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December 4, 2012


Aconcagua: JJ, Geoff & Team Arrive in Mendoza

Hello RMI Family! Yes…I know, our first Aconcagua team photo certainly doesn’t look like a mountaineering expedition. But you have to start somewhere. And you might as well start out in style.

The entire team made it into Mendoza with all our mountaineering gear. Today was a busy day for Geoff and I. Between airport pickups we did some food shopping for fresh vegetables, fruit and a little filet mignon.

We had our team meeting where we discussed gear, food and what lies ahead. However, for now…it is time to enjoy Mendoza. The land of spectacular food and amazing wine. Stay tuned and we will continue to provide updates of how much fun we are having.

RMI Guides JJ Justman & Geoff Schellens

A friend of mine attempted Aconcagua in his 50s with a group of people and guides.  Some young guys looked at him and complained that they’d probably have to be carrying his stuff near the top.  Near the top, only my friend and one guide were capable of going on.  But they had to turn back, because everyone else was sick or injured. ;-(

Posted by: Hank Halle on 12/15/2012 at 3:19 pm

JJ - Looks like a great start. Please leave a little wine for the Jan 2 trip!

Posted by: Peter Rogers on 12/6/2012 at 11:26 am

December 6, 2012


Aconcagua: JJ & Team Headed to Basecamp

Hello everyone, this is Team 1 on Aconcagua. Well, not just yet. Today the team left the comfort of civilization and we hit the dusty trail towards base camp of Aconcagua.

The trek in is amazing. You are surrounded by giant mountain cliffs, a roaring river and occasionally a soaring condor. With light packs we enjoyed the warm weather while tanning our pasty legs.

After a picnic lunch by the Vacas River we arrived at our first trekking camp at 9500 feet. If anyone can guess the name of this camp I will personally carry your pack next year into Aconcagua’s base camp!

The team is doing great! This evening we enjoyed hanging out with the Cowboys who work with our mules and gear to get into base. We enjoyed an authentic asado steak dinner cooked over an open fire, topped off with an avocado tomato salad.

Life is good in the mountains!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

Sounds like a great time.  Go Team!!!!

Be safe Robert, see you on Christmas Eve.

Jo Ward

Posted by: Jo on 12/7/2012 at 4:33 pm

Good luck on your climb Mike!

Posted by: Mike on 12/7/2012 at 1:49 pm

December 7, 2012


Aconcagua: JJ & Team on Approach to Plaza Argentina

Another great day! Sometimes I am hesitant at writing these blogs. I am lying here in my sleeping bag under the stars watching a meteor shower. And I know some of you are sitting at your desks staring out the window dreaming of adventure. So please live vicariously through us!

The team had a great day. We woke up and had croissants, coffee and Argentinian scrambled eggs. You cannot trek for five hours on an empty stomach. The scenery on the second day gets more spectacular in the Vacas Valley.

However, our journey in the Vacas is over at 11,000 feet. Tomorrow we turn left and trek up the Relinchos Valley towards Plaza Argentina, our Base Camp at 14,000 feet.

The entire team is doing great and we are filled up on grilled chicken, which we had this evening. Tomorrow we will describe the community of Plaza Argentina which will be home for many days as we continue to properly acclimatize.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

James, Cheers :)  Awesome to follow your adventure online at home. Everyone looks great in pictures. Nice weather condition and everyone’s safety are in our prayer.

Posted by: Soonja Choo on 12/8/2012 at 7:09 am

December 8, 2012


Aconcagua: JJ & Team Reach Basecamp

Base Camp accomplished. We have arrived! The day started out El Gaucho style as we saddled up our mules and crossed the Vacas River. I mean… C’mon, that water was polar ice cold. Especially at 7:30 in the morning.

After the teams John Wayne moment we enjoyed our final day of trekking. The last day into Base Camp ascends steeply at first until it gently rolls out to a gradual uphill. We even caught sight of two guanacos, which resemble a llama but actually have roots to the camel family.

After arriving in camp we got busy relaxing. At 14,000 feet we all deserve to just kick back, relax and enjoy. We set up our shower tent and rinsed off the dust before we had another exquisite Argentine meal. Everyone is feeling well and we are acclimatizing perfectly.

Tomorrow is a well deserved day of rest. Stay tuned!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

December 9, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Use Rest Day to Clean Up and Organize

Hello RMI blog followers. I wish we had something really really exciting to report. I guess the biggest thing is the entire team smells like peppermint. You see, our Dr. Bronners soap is made with organic peppermint, good for the environment. With the winds picking up we all took showers and broke down our Cabela’s shower tent.

With team fresh and clean we spent the rest of the day triple checking our food and gear that we will carry up the mountain. Our route on Aconcagua will utilize three camps. So you can imagine, we need a good amount of food, fuel and personal gear. So tomorrow we begin the process of acclimatizing and caching gear higher up the mountain.

On a health note, the entire team has high oxygen saturation levels, which is fantastic. We are all acclimatizing very well. The forecast is for stronger winds, which I like…you might as well get the bad weather out of the way down low.

Stay tuned and we will let all of you know how our carry to 16,200 feet goes. For now, this is JJ saying ciao from 14,000’.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

December 10, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp One

I know I sound like a broken record but our Aconcagua team is both rocking and rolling! Today we woke up early and laced up our mountaineering boots. With hefty packs in hand we slowly made our way up to Camp 1 at 16,360 feet…officially.

For Geoff and I today gave us an opportunity to visibly see how each climber is doing. And it was obvious that everyone has climbed before. And climbed well. The team was in sync with breaks, rest stepping, good footwork and most importantly everyone was having fun.

We spent a half an hour at Camp 1 and we left quite a bit of gear that we will need for the upper mountain. So we are now officially ready to move up the mountain. But first we will take another rest day here at base camp. There’s no need to rush. The tortoise always wins the race.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

are the two pictures from the archive or actually from the current trip?

Posted by: Ryan Junell on 12/11/2012 at 9:47 am

Good work Barrel I-you are awesome and glad to hear all is well. PETER- I have 12 copies of Mountains of the Mind for XMAS gifts for my Kilimanjaro girls and Linden. Loved the book but I know you were luke warm on MacFarlane. Thanks for the copy on Elbrus. Rob- Charlie is changing jobs. West Virginia vs Richmond? Love to you all.

Posted by: Elsie Bemiss on 12/10/2012 at 5:19 pm

December 11, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Resting at Basecamp

Today our team is resting at Aconcagua Basecamp. Tomorrow we will occupy Camp One. The weather has been very windy but everyone is in good spirits.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

December 12, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Check in from Camp 1

Audio 1: Hello everyone at the RMI bloggers following Team One on Aconcagua. We are happy to report that we are up at Camp One. We actually had to make our camp a little higher. It was a little busy lower down at Camp One, but we have the upper camp at 16,500’ all to ourselves. As a matter of fact this camp is so nice, we have a sit down toilet. So, the entire team is doing real well. It’s a little bit of work to get up here, but everyone’s feeling great. The agenda right now is to make sure that tents are buttoned down for heavy winds. However, right now we have very light winds…  We’re going to get a hot breakfast… (satellite connection lost)

Audio 2:  Hey, this is J.J. again with Team One on Aconcagua.  Just to let everyone out there know.  We have a lot of gear so we kind of thinned our communications down.  We just have a SAT phone up here so we are going to be giving our blog via voice with Google voice and it’ll be transcribed. So it may cut out, we’ll try to do our best to give you some entertaining updates but everyone is just doing fantastic up here at 16,500’. We’ll talk with you guys tomorrow. Everyone says hello to family and friends, and please follow along.  We’ll touch base tomorrow.  Ciao from Argentina Camp One.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

JJ Justman from Aconcagua Camp 1.

JJ continued from Aconcagua Camp 1.

On The Map

Robert make sure you say hi to God when you reach the top for me.  Can’t wait to celebrate upon your return. Hang in there!

Posted by: pat ward on 12/12/2012 at 4:03 pm

December 13, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 2

Hello everyone this is Team #1 on Aconcagua,

Today we went from Camp 1 to Camp 2. We carried some of the gear we will need higher on the mountain making a cache of gear.  Everyone did a great job getting up to 18,100’ we hung out for a little bit and then we enjoyed a beautiful walk back down here to Camp 1 at 16,500’. Everything is going very well a little bit of a breeze, but that is not too bad. We are just resting and recovering now. We will be taking a full rest day tomorrow which has been well deserved. We have a few surprises for the team tomorrow a smorgasbord of food, but we will get into that tomorrow when we get in touch with the RMI Blog and let you know what we do to hang out at 16,500’ having just a great time.

Things are going very well here; it is really nice to be higher in the mountain. Great views! We will talk again very soon. Thanks for following along.

RMI Guide JJ Justman & Team

Justman and Team check in after Carry to Camp 2

I enjoy the posts and am glad everyone is doing well.
Wish I was there. Next one?

I will keep Ballard in check for you Mike, until you get back!

Climb on buddy,


Posted by: Mike on 12/13/2012 at 2:59 pm

December 14, 2012


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Rest at Camp 1

Coffee and Quesadillas is what rest days are all about! This is team #1 here on Aconcagua at Camp 1 (16,500’).  After our carry yesterday the team definitely earned a day to acclimatize, rest, and recover after a good long day’s work.  Everyone is doing just fantastic.  We’re continually eating up quesadillas, drinking coffee, telling stories, and just having a good time.

The weather is pretty decent a little bit of wind.  It looks like there might be a bit of a change, but overall not too bad.  So tomorrow our plan is to wake up early, break camp, and then move to Camp 2 at 18,000’. 

Everyone wants to say hello to friends and family back home and thanks for following along. We will touch base with you again and let you know how our move to a new altitude at Camp 2 on Aconcagua goes.  Take care everyone!

Ciao from Argentina,
RMI Guide JJ Justman & Team

Rest Day at Camp 1

Sounds like the climb is going great & the food fantastic.
Robert, Lillypoo keeps looking out the window for you,  You better bring her back a big Argentina steak bone!

Miss you,

Posted by: Jo on 12/14/2012 at 4:12 pm

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