Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

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Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Skyman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:26 am

Wish I didn't have to post this. I posted a related article in the announcement section. Here is an updated link.

http://www.ansa.it/site/notizie/awnplus ... 08650.html

Fede, the Argentinian guide, has been living here in Utah the past few years. I will post an update when I get details from the Family. My thoughts and prayers are with his Wife and Family.

Fede, spent last season guiding on Rainier. I was told he set the record for number of summits in a season.


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Postby sevrdhed » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:31 am

Damn. When I first read the article, it sounded like they had gotten him down and recovering. Sucks to read the update.

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Postby Skyman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:04 am

Some additional information.

Federico Campanini
Federico "el Fede" was born in Mendoza, Argentina, near the Andes Mountains. Federico started climbing seriously after college and two years later he got his mountain guide certification in Argentina. Since then his passion for mountains, climbing and travel took him to different adventures and places in South America, such as Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Patagonia and of course his home land of Mendoza. Federico moved to Utah in May 2006 and he has been climbing and skiing in the United States since then.

Climbing Resume
17+ summits of Mount Rainier (14,410')
Mount McKinley (20,320')
Argentina: Aconcagua (22,832'), El Plata (20,000'), Vallecitos (19,024'), Agustin Alvarez (17,385'), Frankie (16,400'),
Expedition to La Jaula range, and new route in Tatra peak (17,000')
Patagonia: Aguja de la S, Cerro Solo, Electrico
Expeditions into the Patagonic South ice field (paso marconi-paso del viento)
Circumnavigation of cerro Fitz Roy

Mountain guide (EPGAMT. Mendoza-Argentina)
Wilderness First Responder
Emergency Medical Technician - B
U.S. Avalanche Level II
Leave No Trace Trainer


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Postby jun » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:12 am

That's really sad.

Best wishes to his family. I hope they can find solace in the fact he died doing something he loved.
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Postby Skyman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:44 pm

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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Brian in SLC » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:34 pm

This story still has some legs...

From I think Everest.com website:

Aconcagua: last moments on YouTube

While compiling the Aconcagua 2008/09 Season's end report for ExplorersWeb, Rodrigo Granzotto Peron reported on the death of Argentinean guide Federico Campanini, 31 and one of his clients (Elena Senin, 38).

Local media stated the group had summited via the normal route, but lost their way in a sudden storm and mistakenly descended the technical Polish route. Federico and Elena died (reportedly in a fall), while the rest of the group was rescued by helicopters.

Campanini was reported dead on Aconcagua on January 8th, 2009. A video posted on YouTube yesterday shows his last moments. Rescuers reached the guide on Jan 6th, still alive. Carrying no O2, no warm clothes and not even a stretcher, they roped Federico up and dragged him in the snow before leaving him. Campanini's father uploaded the video after receiving it anonymously and has now launched a lawsuit, media reports.

The rescuers reportedly were trying to drag the sick climber up to the summit (probably to descend via the normal route). Here goes a transcript of some of the comments, translated into English – we’ve added the time frames so you can follow them while watching the video:

0.03 – Cameraman (with labored breath): “Here we are, 300 meters shy from the summit… he is the guide… we can’t move him any further, we are very tired… It’s snowing hard now… we are on the glacier… we’ve tried in every way… there was 400m (to the top), we’ve climbed up 100m…”

0.42 - Rescuer at Federico’s side: “He can’t – he can’t be taken out. He can’t be taken out (approaching the camera). We are freezing – we have 400m left to the summit and he’s not moving. He’s in a bad state. I am authorized by the judge…(some unintelligible words).”

1.01 – Two rescuers: “Get up, cuñado (dude/mate)! Come on, come on, shit!! (trying to raise Federico to his feet)”

1.09 - Cameraman:”Let God enlighten him and give him strength, please.”

(Federico advances some meters on his hand and knees – then stops and lay on one side)

1:35 - Cameraman: “We’ve made ten meters more […] he doesn’t want to go anymore.”

1:57 - Rescuer speaking on the radio:: “Argentina? Tell him/them he is dying. (answer on the radio not understandable) Tell him/them he is dying. He won’t last 40 minutes longer.

Ed. Note:The following answer on the radio can’t be understood clearly. The voice seems to say (2:13): “Well, well – then try to evacuate him for 40 minutes more, even if he’s dying.” The rescuer answers: “It’s improbable, dude.” However, some unclear words may have a different meaning.

2:24 - Cameraman mutters some inaudible words while crying.

There is a final shot of the rescuers dragging a tense rope. It is unclear though whether they leave Federico there or not.

The images have sparked a heated debate in Argentina. “The debate on the operation has focused on the rescue team being seemingly unprepared to find the guide alive,” AFP reported. “The team had no oxygen for him, nor a thermal sleeping bag or stretcher to carry him.”

"They went looking for a corpse and they found a survivor," Carlos Campanini told the news agency.
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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby builttospill » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:24 am

Holy shit.

That is crazy. I don't know what to say other than that.

I sure as hell am not going to let anyone in my family watch that video though.

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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Skyman » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:10 am

I saw the video a few days ago. This has been very difficult for the family. It is hard to make any judgment based on a few minutes of video. The first thing that came to my mind was, they can bring a camera, but not a bottle of oxygen? Very unprepared rescue team. I can't seem to get this video out of my mind.


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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Brian in SLC » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:00 am

Skyman wrote:I saw the video a few days ago. This has been very difficult for the family. It is hard to make any judgment based on a few minutes of video. The first thing that came to my mind was, they can bring a camera, but not a bottle of oxygen? Very unprepared rescue team. I can't seem to get this video out of my mind.

I've only read up on bits and pieces of it. There's a fairly good summary type read of the situation over on Supertopo (if you can stand some of the jerks and their silly opinions).

The gist of it seems to be that the rescue was hastily put together from folks up high on the mountain, who probably weren't that acclimated. They'd been out all night long in the storm, and had already rescued the balance of the team that was still alive (no mean feat, most likely).

Folks don't use bottled O2 up there, on that peak. I didn't see any when I was there and didn't hear of anyone who brought or used any. Its a long ways in to basecamp from any direction, so, supplies and a special SAR team wouldn't have had the time to do anything coming from town, and, with bad weather, they couldn't fly in either. And, really, O2 might not have helped someone that'd been exposed to the elements up there for that long. May have been too far gone.

Cameras weigh next to nothing. I'm almost surprised they even had a rope.

To do any type of rescue, near 22k feet, while minimally acclimated would be very, very difficult at best. I got to think the folks there did the best they could under very difficult circumstances. You just can't toss a man over your shoulder at that height and go up hill.

Unless you're super connected (ie, can hire a private heli or military), SAR just ain't a comin' on that peak certainly in time for any rescue around the periphery of any storm. The weather there can be really, really aweful. And, the terrain they were stuck in, also bad.

I'd give 'em credit for trying, and, really, the would be rescuers probably pushed their margin a bit too far as well, and, are fortunate one of them didn't perish too (or all of them for that matter).

The sort of scary outcome of this, is, if the family sues the rescuers who made an attempt, what do you think that'll do for the next person(s) who get stuck up there? Think any of the local guides or climbing parties will stick their necks out? I'd hope so, but, wouldn't be surprised to see a decline in attempts at rescues too.

Sad deal, and, pretty gutteral.

One lesson, is, maybe if the weather isn't perfect, stay down until it is. Up there, its hard to sit and wait. Hard to not want to get 'er done and get off. Folks push bad weather all the time, and, pay the price. That hill kills a bunch of folks every season.

Heavy sigh...
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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Skyman » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:33 pm

Brian, I have to agree with what you said. It is clear I have an emotional attachment. I've only been to 19,000 feet in Peru. I can attest to what the altitude can do to you. We all know the price we can pay for our adventures into the wild. Have you seen the video? I'm not sure if I should post it or not?


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Re: Utah Climber Dies on Acongagua

Postby Brian in SLC » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:00 pm

Skyman wrote:Have you seen the video? I'm not sure if I should post it or not?

Not yet. Ugh.

Some more info from another website below (rough babel fish translation).

Too many together events. What follows is a summary of the published information besides which it arrived to us before by diverse sources, of the events happened in the Aconcagua, during and after the week of Kings, mainly between the 6 and the 9 of January of 2009, compiled and published by Santiago Storni and Alicia Pacheco.

At the beginning of the season one announced that the guides could not work of independent way but engaged solely by the agencies authorized.
In the middle of December a report of the authorities mendocinas revealed that they had been detected more than 100 guides in the park, mainly foreign, that did not own the qualification to guide, and they were written down more like a visitor.
Saturday 3 of January an Argentine guide found the body of a German climber, Stephan Jeramin (42), first fatal victim in the season, that had undergone a fall in the well-known zone like Neck of Bottle, in the glacier of the Poles, to about 6,000 M.s

Tuesday 6 of January, behind schedule, the news that was had in the same glacier but to 6,700 ms, they were misled a group formed by five members: Italian (two four women) and the mendocino guide Federico Campanini (with double nationality, resident in the United States). One sixth member, Antonella Targa (50), had become before and was in the refuge of Berlin height (5,980 ms). “All we left towards the summit from Berlin. We had had one night cold but starred and started off with a splendid sun”, would soon remember the member that had decided to return in the middle of way, in Portezuelo of the Wind, when the feeling nauseas by the height. “My guide of the Chilean company Azimuth, said to me: “You must make a decision”, and I decided that it would return.” In Berlin, one put in its carp to sleep, but at dusk it woke up and it did not see its companions. It surprised “not to see Me them because she assumed that they would be of return in a few hours, and was then when I received a communication of the Argentine guide letting know me that, although had made summit (to 16,30 hs), they were lost, in the middle of a storm”. Soon they explained that after making summit it surprised them to a weather and the lack of visibility caused that they lowered of the side of the Galciar of the Poles.
The temperature in the place was of -18ºC, and colder during that night that the group had to happen outdoors.
The surveying officer Jose Luis Altamirano (39, married, four daughters), credits 15 years in the sectional mountain police officer of Mendoza and reached 24 times the summit of the Aconcagua, half in occasion of rescue missions, and they ordered to him to lead the first group of the Patrol of Rescue. Soon it would relate: “At the time of the order of aid of the guide me it found reclaiming the body of the German (Stefan Jeromin) in the Glacier of the Poles, and they indicated to me that it headed the search of the five misled. In height it made snow-white much and there was white wind. The helicopter of the park left me in Nest of Condors (5,200 ms), along with Jose Remonda and other rescatistas. Without the helicopter we would have delayed two days from Bridge of the Inca to Nest, and thus we ascended in 20 minutes”.

Wednesday 7 to 05,30 hs two patrols supported by guardaparques started up, but to 15,15 hs decided to suspend the ascent due to the intense storm. “The time was disturbed, with -20ºC. We were buried 50 cm in the snow, we did not feel the feet, we were congealed and we decided to return to the Berlin refuge” said Altamirano soon. The guide had managed to inform that one of its clients had passed away (soon knew that it was the Italian Helena Senín), whereas another client had a fracture and edema pulmonary, and the rest underwent a severe hypothermia and dehydration, that the freezing had on the brink of madness, and became a rescue urgent; but a strong weather prevented the mission.
To eight in the morning pilot Horacio Freschi (35) from helicopter AS-350 B-3 Aeschylus located, them: I see “Them in the edge, to 6,700 meters, one makes signs” And it obtained a crucial photo so that it contacted them on the following day to the patrol. They were to about 300 ms below the summit, in the face opposed to the normal one, but it was impossible to approach them, due to intense Nevada and the fort wind.
The consul of Italy, Pietro Tombacini, was made present in the park to follow the events in person. Soon he would give the names of the Italians: Mirko Afasio (39), Attanazio Navy (38), Mateo Refrigeratto (35) and Helena Senin (38) that passed away. Antonella Targa (50) was the one who gave the return before, without following until the summit. All had previous mountain experience, some already had even made other summits of +6,000 M.s
According to Arming Párraga, in charge of the patrol of rescue of the police, the guide had not reported itself like so in the Aconcagua Park, but only like a member more of the expedition.

But one knows that the guide Federico Campanini (31), native mendocino of the Heras, was far from being an inexpert one. It had before reached twice the summit of the Aconcagua, one of them accompanying some years ago the ex- governor by Mendoza, Arthur Lafalla, and second, commanding a group of Norwegians. Besides to have scaled the McKinley mount (6,194 ms) in the mountain range of the Alaska, highest of North America. She was always a lover of the sport. Valentin Ugarte was received as guide from High Mountain in the School, after happening through the teaching staff of Physical education. In the last year of that race, invited to a professor to raise it the Aconcagua hill and to his return it decided that it wanted to dedicate his life to the andinismo. There he worked the first two years after to be received. A time in the Patagonia lived, where it did several guided in the Continental Ice and others. In the 2006 it decided to settle down in the United States and began to work in international agencies. In “the edge” we have published an expedition that realised to the Gorge of the Cage along with another guide, Gabriel Barral, in September of 2004: http://www.alborde.com.ar/montania1/montanismo105b.htm.

Thursday 8, when not being able to remove them in helicopter the strategy from rescatistas the era to raise until the summit thence to try to see them and to lower them by the normal route. “For 06,30 hs we left to the summit with the officials Jose Luis Ramonda, Diego D'Angelo, Carlos Mountain, Oscar Fernandez and Matías Tieppo”, related Altamirano soon. By then, guardaparques Lucas González Mosso (29), Flavio Costarelli (38), Omar Darío Navas (32) and Ariel Ghilardi (38) coordinated the simultaneous ascent of another patrol of eight men, besides several guides, voluntary porteadores and other montañistas.
At noon the group of Altamirano arrives at the summit. “They were the 12,30 and deserts nor not to take something warm up, was a race against the time. If they spent one more night, they died. We lower by an edge of the glacier (Polish), with much snow, and with the data of the aviator plus which they arrived by radio, we oriented ourselves”, indicated Altamirano soon. “To arrive until the andinistas he was very difficult and complicated. By then already 35 civil people had added themselves us, who spontaneously were united to the search. They arrived from all the campings of the hill. Until the cook of Argentina Place she arrived at the top, without thinking it. That people acted with a solidarity outside series.
Near the 14,00 hs saw four figures blurred between the cloudiness, to 6,700 ms. “We began to lower from the top (of the side of Poles) and suddenly, on a rocky band, we observed four people seated against stones. Before we had found a mattock, antivines, canes… unequivocal indications of an abnormal situation, of a fall. They were very quiet, with minimum reactions. They were Campanini, and the three Italians, two men and one girl”. They had had to outdoors spend one second night with -25ºC. “We approached and they were surprised when seeing us. They hardly stammered without being able to articulate words, almost congealed, like given.” The four were in serious state. They had congealed hypothermia, dehydration, members and one with pulmonary picture of edema. “They had good shelter, that allowed them to below cero resist the low temperatures during two nights”. They took care of them for more than one hour. “The medicamos, we gave sorbos them of tea, coffee and hot juice” related Altamirano soon. We hydrated “Them and we began to deal with them according to instructions about the medical one about Place Mules”. They were 17 rescatistas: four by each Italian and five with the Argentine guide. “We solved to apply the procedure of selection of the people by its gravity. Most delicate he was Federico (the guide). Only an Italian spoke. The weather came to us above, was urgent to remove them to us from there, an escarped place, of rotten rock. With a cord it fixes began to extract people”.
Before the 16,00 hs began to raise laboriously towards the summit to happen to the other side and to lower by the normal route. “The guide was most serious, was sleepy; only after hydrating it, `stammered broke a plate (of ice), a plate was broken and the girl fell… '(making mention to the disappearance of Helena Senín). We find many footsteps in the glacier that makes us think that the guide tried to save people. There it burned much energy and in addition it must have had a fall. Then they remained with the guide the aid Diego D'Angelo, two guides and I. The rest was divided. Each climbing one was taken by four rescatistas. We made the ascent with Campanini. He was hardest. We use seven hours to make 200 meters, in the middle of a ferocious weather. The boys who accompanied to me did not relax, but they were undergoing freezing symptoms. Federico Campanini did not walk, noticed that he delivered attacks to survive, but was very weak. D'Angelo loaded of a short whiles, and if it did not go in an unexpected stretcher of cords. There was, inclusively, a little while dramatic in which Federico, without reaction, almost falls to a cliff, dragging companion. Shortly after no longer we could do nothing, and around the 20,00 hs we verified that it had passed away. To 200 ms of the top we noticed that it did not have vital signs; we try to reanimate it, but there was dead”, lamented Altamirano. They left it and they followed. They were exhausted. “It was very sad, and we had to leave it because the gale that had untied was going to us to also take”.
The Italians could walk swaying taken from the rescatistas, in the middle of an unbearable storm. Two equipment more of rescatistas raised to help. The operative one already was one of greatest than it remembers in the Aconcagua, according to informed the head into guardaparques, Pablo Perelló. To Mirko Afassio and Marina they descended them to Attanasio until Nest from Condors to very slow rate, with the aid of two person who renders first aids in whose shoulders they leaned and of a third party that a tied cord maintained to its waist. “In a plastic can cut by half we improvised a skate to take to Refrigerato. To thus we moved until the refuge Independence it. All night we passed prisoners to him to give heat him”, explained Altamirano. In that last night it noticed, it recovered and contented. It said to him: “This is going to you to cost the most expensive roast of the world”. And the Italian responded with a smile: “Grazie, amici”.

Friday 9 of January transferred to the three survivors in helicopter from the camping Nest of Condors to Horcones, in the entrance of the Park, where it took them to an ambulance to the Italian Hospital in the city of Mendoza, with principle of freezing in hands and feet, but out of danger.
Antonella Targa, the woman who became before, soon declared: “I must say that all the people helped, that was one second mother for us, because the rescue was truly incredible. The unique thing that I can say is thanks, thanks, thanks”.
That same Friday 9 it happens another death: in the summit an English, Michael Fleeman (42) underwent unemployment cardiorrespiratorio. Hs arrived at the top past the 16,00 and it sat down to rest. Twenty minutes later the guide approached him to warn to him that they would begin the reduction and discovered that he was dead. Its body was to be lowered by the mountain patrol along with the one of guide Fedrico Campanini.
In as much, from the United States AMVER Christensen (32), that three years ago was married with the guide, it undertook the trip to Argentina to guard his husband. Professor of languages, had known itself in Place of Mules being in two different expeditions.

Monday the 12 patients are passed to common room and relate their experience to Claudia public prosecutor Rivers, that the judicial cause has to its position.
Different companies, associations and a numerous group of montañistas decide to conform an equipment that serves as support before new emergencias, and sign in Place of Mules a commitment act that gives rise to a Commission of Aid of the Aconcagua.
“The operative one we fulfilled a handful of police, with the support of a great number of civilians, enters guides, porteadores and campamenteros. Without them I do not know how it would have gone to us”, said Altamirano soon.

13 Tuesday the director of Renewable Natural Resources, paceño Guido Stoneware, advances that the income to the Park in season 2009-2010 will be cupificarán.
16 Friday a American, Arthur D'Lisle (51), near the 14,00 hs underwent a fall in the neighborhoods of Nest of Condors, and she struck herself against a stone in his right flank, which caused an internal wound to him and the fracture of several ribs, that brought about a hypertensive chokes to him, as the doctor in Place of Mules stated soon. A patrol of the Argentine Army that was realising a routine raking lowered it in stretcher but around the 15,10 hs the andinista passed away, when they had arrived at the denominated zone “the Traffic light”, located to about 4,700 meters of height, becoming the fifth fatal victim of the season. From December, besides five deads, already there were 132 evacuees.

Sunday 18 of January, having passed a little more one week from their rescue, the Italians give a press conference in the hospital, without the presence of Mariana Attanazio that was excused.
“We never thought about dying, and that we must to a large extent to Federico (Campanini)”, said with the hands still bandaged by the freezing. “Once it passed the weather that we found suddenly after making summit, the unique way to survive era to be patches well an a others, to walk to move the muscles, to eat little that we had left (dry fruit and cereal bars) and to take our own urine, reduced with snow. That and knowledge that we had been able to communicate with the patrol and which they were on way, were what it maintained to us hopeful”. According to the story of the Italians, the guide Federico Campanini was the one that encouraged always not to lower them the arms and to fight to every minute by its lives. “First it saved the life to me when a portion of the land yielded and after to fall I finished a cornice on the brink of madness. He was who with a cord removed to me from that place. After that I lost my gloves and it gave his to me, do not fit doubts that we are alive thanks to Federico”, declared affected Mirko Affasio. On the other hand, Mateo Refrigeratto told that to the knowledge that Helena Senin had passed away, Campanini went the one in charge to remove to the group of the emotional well in which they were, with a phrase that always will be recorded in its minds: “We go, we leave here; if no, we died all”. ” Although I have been many years climbing, never I knew a professional thus ", ratified Refrigeratto. They only remained five minutes in the top to take photos because it urged the snow weather that already was on its heads. “The time and the visibility were very adverse, were no a human error, definitively were a fatality. That morning had dawned with the cloudless sky and of a little while to another one the conditions they were complicaron much”, said.
That same Sunday 18 occurs to know the intention from Italy of the relatives of Helena Senín, to pay for the expenses of the construction of a refuge like tribute.

Sources: Mainly the newspaper The $andes, and another daily Comcel One of Mendoza, Bugler, the Nation, the testimony and photos of pilot Horacio Freschi, commentaries in the forum “Andinautas” and our own archives.

Testimony of pilot “Hard” Horacio Freschi to “the edge”
I worked in National Gendarmerie, and I went of retirement to 2006 principle. Work now in the company of air services “Helicopters”, with soothes in Mendoza, that gained the public licitation of the air service for the park.
The avistaje of the Italians we did. I found the 7 of January. One of them made signs, were stopped and one two more recostado, on 22,000 feet (approx 6,700 meters). It is impossible to conduct an air operation in that place with our airship by as it is formed (weight), apart from which the meteorological conditionses were not good either (strong wind). Soon I returned them to see 10,30 and 13,45 hs.
To the other day we initiated 06,15 hs with the flights. We thus made transfers to Nest of condors (5,500 ms) of the “Missiles” (guides of high mountain that offered volunteers) called by the Head of the Park, Guardaparque Ariel Ghilardi, due to the rapidity of its displacements: in 04.50 hs hcieron summit from Nest, regulating forces to be able to aid that people.
In one of those flights I approached the place where I saw the victims with the guide Gonzalo dell Agnola, and in spite of my pesimism (pensá that was his second night in the place and without bags to sleep nor carps) we returned them to see: one you made signs with great difficulty, and another one maintained a blue cloth as a flag. I shouted by frequency which we saw and was an injection of optimism for all the participants in the rescue operation, according to they said to me later.
It is necessary to consider that in all the season (15/11 to the 31/03) we make an average of 15 to 20 flights to the height camping Nest of Condors; and only in the three days that this moved lasted we surpassed that number.
* The attitude of the Head of Zone of High Mountain, Guardaparque Pablo Perelló, who did not doubt in mounting all the operative one although the criterion said that people did not have hopes.
* The handling of the situation of the Head of the Park from Place of Mules.
* The shown persistence by all the members of the body of guardaparques of the park, implied directly or indirectly, as thus also of the people in charge of the operative ones of the rescue, the patrol of rescue of the police of Mendoza.
* And the ones that left me without words were the guides, porteadores and campamenteros that voluntarily were offered. Certainly without his disinterested collaboration it would not have been possible to reach the profit of the proposed objective: to remove them alive.
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