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RMI Expeditions Blog

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team at High Camp

Hey there. It’s Billy. I am checking in from 19,600 feet on Aconcagua. Our crew just rolled in, actually we didn’t just roll in, we rolled in a while ago to Plaza Colera, Camp 3, which is going to be our high camp. We’re planning on taking a crack at the summit tonight. Everyone moved super well from Camp 2 to Camp 3. We were able to make good work of that leg in under three hours. Right now the team is lounging around, enjoying the calm weather and blue skies, and resting and gearing up for a late or early, depending on how you want to look at it, wake up tonight for our summit attempt. Wish us luck. We’ll hopefully check in with you guys again on the top of South America.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from Aconcagua High Camp.

On The Map

You are unreal. Your strength and calm inspire me. Go crush tomorrow!!!!

Posted by: Maude Lebowski on 1/27/2017 at 9:57 pm

Good luck Brian!! Wishing you and the team a safe summit push. Keep smiling!
Love from Australia - Renee.

Posted by: Renee Duvoisin on 1/27/2017 at 3:36 pm

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Climb and Celebrate

Jambo from Kilimanjaro
Today the team did a fantastic job climbing the intimidating looking Barranco Wall. It is the technical hurdle of this expedition and everyone did great and almost everyone enjoyed the challenge, of course the porters made it look easy as the climbed the wall with their loads carefully balanced on their heads.
Once above the wall we took a well deserved break to enjoy the views of the valleys below, but unfortunately the upper mountain was obscured by clouds. The team climbed slow and steady as we made our way up and down a few ridges before finally arriving in the Karanga Valley where we’ll camp for the night.
We also got to celebrate Rob Junell’s 70th birthday here with him! And our gracious staff surprised him with a wonderful cake this evening.

Everyone is in good spirits and are looking forward to heading to our high camp tomorrow where we will start our summit bid from.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

On The Map

Push on…..you all got this!!!

Posted by: Kris on 1/28/2017 at 3:53 pm

You guys rock! You’re almost there! Hope you’re having a blast, can’t wait to hear all about it!! Go Team!

Posted by: Morgan on 1/27/2017 at 10:06 pm

Torres del Paine: Elias & Team Trek Into Los Perros Camp

Good evening from “Los Perros Camp”. Our third day marked a before and after on our trip; the start of the journeys along the less crowded “back side of the park” which is walked by a fraction of a percentage of the visitors, the narrower and more primitive trails, the more frequent but also elusive fauna (indigenous ducks, woodpeckers or owls were seen along the path…) are now our territory. But it also marked a change in the weather, which has confined us to our tents since we arrived to camp. Being in Patagonia, is a synonym for mysticism, and glacial lakes, towering peaks and dense forests wouldn’t be the same without its clouds, misty rain and restless winds. With the gradual climb that we started in the morning, we arrived at the highest camp of all where we’ll spend a night. Not too wet, and in great spirits, we had dinner under the covered structure that the park service erected here, and we’re now headed to bed in anticipation of the big day ahead tomorrow.
More to come from our adventure,

RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team

Sounds like y’all are having a lot of fun! I hope it’s not too rainy and that you’re getting some incredible pictures :) I am so jealous of everything y’all have achieved so far! Go Mommy!!! Xoxo

Posted by: Allie on 1/28/2017 at 9:32 am

Lucy - Sounds great, except for the wind and rain and clouds and altitude and the “start of our gradual climb” and being “confined to our tents”, of course.  I am sincerely hoping this isn’t guide-speak.  I know you are loving this and are truly in your element.  We miss you and I anxiously await your return and the rewards of St Barth.  Much love, C

Posted by: Carter on 1/27/2017 at 6:01 pm

Ecuador Seminar: Hunt, Gately & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

This morning the team woke again in Quito, had a short breakfast provided by the Hotel Mercure Alameda and meet in the lobby at 8:30AM. Today’s agenda took us a short distance from downtown to the Quito Teleferico where we would take the Gondola to 13,200ft and begin our acclimatization hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha. The old extinct volcano sits at a height of 15,700ft and offers an excellent opportunity for our team to begin its acclimatization. 
The acclimatization process consists of climbing to a higher elevation, in our case 15,700ft and only spending a short amount of time there. This provokes the body into producing more blood red cells to help carry more oxygen throughout the body. We then return to a lower elevation to sleep in order to recover and allow our bodies time to readjust. 
The day started off slightly overcast with a few sprinkles but by the time we made it to the top of the gondola the weather was dry and cool. Perfect for hiking! We enjoyed a short glimpse at the Northwestern flanks of the stratovolcano Cotopaxi, which is still currently closed to climbing due to recent activity. The trail takes us over rolling terrain and a few short but exciting easy rock steps before climbing moderately to its summit block. From there the trail dissipates and we begin picking the path of least resistance through blocky terrain. At this time the clouds descending upon us and a light rain began falling. We summitted Rucu Pichincha at around noon in a white out.
The team did fantastic with the new altitude and enjoyed getting out of the city, seeing more of the country and stretching the legs. We’re now back from dinner feeling a little guilty about the amount of pizza we just all consumed and are looking forward to some sleep. Tomorrow takes us a few hours out of the city where we will enjoy another acclimatization hike up Fuya Fuya (13,980ft) and a night in the city of Cayambe

Thanks for following along. Stay tuned for more!

RMI Guide Steve Gately


Posted by: Denise reynolds on 1/27/2017 at 9:56 am

Safe and happy on your first ascent! Great job!

Posted by: Denise Reynolds on 1/27/2017 at 9:54 am

Ecuador Volcanoes: Liken & Team Finish Up Their Expedition

Hola From Quito,

What a change from 24 hours ago.   As I write this the horns from Quito’s busy streets blare below our window and the team is preparing with hot showers and clean clothes for a dinner on the town.  
This wasn’t the case last night.  Twenty-four hours ago we were camped at 17,500 feet on a small perch located on Ecuador’s highest peak.   For weeks now Chimborazo has thwarted climbers attempting a summit push with unusually bad weather and deep snow.  I am sorry to say things haven’t changed.  
After a solid meal of freeze dried chicken and rice we hit the tents for a few hours and tossed and turned until the alarm went off at 11:30, pm that is.  From here we ate a hasty breakfast and geared up.  The sky was clear so hopes were high.  The first two stretches of climbing were going well until we hit the end of the trail made by climbers the previous night.
We took a break at 19,000’ and had a long discussion about what was happening with the snow conditions and how that played into an ever-steepening route.  In the end we could not justify continuing up into the unknown with a team of 13 climbers.  All the other teams on the mountain had already turned around but we held onto hope for just a bit longer.  Finally we had to make the call to turn around.  Chimborazo has not seen a successful ascent yet in 2017 and for now it will stay that way.  
Even though the team did not summit we gave it a serious shot which our bodies will confirm.  So after dinner I’m sure we will toast a great journey and then crash hard for a restful 12-hour snooze.  We are all looking forward to coming home to see our families.
Thanks for following along.
Hast Pronto- or until next time.
Team Ecuador saying adios.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team’s Day of Acclimatization Before Summit Push

Well, not literally. But yes figuratively. Our weather forecast is looking great and we are waiting out what will likely be our last rest day of the program here at Camp 2. The calm winds and sunny skies should persist through our summit push which is set to start with tomorrow’s move to Camp 3 at Plaza Cólera (19,600’). If the weather holds true to the forecast we’ll be taking a crack at the summit the following morning! I think some nervous butterflies are settling in with the team right now as all we have to do is sit around and finish out our acclimatization process. Too much tent time can be a tough thing to handle but in actuality we are slightly ahead of schedule. We’re trying to keep that in mind as we finish off our rest day and begin what will be at least five busy days of hard work that will eventually bring us back to the milk and honey of Mendoza.

We’ll do our best to keep checking in along the way!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Good luck guys on continued good weather.  I’m with you all in spirit, especially Scott!

Posted by: ROGER COFFEY on 1/26/2017 at 2:41 pm

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Traverse to Barranco Valley

Hello again
We had another nice day here in Africa with a few views of Kilimanjaro this morning, before the clouds closed in and thankfully protected us from the intense sun. We left Shira camp and slowly climbed uphill before we started our traverse over to Barranco Valley across the volcanic plateau and just below the remaining glaciers that cling to Kilimanjaro’s slopes, which sadly we didn’t get to see up close, but there’s always tomorrow!
As we approached camp we were all amazed to the giant Groundsels and famous Senecio trees that look like something out of a Dr. Suess book and were relieved to be at camp after about 5hrs of hiking.
Everyone is doing very well and are looking forward to tomorrow’s climb up the Barranco wall which sits just above camp. 

RMI Guide Casey Grom

On The Map

What a way to spend your 70th! Happy birthday rocket! Looks amazing over there, wishing you and your team the best on your way to the top!

Posted by: Aaron on 1/27/2017 at 9:35 am

Sounds like all is well for team and climb.  Pay close attention to the Judge today… he’s 70 !!!!!  Happy Birthday !  Jayne, you look great and really add to the ‘team’ pictures !!!  Way to go !

Posted by: Ernie & Victoria on 1/27/2017 at 7:42 am

Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Return to Mendoza

The whole team has returned to city life.

A spectacular accomplishment on this, the tallest mountain outside the Himalayas. We spent our last night on the mountain looking up at the sky sleeping tent less under the stars,it’s amazing to take in such a view—without the obstruction of any city lights.  We were all awestruck as we looked out at the breathtaking scene—imagining the others worlds out there, just like the one we experienced at over 22,000 feet on the summit of Aconcagua.

The day hike to what was our first camp and our last was a healthy 18-miles. Upon arrival an amazing open fire meal of filet and chicken with potatoes, corn and onions thrown on the fire by our gear-carrying mule drivers. We gulped back various beverages and ate barehanded with Neanderthal dining manners!

At the end of it all, we had a four-hour hike to the trail head, where our local service folks Grajales Expeditions had a perfect hand off, gathering us up and transferring us on to the our three-hour drive to Mendoza. Thankfully, that included a snack of 60 empanadas along the way.
What we come away with from these sometimes grueling, expedition style climbs is tough to explain. As the team members make there way home the folks at security check at the airport can’t imagine what immense power is being brought on board the plane today

Congrats team!
RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Congratulations Pepper and the entire team on your incredible success!!  An outstanding accomplishment to be celebrated and cherished.

Posted by: Chi Dees on 1/26/2017 at 12:28 pm


You did a fantastic job.  To get everyone, just think about that:  everyone, to the top of the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, is just outstanding.

Congratulations indeed.  Well done.

Art Muir

Posted by: Art Muir on 1/26/2017 at 8:08 am

Torres del Paine: Elias & Team Trek to Lake Dickson

And day two on the trails went by… Greetings from Lake Dickson!

What a pleasant journey we had. Walking along the park boundary, following the Paine River, we had the Argentinean border at a stone’s throw to the right for most of the day. We learned about several local flower and plant species (too bad the orchids were already withered) and experience also some Patagonian weather, with stronger winds and rain as we surmounted the highest point of the day “Paso del Viento”, but that in no means slowed anyone down during the short time it lasted. Upon arrival to camp, the views of the first glaciers popped up from within the mountains and an evening hike along the beach of Lake Dickson, after dinner, brought us the reward of seeing small icebergs afloat its waters as dusk approached. More to come tomorrow, stay tuned and follow along!

RMI Guides Elías de Andres Martos

Gorgeous! So envious of your adventure! Stay safe & love every moment! We miss you at work but know you are having an amazing time <3 Catherine B.

Posted by: Catherine on 1/27/2017 at 5:57 am

Looks gorgeous!!! Wish I was out hiking with y’all. Relish being emersed in nature while you have it. Going to show this to Grandele this weekend. Love and miss you all the way from Alabama :) xoxo blair

Posted by: Blair on 1/26/2017 at 7:01 pm

Ecuador Seminar: Hunt, Gately & Team Explore Quito

Hello from the middle of the world!

Our Expedition Skills Seminar in Ecuador is now officially underway! Despite most of the team arriving to the hotel after midnight last night, everybody was excited and eager to kick off our program this morning. All of the people made it, all of the luggage made it… I’d say we’re off to a great start!

After only a few hours of sleep last night, we all gathered in the hotel lobby at 8am this morning after breakfast for our first of many team meetings of the trip. Introductions were made and travel tips were shared, and before we knew it, we were all sitting on a bus beginning an incredible tour of the city.

Our first stop was at Independence Square, home to the Presidential Palace of Ecuador. Unlike the overwhelming security of our White House, we were able to coax the guards in to letting us walk behind the fences and steal a look in to the main courtyard of the palace, the political center of the country. After waving goodbye to the President (not really), we continued on our way to one of the most beautiful churches in the country: La Compañia.

Taking over 150 years to complete, La Compañia is a Jesuit church finished in 1765. It offers a good a good demonstration of various architectural styles, including Baroque, Moorish, and Neoclassical construction styles. Its other claim to fame is the fact that its interior is almost completely covered in gold foil!

Our tour then took us from the modern part of the city to the early, colonial districts of the city. By driving to the top of El Panecillo and visiting Quito’s Virgin (a 45 meter tall statue overlooking the city), we were able to get great views of the entire expanse of the city. Cloudy skies prevented us from getting our first glimpses of our climbing objectives, but we were happy to be staying dry.

Our final stop of the tour took us to the equator, where we explored an interactive museum demonstrating some of the unique properties of life at 0 degree latitude. Only a few of us were able to balance an egg on the head of a nail, but I still have high hopes for this team…

Now, back at the hotel, our mission is simple: kick back, relax, and catch up on some much needed sleep. We’ll be stretching our legs tomorrow on our first acclimatization hike of the trip, but until then, it’s time to get some shut eye.

Until tomorrow,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Steve Gately, and the rest of the team

Your team photo sure shows a good looking group of people! Y’all have a great time and be safe…..I need my husband back in one piece please. Prayers and hugs from Bailey’s Prairie, Texas - Lisa Outterson

Posted by: Lisa Outterson on 1/26/2017 at 11:56 am

Happy to hear everyone made it okay. Make sure to give that Ted Porter a hard time on his 4-0 birthday! Be safe and have an amazing time! Looking forward to the updates. Love, Stephanie Areen

Posted by: Stephanie Areen on 1/26/2017 at 7:25 am

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