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RMI Expeditions Blog

Aconcagua: King & Team Settling in at Camp 1

We woke to the sounds of the park helicopter bringing in supplies and flying out garbage and human waste. Today was our move day to Aconcagua Camp 1, 16,400 feet. Since we had done a carry already the team was familiar with the terrain and difficult sections.

With warm tents and a light breeze the team is busy moving in and resting. We will sort gear for the carry to Camp 2 this evening and eat an early dinner since the shadow of the mountain hits our camp early.

Our view from camp includes the first part of tomorrow’s route and it includes snow! You might be asking why the excitement? We will take solid snow over loose scree any day of the week.  Everyone is doing well despite the new altitude. Love and well wishes back home!

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Bernie and I should have the Nordic trails all greased up for you upon your return from your luxury cruise. Better harden up.

Posted by: Jan on 1/7/2017 at 5:27 am

Enjoy the Journey, Tunes, Reads and Company all the way to the top.

The Real Sven Affcock

Posted by: Sven Fleming on 1/6/2017 at 4:34 pm

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Day two in Ecuador.
Not many places in the world offer such easy access to high altitude.  Down in the lower 48, to reach 14,410 feet, the summit of Mt. Rainier, an average climber needs multiple days, a closet full of equipment and a certain set of skills not learned through a YouTube video.  Down here is a bit different.  For example, this morning we were drinking coffee in the hotel lobby, eating pastries and admiring our ten-pound day packs.  At 8 am we loaded into a van, took a 15-minute drive to the base of a still active volcano, got a lift on a cable car to 13,000 feet and began walking.
The name of the volcano we stretched our legs on is Pichincha Rucu.  It’s summit stands at 15,700 feet and can be reached in mere hours from the city. 
Pouring rain greeted us at the top of the gondola but this is what that closet full of gear is good for.  Putting on our rain jackets and pants we braved the storm like any fearless climber would and headed up the trail.  It wasn’t long before we crested that 14,410 foot ceiling giving every member, guides aside, a new altitude high point.
An hour into the hike, the rain ceased and we broke 15,000 feet by eleven am.  Unfortunately the final 300 feet to the summit is more of a rock scramble than trail hike and true to the days weather, a hail storm ensued so we made the decision to turn around and skip the slippery rock.  The team reached a final altitude of 15,300 feet and to everyone’s credit did exceptionally well.
After the stroll, we came back to the hotel for some rest then headed out to a fantastic dinner.  All of us gringos are feeling strong and psyched to be getting closer to our first “big” mountain. 
This is Adam Knoff and team saying adios.

On The Map

Good luck on this new adventure Jim (Nixon)!  Looking forward to hearing all about it when you return.  Maybe you and Tom Garner need a Maine vacation this summer!  All the best!  Rich Aspinall

Posted by: Richard Aspinall on 1/8/2017 at 4:13 am

Looking forward to the Cayambe update. Best wishes

Posted by: Tom Garner on 1/7/2017 at 5:12 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Prepare for Move to Camp 1

Not much to report from Plaza Argentina. We are enjoying our final afternoon at 13,600 feet before heading to Camp 1 in the morning. The weather is clear with calmer winds then the last few days. People are napping, sorting gear and practicing the valuable expedition skill of ‘chilling out’. We are looking forward to moving up the mountain and hope the forecasted wind speeds do not materialize.

With how connected base camp has been send your loved ones an email, iMessage or whatever digital platform you use and wish them ‘good luck’ as they climb to 16,400’ tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike King

kevin and team have a good climb to camp 2 ,16,400 and good weather,mom and dad xo

Posted by: mark and helen walsh on 1/6/2017 at 6:54 am

Kevin and team Have a great climb to camp 2 16,400 and good weather .mom and dad xo

Posted by: Mark. And Helen walsh on 1/6/2017 at 6:47 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Carry to Camp 1

We are back at base camp this afternoon after our carry to Camp 1, located at 16,200’. The Team took advantage of a direct route which included snow and great trail. Years past has seen this day’s route made up of loose and steep scree slopes. While packs were heavy the 3.5 hour up time meant they were not on our backs too long. We put in a cache of food, fuel and some personal items.

While the wind was gusting in the 40’s we enjoyed a clear sky and spectacular views of the Vacas Valley. The team is doing well, all appear to be acclimating well and spirits are high. A rest day tomorrow is highly anticipated before we move to Camp 1 on Friday.

The wind continues to plague Aconcagua Base Camp, we will check in tomorrow, until then keep your fingers crossed for calmer weather.

RMI Guides Mike King, JM Gorum & Team

On The Map

Happy Birthday to Rob Millman from all the Wisconsin Millmans!  We love you and pray your enjoying every moment.  Glad for a rest day on your special day!

Posted by: Debbie Millman on 1/5/2017 at 5:02 am

Loving the updates! Best Wishes to all as you continue the journey. Jason- we love you and are excited to watch this unfold! RISE!

Posted by: Angela Freedman on 1/5/2017 at 4:57 am

Ecuador Seminar: RMI Guides Knoff & Hunt Meet Climbers in Quito

Hola from Quito Ecuador,
Today began with two guides, three brothers and five individuals coming together for the first time for the Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador.  Most climbers flying into Quito arrive around midnight and don’t get to the hotel until after 1am.  With an 8 am orientation and team introduction, we were blessed to have a hearty breakfast, strong coffee and warm sunshine to get the guys awake.  I can say guys because we are a team with no females.  From past experience I can say it is usually helpful to have at least one lady keeping the men in check but judging from our first eight hours together, I have a gut feeling we should be generally well behaved. 
After our breakfast and intro the team packed up in Angel’s mini bus for a splendid three hour tour of some of Quito’s main attractions. 
First we visited the “Mitad Del Mundo” or Middle of the World, where we stood on the actual equator.  Here we observed visual confirmation of the Coriolis effect, balanced an egg on a nail and watched as gravity played tricks on both our minds and bodies.  I would like to say we also saw aliens zipping overhead time travel portals open but unfortunately that happened last week.
After we left the center of the earth, we headed into old town Quito where we visited a giant statue of the Virgin Mary, a three hundred year old Cathedral and the Presidential Palace.  Having felt let down by absent aliens on the equator I was hoping for a brief chat with Rafael Correal, the country’s President, as a consolation prize but we were told he was too busy.  Go figure…..
After the tour we had a nice lunch, nap and gear check.  All in all a pretty full day.  Stay turned for tomorrow’s dispatch because we will be climbing a mountain higher than any team member has climbed before!
Wishing everyone well back home.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team Ecuador

Darlene shared your photos and it looks gorgeous.  I’ve been to Quito.  Got bad case of food poisoning at a hotel there.  Denny’s niece lived and worked there ten years and is married to a handsome Equidorian.  Good climbing!

Posted by: Mary Jane stiles on 1/8/2017 at 2:38 pm

Sounds like you are having a terrific time, stay safe and have fun

Posted by: Darlene on 1/7/2017 at 10:31 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Rest at Base Camp

The team is resting today at Plaza Argentina which is helping them acclimate for our climb. Most reported that they slept the best thus far, 30ish miles of walking will do that I guess.

Goals for the day included eating a fresh breakfast, sorting gear, doing some laundry, taking a hike and eating pizza, not to bad at 13,600’.

Their hike went out into a valley where Cerro Ibanez looms. The rocks and soil are an amazing crimson color and one gets the feeling like they could easily be on Mars.

Tomorrow we will carry gear and food to Camp 1 and make our first cache. Until then we are trying to stay out of the wind and sun.

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Mike and JM, have fun!  My Denali Tribe, wish I were there with you.. kick butt.  Did Kevin bring a gnome with a sombrero?

Posted by: Rhonda McCormick on 1/4/2017 at 10:37 am

Greetings from Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia to Kevin Walsh and the rest of the climbing team!!
Kevin, please let me know if the glacial ice caves are still at base camp?
Next section of your journey is tiring, but a great close up of the penitentes !

Best of luck, and safe travels to everyone !

Posted by: Ken Barrett on 1/4/2017 at 6:12 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Arrive at Base Camp

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

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

Mike King & Team’s First Views of Aconcagua

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.

RMI Guide Mike King

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

Aconcagua: King & Team at Pampa Las Lenas

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”!

RMI Guide Mike King

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

Aconcagua: Gately & Team Back in Mendoza

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!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

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

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