Climbing in rubber boots
Some cooker maintenance was the order of the day first thing this morning. The oven is a bit slow and it was time to investigate, we stripped it down and while Steve cleaned years of gunk off the bottom cover I changed the oven’s thermocouple but all was in vain and the oven is still slow it seems that something in the control valve is sticking and I don’t fancy stripping that and risking totally breaking it; so a slow oven it will be. We can cook bread and pies so we are OK; it just takes almost twice as long as in a normal oven and the bread ends up a little dry and crumbly. After the attempted cooker repairs we hiked up to Simon Yates’ base camp where we stopped for tea and biscuits before continuing up to just below the glacier on Mount Frances. We were just below where most groups put in a high camp on the glacier if they are attempting to climb Frances or Bove so now we know the way. The weather is quite warm, about 15 degrees C during the day at sea level, so there is a lot of melt-water flowing making the river high and the ground very wet under foot. We had to wear our rubber boots to a point well above the base camp. It was a good day for animal spotting; we saw Guanaco, Fox, Beaver and Condors as well as several species of small birds. The beavers have caused a lot of damage in the valley we were in today with two massive dams flooding a large area. One small flock of ‘Thorn-tailed Rayaditos’ were very noisy and seemed particularly happy with a feast of spiders that they had found.