Entries By garrett stevens

Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Carry to High Camp

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

Today started early for the team when a wind storm kicked up through camp in the middle of the night, snapping anchor lines and making sleep quite difficult. We did manage to grab a few zzzz’s, however, in between resetting anchors. But the nighttime fun ensured we were all up with the sun, ready for hot drinks and a hot breakfast.

We spent a couple of hours after breakfast reinforcing the rock walls around the tent platforms, and then packed up personal climbing gear for a carry to Camp 3 at 19,600’. The team moved well as we got higher and higher, with the thin air forcing each of us to concentrate on good rest stepping and being as efficient as possible.  The wind stayed with us all day, making our down layers feel nice despite the bright sun.

We dropped our cache at high camp and headed back down.  Many personal altitude records were set today, as the team remains strong. An early dinner was in order and now we’re tucked into sleeping bags, hoping for calmer weather and a more restful night.

Now it’s just a waiting game; waiting for the right forecast and good weather for our launch towards high camp and the summit bid. Thanks for your support and we’ll follow up tomorrow!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

An RMI Team carrying gear to High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Push to Camp 2

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

The team has now trekked into the thin air of Camp 2.  With an elevation of 18,000’ nothing proves to be easy up here.  Even the simple tasks like setting up tents, inflating a sleeping pad, or heading to the bathroom take twice as long, but the team is handling it perfectly!

After a relatively short hike up and now having camp established, the goal is to breathe, sip water, and feel good.  With the views of this proudly positioned camp it can at least aid in the task of feeling 100%.  It looks in one direction northward over the impressive crest of the Andes Mountains, with glaciers pouring out of the high valleys.  In another direction, is our next goal, Camp 3, 1,600’ above our current location.  And in yet another, the top of Aconcagua, around 4,800’ above us.

As the summit draws closer, it is tough to just lay in the tent and let our bodies adjust to this unforgiving environment, but very key to our success.  The team is strong, positive, and amped to be in one of the highest places in the world. 

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Aconcagua Camp 2, also know as Guanacos Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Rest Day at Camp 1

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

One of the hardest things about climbing big mountains is managing your time. There are days when you have to hammer down, grab that pack, and head up. Today, thankfully, wasn’t one of those days.

Instead, we took a rest day here at Camp 1. More sun and light winds made it a pleasant day to be calm and quiet around camp, to catch up on stories from other team members, and continue our hydration.

We’ll be moving tomorrow, so a day to replenish and refuel before going higher was definitely appreciated. We will check in from Camp 2 tomorrow…until then, keep your fingers crossed for continued good weather!

RMI Guides Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, and Nick Brown

The moon rises above the Andes from Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Carry to 18,000’

Posted by: Ben Liken, Garrett Stevens, Nick Brown | January 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

When you think about mountain climbing, it can generally conjure up images of folks heading up and out in the predawn hours, headlamps shining as they make their way higher. While we’ll get to experience that later in the trip, today’s mission was to get our luggage staged at chopper camp, roughly 18,000’ on Aconcagua.

We woke to more clear blue skies and absolutely still air. This rare combination on Aconcagua is something to savor, which we did as we departed camp at the civilized hour of 9 am and made our way up and over Ameghino Col and around towards Camp 2.

In very short order the team pulled into camp with our kits, got the gear stashed, and headed back to the comfort of our tents at Camp 1. We are currently sitting inside, trying to avoid the intense UV that is beating down out there.

This afternoon is the start of a nice long rest period for us, as we will be chilling here for the remainder of today and all of tomorrow. We’ll check back in later!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

Aconcagua between Camp 1 and Camp 2.  Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team returns to Camp 1 after making a carry to Camp 2.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Settled in at Camp 1

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,450'

Today the team awoke to blue skies and calm winds for our last basecamp breakfast before we begin to ascend the upper slopes of Aconcagua.  After some coffee and a few last minute preparations we were on our way to a night at 16,450’.

As we set off up the moraine with the sun at our backs everything seemed perfect.  The team made short work of the day and before too long we were on the steep scree just before Camp 1.  Once we arrived and everyone had enjoyed a snack, it was back to work establishing our camp for the next three days.  Now after a solid tortellini meal we are all stuffed into our -30 degree sleeping bags awaiting the beautiful stars of the Southern Hemisphere. 

Tomorrow we carry a load of gear to over 18,000’ and the team is ready for it.  You’ll here from us soon!

RMI Guides Garrett, Ben, and Nick

An RMI Team stopped for a break on the way to Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Resting and Relaxing at Plaza Argentina

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

The goal for today is to get as relaxed as possible here at our base camp. Towards that end, the team has been chilling in our group tent since breakfast, which included oatmeal, cereal, egg/bacon/onion quesadillas, and copious amounts of coffee. There is currently an epic game of Hearts happening, with various members tapping in and out as they get frustrated with picking up the Queen of Spades (David in particular).

Tomorrow will be a big day, as we will be moving up towards our next camp at 16,400’. The gear is staged, the crew is ready, and our team dynamic is as strong as one could hope. The weather continues to be gorgeous; light winds and lots of sun here at Plaza Argentina. Here’s hoping it holds steady for the next few days!

We are sending positive vibes up to Jake Beren and his team, as we believe today is their summit day.  Good luck to them…we are looking forward to seeing them as we bump up tomorrow. Until then, stick with us for more details!

Cheers,
RMI Guides Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken and Nick Brown

Looking out over Aconcagua Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Carry to 16,400’

Posted by: Ben Liken, Garrett Stevens, Nick Brown | January 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

Today was a beautiful day here on Aconcagua, with clear blue skies and lots of sunshine for our carry up to Camp One. We had quite a bit of wind here in base camp last night and were worried that we might be walking up into the teeth of it today, but the weather gods smiled on us instead.

We were walking just as the sun came into camp, and were able to make steady progress through the broken and rocky morainal slopes above us. Soon enough we came to the heinous scree slope that guards the bench of Camp One, and the team made short work of the last few hundred feet.

We dropped our food, some equipment, and some gas for our launch towards the upper reaches of the mountain, and were headed down soon thereafter. All the luggage is currently awaiting our return, but tomorrow we’ll take a hard-earned rest day. The team continues to climb strong, hydrate well, and eat hearty portions, which will pay dividends when we head up higher on this beautiful mountain.

Thanks for all the kind words, and keep your fingers crossed for continued good weather! 

RMI Guides Garrett, Ben, and Nick

An RMI Team  Carries to Camp One.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua Stevens and Team Rest at Plaza de Argentina

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Ben Liken, Nick Brown | January 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Well, after three days of hard work on the approach to our climb, we are finally taking some deserved time off. This is the first of our “rest days” which we are using to relax, refuel, and acclimatize.  The team is loving it.

We started the morning with some sleeping in and a leisurely breakfast of loaded egg quesadillas, while watching a few flurries drift off of the upper mountain. After the sun started to heat our base camp weather-port and some digesting had taken place the team prepared their gear for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow at 16,200’. The packs are heavy but the spirits are high as the mountain looms above.

For the rest of the evening the name of the game is chilling…..playing cards, eating snacks, taking in the sights, and trying to guess what our dinner could be by the delicious smell coming from the kitchen. Stay tuned as we continue our ascent tomorrow!

RMI Guides,

Garret, Ben, and Nick

Base Camp Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Nestled into Plaza Argentina

Posted by: Ben Liken, Garrett Stevens, Nick Brown | January 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Happy New Year from the team, nestled in here at Plaza Argentina! How many of you can say you started off the new year riding on the back of a mule across a raging river? Well, everyone on the team did just that, and once we were all safely across the Vacas River we started today’s long ascent up the Relinchos Valley.

The early morning shade gave way to sun, and unlike yesterday we didn’t have a breeze to cool us down. While the absence of flying sand was nice, the heat wasn’t exactly what many expected as we made our way higher and higher. Hydration was critical as we climbed closer to our goal, and by mid-afternoon we arrived in base camp - hot, tired, and happy to be here.

Our hostesses Griselda and Anita soon had delicious treats on the table and juice in our glasses, and the team took full advantage. After some much-needed rest, we sat down to a dinner of trout, potatoes and tomatoes, complemented with hot tea and lively conversation.

We are settled in now for the night, looking forward to tomorrow’s well-earned rest day. Everyone is excited to be kicking off 2014 here on Aconcagua! Keep it locked in for more news from the crew…

RMI Guides Ben Liken, Nick Brown, and Garrett Stevens

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Packed in at Piedras

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Nick Brown, Ben Liken | December 31, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

Today the team woke to another perfect blue sky, light winds, and zero clouds in sight. We took advantage of the cooler morning temps to get breakfast eaten, get packed up, and head further up the Vacas valley towards our home for tonight at Casa de Piedras.

The early shade was a welcome relief from yesterday’s sun, and for the first hour or so we moved smoothly uphill and further upstream. As the day stretched on, the sun came over the horizon in full force and we were soon wishing for the light breeze from yesterday.

Well, you definitely have to be careful what you wish for, because about halfway to our destination the wind got quite strong, with big gusts blowing huge clouds of dust and sand down the valley and into our faces. But this tough team just kept going, undeterred. If anything, spirits got higher as we moved together towards our goal, and smiles abounded (albeit a little gritty from the sand flying all around).

The crew got to test their tent erecting skills in strong winds, and were soon nestled into bomber shelter. We’ve been hydrating and hiding from the sun, ready for an early launch tomorrow up the Relinchos valley towards our base camp at 14,000’.  Stay tuned for more!

RMI Guides Garrett, Nick, and Ben

The first views of Aconcagua as seen approaching Trek Camp 2, Casa de Piedras.  Photo: RMI Collection Tents at Casa de Piedra.  Photo: RMI Collection

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