Aconcagua: Justman & Team at High Camp

Posted by: JJ Justman, Steve Gately, Mike King | January 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Unrelenting! That is the word that describes our weather on Aconcagua. Last night we received 10 inches of snow. When we awoke this morning the winds had scoured most of that snow off the mountain leaving several deep drifts around camp.

Thankfully the weather settled down a bit and we were able to break camp and pack up. The scene looked more like Denali in Alaska than Aconcagua in the Andes. The team did great in the harsh conditions. It would have even made The Godfather of Denali, Joe Horiskey, proud as the team worked together in cold, blustery winds.

We are now sitting in silence at high camp enjoying the sun at 19,600 feet. The team has run its final days. Tomorrow is our only shot. Then we have to head downhill. As luck I believe has it, the forecast is for light winds on top.

We will touch base tomorrow, keep your fingers crossed, it should be from the top!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

High Camp beneath the Polish Glacier. Photo: Tim Amos

On The Map

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You can do it! Saying prayers for good weather for you and will sacrifice something to the weather Gods for you. You are the best. Very proud of you!
Cutter dog says Hi!

Posted by: Mary fox on 1/28/2014 at 7:31 am

Incredible!  You guys have dealt with an unbelievable amount of varied weather conditions!  Looks like the mountain is giving it everything she has to you guys…well done for doing such an excellent job!  We are so proud of you, dad (Lew Smith)!  I know this is the toughest climb you’ve ever done, but from what it sounds like, you and the team are doing awesome!  Just like I did in the Marine Corps, you remember your training.  When the poo poo hits the fan, your hard work and training kicks into gear, and I’m quite sure that’s what it has been doing for you while on Aconcagua.  Keep it up, dad!  You guys are so close.  I pray that you have good weather conditions, so that you have a window of time to go for the summit.  We will see what Aconcagua will do; if she will allow you and the team to stand on top.  I hope so!  Best of luck and climb on!!!

Love ya,

Kyle and Steph

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/28/2014 at 5:32 am

Steve and team,

Sounds like you guys did a great job managing through the tough weather.

Best of luck on the summit push tomorrow. The mountain has her moods and will surely let you know if tomorrow is your day.

Hike well and be safe.


Posted by: Bill Gately on 1/28/2014 at 4:39 am

“This is the day the Lord has made “Rejoice” and be glad in it” Praying for all your safety.  Love Mom

Posted by: Darlene Christofferson on 1/28/2014 at 4:35 am

Good luck Dad (Randy O.) and everyone! I can’t wait to hear about your adventure when you get back. Climb safe and come home to us! We miss you!

Te amo, papá.
Allison O.

Posted by: Allison Oleynik on 1/27/2014 at 8:16 pm

Bissell and Team -

Here’s hoping that you guys can light-up the afterburners and jet up to the top quickly!  I hope the snow you received doesn’t slow you down higher up.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 1/27/2014 at 2:55 pm

Good luck to everyone! Stay safe, warm, and feet on the ground.
Can’t wait to see everyone and hear all the stories.


Posted by: Pam Oleynik on 1/27/2014 at 1:23 pm

The mountain has to be impressed with your tenacity, courage and stamina. Love and strength (and sunshine) are beaming your way from all of us here in Dallas.  Tomorrow will be a great day for all of you… I just know it!

Posted by: Ginny Jackson on 1/27/2014 at 1:04 pm

Unbelievable!  The weather conditions you guys have had to endure have been harsh and relentless.  And yet you remarkably continue to make progress up the mountain.  Please stay safe, especially you Randy (C).... We all want you back safe and sound!  Let’s hope you also get some extreme weather at the top—extreme as in extremely blue skies and extremely low winds.  You guys deserve it.  Much love Randy, Judy + all the kids
Remember this song that you loved?  From Wicked: Defying Gravity:
It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”


Posted by: judy Christofferson on 1/27/2014 at 12:20 pm

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