Ding dong merrily up high for climbers

Posted: December 27, 2013 by kirisyko in Climbing, High altitude mountaineering, News, Rock Climbing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Giovanni Camilleri, Josef Grech, Mark Gladwish and David Gladwish in a satellite photo taken last Saturday.

Giovanni Camilleri, Josef Grech, Mark Gladwish and David Gladwish in a satellite photo taken last Saturday.

Four Maltese mountaineers will toast Christmas in the clouds above Argentina tomorrow, as they continue their quest to climb the highest peak in the Americas.

Giovanni Camilleri, Josef Grech, Mark Gladwish and David Gladwish began their attempt to scale the 6,962-metre Aconcagua last Wednesday.

If all goes to plan they should reach the summit of the mountain known as ‘The Stone Sentinel’ on Sunday.

Anneleen Otte, the fiancée of Mr Grech, the expedition leader, said she expected the group to be raising a glass to Christmas tomorrow.

“Josef bought some small loudspeakers which he can connect to his iPod. They will do some dancing in the tent, most probably over a glass of wine,” she said. The iPod can be charged through a foldable solar panel kit.

It will be the group’s second celebration since the expedition began, as Mr Grech marked his 50th birthday on the mountain last Thursday.

Every day the climbers have been sending a satellite signal with their new location to their loved ones when they reach camp. Usually it is accompanied by a short and sweet message: “We’re ok. The A-team”.

Temperatures on the mountain over the next few days are expected to hover between -11°C and -16°C. Gale force winds are also forecast.

Preparations for the Andean climb have been going on for the past year.

The team from the Mountaineering Section of the Malta Climbing Club has followed a rigorous fitness training programme and planned the logistics down to the smallest detail.

They are accompanied on their expedition by local guides.

A fifth team member, Fabrizio Valente, is providing ground logistics support.

Although much of their training has taken place in Malta, the climbers are no strangers to arduous expeditions.

Collectively, they have successfully climbed Mt Etna, Sicily (3,329 metres), Mt Toubkal, Morocco (4,167 metres) and Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (5,895 metres).

The expedition is self-funded by the climbers and is being undertaken purely as a mountaineering challenge.

Before departing for Argentina, the group held a gala dinner in aid of the Community Chest Fund. They met President George Abela in a courtesy call at the Palace.

Follow the group’s progress in the ‘Malta Aconcagua Expedition 2013’ Facebook group.

See more:http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131224/local/Ding-dong-merrily-up-high-for-climbers.500242#.Ur1XlPRdXW8


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