February 7, 2013
23,000 feet to the busy hustle bustle, and near 100 degree heat of Mendoza in three days. After two weeks of grinding our way higher and higher on Aconcagua, the end of the trip is always a blur. Summit day on this trip has to be the most memorable part, not just for the elation of standing on the roof of South America, but because of how perfect the whole day was. Dead calm conditions, clear skies, and warm temps had us on the summit wearing just a couple layers, and no gloves! After the cold temps, snow, and winds that we had on our way up, it was an amazing shift that made the whole day so enjoyable.
Since that day, we grabbed all of our gear and endured the five hour descent to base camp, to be greeted by a wonderful steak dinner. The next morning we donned small packs and light shoes, and followed the fourteen miles of mule trails to Pompe de Leñas, our first camp on the way in. It’s always a long day, and our feet were tired when we arrived, but we were revived by a delicious asado, fresh tomato salad, and Malbec wine cooked for us by the muleteers. Everyone ate until they were stuffed, watched the stars come out, and shared stories. Wednesday morning we were up early, motivated to get to the road and all the comforts that follow. A four hour hike and a quick shuttle delivered us to Penitentes, and then a few hours in the bus had us back in Mendoza last night for another great Mendoza feast.
It has been a blast for the guides to climb with this group. Everyone gelled into a cohesive climbing team well, and took the team work aspect seriously. We have a couple of days now to relax in town, soak up some sun by the pool, and let beat up feet heal, before we start the long plane flights back! Thanks for all the comments and support on the blog.
Over and out,
Congratulations to the team on your successful adventure! It’s great to imagine you all lazing by the pool in the sun with your feet propped up, reminiscing about all of those footsteps that took you to the top. Well done & Safe trips home!
Mom & Dad
Posted by: Paula & Bill VanDeventer on 2/7/2013 at 4:56 pm
February 5, 2013
What a whirlwind! Yesterday we were standing at almost 23,000 feet, and this evening we’re back at Aconcagua Base Camp. It’s a big day descending all the way, and our loads just get bigger as we pick up food and gear cached at each camp. It makes it easier knowing that we’re headed to a delicious steak dinner ( better than the way in even!). Tomorrow we’re back to light loads, light shoes, and getting miles under our feet. Hopefully we see Billy and team along the way. We’ll be in touch!
February 3, 2013
We are all back at the tents after a beautiful summit day on Aconcagua! The weather was even better than forecasted, with no wind, clear skies, and warm temps. This let us leave a bit later, just as the sun was rising, and we enjoyed its warmth for the whole day. I personally have never had better conditions on the summit than today: just a light fleece, no gloves, and a vista that stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions. Congratulations to the team for a huge effort, and standing on the roof of South America. The guides would like to thank the whole team for such a successful and fun trip. Tomorrow we descend back to base camp, and get ready for the trek out and a return to Mendoza.
RMI Guides Pete, Leon, Mike, and the climbers
congrats Leon and team!
Posted by: dawn on 2/6/2013 at 11:44 am
Rick can’t wait to hear your voice and hear all about your adventure. XOXOX Carol
Posted by: Carol Crye Popp on 2/5/2013 at 9:10 pm
February 3, 2013
This is Pete Van Deventer, we are calling in from the summit of Aconcagua, top of South America, top of the Americas and highest peak outside of the Himalaya. We had a beautiful day coming up here almost dead calm, sunny and warm. We have had a wonderful day. Everybody is psyched. We summitted about 2 o’clock Mendoza time. We are going to spend another 15 minutes or so up here. And then we are going to book it back to the tents and get down into some fatter air. So, everybody here says hi to everybody back home and sends our best. We’ll see everybody soon.
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer checks in from the summit of Aconcagua.
On The Map
CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazing accomplishment!
Posted by: Maria on 2/3/2013 at 5:59 pm
RIck I am very proud of you, very excited for you, and very relieved you are on your way down! I hope I get to hear your voice soon. I love you. Carol
Posted by: Carol Crye Popp on 2/3/2013 at 2:27 pm
February 2, 2013
We made the big trek to Camp 3 today! It’s not actually that far, about three hours of walking, but there aren’t too many O’s at 19,000 feet, and we had a pretty decent wind gusting at us from all directions. Needless to say, we are happy to be in our tents in camp, and pumped for the summit push tomorrow morning. We’ll see how much sleep we can get in the thin air up here first, and hopefully we’ll give a call from the summit tomorrow afternoon.
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Leon Davis, Mike King, and gang
On The Map
Rick is my favorite person named Rick Popp! Congrats to you and your team!
Posted by: Ben Gadd on 2/3/2013 at 12:48 pm
Thinking of you and your team today as you make the summit. XOXOXO Carol
Posted by: carol Crye Popp on 2/3/2013 at 5:25 am
February 1, 2013
Groundhog Day here at Aconcagua Camp 2. A windy night and windy day here confirmed our decision to wait a day before moving up. It’s hard to spend two days just hanging in tents though, and the group is psyched to move tomorrow and get closer to our objective. As the forecasts keep coming in (we get pretty OCD as guides right around now) things are looking great for Sunday! Onward and upward,
RMI Guides Pete, Leon, Mike, and team
On The Map
Wow! Mountain Climbing is an incredible feat! Godspeed Joe & George!
Posted by: Daniel Nolan on 2/2/2013 at 7:42 pm
Hang in there team. Relax! When it is right you will move on and summit when it is time.
Love you Tony and David!
Posted by: Laura Rito on 2/2/2013 at 5:22 pm
January 31, 2013
We had a fabulous rest day at Camp 2 today. We went for a short walk to look at the route above us, ate, and napped. We did get a new forecast today, and with the new info, we’ve decided to rest tomorrow again at Camp 2, then move up Saturday to summit Sunday. This sets us up better for winds, and Camp 2 is a great place to acclimate and get strong. So tomorrow: Groundhog Day! We’ll be in touch soon.
The Aconcagua crew
January 30, 2013
We made the jump! Camp One was old news and folks were sick of the same old scenery, so we decided to move to Camp Two at 18,000’ today. We had beautiful climbing conditions: a light breeze and sunshine, and arrived at camp to find it mostly empty. We got our pick of tent sites before several groups rolled in after us.
Because RMI Guide JJ Justman’s team was kind enough to leave us a cache of food and fuel at Camp 3, we have decided not to carry tomorrow, but to rest instead. That sets us up to potentially move to Camp 3 on Friday, and potentially summit on Saturday. There are a lot of ifs in that sentence, and we have to remain flexible up here, but we have our fingers crossed. We’ll keep you updated.
RMI Guides Pete, Leon, Mike, and the crew
On The Map
Best of luck for good weather on the big push. Love to Fatima and enjoy the adventure.
Posted by: Peter Williamson on 1/31/2013 at 2:29 pm
Following along anxiously .... Stay safe… Love you and can’t wait till you get home so I can hear all about your adventure first hand.
Posted by: Carol Crye Popp on 1/31/2013 at 7:05 am
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
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