Delays getting Jayson's permits - 5 Jan 2012

Most of today was spent getting our permits for the mountain. The permits are only issued in the government building in Mendoza city. The permits are very expensive and cost about R 5 000 each. I suppose the money goes towards the rangers for maintaining the facilities on the mountain.

We hit a serious snag with Jayson's permit, because he is a minor (15 years) and therefore the forms need to be signed by both parents. Obviously Lynne is still back home in SA, so cannot sign the forms in person. This creates a massive admin headache as now the form will need to be taken to a public notary in SA, then off the High Court to be legalized and finally certified according to Hague apostle. ALL of this MUST happen by 12:30pm tomorrow if Jayson and myself are to make the bus tomorrow morning. Otherwise Jayson and myself will be stuck in Mendoza until the certified form arrives by fax. But we are both optimistic and hoping for a miracle!!

Lynne I really hope that you can fathom out the procedure! It seems that there are not many minors that climb Aconcagua so the procedure is not well known and was not communicated to us beforehand.

Although they will accept a faxed form to allow Jayson access into the park, he will not be able to climb above base camp until the original document has been received in Mendoza, so we need a super quick courier company. So again, we are hoping that the original document can arrive by Tuesday next week to avoid delays in the climb.

Thanks a million Lynne for taking on this new urgent admin mission. Hopefully by the time we wake up tomorrow, things could be back on track.

Meet the team

the team
Seated from left to right:
Rodney (37), Nick (54), Phokwane (35)
Standing from left to right: Henk (37), Phil (58), Sibusiso (41), Frank (21), Jayson (15), Ray (46), Bob (66), Mike (21).

Shaky start with the rest of the team - 4 Jan 2012

Things got off to a shaky start this morning when only half the team arrived at the airport, including our guide Sibusiso and all the ADI expedition gear. We lightheartedly joked that perhaps there was a serious misunderstanding like the wrong date.
Fortunately, Sibusiso arrived about an hour later, pushing an airport trolley piled high with expedition kit bags and accompanied by Sean Disney from ADI. There was a quick greeting session and then the expedition bags were promptly shared out among the 7 team members that had already arrived, namely Phil (whom I refer to as the Camera man as he is carrying professional photographic and video equipment), Nick, Henk, Phokwane, Jayson and myself. We were only allowed one bag for our kit with maximum weight of 30kg, which was a near impossible task in itself! Most team members shared a common experience that it took two days to find a way to get all that kit into ONE bag.
Another young and fit looking team member, Rodney, arrived just as we were checking our luggage in and gave us all a hearty handshake, so now we were up to 8 team members!

Check-in went smoothly as we watched our oversized black duffel bags slowly disappear down the conveyor chute. We took a deep breath, hoping that our kit bags would arrive safely in Argentina. Not only is the kit very expensive but it had taken us 2-3 months to put it all together, so it would be a massive setback if it got delayed and heaven forbid if it got lost! As a precaution I am wearing my hiking boots on the flight and carrying my most expensive item (the sleeping bag rated at -30 degrees) in my hand luggage. Jayson has done the same but opted to carry his down summit jacket as hand luggage (maybe he figures he can share my sleeping bag!!) All the other items we placed in God's hand (well actually SAA and ACSA to be more precise).

Jayson and myself had a quick bite to eat, then headed straight for the boarding gate where the rest of the team had assembled. We were pleasantly surprised to find two more missing team members, Frank and Mike (students from Cape Town) waiting for us at the gate, so now we were up to 10.

Another member was traveling separately via USA and will meet us tomorrow in Mendoza which will make up the full team of 11.

We were originally going to be a team of 12, but one team member sprained his leg last week riding one of those mechanical rodeo bulls...very unlucky but a very understandable accident for a guy!

I myself am a bit concerned as I am nursing a calf muscle injury that has been causing cramps in my right leg for the last 6 weeks and refuses to go away. It probably needs some physio but this was not possibly over the December period. So I will be taking things easy initially until it has loosened up.

We had a nice surprise when we landed in Buenos Aires, when an additional member of the team, Bob from Durban, introduced himself. So it looks like we are back to full team of 12.  Jayson is the youngest on our team by far and this will be a huge accomplishment for him. Yippee, all our bags arrived so things are looking up. There is a 5 hour time difference so the sun is still shining brightly and is quite hot. Now we just need to wait another 3 hours for the flight to take us to our final destination: Mendoza city.

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