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Entries from Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Billy Nugent & Team Move Up to Camp 1

Hi all,

Billy here checking in from Aconcagua Camp 1 after a smooth move on up from basecamp. We enjoyed sunny skies and a bit of light breeze, all in all a perfect day to head up the hill. After arriving mid afternoon we took our time settling in. We had to move our cache over to our actual campsite, setup tents and get moved in. Sometime after we had set up camp the notorious Camp 1 creek began to flow. This made for a little engineering project redirecting the flow of water around our tents and with just a little bit of effort we’ve managed to stay dry… So far anyway. Camp is a bit crowded with several teams so good tent spots are at a premium. We just scarfed a toretellini dinner and are crawling in for the night, all of us a bit tired but no worse for the wear.

Nighty night.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Good luck Dad,



Posted by: Sam Falkenhagen on 1/20/2016 at 11:58 am


Great that things are going smoothly.  Looks fantastic from up there. Good luck to the team and with weather the rest of the way.  Look forward in seeing Jake with hair..LOL
Cheers from The guys at Sound Beverage.

Posted by: David Bruce on 1/20/2016 at 7:49 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Enjoy Another Rest Day

Ground control (RMI base) to Major Tom (our intrepid Aconcagua team)...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on…

We are eating up on our last rest day here in Base Camp and making our last minute preparations.

Ground control to Major Tom…

Commencing countdown engines on… Check ignition and may god’s love be with you…

Wish us luck as we blast off up onto the beast.  Tomorrow’s plans call for a move up to Camp 1 which has the team excited if a bit nervous. Lots of work lies ahead but we are poised and ready for the challenge. The weather has been stellar and we hope it continues to cooperate for us as we step out of the capsule that is Plaza Argentina not to return until our bid for the top has culminated. Of course we’ll keep checking in along the way.

Bowie lives!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Doug S,
We are all pulling for you!  CPLs and TRs send their best!

Posted by: Arland Fagerstrom on 1/19/2016 at 12:53 pm

HI, Craig,

I’m so glad the weather is good!  All our thoughts are about the A-team having THE BEST CLIMB EVER!

Love, SAF

Posted by: Sally Falkenhagen on 1/19/2016 at 10:54 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Have Perfect Weather for Carry to Camp 1

We enjoyed an amazingly perfect day on our first push above Aconcagua Basecamp. Despite the good weather our loads were big and the route up to Camp 1 was quite different than in years past. Lots of penitentes (tall, spiky snow features) made for difficult walking at times and a new route across the glacial remnant below the final scree slopes into camp. Despite these challenges our team remained true to form and moved extremely well ultimately putting in a big cache of gear, food, and fuel at over 16,000’. We are resting/acclimatizing tomorrow in basecamp before we head out on the upper mountain for good. All is well here in Plaza Argentina and the team is looking forward to the coming days.

Talk tomorrow,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Please don’t let Branchflower fall off the hill…....he owes me $20 from a football bet!

Be Safe to All!!

Posted by: Tom Lozier on 1/18/2016 at 7:29 pm

What an awesome picture.  What an incredible experience you are having.  Take lots of photos.
We are with you all the way.
Take care and stay safe,
Dad & Luz

Posted by: Dad & Luz on 1/18/2016 at 5:37 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Resting at Base Camp

Well, we made it to Base Camp yesterday! The team is moving well and feeling good despite our first abrupt change in elevation since the drive from Mendoza to Penitentes. We are now sitting pretty and all moved in at Plaza Argentina at an elevation of right around 4,200 m or about 13,800’. Anita and Griselda, head honchos here with Grajales, prepared us an over the top welcome dinner complete with soup, veggies, a slab of beef, and tiramisu for dessert! Despite the extravagance of the meal the living still isn’t super easy up here and we knew were we are all in for a little bit of discomfort trying to sleep up here on our first night.

Today is another sunny and glorious day up here at Plaza Argentina. The gang actually fared quite well through the night and enjoyed a casual wake up this morning. We all hung out and drank real coffee along with enjoying stuffed breakfast burritos complete with prosciutto and grilled veggies thanks to Katrina’s solid work in the kitchen. We’ll probably burn the rest of the day today preparing both our group and personal loads for tomorrow’s carry up to Camp 1. Everyone’s hanging out grooving on the Andes and looking forward to tomorrow’s foray higher. That and wondering how the Seahawks are gonna do against Carolina.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Yo Branch,

Those are some good lookin Donkeys you got there.  Now you know what it’s like to hang around West Point in the middle of winter.
Hey, what are the bathrooms like?
You know, I see you doing this and I think, wow!  You could have been a Navy Seal and probably led the raid to get Bin Laden.

Remember, one foot in front of the other and if you begin seeing Sharon Steinhauer, get on oxygen immediately.

745796 sends

Posted by: TJ on 1/18/2016 at 2:52 pm

Sounds like things are going well for my mountain man. You definitely have the better weather right now…windchill of -20 here tonight…yikes! All is good on the homefront…Lucas got a promotion at work and Allison is happy with all her classes. Think of you often and miss you!
Love Lisa

Posted by: Lisa Irwin on 1/17/2016 at 3:28 pm

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Check in from Pampa de Lenas

¡Hola de Pampa de Leñas! After a last night in a real bed we got outta Penitentes and hit the trail. Needless to say the team is psyched to finally be on the move after the months of anticipation and the seemingly endless packing and repacking. We enjoyed clear skies and a decent breeze that despite kicking up a bit of dust was actually pleasant in keeping the temps manageable. Everyone moved extremely well and is currently lounging around camp waiting for the herrieros to finish up grilling up some giant slabs of beef for us. Steak and wine, and a crew of happy campers. Not bad for our first day on the hill.

All for now!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Hi Heather and all of you up there.
Sorry to hear about the weather. The New Yorkers have been hit by heavy snow and the weather system is heading to us across the Atlantic but will change to strong winds and heavy rain for us this week. Not quite as bad as you are getting.
Stay positive and try and meditate if the storm noise allows!
Love Diane and Paul

Posted by: Paul and Diane on 1/24/2016 at 11:13 pm

The tough part begins - our thoughts are with you - stay safe

Love you,
Dad & Luz

Posted by: Dad & Luz on 1/16/2016 at 5:07 pm

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Finish Climb Preparations

The team met up around 8 a.m. for a not too early breakfast. Afterwards we split up and set out on the streets of Mendoza, running all of our last minute errands. We visited a couple gear shops, hit the pharmacy, grocery store, all the usual stuff before reconvening for a team lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Nicolas, our liaison from Grajales, was kind enough to deal with all the permit rigmarole that is normally a complete pain. So the pace of the morning wasn’t nearly as rushed as in years past.
Our transfer out to Penitentes showed up at the hotel and we loaded up our gear and hit the road. The drive to Penitentes is absolutely gorgeous, rolling through the vineyards outside of the city, up into the foothills, and eventually making our way into the heart of the Andes. Four hours on the road brought us to the Grajales packing facility where we unloaded and spent the rest of the afternoon packing up for the mules and prepping for tomorrow’s start up the hill.

Psyched to hit the trail…

RMI Guides Billy Nugent and Katrina Bloemsma and team

Hello Dear Rob !!

.....and thank you for the updates Billy ! Just know that there are many of us at home checking the blog multiple times a day for any and every bit of the story .... So don’t be hesitant to overload us with detail :)

RMI really does it right .... Wine and grilled steak ....And with chimichurri I bet!
Relieved to hear the temps are significantly warming at the summit ..... I never thought I’d be happy to see a -7 windchill forecasted for later next week (rather than the -35 I’ve been seeing).

  Hoping and praying for continued health and goodness for you and all your comrades. Feeling especially confident since your flock of angels are comfortable with the altitude ;) and cared for you so well in Mendoza!

  Missing you tons and tons but so happy for all you are experiencing.

  ..... Always in my thoughts and prayers…M.

Posted by: MFG on 1/16/2016 at 5:03 pm

Dear Dad (Rick),

I miss you sooooo much, I hope you are doing all right, and I love you.


Posted by: Hillary and Hallie Haggard on 1/15/2016 at 4:38 pm

Aconcagua: Billy Nugent & Team Meet in Mendoza

Hi everybody and welcome to the dispatch blog for this year’s early January RMI Aconcagua expedition. Billy here checking in from lovely Mendoza, Argentina, where the last of our team (and a bunch of missing luggage) has finally arrived. We had an informative meet and greet this evening poolside at the classic Nutibara Hotel, a haven for Aconcagua climbers from all over the world, where we all got to know each other and run through some important details about our upcoming adventure. Afterwards we headed out on the town for our first team dinner, enjoying the steaks, wine, and Italian influenced food Mendoza is famous for. It looks like we have a very fit and experienced climbing team this year which bodes well for our chances up on the mountain. We’ll check in again tomorrow from Los Penitentes where we’ll be packing up our loads for the mules and finishing up the last of our preparations before heading onto the mountain.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Gerald from team 2015 wishing you all a safe climb! Remember it’s about the journey not the destination :)! However let’s face it the destination is pretty AWESOME! Can’t say enough good stuff about Billy and Katrina. Love Love Love e;m!!! You guys are in good hands with this A team! Watch listen and learn…They have so much experience and knowledge not to mention their professionalism as guides was invaluable to the 2015 teams success. Been thinking about joining you in Ecuador Billy Feb.2nd… What no Katrina! Maybe not then LOL!!!

Have a GREAT climb team!


Posted by: Gerald Flynn on 1/13/2016 at 9:06 am

Randy…your epic adventure begins! Best of luck and try to stay warm. I will think of you every time I crawl under our nice warm electric blanket. I love you!  “The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir

Posted by: Lisa Irwin on 1/13/2016 at 8:32 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Pack Up and Leave for the Dusty Trail

Hi folks,

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to Aconcagua Base Camp and hit the dusty trail back to Las Lenas. Given the grim outlook on this mountain for the next week, the team is rather excited to be able to get back home to you all just a little bit sooner. We’re hoping that the promise of huge slabs of steak cooked over an open fire will motivate us along the 18 or so miles we have ahead of us today. Hopefully we can stay hydrated and blister free.

You used to call us on our sat phone,

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

Great to meet you and have some fun with your team! 

Cheers!  Fred

Posted by: Fred Doar on 1/17/2016 at 4:07 pm

Hi Eric Leger & ACONCAGUA Team:  It was a nice experience following along on your journey through the blog.  Thank you so much. You have so much to be proud of in all that you were able to experience in your mind/body/spirit.  Wishing you all safe travels home. 

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” -Edmund Hillary



Posted by: millie Chase on 1/13/2016 at 7:07 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team at Base Camp

Hello folks, Team 3 is resting and doing well back at base camp on Aconcagua. There are a lot of teams that have retreated from the upper mountain and have departed base camp. Last night Pepper and one of our team members, Brian, played guitar and sang for the entire base camp and yes, they received a standing ovation. 

As for our team, we are not quite ready to throw in the towel but I have to be honest, the weather and the forecast is looking horrible with extremely high winds continuing for several days. We will keep you posted to our progress. As for now, the team is really happy not having to hold tents up from the inside and actually enjoying visiting the bathrooms.

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Pepper Dee

Bonjour Éric,

Un petit message qui j’espère t’arrivera où que tu sois. Je suis sûr que tu réussis à atteindre tes objectifs. Et pour une fois, oublie ce vieux dicton qui dit : “Quand tu as atteint le sommet de la montagne, continue de grimper”.  On pense à toi, on t’aime et n’hésite pas si tu as le moindre problème pour redescendre à m’appeler : je ferai le max !  À tantôt,  Phil

Posted by: Phil on 1/11/2016 at 7:36 am

Hey Brad! We sure hope the weather turns enough for you to summit. We can’t wait to hear all about your trip and hope it will include a summit. If not, it sure will be great memories for yall, just stay safe.  As big as that mountain is, just know that you are loved even more, way more!! We think about you every day. We love and miss you! Love Mimi and Dad XO

Posted by: Mimi Rearden on 1/11/2016 at 7:18 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Hunker Down in Wind and Snow at Camp 1

Well, when life gives you 50 mph wind gusts and incidental snow storms, you hole up in your tent, drink tea, and eat ramen. In other words, the team is getting a taste of expedition living at its finest up here at Aconcagua Camp 1. The good news is, all team members are doing well, battling the elements through stoic tent maintenance, self care, and once in a while poking their heads outside to catch a glimpse of the spindrift whipping down the neighboring slopes. Send us all the positive weather vibes you can!

Blessings on blessings from the boys on the hill,

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

On The Map

Brad & Co… Still hoping for better conditions for you guys!  Hang tough and I’m sure you guys will get to push up and summit soon!  Until then, rest up and keep your head down! Good Luck!

Still following along daily..

Posted by: J Davis on 1/9/2016 at 9:13 pm

Brad & Brian:

Hang in there…hope the weather is better soon and you get to the summit.  Miss you and will be glad when you are safely back home…stay warm.

Posted by: Bobbi Birt on 1/8/2016 at 2:44 pm

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