Posts for Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Justman & Team’s Plan for Basecamp Rest Day

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Mike King, Steve Gately | January 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We will spend the day taking showers in our Cabelas shower tent, ordering pizzas and perfecting the art of chillaxing. Finally, the sun is out in full effect so we are also charging phones and iPads. Tonight will be a marathon session of The Wire.

Today’s rest really isn’t needed. Our team is doing great! However, at this altitude we can recover back to 110% before we move to Camp 1 at 16,600’ tomorrow. Stay tuned and please keep posting comments! The team appreciates it.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Looking out over Aconcagua Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Forced to Turn Back on Summit Attempt

Posted by: Katrina Bloemsma, Billy Nugent, Walter Hailes | January 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 21,500'

It’s a cold, cold world.

We woke up and fired the stoves at about 3:30 this morning and things were looking good: clear skies, bright moon, and calm winds. We scarfed a quick breakfast, had a quick cup of coffee, packed up, and hit the not so dusty trail. The consistent snowfall of the past week has blanketed the mountain so what is normally a gravelly trail out of Cólera was a very snowy sendero. Our team moved well, per the norm, despite the large number of other climbers clogging the route and before too long we had climbed past the Indepencia Hut (ruins) and hit the traverse into the Canaleta. At some point along the way we found ourselves no longer enjoying the clear skies but instead traveling under consistent snowfall. In fact it was snowing heavily and visibility was poor. Despite the worsening weather the snowpack seemed ok until we reached the center of the traverse. Walt and myself headed out further without the group and found the normally gravelly trail under several feet of snow. In fact the whole Canaleta was smoothed over with the storm snow. Every other team on the mountain had already turned around due to avalanche hazard but we hadn’t seen anything worth turning around until the deep storm layer that we encountered in the lower Canaleta. While the snow didn’t seem super reactive the steeper part of the Canaleta was surely more dangerous and there was no way to see without exposing ourselves to the hazard. With worsening weather and continued snowfall we decided that the dire consequences of an incident were too much for us to shoulder. We weren’t willing to bet our lives on it so we did the smart thing and turned around at 21,500’. Now we are back at high camp and the weather is still crappy. So much for the forecasted sunny day…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

The traverse to the Caneleta en route to the summit of Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection

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11

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 1

Posted by: Mike King, J.J. Justman, Steve Gately | January 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Today we carried to 16,600 on Aconcagua.  We enjoyed a cool morning with snow and a light breeze. The entire team cruised through our breaks to arrive at Camp 1 with a small piece of blue sky. The scree which is typically dry and loose was covered in snow, making the climbing more enjoyable. The team returned to Base Camp just in time for weather to roll in and snack before siesta. Rest day tomorrow! 

RMI Guide Mike King

Climbers making a carry to Camp 1 on Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection Enjoying the sites at 16,000 ft on Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team at High Camp Ready for Summit Bid Tonight

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Walter Hailes, Katrina Bloemsma | January 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

We’re at high camp, poised and ready! Last night we had quite the snowfall, almost 8”, which is quite a lot for Aconcagua. We spent the morning digging out and packing up for our move up. The large majority of the climbers who were queued up at Camp 2 made the move up to Camp Cólera with us today so trail breaking wasn’t so bad. Our team stayed together and moved smoothly through the terrain despite very hot temperatures. Blue skies and direct sun at almost 20,000’ coupled with the reflective blanket of new snow made for some serious UV exposure not to mention the high temperatures. It felt like being in the Mega-Tan 9000 industrial strength, Baywatch endorsed tanning bed all day. Then as we arrived at Camp Cólera the clouds rolled in and it started to snow again.  If the last seven days are any indication, the snow should stop and the clouds should lift sometime overnight. We have our fingers crossed for a clear and comfortable summit attempt tomorrow.

We’ll check in tomorrow after the hurly burly’s done!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Views of the Andes while approaching High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection An RMI Team at High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Rest Day at Basecamp

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Mike King, Steve Gately | January 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

First and foremost…Todd wants to wish his beautiful wife Kelly Happy Birthday! The team spent their first night at Aconcagua Basecamp and everyone woke up this morning feeling great! On a rest day the key is to eat great food and drink lots of liquid to ensure proper acclimatization.

We had scrambled eggs with homemade potatoes. This afternoon we will be making homemade pizzas for the team. We even had Grajalas’ cook, Griselda, coming over asking for our recipes!

Later today we will set up the shower tent so we can get clean and smelling back to normal. Another camp activity for today is sorting group gear for our carry to Camp 1 at 16,500 feet.

Happy Birthday Kelly!!!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Sunset at Aconcagua Base Camp. Photo: Garrett Stevens

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Aconcagua: Stevens & Team Celebrate in Mendoza

Posted by: Garrett Stevens, Nick Brown, Mike King | January 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

We got down off the mountain yesterday, after a fairly quick hike out from Pampa de Leñas in the cool shade of an early morning. The team moved well, quickly pushing through the last remaining miles towards internal combustion and cold beverages. After checking out with the guardaparques, we grabbed a bite to eat in Penitentes, hopped into our transport, and settled in for the trip back to Mendoza.

Once back in the city, a round of hot showers was in order. After that, we headed down to one of my favorite restaurants here, El Patio Azul de Jesus Maria, where the team feasted on various cuts of meat, enjoyed delicious Malbec, and reminisced about our excellent adventure. The camaraderie and friendship was abundant, and was the perfect complement to our meal.

You know, sometimes you have to step back from a thing to grasp its true measure…and this trip certainly qualifies. While we were fortunate enough to climb onto the summit of the mountain, the real value was not necessarily that point in time or space. Rather, it is the journey we shared over the last three weeks, the sunrises and sunsets witnessed, the in-the-moment focus required to cross rivers and snowy trails, the laughter and human connections made over grilled steak and pots of ramen. While we may part company in a few short days, these memories and shared experiences will continue to give us immeasurable satisfaction, and allow us to return to our lives with new vision and appreciation.

Thanks for following our journey. May it be food for the soul!

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens

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Aconcagua: Nugent and Team Wait out Weather at Camp 2

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Katrina Bloemsma, Walter Hailes | January 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

Today marked the passing of yet another rest day. We hung out at Camp 2 along with many others; Katrina counted more than 67 tents in camp today. We sat the day out watching all sorts of crazy weather over the course of the day: Intense sun/heat, chilly breezes, pelting graupel and hail, puking snow, and continual thunder and lightning all afternoon… Pretty exciting. It seems the horde of other climbers have a very similar strategy to us. Our team is well-rested and ready to move up to Plaza Cólera (our high Camp 3) in what looks to be marginal weather tomorrow putting us in position to take a crack at the summit in better weather on Saturday. A strong wind event is forecasted to begin ramping up with moderate winds on Sunday and over 60 mph winds forecasted for Monday. Hopefully we can nail it but it certainly has been a bit of a chess match with the mountain and the weather.

Wish us luck as we roll out on our summit push over the next two days,

RMI Guides Billy, Walt, Katrina, and the Whole Gang!

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Aconcagua: Justman and Team arrive at Base Camp

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Mike King, Steve Gately | January 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We have arrived at base camp! Our team is in full effect chilling. We had a beautiful last day trekking up the Relinchos Valley, and guess what!? The Old Spice worked! We had a family of guanacos checking us out as we filled up water bottles at a nearby stream.

The cowboys that have graciously helped us waved goodbye as they rode past. Aconcagua was out for most of the day as we walked in. The team is doing great and it’s so nice to unload all our gear without having to pack it all up for the mules. Now, we get to rest and relax at 13,800 feet.

RMI Guide JJ Justman & Team

Mules at Base Camp. RMI Photo Collection

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Move Up to Camp 2

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Walter Hailes, Katrina Bloemsma | January 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

Greetings friends, relatives, loves ones, roommates, neighbors, acquaintances, enemies, stalkers, etc. We’ve made it safely up to a crowded Camp 2 (Guanacos Campo, Chopper Camp) and settled into our tents. The move from Camp 1 was largely uneventful except for partly cloudy skies which made for rapid, drastic temperature changes… Freeze or fry, as they say, never comfortable.  We moved extremely well despite the slightly funky weather and big loads and were greeted by the many Camp 2 inhabitants. We actually had to use our snow shovel and a borrowed McCloud to grade out new tent platforms in the dirt. Moving earth turned out to be quite a bit more taxing than the actual climbing!  Anyway, we are all here feeling the altitude a bit but doing well nonetheless. Tomorrow’s plan is largely dependent on the weather forecast we get tonight, wish us luck and good favor with Mother Nature!

All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent

An RMI Team on the move to Aconcagua's Camp 2. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Travel through the Vacas Valley to Casa de Piedra

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Mike King, Steve Gately | January 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

The team is at Casa de Piedra, which in Spanish means… house of…Piedra. It was another gorgeous day of trekking in the Vacas Valley. Everyone is doing great and we are excited to be one step closer to base camp. For me it’s always fun to hear and see the expressions on people’s faces as they truly appreciate how beautiful it is here.

We had a condor sighting, which is rare in the towering mountains. However, the elusive guanaco is nowhere to see.  I’m pretty sure if I put on some Old Spice it will attract some for the team. Stay tuned!!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Climbers trekking through the Vacas Valley. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Recent Images From Aconcagua

  • Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection
  • Look down on Base Camp while en route to the summit of Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI Climbers preparing for the summit bid at High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • An RMI Team taking a break on Summit Day on Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team takes in the views from Aconcagua High Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Views of the Andes while approaching High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Views of the surrounding Andes on the trail to Camp 2. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Aconcagua Camp 2, also know as Guanacos Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Camp 2 - Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection
  • And RMI Team moving down to Camp 2 after carry. RMI Photo Collection
  • An RMI Team stopped for a break on the way to Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Climbers on the approach to Camp 1. Photo: Ty Reid
  • Tents at Plaza Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Coming down to Camp 1 after a carry. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Enjoying a rest day at Aconcagua Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Aconcagua Base Camp. RMI Photo Collection
  • Tents at Casa de Piedra. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Day 1 on the Trek to Aconcagua Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Views of the Vacas River Valley.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI Aconcagua Expedition February 2nd Team in Los Penitentes.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • Descending back to Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Looking up towards the Canaleta, just below Aconcagua's summit. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Aconcagua's Canaleta Couloir. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Looking towards Base Camp from near the summit of Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection
  • High Camp beneath the Polish Glacier. Photo: Tim Amos
  • An RMI Team taking photos from Camp 3. Photo: Gilbert Chase