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RMI Expeditions Blog


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Arrive At Base Camp

Hello -
We have arrived at Plaza Argentina, Aconcagua Base Camp, and are loving it.  I am watching the most amazing moon rise as I scratch out this dispatch.

We started the morning off with a mule ride across the Vacas River. Good size and cold seemed to make sense since the option was available. We waited till later in the day to fjord the Relinchos River in the footwear we brought along for that purpose. Named after the valley we ascended five hours and gained close to 4,000’, the views of the upper mountain were fantastic.

We established our camp and settled in at Base Camp. A very nice dinner provided by our great outfitter Grajales Expeditions has us well fed and now ready for rest. The team is in good shape and thrilled to be at Base Camp. All is good here.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

Happy hiking Uncle Fred.  We are with you in spirit!

Posted by: MAPZ on 1/12/2017 at 5:52 pm


Ecuador Seminar: Team Readies for Summit Attempt on Antisana

Hello from our cozy basecamp on Antisana! Our second day here is almost finished and preparations are underway for our next big summit attempt of the trip.

We were able to sleep in a little this morning and we had a nice full breakfast with coffee, bread, cereal, and quesadillas. With full stomachs and a full night’s rest, everybody was feeling strong and ready for our second training day of the trip.

The lower glaciers of Antisana are literally an alpine playground—with open crevasses, firm ice, steep slopes, and towering seracs—and we made good use of it throughout the morning. We set up a challenging, yet fun, alpine skills course and spent the better part of the day practicing a variety of intermediate mountaineering skills: steep fixed line travel, vertical rappels, and a number of challenging ice climbs. The team is composed of members of a variety of backgrounds and skill levels, but all were able to learn something new today and we had a good time doing it!

We were back at our basecamp by 1pm this afternoon, just in time to beat the afternoon rain storms that have been visiting us these last few days. But despite the marginal afternoon weather, we remain optimistic for our chances of summiting tomorrow! The pattern seems to be afternoon showers that clear in the evening, giving us a good window tonight for our summit push.

With one major peak and a couple of days of technical skills training, this team is more than prepared to tackle a second summit. We plan on an early dinner tonight, giving us plenty of time to pack our bags and get some shuteye in preparation for another midnight start. Wish us luck in our attempt and we’ll check back in with you tomorrow afternoon with a full report!

Until then,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Adam Knoff, and the rest of the ESS-Ecuador team

Jimmy, sending best wishes for more sucess for you and your crew in the next part of your impressive adventure!!!

Posted by: George on 1/12/2017 at 8:41 am

William, I hope you have a better summit this time than last! The pups and I miss you! Can’t wait to hear from you!

Posted by: Linda on 1/11/2017 at 7:27 pm


Aconcagua: King & Team Make Carry to High Camp

This is Mike and JM checking in from our Camp 2 after a good carry to Cholera High Camp located at 19,600’. The camp gets its name from the wind that swirls around and attempts to destroy your camp.

The Team took in fantastic views of the Andes and enjoyed some warmer temperatures after yesterday’s cold and blustery conditions. There is some sort of an Andean hawk that has been hanging out taking people’s Oreos.

Quite and calm in our tents, an update you might be tired of reading but the Team is taking every moment of available rest to apply towards summit day.

Tomorrow we move up to Cholera and will keep our fingers crossed for accurate weather reports and a trail of compacted snow to the top of the Southern Hemisphere!

RMI Guides Mike King & JM Gorum

On The Map

Good weather and safe travels on summit day

Posted by: Mark and helen on 1/12/2017 at 11:39 am

Best wishes to you guys and praying for clear and good weather to the summit.

Posted by: Kevin Stone on 1/12/2017 at 8:03 am


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Cross the Shira Plateau

Hey, everybody this is Casey Grom checking in again from the Kilimanjaro climb. Wanted to let you know that we had another wonderful day here in Africa. We got up at about 7:00 and had a nice big breakfast of eggs and bacon and porridge and some toast. At 7:30, we washed that down with plenty of coffee and then tried to hit the trail right at 8:00. The camp we were in, the Mweka Camp, was a little bit crowded because it’s sort of a small spot, but we kind of got out ahead of a bunch of the teams. We slowly made our way up one of the ridges that leads up on top of what’s called the Shira Plateau. We gained about 2,500 feet and we took just a little over five hours to get up here. The team did incredible today and once again our our wonderful mountain staff and porters broke camp after we left and then passed us on the trail and then arrived at camp and had it all set up by the time we arrived up here. We just finished dinner and the clouds have just kind of blown off. Now we’ve got a beautiful view of the upper mountain as the sun has gone down. Everybody’s outside taking a look at all the beautiful stars that we can see right now. So that’s all for now. Everybody’s going to head to bed as it’s starting to chill down a little bit up here, and we’ll touch base again tomorrow. Thanks.

RMI Guide Casey Grom


RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from Shira Camp.

On The Map

Catherine Deb and Kaki— So glad to get the updates via the blog!  You’ve got this!  Get in some more photos!

Posted by: Linda Morrison on 1/12/2017 at 3:42 am

Jeff and Sean, hope you are having a great time. Is anything sore yet?

Posted by: Maureen McCroskey on 1/11/2017 at 7:06 pm


Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Land at Antisana Base Camp

Buenas Noches from Antisana Base Camp.  

It always amazes me how one difficult mountain climb puts the little things back into perspective.  For our climb of Cayambe, we were on the move by midnight and did not stop until twelve hours later.  Even after the climb is finished, exhaustion has set in so thoroughly that the only thing that really matters is one good meal and a warm bed.
The simple joys continued this morning after ten solid hours of sleep with fresh brewed coffee, a delicious smoothie, farm fresh eggs and warm bread.  It’s not every day you wake up and feel so thankful for what you have.  Suffering, if even for a day helps us remember what really matters. 
After our lovely breakfast we packed the bus, said adios to Ecuador’s oldest hacienda and hit the road.  Two hours later we found ourselves back to the busy life shopping for food at a market equal to Fred Meyer, having lunch at KFC and eating pastries from the mall’s bakery.   Two hours after that, we were back in the boonies, driving across a landscape above 12,000 feet with not a house, or other road in sight.
By 3pm we had landed at Antisana Base Camp.  This place is wild with Andean condors flying overhead, wild packs of alpacas coming right into camp and no other people anywhere.  We are in a place of pure natural beauty.
Our elevation is 14,800 feet and the team feels great.  The more time we spend at altitude the easier it gets.  Everyone misses their families and friends but very happy to be in such a unique place.
We will train tomorrow and report before getting ready to climb.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff and Team Ecuador out.


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team One Stop from Base Camp

Today brought our team within striking distance of base camp! We battled strong down valley winds for most of the day, but were rewarded with our first glimpse of Aconcagua just shy of our current camp at Piedra Parada. Our team is growing more and more practiced in the art of alpine resting, and put their skills to use this evening munching on asado and watching our hardworking mules take dust baths. Everyone is strong, happy, and healthy, and looking forward to checking in from 14K!

Hasta manana!

RMI Guides Mark Tucker and Pepper Dee

Walk happily,climb safely and feel lots of support from team NYC!

Posted by: Laura Taft Paulsen on 1/11/2017 at 5:43 pm

What a gorgeous goal!

Posted by: Sandy Bradbury on 1/11/2017 at 3:52 pm


Aconcagua: King & Team Move Into Camp 2

Hello from Camp 2 -
Our team has now ascended to 18000’ and set up camp. We had a slow roll out of camp thanks to a bit of wind gusting overhead.  We decided we might enjoy a little later start to the day, so we hung around until about 10:30 to let the sun warm things up and push those pesky winds farther east.

The Team felt the push to 18k and the gusting winds, grey skies and colder temps didn’t make for a lot of conversation. Now tucked in at 18,000’ the Team is sport eating and resting in their tents. The winds have calmed down and the sun is baking the tent fabric, this creates an optimal napping microclimate.

We miss you all and are jubilant to be in a position for summiting on the 13th.

Warmest of regards,
RMI Guides Mike King, JM Gorum & the team

Excited over your progress.  All our friends are keeping a close watch!  Keep up the good work and good luck. 

Posted by: wendy daverman on 1/11/2017 at 10:31 am

My third grade class is keeping tabs on your journey.  It’s exciting to see your updates.  We wish you well and hope you summit as planned.

Posted by: Dena Bedsole (Kevin's sister-in-law) and Class on 1/11/2017 at 9:09 am


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Start on the Trail

Jambo everybody! This is Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro climb. Just wanted to let you know that all is going really well. Today we left behind the comforts of a nice lodge and hopped in our vehicles and made about a two-hour drive up to the base of Kilimanjaro. Once we arrived at the gate, we had to unload all of our gear and then start off uphill. That all went pretty smoothly. After we started walking, we climbed for about six hours to a high point about 10,000’. On the way we were passing through dense and beautiful forests that surround the base of Kilimanjaro. Everyone did fantastic, spirits are high and we are excited to be here. We finally found the camp and just wrapped up dinner. The team is looking forward to a well-earned night of rest. We’ll check in tomorrow. We are hoping that we will have cellphone service up here so we can maybe get a few pictures out to you guys.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

On The Map

Yo yo Catherine! Have you found any chaga on Kili yet?! 

Posted by: Kate & Mary on 1/10/2017 at 7:42 pm


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Travel Through the Vacas Valley

And just like that, RMI Aconcagua Expedition, led by Mark Tucker and Pepper Dee, is off! We enjoyed our last breakfast in civilization this morning, and then before we knew it we were piling out of the van at the Vacas Valley trailhead and heading uphill under the blazing Argentine sun. We wound our way up the valley for about five hours, taking breaks to hydrate and generously apply sunscreen. Having settled in to our first camp at Las Leñas, tonight we were treated to a mouth watering traditional asado dinner by our support team of mule drivers. The team is adjusting rapidly and successfully to the demands of life on the trail, and look forward to tackling another stretch tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more climbing (and more steak!).

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Wonderful to get the updates.  Enjoy every moment because the eventual homeward return may be more challenging…the dogs have happily taken over your place in bed, Mr. Monnet.

Happy climbing.  Lots of love, the gang.

Posted by: Carolyn on 1/10/2017 at 12:38 pm

Looks so inviting, that valley!!
“Ah, yes, ‘generously amounts of sunscreen,‘“notes Mom. 

Posted by: Elizabeth Tompkin on 1/10/2017 at 11:35 am


Ecuador Seminar: Cayambe Summit!

Team Ecuador is excited to announce that we reached the summit of Cayambe this morning at 7:30am.  We woke up, or should I say got out of bed at 10:45pm to clear skies and warm temperatures.  We began our ascent at exactly midnight and had great climbing conditions the entire way up.  Having been on this mountain ten times I have never had a summit day this beautiful!  Not a breath of wind, temperatures in the 30s and views that you rarely get to see.
The team climbed strong and performed really well, especially for reaching 19,000 feet six days after arriving in the country. 
We were grateful to be finished early because as soon as we reached camp, the perfect weather that graced us up high took a 180 and began snowing, raining and sleeting on us.  By the time we got to town, the downpour was so intense we couldn’t hear each other at lunch because of the rain hitting the roof.
Now we are settled into the oldest hacienda in Ecuador and ready for a nap.  We are relieved to have gotten the first big climb under our belts and look forward to Antisana in a couple days. 
Stay tuned. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

On The Map

Sounds very exciting, not to mention awsome!!!! Congratulations!!!

Posted by: George on 1/11/2017 at 10:44 am

Congratulations, team! Quite an accomplishment!

Posted by: George Nimmo on 1/10/2017 at 10:25 am

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