December 29, 2018
Yesterday we spent the day at Plaza Argentina sorting gear for the mules and enjoying a quiet base camp before the post holiday rush. Today we woke to high winds at base camp and said our goodbyes to the Grajales staff and set out for the 15-mile walk to Pampa Las Lenas. As we retraced our steps from two weeks ago, we had a chance to consider what we had accomplished on this trip and add some closure to what could have been. We concluded the day with a traditional Argentine asado for dinner and plenty of laughs from the difference that two weeks had made on us physically and mentally as we ate alongside groups of fresh climbers just starting their trip. Tomorrow is a short three-hour walk to the park entrance and from there we’ll be in Mendoza to conclude our expedition. Thanks for following along.
Gloria, you are AWESOME!!! We are ALWAYS so proud of you (and team) whether you make it to the top or not. We can’t wait to see more pictures. Dana says it’s exciting to live his climbing dreams vicariously through you. :-) BIG HUGS!!!!!!
Posted by: Susan and Dana on 12/30/2018 at 5:18 pm
December 27, 2018
It’s one of the toughest decisions a guide team makes, when to call it quits below the summit of a big peak. We had great weather until we didn’t. The Team acclimated well and above 18,000’ life gets harder. With winds increasing and our number of days dwindling, we decided to get out of the wind and start the descent to Base Camp. While our climbers are disappointed, they all got two spectacular weeks in the Andes at high altitude, made some new friends and climbing partners. The Team will spend tomorrow at Plaza Argentina and begin the two day walk to the road on the 29th. A huge thanks to a wonderful group of climbers and those that supported them along the way.
On The Map
Another unforgettable experience! Looking forward to hearing all the details. Happy you are all safe and in good spirits.
Gloria, you’ll soon meet up with Michelle. How cool is that?
Love ya all the way from Kodiak,
Mary Ann, Peter, and Grace
Posted by: Mary Ann on 12/29/2018 at 12:14 pm
You made an unbelievable climb and a great (albeit tough) decision.
Can’t wait to hear the stories from Neil Yoder! “Family Time” has been very quiet here!
We are so proud of you Neil, and all the rest of you who we will hear all about.
Posted by: Karen Epstein on 12/29/2018 at 9:13 am
December 26, 2018
After a calm Christmas rest day we woke early to go for a walk towards High Camp and potentially beyond. The morning was cold with a light breeze out of the West stinging our faces. This was going to be the last calm day for a while. We didn’t make it to far before deciding that we need more acclimatization and the additional terrain would be to big of an undertaking. We returned to Camp 2 at 18,000’ and hung out while the winds rattled the tents and the dry snow shot off the upper ridge lines. The Team is anxious for a summit bid and the winds have arrived but not quite as forecast. Our plan is to move up to High Camp at 19,600’ tomorrow and see what we get. The next window of calm weather isn’t until the 31st and there is plenty that could change by then.
On The Map
Stumbled across this blog on the website. Good luck and happy holidays!
Posted by: Chris Fowler on 12/27/2018 at 6:35 am
December 25, 2018
A few years ago I had the pleasure to work with Caleb Ladue, RMI guide on his first trip here on Aconcagua. We spent Christmas with our group at base camp. Caleb had bought a bunch of treats and little bottles of champagne for our team to enjoy, one of which was TANG mimosas. He had somehow grabbed a sock from each climber without them knowing and when the team walked into our dining tent there hung a stocking for each of them. Caleb passed away in a skiing accident not far from where we are now in the Andes last fall. In his memory, we started our holiday morning off with stockings and hot drinks delivered to the Team’s tents. The champagne would have been to heavy to get up this high and not benefited our acclimatization so we opted for coffee.
The Team is doing well and excited for a rest day. The weather is supposed to get windy for the next 3-5 days. Advancing our schedule isn’t in the cards so we will wait to see what the weather gives us and hopefully have a summit bid Sunday-Monday. This will get us back to Mendoza for flights home. Until then we are going to reinforce camp and enjoy the calm air and warm tents.
The office sent in your blog comments, we will read them during breakfast, thanks for supporting the Team from a far, it means a lot to them. Merry Christmas from 18,000’.
Thinking of you and your journey, Neil!!! Be safe :- )
Posted by: Patricia A Darcangelo on 12/28/2018 at 3:25 am
We are missing you, Neil! Here’s the deal….hope you are having a great time and cannot wait to hear your stories. Steelers on the outside looking in and Penguins stink….you know I had to write that. Stay safe and see you in the new year. Go Badgers!
Posted by: Anne Galvin on 12/27/2018 at 11:16 am
December 24, 2018
After returning from our carry yesterday the snowfield above our camp had soaked up more UV radiation than the Tropicana sun tan lotion team. This created a flooding event that required earthwork and various channels to divert the water away from our tents. We worked faster than FEMA during Hurricane Katrina because we not only had skin in the game but nice fluffy down sleeping bags to keep dry. By the time our Team completed a micro Suez Canal, the snow started falling and would blanket the mountain by midnight, go figure. Led Zeppelin said that when the levy breaks, you have no place to go, we decided to challenge that statement and move to Camp 2 this morning.
While people walked on frozen and slick rocks this morning, the sun rose like it does everyday and made for a great day to 18,000’. Our Camp 2 is technically the now closed Guanacos Route, Camp 3. It is placed between two old snowfields that would have been glaciers maybe a few hundred years ago. With views of the Polish Glacier to our south and the heavily glaciated peaks to the North we couldn’t get a better place to enjoy the afternoon. The Team has been putting in hard work and it’s paid off with a day off for Christmas, Festivus or whatever they celebrate. If we hadn’t taken a day off there might have been some airing of grievances and a few feats of strength. Fortunately, the guides have some treats planned and nice breakfast for the group. The winds that were forecasted have been pushed back a few days and we are all grateful that the dead still air has allowed for such a great trip above Plaza Argentina. Everyone sends their love back home for the holidays.
On The Map
Merry Christmas to everyone!
We very much enjoyed the Hungarian ring this morning that Kathy baked for us (the O’Dowd Christmas staple).
Michael. Olga, Dennis and Platon
Posted by: Olga ODOWD on 12/25/2018 at 11:34 am
Merry Christmas S&G! They were streaming in last night at St. John’s Parish (sat next to the obermeyers). We housed some donato’s last night and already enjoyed it Waffle House this morning. The boys are helping gma finish off the icing for the cinnamon rolls. Rowe was too excited to sleep last night, lol! Miss you!!!
Posted by: Chartbigs on 12/25/2018 at 7:54 am
December 23, 2018
The sun hit camp around 7:20 am and the Team got a slow roll to the day. We ate a delicious egg and potato scramble before packing up our cache items. The calm and warm morning facilitated getting out of camp by 10:30. The terrain between the two camps is comprised of three traverses to gain the 1,600’ elevation gain. Between the first and second traverse is the Ameghino Col which provides a sprawling view of the Andes with several glaciated and snow covered peaks. It’s likely the most scenic and photographed part of the climb.
We were in Camp 2 at 18,000’ in just under three hours with about 45 minutes to relax and gather our cached items. A cache for those who don’t know is where a climbing team will bury their gear, food and fuel so weather, winds and birds can’t get to it. In our situation we cover our cache with rocks. The Team performed well and descended back to Camp 1 for some well deserved rest in warm tents, gently swaying in a light breeze.
There are reports of increasing wind starting on the 24th and lasting for 3-4 days. If we are all feeling good in the morning, we will move our camp to 18,000’ for the storm and batten down the tents for Christmas and a few rest days.
Thanks for following along, the Team sends it’s love to the family and friends back home.
On The Map
Merry Christmas Mom!
Posted by: Tom Kudla on 12/25/2018 at 8:54 am
Merry Christmas and a happy new year! You’re strong and healthy and I know you can do it. Lots of love and hugs. Miss you and happy you are having a great time
Posted by: Judy Doles on 12/24/2018 at 3:50 pm
December 22, 2018
After spending four nights at Plaza Argentina the routine began to feel a bit like the movie, Groundhog Day, same people in the same clothing, tasty but similar meals, etc. We packed up our remaining gear and clothing and headed uphill around 9 am. The most advantageous aspect of our time at PA was the acclimatization. It showed today, with lighter packs the Team was in camp in under four hours and they felt good enough to descend to 15,500’ and back carry our heavy cache from two days ago.
We are currently snacking and relaxing in our tents, organizing gear and getting ready for a well earned meal at 16,400’. The wind is light and should remain until the 26th. Camp 1 is located on a large flat ‘bench’ with Ameghino flanking the northern slope. On most days you can lie in your tent and listen to the wind above as it builds up and then comes crashing down like a wave. Our agenda for tomorrow is a bit in the air due to the extra work of the back carry. I think we will have a casual morning and see how people are doing then ideally carry some food, fuel, and equipment to Camp 2.
On The Map
sounds like an incredible experience. glad everyone is doing well. Hope u r sharing some of your funny stories during rest time , Neil. Merry christmas. Love u Mom
Posted by: Lois Yoder on 12/23/2018 at 8:46 pm
Glo, I am living vicariously through you. Love you Aunt Char
Posted by: Charlene Lindsey on 12/23/2018 at 5:48 pm
December 21, 2018
After watching the 80 mph winds whip the dry snow off the summit ridge of Aconcagua last night the Team got a casual start to this last rest day. This Team has really bonded with breakfast conversations lasting well into the early afternoon. Lots of reading, organizing last minutes items and a few showers filled the day. We have had a beautiful clear and calm day with only a few gusts of wind. Tomorrow we pack up camp and start moving up the tallest mountain outside the Himalaya. Everyone is acclimating well and feels rested. Not much else to report.
Go Patty Go! You’re doing GREAT…just ignore the wind
Posted by: Sue Mamer on 12/22/2018 at 9:03 am
Praying for all of your safety and lots of good time. What a great adventure!
Posted by: Kay Robinson on 12/22/2018 at 7:07 am
December 20, 2018
Today we carried ten days of food and fuel along with some personal gear to 15,500’. Our intended goal was Camp 1 but strong winds forced us to cache lower on the mountain. The route out of base camp follows a narrow choke with the Relinchos Glacier on the right and a large rock buttress on the left. Once through the choke, we rambled on through the scree covered glacier with great views of the surrounding peaks. From here we have one more large scree slope to switch back up and Camp 1 sits on a flat bench.
The mountain is holding more winter snow then I have seen in the 13 years I’ve been coming down here. Unfortunately the wind was too strong to allow us out on the snow. The entrance to Camp 1 is through a steep and narrow drainage that funnels wind on the best of days let alone when we are having trouble standing on flat ground. We compiled our gear and food, covered it with large talus and headed back to base camp. The Team preformed well on their first heavy carry and their downhill walking was excellent, even with the high winds. We will rest tomorrow and hope for the wind to ease off.
This sounds like an amazing adventure! We are so proud of you and we know you can do it!
-Tom and Maggie
Writing from a Waffle House in East Kentucky
Posted by: Tom and Maggie on 12/23/2018 at 9:49 am
You guys are all amazing! This is a challenge for me to even think about your climb. Please be safe and enjoy every minute of this incredible experience.
Posted by: Kay Robinson on 12/22/2018 at 8:04 am
December 19, 2018
The Team had a restful night and woke feeling good after a delicious dinner of tacos and calm weather. The morning consisted of sorting and packing gear for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow. With winds picking up the Team went for a short hike to stretch their lungs and legs. Plaza Argentina Base Camp is located on an undulating glacial moraine that is covered in scree. The camp is comprised of four large outfitters that provide logistics and meals. There are 10 large geodesic dome tents per outfitter and a few buildings for the Park Rangers. Hot showers, internet, pizza and cold drinks make the living up here pretty rough. While everyone is enjoying the amenities, after a few more nights here they will be itching to get going on the upper mountain.
We are currently resting and watching the clouds pass. Plaza Argentina is starting to get busy as 3-4 groups have walked in.
Casual day and there is some nervous energy about the first heavy carry day tomorrow. The guides are all pleased with how everyone is acclimating and getting along. With clouds covering the upper slopes we are anticipating some snow and cooler temperatures for the remainder of the day. Thanks for following along.
On The Map
Looks like fun city up there. Thanks so much for the daily feedback!
Posted by: Michelle on 12/20/2018 at 4:16 am