Entries from Aconcagua
January 2, 2017
After two long days trekking through the Vacas Valley we rode mules across the river and our trail turned uphill into the Relinchos Valley as we gained 3000’+ to arrive at Base Camp on Aconcagua. The Team was surprised at the amenities offered at Plaza Argentina including refreshments, Internet hotspots, showers and perhaps the biggest hit, plastic chairs to relax in.
These long expeditions don’t have to be all pain and suffering, the early pioneers suffered plenty for all of us. We will take the remainder of the day to rest and re-hydrate after the hot & dusty trek. Some of the Team have showered and some are waiting for our 1st rest day on Tuesday. From here the trek is over and the climb begins, with preparing gear and group loads to carry to Camp 1.
A consistent comment from everyone is just how blue the sky is in contrast with the multicolored rock bands that form this section of the Andes. It looks like the ridge lines have been cut with an exacto knife.
We will check in on the rest day but for now everyone sends their best to friends and loved ones back home.
RMI Guide Mike King
On The Map
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it must have really been great with the mules carrying both you and your gear. And showers?? How fabulous. Love seeing the photos. As usual, safe and fun travels.
Posted by: Betty (Art's sister) on 1/3/2017 at 5:21 am
January 1, 2017
The team is currently resting in the sweat lodges that are their tents. This camp is known for its windy conditions and without steep ridges and peaks to block the sun, escaping the wind means roasting like a Kenny Roger’s chicken.
As we continue the trek to Base Camp the size of this valley only grows as the Vacas River gets closer to it’s source.
After seeing Aconcagua for the first time today, everyone is looking forward to the cold temperatures at Base Camp. Tomorrow we finish the trek, here’s to calm winds and strong backs for the team.
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have good weather and great climb, thanks mike for the up dates
Posted by: mark and helen walsh on 1/2/2017 at 11:01 am
Love reading the updates! Just want my brother to know I’m thinking of him and enjoying the climb vicariously!! Best of fun to the team…enjoy each day!!! XXOA
Posted by: Andrea on 1/2/2017 at 7:14 am
December 31, 2016
While we won’t make it until the Ball drops tonight, we will have a nice dinner and do a little celebrating with the mule drivers. Our Aconcagua Team has arrived in camp after a hot day hiking with a nice breeze that made the heat tolerable. This first day is a lesson in patience. Picture walking six hours in the high desert covered in softballs. If your thinking, “not ideal” you’d be right, but this is our approach trail and our aching feet took a backseat to watching condors soar high above the neighboring Andean peaks.
The team is resting and rehydrating and wishes everyone back home a ‘Feliz Anio Nuevo”!
Want to wish my amazing brother, Art Muir, a Happy Birthday! Now I can brag about my 71 year old brother who climbs mountains all over the world! Have a great day, Art.
Posted by: Bonnie on 1/9/2017 at 6:56 am
Jim and Art…we are following the climb. So exciting! Be safe. Hope to see your faces on one of the posts.
Jack and Pam Schriver
Posted by: Jack and Pam Schriver on 1/2/2017 at 6:10 pm
December 31, 2016
Our last night at Las Lenas we didn’t use tents. After our asado we simply rolled pads out onto the ground and spent the night under the stars as they say. With the moon unable to be seen that night the star show was one of the best I’ve seen. The next morning we trekked the last four hours out of the Vacas Valley back to Los Penitentes. We meet the second RMI Expedition lead by Mike King and JM Gorum getting their gear prepared for the walk into the Vacas Valley the following day. We stopped at the Estancia de Elias and ordered 40 Empanadas to go for the remainder of our drive back to Mendoza. Once we arrived to the hotel we all split, took the famed first shower after a long expedition and met in the hotel lobby at 8:30 to walk to dinner. We made reservations at a famous Italian restaurant in the city called Francesco’s. The owner of the establishment Maria Teresa, pushing into her 90’s still works at the restaurant making pasta from scratch. We all enjoyed a magnificent dinner and celebrated a wonderful and safe trip into the heart of the Andes and the roof of South America. This will be the last blog of the trip. Thanks to everyone for following along. We had an amazing group of climbers and I look forward to hopefully climbing with all of them again in the future. Muchas Gracias, hasta luego!
Sounds like quite an adventure! We can’t wait to hear all about it Boyd! Thankful you and your team returned safe and sound. I can’t even imagine a trek like that. Impressive!! Happy New Year !!!
Posted by: Linda & Pete on 1/1/2017 at 3:30 pm
Steve, Thanks for bringing everyone back safely!
Posted by: Peggy on 12/31/2016 at 7:51 pm
This is Mike King with the RMI December 28th Aconcagua Expedition. We are currently in Penitentes relaxing and waiting for dinner to start. Everyone arrived with all their gear and the Team has already begun to bond and been cranking through tasks to get ready for the 3 day trek to Plaza Argentina. We have clear skies and hot weather in the forecast. This will be a short dispatch as we are at the hotel with wifi, so contact your loved ones here in Argentina and wish them a ‘happy New Years and safe & successful climb’.
We won’t be envious of your Seacrest-Times Square Ball Drop show since we’ll be celebrating out under the most spectacular night sky ever taken in with authentic Argentine cowboys cooking the most delicious steaks anyone has had the pleasure of eating.
The Camp at Lenas is notorious for not allowing satellite phone coverage so if you do not see a dispatch, do not fret. Know that the group is well and currently experiencing the ‘meat sweats’ which can translate into ‘meatmares’ at bedtime. Check back for more great stories from Aconcagua.
On The Map
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year! Here’s to your journey and wishing you all success!
Be safe, have fun! Love, the Andersen girls
Posted by: Natalia on 12/31/2016 at 10:18 am
Rob, looking forward to following your journey with Mike and team. Safe travels and Happy New Year to everyone! Mike and Paula
Posted by: Michael and Paula Richards on 12/31/2016 at 9:40 am
December 29, 2016
This morning we woke before the sun hit basecamp, had a simple breakfast of oatmeal and prepared our duffels once again to survive the journey on the back of a pack animal. The trek to Las Leñas is a long one, taking around seven hours, most of which is in a hot, shadeless landscape. Upon our arrival we took a few minutes to arrange an area to sleep and then gathered around the fire the Arrieros prepared to cook our asado for the evening. We enjoyed carne and vegetables cooked over open flame along with a few bottles of Malbec that we had carried in to celebrate the trip. Tomorrow, four hours of trekking brings us out of the Vacas Valley and back to Los Penitentes where we will meet our transfer back to Mendoza!
Wow what an adventure of a lifetime. What great experience and all returned safely. Will want to hear all the stories when you are back in Denver, Boyd.
Posted by: Pam on 12/31/2016 at 10:28 am
So glad Boyd and the team are safe have a safe trip home Boyd!!
Posted by: Brenda on 12/31/2016 at 7:10 am
December 28, 2016
A little snow was falling after dinner last night but this morning the skies were clear. We began breaking down camp and enjoying our last views from 18,000 ft. The team was excited for the thicker air of basecamp at 14,000ft. Thicker air at 14,000ft!!?? Well acclimatized after a long expedition the air at 14,000ft feels like we’re at sea level as it’s nice to finally be able to fill the lungs each breathe. Our decent went smooth without any hiccups and we were welcomed at Base Camp with sweet bread and juice by our staff. The team spent the afternoon reminiscing and revisiting memories of our trip. After a big dinner we were all ready for bed. Tomorrow we make the long trek back down the Vacas Valley to our first camp of the entire trip, Las Lénas, where we’ll enjoy a carne asado prepared by our Arrieros and a night under the stars.
On The Map
December 27, 2016
The team is all back at Camp II safe and sound. Today was a very demanding day. I was up at 2am this morning checking the weather and temperature every 30 minutes looking for clear skies and moderate temperatures. I woke the team up at 4:30am. An hour later we were off on our way. Attempting a summit from Camp II is an extremely ambitious endeavor and the pace needed to be kept in order to be successful would daunt even the fittest of athletes. We gave it our best try and despite valiant efforts our pace fell short of what was needed to climb safely. On top of that the recent wind and snow events created steep, firm slopes of wind deposited snow. Imagine a 6,000ft+ snow slide at 45 degrees. We encountered these slopes at roughly 21,500ft and decided the risk was not worth the reward! All in all a tough day, mentally and physically. But that’s exactly why we take on adventures like these, to test ourselves mentally and physically. To me, any expedition that returns with climbers safe and sound is a success for me. You get used to days like this the longer your mountaineering career. It’s important to remember that the substance of experience lies in the in betweens, not the ends. A lesson that us climbers have to learn quickly! We’ll spend one more night here at Camp II then descend to basecamp tomorrow to get organized for our trek out of the Vacas Valley. We’ll post a couple more blogs during our descent. As always thanks for following! What a wild ride it’s been!
I love the comment that the heights of this experience are in the ‘in betweens’. That makes such sense! What a feat - just so incredible. So very proud of your effort and it is not over yet! We all await your return and the stories thereof. Safe travels home!
Posted by: Patty and Brian McConaty on 12/28/2016 at 9:26 am
WOW!!!!! 21,500 feet…..what a terrific accomplishment! We can’t wait to hear all about it! Safe travels back!
Posted by: John on 12/27/2016 at 7:57 pm
December 27, 2016
RMI Guide Steve Gately checked in from 21,500’ on Aconcagua. The team made a summit attempt today with a push from Camp 2. Unfortunately the team members were forced to turn around without reaching the summit due to poor climbing conditions. The storms of the past few days had dropped lots of new snow. The team will stay the night at Camp 2. Tomorrow they plan to descend to Base Camp.
On The Map
So sorry to hear about the weather - a terrible disappointment, but look at how far you’ve gotten! Bob - bravo - there will be more mountains to climb!! Have a safe and uneventful descent, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back!!!
Posted by: John Horgan on 12/27/2016 at 9:41 am
Sorry to hear about the weather problems. Safe returns back down.
Bob - very proud of what you did and looking forward to seeing you on your return!
Joe and Karen
Posted by: Joe Reinkemeyer on 12/27/2016 at 9:38 am
December 26, 2016
The storm settled out late last night and we woke to clear cold skies this morning. The forecast was calling for improving weather and decreasing winds down to 15mph throughout the day. I was a bit skeptical of this forecast as I was seeing signs of approaching weather to the West over Chile. We opted to have a slow morning to allow the weather time to deteriorate if it was going to. After getting an updated forecast speaking yet again of calm weather we opted to start packing and head up to high camp. Of course a few minutes into taking down our tents a large lenticular cloud, often indicative of high winds, formed over the mountains rocky summit. By the time we were finished packing, clouds were rolling over camp and a gentle snow had begun to fall. Not more then 10 minutes out of camp the weather turned into a genuine blizzard! We turned around, made the 5-minute walk back and started to reestablish camp. Tomorrow is our last opportunity to go for the summit before high winds plague the area again. With the forecast still showing clear skies and light winds we’ll opt to try for the summit from Camp II tomorrow morning assuming the forecast is correct. This makes an already big day that much bigger but the team is up to the challenge. Pray to the Weather Gods for us!
Boyd and Team, I am sending good karma your way and praying for a safe summit tomorrow!
Posted by: George on 12/27/2016 at 4:53 am
Good luck on the summit attempt tomorrow! We are cheering you on Bob!
Joe and Karen
Posted by: Joe Reinkemeyer on 12/26/2016 at 8:20 pm