ILAB booksellers Eric and Alisa Waschke have returned from an expedition to South America where they climbed some of the highest mountains. With them were a flag showing the logos of ILAB and of the Canadian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABAC). “ILAB does not have limits” Coqui Zevallo commented. “Das ist Werbung auf höchster Ebene - this is top level PR”, wrote Frank Werner of Brockhaus/Antiquarium. Read Alisa Waschke’s exciting report:
The ABAC – ILAB Aconcagua Expedition 2011-2012 started in Ecuador on the 19th of December 2011 with ABAC/ILAB booksellers Eric and Alisa Waschke and Canadian book collector James MacCallum. Our first summit was Pasochoa (4200m), which also included Alisa’s mother Marina Semina. This was followed by summits of Rumiñahui (4721m) and El Corazón (4790m), and a climb on Cotopaxi up to 4900m, all in Ecuador. Our guide in Ecuador was famed mountaineer Julio Mesias, who has successfully climbed the South face of Aconcagua, (one of the greatest mountaineering feats) and was on the Ecuadorian expeditions on Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga and Cho Oyu.
After Ecuador, we flew to Argentina where we hiked to Plaza Francia (4200m) to view the spectacular south face of Aconcagua. Additionally we summitted Cerro Bonete (5050m) before starting our climb on Aconcagua. On Aconcagua, Eric reached the high camp (Cholera) at 6000m with his friend James on the 7th of January 2012 and Alisa reached 5500m on the same day. Once at the high, Eric and James decided to abort their summit bid because of extreme high winds (up to 100km) and cold (about -30°C).
Of the two parallel expeditions of 18 climbers none reached the summit, and of the few climbers who decided to risk the poor conditions, one climber made 6700m where he suffered pulmonary arrest and needed to be rope rescued off the mountain and then put on a respirator and air-lifted out by helicopter. The good news is he survived! With good weather I think we could have summited as we reached the high camps without any altitude illnesses, but with the adverse conditions on our summit day it was practically impossible.
Although we were a little disappointed not to be able to summit Aconcagua, overall it was a great and exciting adventure and as in less than three weeks we climbed five times to or above the altitude of Mont Blanc’s summit (western Europe’s highest peak). I think the expedition can be deemed a success!