January 19, 2013
The whole team is finally in Mendoza and assembled! Due to several flight delays, today has been a bit chaotic, as we raced around to get through the park permit registration process, and buy last minute lunch food. In the end, we decided to cool our heels in Mendoza for one more night, rather than push up to Los Penitentes. This will allow us to organize, let a few folks get their first good nights sleep in a few days, and finish up the permits for a few folks. So it goes on a major international expedition.
Tomorrow, we get back on track, leaving in the late morning for Los Penitentes. Once there, we will sort gear for the mules, and get ready to begin our trek the next day!
In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy another fantastic dinner in Mendoza. Best wishes to everybody back home, and we’ll be in touch soon, this time from 9000 feet!
RMI Guides Pete, Leon, Mike, and team
Good Luck James “Kingpin” Beckerich and the rest of the team! I am following your blogs and wishing you all a safe and successful summit.
Thomas “The Hammer” Goham
Posted by: Thomas Goham on 1/27/2013 at 11:56 am
Just wasting some time late at night and found your email about this trip. Don’t know if your home by now or not but look forward to hearing about it all sometime. Enjoy
Posted by: Josh Eaton on 1/26/2013 at 11:35 pm
January 21, 2013
Good evening ladies and gentlemen from the team at Pampa de Leñas. Yesterday we left the hot and humid climate in Mendoza for Los Penitentes where we enjoyed our last night in a warm bed and feasted in the Hotel Ayelen dining hall. This morning we began our hike into the Vacas Valley under some un-characteristic weather indeed. Instead of a clear blue sky and unrelenting sun, we left Punta de Vacas in a light rain and cool breeze. But as we pressed on, the rain soon subsided and we enjoyed a pleasant hike into camp where we had our tents up by 4:30 and dinner by 6:30. The team did a great job on this first day and we look forward to sunny skies tomorrow as we continue up the Vacas Valley to our next camp at the ‘House of Stone’.
Hope everyone enjoyed their Monday; we certainly enjoyed ours.
On The Map
January 22, 2013
Hola from Casa de Piedras! Today’s weather was a total contrast to yesterday’s, as we wound our way further up the Vacas Valley. We woke this morning to clear skies that turned to sun as it cleared the canyon walls. It made for a pleasant walk as we covered the nine miles or so from camp last night. A light breeze helped to keep things from getting too hot.
The trail crosses the river over a small foot bridge immediately out of camp. Once on the opposite bank, it alternates between following the river bank, and rising over a chain of small bluffs. Casa de Piedras is located at the mouth of the Relinchos Valley and river. Tomorrow we will cross the Vacas, and leave this valley behind as we ascend the Relinchos to base camp at 14,000 feet. Everyone is in great spirits (it’s amazing the power that big orb in the sky has) and sends their best. Tomorrow we’ll touch base from Plaza Argentina!
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and Team
The mountains were his masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change.”
― Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel
Posted by: Janet on 1/23/2013 at 6:15 am
January 23, 2013
We made it to our base camp at Plaza Argentina! We got an early start this morning in order to take advantage of the muleteers offer to ferry us across the Vacas River. For some, it was their first time riding a mule, and it was a much more pleasant start to the morning than wading the four frosty channels would have been.
It’s a pleasant walk up the canyon of the Relinchos River, and before we knew it, we were walking into Base Camp to be greeted with juice and fresh melon from our excellent outfitter, Grajales. They cooked a wonderful dinner for us tonight and will handle our meals for our stay at Base Camp.
On tap for tomorrow is a well deserved rest day. We’ll use the time to sort gear for the carry to Camp 1 the following day. Before all that though: a big breakfast of breakfast burritos.
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the RMI Aconcagua team
On The Map
January 24, 2013
Despite being a rest day, today has flown by for the group. We were able to sleep in a bit, but most were woken at 7:30 to the park helicopter hovering low over camp, picking up barrels in a sling to be flown off the mountain. We took a leisurely breakfast of burritos with fresh veggies, bacon, cheese, and eggs, and then headed to the medical building for our obligatory check-up. Everyone passed with flying colors. Then it was time for gear sorting for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow. This often takes longer than expected as everyone hemmed and hawed over how much lunch food and other items to bring up. To this point, we have been spoiled with the mules carrying most of our kit. From here up though, anything we bring up, we will carry down.
Sorting finished, everyone took a siesta, eating lunch, taking naps, playing cards, and reciting Chuck Norris jokes. Despite a forecast of clear weather for the foreseeable future, the clouds built this afternoon, and as we sit, it is snowing gently at Basecamp.
We’ll have more news tomorrow when we are back from our carry. Ciao.
RMI Guides Mike King, Pete Van Deventer, Leon Davis, and the team
Kick some ass Rick!
Posted by: ben spina on 1/27/2013 at 6:25 pm
Waiting anxiously for the next update. I love and miss you Rick. Hope the trek to camp 1 was fun and uneventful.
Posted by: Carol Crye Popp on 1/25/2013 at 3:41 pm
January 25, 2013
Today the group woke to a cold and snow covered base camp. In preparation of our carry to Camp 1 the team received their loads yesterday. We started walking after breakfast and hot drinks. Our goal today was to cache our food and equipment for the upper mountain, while climbing higher then descending to help acclimate. Climbing through loose scree with heavy packs is always an eye opener for what lies ahead. The team climbed strong and enjoyed a blue sky with light winds. We spent an hour at 16,000+ before returning down to Aconcagua Basecamp as an evening storm approached. There is a day off tomorrow, which the entire team is looking forward to.
RMI Guide Mike King and crew
On The Map
Following your progress, too, Dave. Hope all is well. Looks beautiful, amazing! S and H!
Posted by: David Roten, Sr on 1/26/2013 at 8:28 am
I look forward to these daily updates!! Sounds like a blast! Looks like there’s a lot of Daves on the trip….but I miss my dave :). Stay warm and safe…and have fun! It’s the home stretch!!!
Posted by: Riki Przytula on 1/25/2013 at 8:50 pm
January 26, 2013
It’s been a lazy day here at Plaza Argentina, which was exactly what the doctor ordered after the group’s big effort yesterday. We woke late, cooked up a big batch of crêpes stuffed with bacon, fried apples, and dulce de leche for brunch. A few hours later, after books, more jokes, and a card game, we fried up some croque monsieur (sense the French food theme today?), and then went for a nice hour-long stroll up towards Ibañez, a sub peak outside of Basecamp. As hard as it can be to motivate for a hike after a day like yesterday, it really does aid and speed recovery. Our gear that will stay at Basecamp is sorted, and we are very ready for our move to Camp 1 tomorrow! Just one more delicious Argentine meal first…
RMI Guides Pete, Leon, Mike, and the team
This is so incredible to hear of your climb! I know this blog helps out the families knowing y’all are safe! I look forward to your next entry! Take more pictures of the hikers!!
Posted by: Debra Shaughnessy on 1/27/2013 at 5:59 am
Thanks for the update and the call :) miss you…. Keep safe. XOXO
Posted by: Carol Crye Popp on 1/27/2013 at 5:44 am
January 27, 2013
We made the move to Aconcagua Camp 1! We’re now resting in our tents at 16800’ or so. The group did great and climbed strong. When we woke, there were clouds over the summit, and towards the end of our first stretch, a sudden snow squall blew threw, sending us scrambling for our hard shells. For the next couple of hours, sun alternated with clouds, making it hard to choose the correct layers. Just as we got ready for the last hard climb up a scree hill to camp, the snow set in in earnest. The group did great getting camp set quickly so everyone could get into shelter. We’re settled in for the night now, and our hope is to wake to nice weather so that we can bump a cache of food and gear to Camp 2 tomorrow. Wish us luck!
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and crew
On The Map
Following your progress St. James. BSDDAS ! Captain
Posted by: The Captain on 1/28/2013 at 1:49 pm
HI RICK POPP AND COMPANY, I HOPE YOU ARE WARM AND WELL, TAKE IT ALL IN SO THAT YOU CAN TELL US ALL ABOUT IT WHEN YOU COME HOME. TAKE PIX. ARE YOU HAVING FUN YET? LOVE AND WARM HUGS, MOM
Posted by: JOY POPP on 1/28/2013 at 11:55 am
January 28, 2013
Last night was a windy one, though when we woke we realized that it sounded much worse inside the tents than it was outside. A couple centimeters of new snow fell overnight freshening up our surroundings, but it was quickly transported by the wind with much of it ending up in the vestibules of our tents. With some sun above and winds not too bad, we decided to make our carry to Camp 2 to cache food and personal gear. As we hoped, the winds stayed relatively light, and we had a pleasant climb. Throughout this climb, we have been just behind a large crowd, so that we hear rumors of camps being full, but arrive to find them deserted. It appeared today that everyone had just vacated Camp 2 for high camp. This works in our favor as we don’t have to fight for tent sites.
As we began our descent, the winds strengthened, with several strong gusts. We were all happy to get back to the tents and crawl into fluffy sleeping bags for the afternoon to recover from yet another big effort. With a great meal of tortellini sticking to our ribs, everyone is psyched for the scheduled rest day tomorrow.
Aconcagua Campo Uno residents
On The Map
Hey Pete…Another 2012 Climber checking in…Great to read your colorful 2013 accounts…Spent last three weeks daily reading my journal entries from last year…Why is your name on every other page !...Thx again for all your support…Godspeed…Waltero
Posted by: Waltero on 1/29/2013 at 7:33 am
Hard to believe it’s been a year since we were down there together (makes me want to start coughing). I leave in two weeks to join Casey Grom on Kilimanjaro.
I wish you and the team a safe journey up and down that big rock pile.
Posted by: Larry Seaton on 1/28/2013 at 5:16 pm
January 29, 2013
Just as planned, we spent today lounging at Camp 1. Snow plumes off of the col above us indicated high winds this morning, and made us glad we had gotten our carry out of the way yesterday. Otherwise, the sky was clear, and the sun we had been missing for the last couple days made things pleasantly warm. Today was a day for recovery, organizing for tomorrow, and eating all of the extra lunch food we could. Tomorrow will be our move to Camp 2 (18,000 ft)! We’ll check from there.
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the RMI Aconcagua team
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
Posted by: Janet on 1/30/2013 at 11:51 am
Wishing you all a calm & clear day for the next big push - Best of luck tomorrow! Lots of Love, Mom & Dad
Posted by: Paula & Bill VanDeventer on 1/29/2013 at 5:18 pm