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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Summit!

Update 3:44 pm ART time, 10:44 am Pacific time
The team woke up this morning at 4:30 am to clear skies and no wind, so it was time to head to the upper mountain.  The weather remained on our side all the way up and down, giving us excellent views from the top.  Also fresh snow from the night before meant we were breaking trail through shin-deep powder up high.  As soon as we got back to camp, a thunder storm had us hiding in the tent.  We will stay here at high camp one more night before we descend back to Base Camp.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

RMI Guide Ben Liken called with great news this morning.  His team reached the Aconcagua summit this morning at 11:45 a.m. local time!  They climbed strong and were one of the first teams on top.  They really lucked out as the winds were starting to increase.  The plan is to head down to Base Camp shortly.


On The Map

Congratulations to Ben Liken, Pepper Dee and Team! Major accomplishment!

Posted by: David Clemmons on 2/14/2017 at 7:30 am

Aconcagua: Liken & Team in Position for Summit Bid

Hola Blogerinos!

Here we are at long last, poised to make our summit bid from Camp Cholera at 19,600 feet on Aconcagua. The team moved up here today in good style, whipped together a camp, and spent the afternoon recharging in anticipation of a big day tomorrow. It’s snowing lightly outside right now, but all team members are tucked away trying their best to get a little rest. Keep us in your thoughts tomorrow as we try for the top!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Enjoy Rest Day and Plan Their Summit Attempt

What a great day here on Aconcagua, sunshine and no winds had our rest day in perfect condition.  We woke up as the sun hit our tent and sipped hot drinks until nearly 11 am.  Then the team went on a short hike up hill to acclimatize and look at tomorrow’s route.  Everyone is ready for the move to our final camp at 19,600’ tomorrow,  and excited to look up at our final move, the summit.  Let’s hope for clear calm conditions in the coming days.

RMI Guides Ben Liken & Pepper Dee

On The Map

Hey ya Guy! Hope you’re having fun climbing mountains all the days! Stay safe and take pics for Bub!!

Posted by: Sharon Waters on 2/12/2017 at 9:09 am

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Move to Camp 2 Ahead of Storm

Well, we barely snuck in a move today from Aconcagua Camp 1 to Camp 2 before the wind started a blowin’ and the snow started a snowin’. Fortunately, everyone is tucked away in their tents hydrating, breathing, and getting used to life at 18,000 feet. We are all glad to be here; it feels like the upper mountain is finally within reach. More tomorrow!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

For Shannon Walsh

WOW! In awe of your achievement. I have trouble walking the small hills of NEPA.
Not the little girl I remember anymore!
Watching you in awe! Best wishes and travels to you and the team! Stay safe

Posted by: Janet Yontas on 2/10/2017 at 4:19 pm

For ,Dave & Kelly. You are on the cusp of an achievement realized by so few yet admired by many. You climb for more than yourselves. We’re all up there with you and even breathing heavey even at 1500 ft.

Posted by: Nick Lazzareschi on 2/10/2017 at 3:49 pm

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Rest Day at Camp 1

Today, after two days of hard work and accomplishment, the team rested at Camp 1 on Aconcagua.  All that was on our minds was quesadillas, hot drinks, and naps.  Our bodies need to recover and make a few more red blood cells before we can be strong higher.  Tomorrow we will try and move camp to 18000 feet, but with a little snow in the forecast we will just have to wait and see.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Carry Gear to Camp 2

It was cold and windy today on our gear bump to 18,000’ with most of the team climbing in all our insulating layers.  The sunny skies kept us moving and everyone did great!  The views from Camp 2 inspired the team as we breathed the thin air.  We are back at Camp 1 now ready to devour some Mac and cheese.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Dave, I promise you a cheese cake when you come home! We miss you. Be safe!

Posted by: Nancy Hicks on 2/9/2017 at 8:39 am

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Move to Camp 1

Today we finally left the comforts of Aconcagua Base Camp for good, well at least for a little over a week.  We moved to Camp 1 at 16,400’  which is the first of three stops on our way to the summit.  The team moved more fluidly today because they have had some time to acclimatize since our carry to the same elevation.  We are all moved in now and awaiting RMI Guide Pepper Dee’s world famous top ramen dinner! 

Our plan is to carry supplies to 18,000’ tomorrow, we hope the weather holds!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Glad you’re all doing well. Friends of Dr Folsom pray for your safety. Have fun and enjoy the trip

Posted by: Ed Sutton on 2/7/2017 at 5:34 pm

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Rest Day at Base Camp

This morning on Aconcagua we woke up slow as the sun hit our tents.  As the team rolled into breakfast the eggs, onions, and peppers were sizzling on the grill.  We casually sat around and chatted and laughed about the trials and tribulations of the day before.  As the afternoon came, it was siestas all around before our steak dinner.  Now with a lot of rest on board, the team is ready to move higher on the mountain.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Arrive At Base Camp

February 5, 2017

After a very snowy and windy period here at Base Camp the sky’s finally broke and the sun started shining.  So we got a load of gear together and carried it up to 16,200 ft.  It was a perfect day for climbing, not to hot and not to cold.  We are now back a base resting after a hard days work.  I think I smell some chicken dinner coming from the cook tent, can’t wait!

February 4, 2017
After three days of approach we have arrived at Plaza de Argentina, our Base Camp.  The day began with an icy creek crossing on mule back just as the sun came up over the mountains. Then we were off on a 6 hour jaunt up valley in pleasant overcast conditions.  But by the time we arrived at camp winds were howling and snow was falling.  The rest of the day felt like full on winter.  Tomorrow is a rest day that will be met with lots of eating and some prep for the next day.  Spirits are high!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Ecuador Seminar: Gately & Team Wrap Up Great Two Weeks

Well, our luck had to run out eventually. We’ve had a good run so far this trip, but Chimborazo proved to be our match. Our teams turned this morning just under 19,000’ due to a variety of compounding issues, but the climb still provided us with over six hours of engaging terrain, from challenging rock steps to steep and firm snow slopes. Although we would have all loved to have reached the top, everyone agrees we made the right decision to turn around early and are all glad to be back down safely, celebrating the successful conclusion of our seminar down south.

From a guide’s perspective, not summiting this morning provided us all with one last valuable lesson: mountaineering isn’t always about standing on top. So much of climbing is learning to recognize when a summit just isn’t in the cards and being able to make the conservative call. Chimborazo will be here for a while. We didn’t make it this time, but I like to think of that as an open invitation to return again some day down the road.

Tomorrow morning we will return to Quito, say our final goodbyes, and fly home to our families. It has been an incredible two weeks, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know this wonderful group of people. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to hear all the stories that never made it to the blog directly from your loved ones.

It’s been a great adventure!

Signing off one last time,
RMI Guide Nick Hunt

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