Posts for Expedition Dispatches

Aconcagua: King & Team Carry to Camp II

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 05, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Today’s agenda was a carry of group and personal gear to Camp II (18,000ft) and this is personally one of my favorite days. After our carry and move to Camp I the terrain eases off a bit and becomes less cumbersome to Camp II. As the trail leaves Camp I we slowly switchback our way up the South side of a broad basin. At about 17,000ft the route hooks North and heads for a col (low spot) in between Aconcagua and fellow neighboring peak Cerro Ameghino. Once through the col the Northern expanse of the Andes unfolds and we are greeted with views of ancient glaciers and 6,000 meter peaks. The view stays much the same all the way to Camp II and the team wasn’t complaining!

Everyone did great with the new altitude today though and we are now currently re-hydrating and recouping with some hot soups and a siesta before dinner. Tomorrow’s agenda: REST DAY!

Stay tuned!

RMI Guide Steve Gately and Team

Team on the move to Camp II on Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Waterfall and Team Explore Tarangire National Park

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | February 05, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hey this is Seth dropping a quick check in via the satellite phone. We are way out in the bush at Kikoti Camp. Since I checked in last we have had some really great animal encounters.

Right after I emailed yesterday we spotted several rhinos fairly close to the road. That brought our total rhino count for the day up to 5 which is by far the most I’ve seen in a single day. Right after that we pulled up to a male lion next to the road. Our drivers got us into a good position and before we knew it he got up and walked to less than 10 feet from the cars! That was a real treat.

Today we spent the morning driving to Tarangire National Park and had an afternoon game drive. The elephants were out in full force and I’d say we saw well over 100. It was a very hot day though and that keeps the cats in the shade. We didn’t see any of them. Tomorrow we will spend the morning looking for more cats and then head back to the Dik Dik before we all fly home at night.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall and Team

Tarangire National Park. Photo: Dave Hahn Elephant in Tarangire National Park. RMI Photo Collection

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2

Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Tour Quito and the Equator

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

After some very long flights and a little bit of sleep the team is doing well. We started our day with a team meeting where we did our usual round of introductions and discussed the game plan for our upcoming adventure.

After the meeting we headed out on the town to explore this beautiful historical city with our tour guide Angel. He first took us to the older part of town where we visited several old cathedrals, then to the colonial town square where we met a kind older Canadian who seemed to have lost his group and decided to tag along with us. Next we headed up to a small hill called La Panacia that overlooks this beautiful city before heading north to visit the Equator from which Ecuador gets its name.

We finished the day with a small break and then a quick gear check to make sure everyone has all the gear needed for our climbs. Then it was off to dinner at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant where we enjoyed getting to know each other better.

RMI Guide Casey Grom, crew, and our new friend Lee

Colonial Quito city tour in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at La Panacia. Location overlooking Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The RMI Ecuador team visit the Equator. Photo: Casey Grom

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3

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Back to Base Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

After nearly two weeks of progress moving in fits and starts, as we move camps, carry gear, and take rest days to acclimatize, the last several days suddenly start to rush by. We had a great, though very difficult, summit day yesterday. The sun shone in a completely clear, brilliant, azur sky, but as has been the nature of the last several days, the wind continued to rush on. We prepared in gusty conditions that made it uninviting to leave the tent, and donned our packs. For much of the climb we received only gusts, protected from the main force of the wind, the constant noise of which we couldn’t ignore. This region has received very little precipitation for the last several years, and the results of that were the second major challenge of the climb. Where snow fields usually provide nice cramponing, only sand existed, and climbing sand hills at 22,000 feet is no small task. We persisted, and at 2:45, crested the summit of Aconcagua.

Time flies, and while that was only yesterday afternoon, it feels much further removed. We woke this morning to the ever present wind gusts plastering the tent to our face, and packed our bags to head to base camp. As we descended, we picked up the items that we had cached at our previous camps, so our packs grew heavier, even as the air grew thicker. We arrived at base camp to a delicious spread, which was followed up shortly with our first carne dinner in a while. We organized our bags for the mules, and tomorrow we will reverse our course, once again carrying light day packs as we descend the Relinchos and Vacas Valleys back towards Penitentes, and ultimately Mendoza. Everyone is excited at the prospect of more beef, wine, and warm temperatures that await us in the coming days. Thanks for following,

RMI Guides Pete, Alex, Juan and team

Aconcagua view near Basecamp. Photo: Linden Mallory

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4

Aconcagua: King & Team Settle into Camp 1

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

The Gang Moves to Aconcagua Camp 1.

For all the creature comforts of base camp, the Gang decided they’d had enough quesadillas, pizza and breakfast burritos and wanted to start eating oatmeal higher on the mountain.

We scrambled up the loose scree slope again to Camp 1, this time to spend three nights. We have amazing views of the Andes. The ridge across the Vacas River has every shade of red and brown you can imagine.

The Gang worked hard to move supplies through the scree and 2,400 feet of elevation gain. We are resting in our tents after a tough day.

It’s always sunny at Campo Uno!

RMI Guide Mike King

Climbers on the approach to Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: Ty Reid

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1

Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team Visit Ngorongoro Crater and a Masaai Village

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

It’s been another great day on safari. Today we got an early start and headed to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. This is different from the national parks here in Tanzania in that the Masaai people are allowed to continue their traditional way of life in the conservation area but no one is allowed to live in the national parks.
The entrance to the crater is only 15 minutes from our hotel but then we have to drive around the rim to get to a descent road. So along the way we stopped at a Masaai village where they showed us how they organize the village and what their homes are like. It was all very interesting.
After we got down to the floor of the crater we started to see all of the animals that we came for. We did get the chance to see a female lion and her cubs but it was very hot and they we just relaxing in the shade. After that we got to see two fairly active rhinos fairly close to the road and that was a real treat. But I would have to say the best sighting of the day was a few hippos feeding on grass very close to the car.
Now we are headed back to the Plantation Lodge for the night. Tomorrow we’ll sleep in a little and then head to Tarangire National Park and Kikoti Camp which are our last destinations on this trip.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

A lion relaxing in the shade in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania. Photo: Seth Waterfall Hippos feeding on grass in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania. Photo: Seth Waterfall An RMI team visits a Maasai Village during their African safari. Photo: Jeff Martin

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2

Aconcagua: Van Deventer and Team Summit!

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Pete Van Deventer and Team called into the RMI Expeditions Office to let us know they reached the summit of Aconcagua and are safely back at High Camp.  Pete will send a full report of their summit day after they rest and re-fuel.

Congratulations Team!

The Candeleta on Aconcaga. RMI Photo Collection

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11

Aconcagua: King & Team Rest at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

The team woke this morning after a wonderful nights sleep despite not being serenaded by the sounds of war drums and a seemingly lost pan flute player. If that wasn’t enough we then treated the team to breakfast burrito’s and real drip coffee!

Everyone is doing great after yesterday’s efforts and today we focus on resting for our move to Camp I (16,200ft) tomorrow. Moving up is always such a good feeling. After 4 nights at Basecamp everyone is excited for a change of scenery and for most, getting to Camp I feels like we’re finally starting the climb as we leave the creature comforts of Basecamp behind. Tonight we’ll enjoy our last meal with silverware and plates until our descent. The gang sends there…. Well why don’t we just let them tell you!

Loving the music here at base camp: Oasis, Bon Jovi, and Ace of Base! -Candace

We are both feeling good and relaxing with quesadillas at base camp on a rest day today. Love to all. - Jeff and Mere

I am taking a break from technology -Sam

I told people at work I didn’t have access to email -Rebecca

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Dusk at Aconcagua Basecamp. RMI Photo Collection

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2

Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team Safari in Lake Manyara National Park

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | February 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hi this is Seth. We are finishing up our first day of safari at Lake Manyara National Park. It’s been a good one with tons of monkeys and baboons, elephants, zebra, hippos, wildebeest, cape buffalo and giraffes. We were especially close to a large group of giraffes at a water hole.
The weather is very warm which is a big contrast to the past week we spent on Kili. It is really nice to thaw out for a bit.
Now we are headed to our hotel for the night and tomorrow we will visit Ngorongoro Crater.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Giraffes at a water hole in Lake Manyara National Park, Africa. Photo: Seth Waterfall A baboon at Lake Manyara National Park, Africa. Photo: Jeff Martin An elephant at Lake Manyara National Park, Africa. Photo: Casey Grom

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4

Aconcagua: King & Team Make a Carry to Camp 1

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

“THE GANG CONTEMPLATES DRUM CIRCLE SABOTAGE”

A stint at Plaza Argentina wouldn’t be complete without being kept awake by the repetitive and monotone sound of Argentine dance music mixed with improvised drum solos, all accompanied by a Peruvian pan flute.

This amazing melody finally wrapped up around 4am. The Gang took a load of food and equipment to Aconcagua’s Camp 1 today in great style, despite the dry and dusty scree slope that must be gained. We spent an hour at 16,200 ft and descended to quesadillas and siesta.

Rest day tomorrow and hopefully a full night’s sleep.

It’s always sunny at Plaza Argentina!

RMI Guide Mike King

RMI Climbers navigating the snow penitentes below Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: Jake Beren

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