January 14, 2019
Today was about steak. Glorious, salty, fatty steak. We spent most of our day walking back through the Vacas Valley. We got snowed on. We saw some lightning. We heard some thunder (go on the YouTube and look up “Jim Cantore thunder snow.” That was basically us). All of those things were great, but do not capture the true essence of the day. All of that walking, over all of those rocks, across all of those rivers was done to accomplish one goal: to get to Pampa de Leñas, so we could eat our weight in carne asado.
We sit at a picnic table, we’re covered in dirt, and we eat with our hands. We eat next to climbers who are walking in to Aconcagua Base Camp. They are still clean, and not yet hungry. They watch in amazement as we devour our food as fast as it is brought to the table. We watch in amazement as they politely pass their bread around. We laugh at them because they don’t know what we know.
This is our last night in the mountains, our last night to eat with our hands, and to sleep on the ground. Tomorrow at dinner we will wear collared shirts, and say please and thank you. One might start to wipe food from his face with the back of his hand, remember where he is, and reach for a napkin instead. The conveniences of society will be welcomed, but we’re all a little wilder now, and what we’ve learned in the mountains won’t be forgotten.
Happy to hear you all are safe and sound! I’m sure a hot shower with lots of soap is much needed, and will be amazing! Enjoy the steak and wine!
Posted by: Shannon Smith on 1/15/2019 at 4:45 pm
January 13, 2019
We woke up this morning at 19,600 feet in the cold, windy environment of high camp. It’s pretty hard to get moving when you have already accomplished your goal, but we rolled out of our cozy sleeping bags and packed up our tents. The warmth and WiFi of basecamp were calling our names. We made great time heading down hill, and arrived at Plaza Argentina around 3 pm. We sat down at our table and waited patiently for four hours until dinner time.
Once the food came out, everyone stopped talking. Once the food stopped coming, we did some quick organizing for our walk out tomorrow. Now we’re all huddled up in a dome tent having a team slumber party. The Russians next door are serenading us with all genres of music. You might think that would hinder our sleep, but we are 6,000 feet lower than we were last night, so I’m betting everybody will sleep just fine.
Congratulations Team!!! Such an accomplishment for all of you. Glad all is well and heading back.
Jimmy- Can’t wait to hear about it.
All best to the whole team
Posted by: Kellogg C Gaines on 1/14/2019 at 11:30 am
January 12, 2019
Update 4:17 pm PT
Everyone is safe and sound back at high camp. It didn’t take long for the team to eat dinner, wrap up in their sleeping bags, and pass out. Tomorrow we’ll move back down to the booming metropolis of basecamp.
Hey this is JM Gorum calling from the top of Aconcagua. We got kind of a late start this morning. We ended up having a beautiful day. We are standing on top right now. We are getting some high clouds and snow a little bit. We are going to start heading down hill. We will check in when we get back to High Camp. Talk to you then.
RMI Guide JM Gorum checks in from the summit of Aconcagua.
On The Map
Wonderful congrats a day late
Posted by: Alice and Don on 1/13/2019 at 10:30 am
We love you Cory!!! Congrats! Awesome job - can’t wait to hear about your adventures!
Posted by: Karen Prykull on 1/13/2019 at 6:11 am
January 11, 2019
We made it to high camp today under sunny skies and light winds. It was one of the nicest days of our climb so far. As usual with this crew, we set up camp quickly and efficiently. “Chillin by two” could be our team slogan. Lots of sun up here gave us ample time to dry out any items that may have been a bit damp. Not much else to report, we’re just doing all our last minute prep for our summit attempt tomorrow. Hopefully our next check-in will be from the top.
RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, and Avery Parrinello
On The Map
Congratulations Gorum team!
Much Aloha from Maui from the Wolfe Pack.
Safe travels down and don’t forget to hug the donkeys!
Posted by: Brent Wolfe on 1/12/2019 at 11:55 pm
Dear Nick and Andrew,
We have been thinking about you!!!!! Wish you all the best tomorrow !! We are very proud of you !!!!
Good luck to both of you and your team!!!
Jagdish, Gunchoo, Devinder and Usha
Posted by: Usha and Gunchoo on 1/11/2019 at 8:26 pm
January 10, 2019
We’ll call today a weather day. Usually, a team takes a weather day when conditions are too poor to move camp or carry gear higher on the mountain. We took a weather day today solely to take advantage of the first sun and calm winds that we’ve seen in 36 hours. The past few days have been a real test of everyone’s resolve here at Camp Two. Before today, we have basically only left our tents to go to the bathroom, and to do that we had to suit up in boots, parkas, gloves, and goggles.
So much of expedition climbing is mental, and that kind of living wears away at everyone. It has done us a lot of good to stand around outside today, sip tea in the sun, and actually enjoy our unique position high in the Andes. Turns out there are actually some really nice views up here. In addition to healing any mental frayed ends, we dried out all of our gear, re-organized, and dialed in our cold weather systems for our summit day. We went on a walk towards high camp to get some blood flowing, and prepped ourselves for the coming days. We will move to high camp tomorrow, and try for the summit on the 12th. Starting tomorrow the days go by quickly, and after our reboot today everyone is chomping at the bit. We’ll check in tomorrow, hopefully from 19,600 feet.
RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, and Avery Parrinello
Clayton, pull your strength through your team. Help the ones that need it and accept the help from the others.
High camp and then summit push. You have your window and one chance at at.
Good luck to you all and a safe summit and descent.
Posted by: Brent Wolfe on 1/10/2019 at 10:41 pm
George you rock, it looks and sounds pretty intense! Now that you are out of phone range etc you can’t call me for pointers and the “What’s next?” But the hard core training I ran you through on the “Great Griffith Climb” I know you got this!
Stay safe and have fun Bro!
Posted by: Becket on 1/10/2019 at 9:49 pm
January 9, 2019
It was another windy night last night. Most people didn’t sleep much, and the winds haven’t calmed any appreciable degree now that the sun is out. This was in the forecast, and we knew we would have to hunker down in order to be in position for our potential summit window. After today, things are supposed to improve, which is good because we’re running out of spare tent guy lines.
Everyone is still mentally stable, although by the end of the day we will all be tired of sitting in our shaking, rattling tents. Not much else to report today. We’re just eating, drinking, reading, and waiting. Our course of action tomorrow depends on the forecast. The plan is to take another day here before moving up to High Camp, but we will see if the weather forces our hand in one direction or another.
RMI Guides JM Hannah and Avery
On The Map
Good luck to all the hikers! I hope the weather cooperates and all of you are able to reach the summit! Thinking of all of you daily! Go team Cory!!!!!
Posted by: Karen Prykull on 1/10/2019 at 3:45 am
Hope you get calm weather so you can reach the summit! Good luck team!
Posted by: Shannon Smith on 1/9/2019 at 4:16 pm
January 8, 2019
We didn’t get much sleep last night due to 40 mph winds ripping through camp. If 40 mph doesn’t sound that bad, try this: next time you’re riding in a car, stick your head out the window when you hit 40. Now imagine your whole body is hanging out the window. Now imagine it’s 15 degrees. Now imagine that instead of a car made of aluminum, glass, and steel, you’re inside of a tent made of nylon. It’s not great, but we endured the night no worse for the wear.
After our blustery overnight, we started the morning slowly, keeping an eye on the ridge above camp. The wind seemed to be dying down, and eventually it reached a level that we thought was appropriate for moving uphill. We broke down our home at Camp One, and headed uphill around noon. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, but not without a consistent breeze. After about three and a half hours we pulled into our new neighborhood, set up camp, and began the time honored expedition tradition of straight chillin’. Mac and cheese for dinner, some sunset photos, and then off to bed for this crew. Tomorrow we’ll take another rest day, and then we will see what kind of weather the mountain gives us.
RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith, Avery Parrinello
On The Map
Great job, everyone! I’m so impressed!! Wishing you all a restful, only slightly breezy rest day.
Posted by: Kim Ford on 1/8/2019 at 8:06 pm
January 7, 2019
If today hadn’t been a rest day, it would have been a weather day. I have never seen snow so far down the valley before. It snowed well below basecamp, and almost to the Vacas River, where we were trying not to overheat in shorts just a few days ago. It looks like we’re in the clear as far as more precipitation goes, but it is still quite cold. I would say it’s Denali cold. Despite the mountains best efforts, we still managed a filling brunch of hash browns and cheesy eggs. I call it brunch because that sounds hip, but really it was just too windy and cold to cook breakfast any earlier.
After brunch, most of the day was spent hiding from the weather. When the sun was out, we could be outside moving around, but otherwise we were snuggled up. We’re planning on moving to Camp Two tomorrow, but if the weather is the same we will most likely just stay here. If it’s cold here, it’s colder there, and we’re still getting plenty of good acclimating done at 16,200 feet. The team sends their best from their cozy sleeping bags.
You’re doing so great! I’m so proud of you (you know who you are)! You’ve worked so hard for this. We’re all watching and I believe in you!
Xo Your MP
Posted by: MP on 1/7/2019 at 5:48 pm
January 6, 2019
We got our first taste of weather today on the Stone Sentinel. It was pretty nice in the morning, with just a bit more breeze than we’ve been used to. We planned to be done with our carry and back at Camp 1 by the early afternoon to beat some forecasted weather. That forecast started to materialize as we climbed to 18,000 feet. We got slapped in the face a bit by the wind, and we were hit with some precipitation, but nothing we couldn’t suit up for and endure. We didn’t spend much time at Camp 2 today since there wasn’t much to see, and the weather wasn’t overly conducive to sunbathing.
Once again, everyone moved really well, up and down, and we were back at camp hiding from the wind by 1:30. The forecast called for snow this afternoon into tomorrow morning. I’ve never actually seen snow fall from the sky and stick to the ground in any appreciable amount here. It’s normally so dry and windy that all the snow just blows somewhere else. But, uh, it is sticking today. It is also blowing into every crevice of our tents, backpacks, and boots. Our trusty crocs are no longer appropriate footwear for lounging around camp. Thankfully we have a rest day tomorrow, so we should have plenty of time to de-snow everything. We’re all hunkered down and cozy for the night here at 16,200 feet. We’ll check in tomorrow, hopefully the sun will be out.
RMI Guides JM, Hannah & Avery
On The Map
January 5, 2019
We had perfect weather for our move today. From the time we got out of our tents, to the time we arrived at 16,200 feet we had blue skies, warm temperatures, and just enough of a breeze to keep us from getting sweaty. Everyone did extremely well, and we were relaxing in our tents by 1:30 pm. I took a nap, so I assume everyone else did as well. The only hiccup of the day occurred later in the afternoon when we realized that two of our tents were in a bit of a damp neighborhood. We took twenty minutes to move them, and any wetness that might have occurred was avoided.
The sun goes behind a ridge pretty early here, and once that happens it gets pretty cold. We hung out in the shade for as long as we dared, which wasn’t very long, and have all retreated to our sleeping bags at this point. If everyone still feels good tomorrow morning, we’ll carry to Camp Two.
RMI Guides JM Gorum, Hannah Smith and Avery Parrinello