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RMI Expeditions Blog


Aconcagua: Gorum & Team Begin Trek, Sleep Under the Stars

Well, this morning went about as smoothly as it possibly could have thanks to the team’s expert preparations yesterday. We had breakfast in the hotel, and then walked next door to make our final preparations for departure. After a short shuttle ride to the mouth of the Vacas River, we checked in with the park service and headed up the valley. We had cloudless skies and a consistent breeze all day, so it never got unbearably hot.
The team arrived in camp around 3:30 this afternoon, which left plenty of time for relaxing and exploring. Dinner consisted of more food than we could eat, prepared by the mule drivers on an open flame. Most folks are crawling into bed now, and since the weather is so nice we’re going to forgo the tents and sleep under the stars. All the team says hello to everyone at home.

RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, and Avery Parrinello

On The Map

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Return to Punta Arenas

Friday, December 15, 2017

Back in South America!  It was a fine morning out at Union Glacier.  One could tell our outfitter (ALE) was anxious to get rid of the fifty odd stinky, hungry, hyper climbers in camp.  The Ilyushin was off deck from Punta Arenas by mid morning and we were on it ready for take off at 3 PM.  The morning at Union was wonderful, saying so long to old and new friends.  Everyone commented on how long us “V1” climbers had been down (pretty far into V2) and sure, it is true… we got way behind schedule waiting for storms… but somehow today, it all seemed extremely worth the wait.  Landing in rain in Punta Arenas was a novelty.  Darkness was a novelty.  Showers and plumbing were a novelty.  Dinner together was just fun and delicious (starting at10 PM -normal for Latin America).  We went to the top floor of a high hotel for a nightcap and found the other fifty climbers we’d traveled with.  Lots of fist bumping, back slapping and hugging ensued.  It began to crystallize… we’d lived through a great adventure together.  We’ll remember it forever.
Tomorrow (later today actually) we’ll bump into each other in airports from Punta to Miami and beyond.  It will be back to the same old grind… but not quite… we’ve shared enough of the good stuff in the wildest, weirdest corner of the world to make that same old grind a little finer forever. 
Thanks very much for keeping track of our adventure. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sue, Dave and team!  You all just conveyed in this post what a climb is all about!
Congratulations to all!

Posted by: Russ Frederickson on 12/17/2017 at 6:31 am

Congrats to Sue and all on a successful mission and a safe return to a “regular” continent. Very proud and can’t wait to hear the stories!

Posted by: Norm Symonds on 12/16/2017 at 8:52 pm


Aconcagua: Gorum & Team Depart Mendoza, Prepare to Start Trek

Today the team said goodbye to Mendoza for a while. After a leisurely breakfast of pastries, and more pastries, we finished off the process of obtaining our Aconcagua climbing permits. We only experienced a few hang ups in the permit office, which is about par for the course.
We amassed our gear into one big pile in the hotel lobby, partly to prepare to load it into our trailer, and partly just to see how much stuff we have. In my professional opinion we brought enough stuff, judging by volume alone. After transferring our pile into a vehicle, we hit the road to Penitentes. A few naps, and more than a few empanadas later, we arrived in Penitentes.
This afternoon, we packed everything for our travel to Aconcagua Base Camp. Everything has to be packed such that it doesn’t get destroyed on the mules. The team made quick work of that task, leaving us plenty of down time before dinner. I’m pretty sure most people took another nap. Tomorrow morning we will hit the dusty trail, and things for us will get much simpler. For a few days we will just walk, eat, and sleep. Everyone is looking forward to it. We’ll let you know how it goes.
RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, and Avery Parrinello

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Have a great time! Enjoy yourself. Be safe.

Posted by: Dean & Dodie Radloff on 12/17/2017 at 8:19 pm

” It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. Sir Edmund Hillary

Have fun be safe…enjoy the day!

Mike & Debbie Mitan

Posted by: M Mitan on 12/17/2017 at 10:23 am


Aconcagua: Gorum & Team Meet in Mendoza

The team has arrived in Mendoza. All baggage is accounted for, gear is checked, and dinner has been eaten. After a long day of travel we are hitting the hay relatively early. Tomorrow we will drive to Penitentes and get everything organized and packed for the walk in to base camp. The team is excited to get out of town and into the mountains. Stay tuned, and find out what happens next.

RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, and Avery Parrinello

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Enjoy an Easy Day

Today was just plain easy.  The weather was fine, the flight to Chile is still on for tomorrow, the food was plentiful… stress was low, all around.  We played games, attended history lectures, rested and talked endlessly with adventurers, explorers and climbers.  The dining tent at Union Glacier is an international crossroads beyond compare.  It isn’t uncommon to hear a different language -or two-
at each table as one passes through with platefuls of fresh fruit and veggies flown onto the Ice from South America.  Life is way easier here than out at Vinson, but we’re still talking animatedly about summit day there… or about the storms that challenged us.  But now we’re also starting to talk about travel plans and what might be next… for climbing or visiting or just for living.  If all goes well, we could be back in Punta Arenas tomorrow night, which would require lots of switching gears and reconnecting with the world.  For tonight though, we’re still sleeping on snow in a world of our own. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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Congratulations to all ! Thanks for sharing your trip.

Posted by: David Clemmons on 12/15/2017 at 8:13 am


Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Gately & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

We did it! The team stood on top of 19,347ft Cotopaxi this morning at 7:30am. The team climbed brilliantly through bitterly cold temperatures and the ever-present lack of oxygen to check the active volcano off their bucket lists. We were treated to clear skies all day long and it wasn’t until we were finally driving away that the mountain fell back into it’s usual cloak of dark clouds. Oh and we had another birthday today! Happy Birthday to Kris Vargas! And what a way to spend it climbing one of Ecuador’s finest volcanoes on a truly spectacular day. We’re all back at Tambopaxi packing our things for the drive back to Quito where we will enjoy one last dinner as a team before most of us depart back to the States later this evening. Thanks to everyone for following along. This will be the last blog post of our trip! Until next time!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Go from High Camp to Union Glacier

And just like that… everything started moving again.  The storm ended exactly on schedule.  By 6:30 AM High Camp was calm and sunny and we started brewing up.  We packed and dug our gear out of the snow.  We shook pounds of ice and frost out of the tents before stuffing them in their sacks.  With crampons on one last time, we departed at 10 AM.  After seeing virtually nothing for days, the scenery today was welcome and spectacular.  We made good time down the fixed ropes in the morning shadow.  Lindsay led the charge, pulling the lines free of the wind slabbed snow for a good chunk of the route.  At Low Camp, we re-tooled and set up for hauling sleds.  No more crampons and ice axes, it was time to switch back to ski poles.  By this point we’d been made aware that there were seats on an airplane out of Vinson Base just for us… provided that we got our tails down there in time.  We had the lower mountain pretty much to ourselves for the next few hours of trudging through the frozen beauty of the Branscomb Glacier.  There was just time enough on reaching base to hastily organize gear before the Twin Otter floated in to a perfect landing.  We said our goodbyes to the mountain and the ALE staff at Vinson Base Camp and climbed aboard.  Back at Union Glacier, we got out in early evening to a far easier environment… hard packed level snow, mild temps and walk-in tents with tables and chairs.  We caught up to the gang of Vinson climbers we’d originally gone to the mountain with.  It was a pleasant reunion with guests and staff and everybody trading notes on weather at the top of Antarctica, out at the penguins, back in the Alps or off in the Himalaya.  Word is that an Ilyushin flight may be inbound for us the day after tomorrow… on the 15th.  Better late than never.  In any case, my team is looking forward to a low altitude night without a storm tearing at the tents.  Union is certainly good enough for now. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Papa (Steve) I miss, miss, miss you, really bad papa! Glad you got to the top, hurry back - Sierra. I miss you and love you - Kira.  The Grandkids helped me make fudge tonight. They are very anxious to have you back. We love you and can’t wait to see you, soon. Vickie

Posted by: Vickie Butterfield on 12/14/2017 at 8:34 pm

Thank goodness I can stop feeling guilty every time I put another chunk in the wood stove or fry a real egg or go to the kitchen to top off my coffee cup.  You are probably all walking around Union Glacier in your flip flops and tank tops by now.  Linz, my birthday present will be you getting safely underway back to Indiana.  Congrats to all from 630’ altitude, 22 degrees F. and gentle breeze.  There are still colors besides blue and white. 

Dave, thanks for looking after our girl.  When I tried to teach our kids that taking a little risk adds spice to life, Lindsay took me seriously.

Posted by: Les Z on 12/14/2017 at 5:24 am


Ecuador Volcanoes: Gately & Team Ready for Cotopaxi Climb

The skies cleared overnight and we were treated to the first truly blue bird morning of the trip. Cotopaxi was out in full glory. A leisurely morning lead to another fantastic breakfast served up by our Master Chef Josè. After breakfast we took a short stroll around the area to stretch the legs. It is climber Aaron D.‘s birthday today and upon our return from our walk we surprised him with a cake equipped with candles and all! Happy Birthday Aaron! After enjoying our Ecuadorian pastel we hopped onto the bus and took the short drive to Tambopaxi where we will stage for our summit climb. With the weather looking good the team is excited to tackle our last objective! Off to bed here shortly in preparation of an early wake up. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Gately & Team Enjoy Rest Day

A well deserved rest day at Chilcabamba Lodge at the base of Cotopaxi has been enjoyed with its views, food and short walks around the property. During breakfast, Cotopaxi revealed itself from behind the clouds and was covered with a dusting of fresh snow. With a pair of binoculars from the lodge, we were able to make out the beginning of the climbing route. The rest of the day was filled with drying out our gear from Cayambe, repacking, reading and naps. The food here has been our favorite so far. The steaks for dinner were thick and cooked to perfection, some pressure breathing was required to clean our plates! Tomorrow morning will be another relaxing start to the day before we transfer up the road to Tombopaxi Hut.

RMI Guide Bryan Mazaika

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Vinson Massif: Hahn & Team Remain at High Camp

Still at High Camp.  True to the predictions, today was a lot like yesterday.  Windy, snowy, socked-in, cold and consistently poor for going places.  We passed the day in our sleeping bags, with a little more frost and snow building up in the tents each and every hour.  But we are still smiling.  We’re fed.  We’re hydrated.  Well-rested, tanned and ready for action.  This evening, although we are still in murk and a ground blizzard, the peaks are out.  Cloud free and shining in sunlight.  The forecasters back at Union Glacier tell us we are in store for rapid clearing and calming tomorrow. In which case we’ll shake off the frost and get moving again.
Best Regards

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Following your daily updates with high anticipation that today will be the day you are finally at lower camp…as a total mountain novice I stand at awe of your adventure and all that it brings!
Hurry home Sue…we can’t wait to hear all about it!! Yes…beers and burgers await! Or hot cocoa & soup…?!?
Love you my friend!

Posted by: Laura Thompson on 12/13/2017 at 11:13 am

Deja vu from 17 camp on Denali.  I hope today turns out to be a great day for a hike.  Cheeseburgers and beer on this end.  Pop

Posted by: Les Zimmerman on 12/13/2017 at 7:23 am

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