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Entries from Expedition Dispatches


Aconcagua: Liken & Team at Pampas de Las Lenas

Hey there followers,

Our entire team has made it to our first camp at 9500 ft here in Argentina.  After a sturdy breakfast and some quick repacking we were off on a five-hour walk to the Andean high country.  Between the steep rock walls on each side of the valley we saw lizards, the raging Vacas River, and a bunch of mules carrying our gear.  When we got to camp we settled in and enjoyed a traditional Argentinian asado of steak, chicken, potatoes, and peppers.  Now we are headed to bed under the southern sky excited to do it again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Ben Liken


Torres del Paine: Elias & Team Check in From Chileno Hut

Greetings from Chileno Hut. Uneventful 10-mile day we had… just astonishing views left and right as we contoured the Paine Horns into the Ascencio Valley, which will eventually take us to the base of the Towers. Our goal is to see the sunrise, so we’re heading to bed early.
We’ll check-in from Puerto Natales tomorrow!

RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos

Wow!!!! The pictures are amazing! What a fabulous trip! Cannot wait to hear all about it!!! Lots of love! Have a safe journey home!
Erle

Posted by: Erle Broughton on 2/3/2017 at 9:41 am

The photos in these posts are fantastic! How are you getting these amazing shots? Are you using some sort of filter that makes them look like artwork?

Aspiring photographer here
Thanks
Tiina

Posted by: Tiina Moore on 2/2/2017 at 7:02 am


Ecuador Seminar: Hunt & Team Practice Advanced Mountaineering Skills

Training day on Antisana. After a good dinner last night and plenty of rest, the team was up and in good spirits this morning. After a relaxing breakfast with coffee, hot cereal, and chill out music, we geared up and headed uphill to the training site for the day.

The lower flanks of Antisana’s glaciers are a rolling field of hard blue ice, making an excellent site to practice some of the more advanced mountaineering skills. We covered steep fixed line travel with ascenders, rappelling, and vertical ice climbing. Everyone had a good time today!

We wrapped the day up in the early afternoon, getting back to our base camp just after 1pm. This gave us plenty of time to crush some quesadillas for lunch and prepare for our summit attempt tonight.

We are going to have an early night tonight, and go for the top of Antisana this evening. Wish us luck!

We’ll check in tomorrow when we’re back down.

Until then,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt, Steve Gately, and the rest of the Ecuador team


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Enjoy Great Game Viewing in Ngorongoro Crater

Today we visited the famous Ngorongoro Crater, and considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. The crater is what remains of a once massive volcano that erupted and collapsed on itself, leaving behind a giant caldera that’s almost exactly 100 square miles. Every time we’ve visited the crater it’s been excitingly different, and today was the same.
We were able to see many lions, some close enough that they actually stopped to smell the tires of our Safari vehicles. However, we were safely inside our vehicle, yet it was extremely exciting to be so close!
As we made our way around the Ngorongoro crater we saw tons of other wildlife, zebras, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, jackals, Giselle, countless raptors and many other large birds. It was quite a day to say the least, and I’m certain one that won’t be forgotten by anyone.
We wrapped up the day with a visit to a Maasai village just outside the crater rim. The Maasai people are a nomadic tribe that have lived here for more than 500 years among the wildlife, while raising the cattle that sustain them. The team spent time visiting the homes of these kind and gentle people, with tour guides who shared their history and way of life.
We finished the evening here at the plantation lodge and are looking forward to what tomorrow may bring as we head to Tarangire National Park.

RMI Guide Casey Grom


Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Return to Mendoza for Celebration

Well, the whirlwind is finally over… We enjoyed a breezy, sunny,  but not too hot walk down from Plaza Argentina into Pampa de Leñas complete with multiple river crossings and the sore feet that come with a seemingly endless rocky trail. The camp at Pampa de Leñas turned out to be a ghost town… only the Rangers were there along with us and one herriero who was running a small mule team with our gear. The head ranger at the camp, Hugo, wished for me to pass on his hello to several RMI guides including JJ, Garrett, and Katrina. It’s fun to see familiar faces like Hugo’s over the years, and even though we only get to hang out over maté once a year we still feel like we know eachother. Anyway, our ragged team enjoyed a truly amazing meal prepared by Barco, our lone herriero which we devoured sitting around the fire. We ate a typical Argentine asado complete with roasted veggies, slabs of grilled beef, bread, and of course wine.

The next day was a bit of a slog but we managed to dispatch the remaining miles to the trailhead before the afternoon and before we knew it we were packed and on the van back to Mendoza. While the Rodrigo and the friendly staff at the Nutibara hotel are totally used to returning Aconcagua climbers there were certainly looks from other hotel guests while we were checking in. I guess they’re not used to crews of people coming in dusty, sweaty, bleary-eyed, and stinking of mule farts with over a dozen filthy duffel bags piled in the lobby. Lucky for the people of Mendoza we cleaned up nicely and ate a casual meal at a nearby restaurant because we were a bit tired.  We’re saving our big celebration dinner for tonight at a fancy pants restaurant even though some of our comrades are gone already and others will be headed out this afternoon. Sorry amigos, you’ll be missed.

I wanted to thank our whole team for their hard work in making this expedition a smashing success… but I especially wanted to thank Hannah and our local guide Rolo for working their butts off for the rest of the team. You guys are rad.

Well, that’s about it… Until next time.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Hello Everyone,

Tommy and I wish we could be there for the celebration.  It was great being with all of you.  It was a truly amazing trip.  Reaching the summit and enjoying the time on the trail with each of you was terrific.  Congrats on a successful trip back to Mendoza.  Thanks again for being willing to help me when the injury occurred. 

A special thanks goes to Billy, Hannah and Rolo for being the best guides ever!!!!

Posted by: Rick Jordan on 2/2/2017 at 8:57 am


Ecuador Seminar: Hunt & Team Move to Antisana Base Camp and Practice Skills

Greetings once more from Ecuador!

Today was what climbers like to call an “active rest day”. After our successful summit of Cayambe yesterday, our bodies need some time to recover and prepare for our next objective. But rather than just napping all day, we took the opportunity to exercise our minds and learn a few new technical skills.

We moved this morning from the hacienda to our Base Camp for Antisana, where we pitched a bunch of tents in the rolling meadows at the base of the peak. After a little bit of afternoon napping, we donned our thinking caps and filled the evening hours refreshing our knowledge on knots and practiced a crevasse rescue scenario around camp. This was followed by an incredible pasta dinner cooked by fellow guide Steve Gately. If he wasn’t such a good guide, he’d make a pretty good chef!

With full bellies, we crawled in to our sleeping bags to get another good night of rest. Tomorrow morning we’ll head out to the toe of Antisana’s glaciers for more training in the field.

Stay tuned for updates tomorrow as we prepare for our second summit attempt!

Until then,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Steve Gately, and the rest of the Ecuador Team


Aconcagua: Liken & Team Pack Gear for the Trail

Hola friends and family,

Well, it seems like we’re actually doing it! We bid a hasty farewell to Mendoza this morning, and after a necessary empanada stop found ourselves in dry, barren, windy Penitentes. The afternoon was spent answering the question “to mule duffel or not to mule duffel,” and as of now our gear is locked, loaded, and ready to lug uphill. Everyone is looking forward to throwing a pack on and starting the walk in to Aconcagua Base Camp tomorrow.

Ciao for now,

RMI Guide Pepper Dee

Shannon, you got this.  Just be your usual mighty self…  Love you   Good luck to everyone on the team…  Godspeed.

Posted by: Linda on 2/2/2017 at 8:59 am

Kiss some serious mountain ass Shannon! I’ll be cheering you from home.

Safe travels to the whole team!

Posted by: Kathie on 2/1/2017 at 8:44 am


Torres del Paine: Elias & Team Trek to the French Valley Lookout

Good afternoon from “The Frances Domes Camp”. We have just returned from our hike to what might be the visual highlight of our trip- The French Valley. After two days of short stages and rainy weather, we had outstanding meteorology to surmount the trail that leads up to the amphitheater where three to four thousand feet rock faces reign majestic over the park. Needles like the Cathedral or the Sword, or massives like the Blade, the Castle, or Paine Grande are nothing but jaw dropping. Hanging glaciers, turquoise lakes, and lenticular clouds above added just the extra touch to make the eight-hour round trip worthwhile. 
We’re approaching the end of our trip, but everyone keeps enjoying the fascination that awaits around every corner like the first day.
Today we moved to geodesic domes, which at the shore of Lake Nordenskjöld, provide some sort of surreal lodging alternative; pretty cool indeed.
Tomorrow another long day awaits, as we get closer to connecting the loop we started well over a week ago.
Remain expectant to more surprises!

RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team

Wow!  Sounds like some amazing scenery.  I eagerly anticipate the slideshow when you return.  It looks like everyone is doing great and really enjoying the trip.  The glacial line dance is impressive.  Hike well and stay safe.  Can’t wait to see you in 2 days!

Posted by: Carter on 2/1/2017 at 9:07 pm

Wow,  awesome pictures.  Glad you can still do a little song and dance.

Posted by: Sandy on 1/31/2017 at 1:06 pm


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Game Viewing at Lake Manyara National Park

Safari!

Today was the first day of safari for us and we headed east to visit Lake Manyara, which is known for its tree climbing lions, flamingos, and more than 400 different species of birds.
The day started with a slight sprinkle of rain, and slowly increased to nearly a full-on downpour. Thankfully the weather broke and we had a really nice rest of the day viewing the wildlife that hardly seemed to notice us, despite being only feet away at times.
We didn’t manage to see any of those famous lions, but we had a very close encounter with elephants. Nothing dangerous, but they passed close enough that we could have almost touched them.
We did manage to see wildebeest, zebras, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippos, baboons, impalas and so many birds we lost count. It was a pretty nice introduction to the incredible bio-diversity that Africa has, and everyone enjoyed the day riding around in our safari vehicles.
We finished the day spending a few hours relaxing and exploring the grounds of our amazing lodge, the Plantation Lodge. Clearly, we are no longer “roughing it”.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew


Aconcagua: Ben Liken & Team Arrive in Mendoza

Hey all,

Our entire team has arrived in Mendoza and excited to get moving toward the mountain.  But we can’t go to Aconcagua before our inaugural steak and Malbec dinner, so we hit the town and took care of business.  Now with stuffed stomachs we are ready to get a full night’s rest after a long journey to South America.  Tomorrow we will head into the Andes!

Stay tuned,
RMI Guide Ben Liken

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