Missed Connections

After hanging around El Chaltén for 4 days waiting for Mariusz and his friend, Cezary, to return without any way to contact them, Magda decided a trip up to Niponino Camp where they were staying to deliver some food was in order.

Niponino is in-between two other camps up in the mountains. One is Polish and the other is Norwegian. This is actually where the camp got its name — Nipo (not Polish) + nino (not Norwegian).

Halfway Ain’t Bad

The trip to Niponino is about 20 kilometers (8-9 hours) with the first half being pretty easy and not requiring any equipment or special training and the second half walking across a glacier (requiring boots, crampons and helmets) and up some steep paths.

We decided I would tag along for the first half to Laguna Torre and Magda and Emil would continue on to Niponino.

Fortunately, the hike to Laguna Torre was fairly easy and offered more great views from a different side of the mountains.

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Unfortunately, Magda and Emil had to carry heavy bags filled with trekking gear, cold-weather equipment and food for the overnight stay and for Mariusz and Cezary.

We reached Laguna Torre in fairly good time, had lunch and enjoyed the view before they embarked on the second half of the trip and I headed back.

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Like Two Ships in the Night

One of the last things I had asked Magda before we separated was whether she had told Mariusz that I was coming, to which she said: “No, because I didn’t know for sure that you were.” It’s also the same thing that went through my mind as I walked up to camp and saw the tents open and several pieces of new equipment in the campsite.

THE BAD NEWS: I had to meet Mariusz on my own and try to explain who I was and how I knew Magda.

THE GOOD NEWS: Introductions went much more smoothly than I thought, the guys invited me out for steaks with them and we had a great meal with Mihnea and Ioana — a Romanian couple the guys had befriended before leaving for their climb.

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