickoff for free - posted by our member Juerg Biner, Zermatt!

Posted by dario at 7:24 PM

December 24, 2004

Record: Pacific - Aconcagua - Pacific without motor

Valdivia, Chile, day 765

contact us! phone: 00871 7625 68 933 or 0056 (for Chile) 09 65 99 807

Biking total: 113 days, 5667 km, 28'500 altimeters.
Climbing total: 252 days, 3401 km, 127'400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13'669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)

We biked 1294 km to the base of Aconcagua and climbed the highest peak in South America only with muscle power.
On Aconcagua we have done a clean up and collected 300 kg of rubbish from other expeditions.

After the climb we took a bath in a natural hot spring at Puente de Inca, before Sabine joined me again to bike 1294 km back to Valdivia:

It was fun to bike down the Portillo pass. In Los Andes we got a warm welcome from family Sauvedra. In Santiago the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen invited us again in his residence. Vicente cooked like in paradise and we met our members Brigitte and Valea from Geneva with lots of presents, so we felt like Heaven; - many thanks to our families and friends!

After all we said goodbye to our helpful Swiss Consulates Meya and Jean-Didier Javet and the super TOP-Aconcagua-crew, to our funny Tiroler boys, to our kind friend Manuel Santiago and to the nice staff of the German residence. We left Santiago in Xmas fever and 32 degrees Celsius.

Sometimes we took a bath to cool down. Fortunately the temperature was improving the more South we biked. The landscape was again spectacular. Unfortunately our blind passenger could not see it, but enjoyed the fresh air.

In Victoria we were invited at the birthday party of Luis Meynet. His wife Violeta Meynet become the first TOPtoTOP physical therapist . Together we will try to organize help for a school for disabled children in Victoria (more later). When we left Victoria we were full of fresh meat and our baby will have big muscles after all these proteins. Vitamins are also important in a pregnancy: - we were just in time to eat fresh fruits from the trees at Kirsten's in Villarica.

Then we biked to Swiss family Kathrin, Dani und Marvin Hany. They decided to stay in Chile and started with a blue beery farm. Kathrin has a library of books about pregnancy and also some cloths for our baby!

On the way South we were also able to coordinate our school visits. - Just before Valdivia a dog showed us how it works at THE DAY! ... and at 8 a.m. today a TV station joined us for the last leg.

We finished the new record Pacific - Aconcagua - Pacific without motor and made a distance of 2838 km with a total of 16'300 altimeters in 48 days!

As soon as we arrived at the TOPtoTOP sailboat Pachamama at ALWOPLAST in Valdivia, we were the most wanted for journalists. - Many thanks to Paulina Infante and Carlos Diaz for organizing the media!

Happy Xmas and a good New Year 2005!

Posted by dario at 6:38 AM