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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Return Safely to Base Camp

Hello RMI blog followers! Our team has arrived safely back at Basecamp. We are so happy to be in the thick air after a very long expedition. We have used up all our days and it is nice to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We are once again enjoying fresh Argentinian pizzas and the stories are rolling around the table.

Aside from relaxing we will be packing up duffels for our mules arriving tomorrow. We will begin our journey back to Pampa de las Lenas where we began, then the next day we will arrive in Mendoza. We want to thank everyone for all your comments on the blog. Everyone gives their regards. This is our final dispatch for the expedition. Again, thank you! Wait…another pizza is coming. Gotta go!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

Way to go Team Olyneck!  Were rootig for you Di at work!  Be safe!

Posted by: Kathy O'Callaghan on 1/30/2014 at 5:38 am

after 3 weeks….. just burn’em
;)
Good job everyone….. its time to get bonked out of your gord

Posted by: josh on 1/29/2014 at 7:16 pm


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Summit!

Update 1:45 pm PST:
Our team has safely returned back to high camp. The snow has returned.  We are nestled in our tents drinking and eating.  We are tired.

[Summit phone call transcribed]
Hey everyone, this is JJ Justman with the Aconcagua Team.  We’re happy to announce that we are on the summit of South America’s highest peak, Aconcagua!  It was an interesting day. It started out cold and windy. It was a hard day to get started but at the end of the day, the sun is shining. The clouds are now starting to build a little bit, but it turned out to be a fairly decent day.  Definitely a tough day to get on top of South America’s highest speak. Everyone says hello.  Big thing now is to head on down.  We had a good, safe climb. We’re gonna have a safe descent.  But again, everyone says hello and thanks again for following along and giving us your best wishes for a safe and successful climb.  That’s exactly what we had today was a really decent weather day, a safe climb.  Thanks again everyone.  We’ll touch base when we get further down the mountain, but everyone is doing real well. Take care, good-bye for now from the the top of the Western Hemisphere.

RMI Guide JJ Justman


RMI Guide JJ Justman from the Aconcagua summit!

On The Map

Congratulations team!  It sounds like everyone had a new “personal best” in just relentlessly tough weather conditions.  You should all be proud of your journey and perseverance! Randy C you are amazing and we miss you!  Now time to skip down that mountain and come back to little Delaware.  If you see a gondola hop on it and come on home!
Love Judy
ps.  Roxy is waiting for you on the couch!

Posted by: judy Christofferson on 1/29/2014 at 1:56 pm

Denise Mamason! Oh my gosh i am exhausted. I partied all night in celebration of your magnificent feet! you guys rock! Safe trip down! Yahoo! I am with Josh. Definitely recommend skiing or sleigh riding back down. So very proud of you! The family of mountain tamers! Give your bro and sis a big hug for me. So proud of you. Cutter dog is too!
Love,
Mary Fox

Posted by: Mary Fox on 1/29/2014 at 9:00 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team at High Camp

Unrelenting! That is the word that describes our weather on Aconcagua. Last night we received 10 inches of snow. When we awoke this morning the winds had scoured most of that snow off the mountain leaving several deep drifts around camp.

Thankfully the weather settled down a bit and we were able to break camp and pack up. The scene looked more like Denali in Alaska than Aconcagua in the Andes. The team did great in the harsh conditions. It would have even made The Godfather of Denali, Joe Horiskey, proud as the team worked together in cold, blustery winds.

We are now sitting in silence at high camp enjoying the sun at 19,600 feet. The team has run its final days. Tomorrow is our only shot. Then we have to head downhill. As luck I believe has it, the forecast is for light winds on top.

We will touch base tomorrow, keep your fingers crossed, it should be from the top!

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

You can do it! Saying prayers for good weather for you and will sacrifice something to the weather Gods for you. You are the best. Very proud of you!
Cutter dog says Hi!
Love,
Mary

Posted by: Mary fox on 1/28/2014 at 7:31 am

Incredible!  You guys have dealt with an unbelievable amount of varied weather conditions!  Looks like the mountain is giving it everything she has to you guys…well done for doing such an excellent job!  We are so proud of you, dad (Lew Smith)!  I know this is the toughest climb you’ve ever done, but from what it sounds like, you and the team are doing awesome!  Just like I did in the Marine Corps, you remember your training.  When the poo poo hits the fan, your hard work and training kicks into gear, and I’m quite sure that’s what it has been doing for you while on Aconcagua.  Keep it up, dad!  You guys are so close.  I pray that you have good weather conditions, so that you have a window of time to go for the summit.  We will see what Aconcagua will do; if she will allow you and the team to stand on top.  I hope so!  Best of luck and climb on!!!

Love ya,

Kyle and Steph

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/28/2014 at 5:32 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Rest Day at Camp 2

Ah, the acclimatization process. A dismal process of spending the day eating mountain delicacies of dried meat and exotic cheeses, drinking coffee, spending a few hours reading, a midday siesta and strolling around camp soaking in the dramatic topography of the Andes. Yes, the rest day. Not always so accommodating but when the weather Gods give you a day like they gave us, the rest day is just what the doctor ordered. So today we try not to eat all of our remaining food, sleep to our hearts content and day dream of days to come. Oh, how it pays to be patient in the mountains!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

Hey dad!  (Lew Smith Best of luck to you and the team this week!  Stephanie and I can’t wait to hear about your climb and the expedition, we are so very excited and proud of you!  Stay strong, climb smart, get adequate rest, eat and drink well, and remember, “an easy pace puts a smile on your face.”  Don’t focus on the summit, rather, focus on putting one foot in front of the other…do that, and you’ll reach the top.  The weather looks good for the next few days, so hopefully, the mountain will allow you and team to summit.  I heard the following Dan Fogelburg song a few days ago and immediately thought of you and the team.  We love you! 

“The higher you climb,
The more that you see.
The more that you see,
The less that you know.
The less that you know,
The more that you yearn.
The more that you yearn,
The higher you climb.

The farther you reach,
The more that you touch.
The more that you touch,
The fuller you feel.
The fuller you feel,
The less that you need.
The less that you need,
The farther you reach.

The higher you climb,
The more that you see.
The more that you see,
The less that you know.
The less that you know,
The more that you yearn.
The more that you yearn,
The higher you climb.

The higher you climb,
The more that you see.
The more that you see,
The less that you know.
The less that you know,
The more that you yearn.
The more that you yearn,
The higher you climb.”

-Dan Fogelburg

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/27/2014 at 6:17 am

Steve and team,

“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Hike well and be safe.

Dad

Posted by: Bill Gately on 1/27/2014 at 4:14 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 3

Progress on these big expeditions always feels good and after spending much time at Camp 1, being able to link up two days of forward momentum sure has the team excited and feeling good. Today was our “carry” to Camp 3 (19,600ft). The team did excellent managing the new altitude. We made it up in great time dropped off a few items for our summit attempt and made it back down to Camp 2 just as some clouds were rolling in. Tomorrow we rest and prepare for our move to Camp 3!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

On The Map

Way to go team!  Well done, dad (Lew Smith)!  You are doing awesome and we are so proud of you!  Keep climbing smart, acclimated well, and resting when you need to and when it is required.  You guys rock!  Love you so very much!

Kyle and Steph

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/27/2014 at 6:06 am

Steve and team,

Great job managing this climb. Sounds like if the weather holds your group should summit. However, if not, they will have learned many valuable lessons about the mountains and themselves, which is really what climbing is all about.

Hike well and be safe.

Dad

Posted by: Bill Gately on 1/26/2014 at 6:31 am


Aconcagua: Justman and Team Arrive at Camp 2

After two days of rest at 16,400 feet we woke up this morning to strong winds. So strong in fact we had to do some midnight tent repairs. We saddled up our packs and leaned into the wind. The team is now at Camp 2 settled in their tents at 18000 feet. Everyone is great and we are happy for a new view overlooking the Andes.

Unfortunately, one of our climbers wasn’t feeling well at Camp 1 and had to descend.  He returned to Mendoza and has been checked out by local doctors.  We are glad to hear from him this morning that he has been released to fly home.  We hope to see him in the mountains again soon.

RMI Guide JJ Justman and Team

On The Map

Hey dad!  (Lew Smith)  Kim has been keeping everyone well abreast of the situation with the climber that had to descend and we wish him the best.  We hope you are doing well and that you will be able to go for the summit today, weather permitting, of course!  Love you and we are so proud of you!

Kyle and Steph

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/27/2014 at 6:09 am

Lew,  I hope today is the day for ascent!  Good Luck and God is with you.
Mike

Posted by: Mike Harvey on 1/27/2014 at 6:04 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team - Weather Wins, At Least For Today…

Weather ultimately dictates everything on these long expeditions and there’s certainly no exception for our Team. Our agenda had us moving to Camp 2 this morning but we awoke to 40 mph winds and gusts of up to 60 mph here at Camp 1! Alas! You win again Aconcagua! Spirits remain high though as our forecasts call for more cooperating winds starting tomorrow and extending into early next week. So today we rest and prepare ourselves for the move to Camp 2 tomorrow. Best regards from all of us at Aconcagua’s Camp 1.

RMI Guide Steve Gately

Nice job guys ! Congratulations !

Posted by: Bissell on 1/28/2014 at 1:03 pm

Nice job guys !

Posted by: Bissell on 1/28/2014 at 1:01 pm


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 2

All the way to Camp 2!

Our team did a fantastic job carrying some group gear and personal gear up to 18,000 feet. The winds were still present as they kicked snow off into the air of surrounding peaks and ridges. However, they were not as strong as yesterday.

As the team rounded the corner and entered the col, they were treated to their first view of the high Andes range of Argentina. Breathtaking doesn’t describe it. We are now back at Camp 1 resting and recovering after a great day in the mountains.

P.S. - Happy Birthday Josh!!! From Denise. I’m wearing my new socks!! :)

RMI Guides JJ Justman, Mike King & Steve Gately

On The Map

Fingers crossed for good weather to Camp 3 and beyond. I hope to catch you in Mendoza on the 2nd with a bag of Starbucks. Charlotte wishes Team 6 well.

Posted by: Elsie on 1/23/2014 at 5:07 pm

Well done, Dad (Lew Smith)!!!  Keep kicking butt and taking names!  Well done to the entire team as well, this is wonderful news!!!  Keep the awesome photos coming, we are all pulling for ya! 

Love ya,

Kyle

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/23/2014 at 8:35 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Try to Carry to Camp 2, Turned by Weather

Blustery, breezy, gusty. These are all words that describe Camp One and Aconcagua as a whole right now. We are in full Viento Blanco mode right now. The white wind. The team tried to do a carry to Camp Two but the winds kept knocking us off our feet. I’m positive we could have pushed through it but we have time and there is no reason to risk someone getting hurt.

So we turned around and are taking a rest day with the sun shining through the tents listening to the freight train of wind above us. Everyone is doing well and we are keeping our fingers crossed for better weather so we can carry to 18,000’.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

Diane and others, rock on!
Love the blog, what day is summit planned for?
Safe climbing, take and post some nightime astrophotography shots if you can, would love to see clear skies starfields wide image with DLSR.

Posted by: Mike Rosinski on 1/22/2014 at 12:55 pm

remember Grasshopper….all things worth having require much work to obtain.  work hard with your team

Posted by: Mark Eason on 1/22/2014 at 11:12 am


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Move to Camp 1

There I was, putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again. I knew what everyone was thinking. Who’s going to the Super Bowl!! And thanks to one of our team members little go go gadgets, his wife texted the final scores. Go Seahawks! Go Broncos! Who cares, Green Bay isn’t in it.

The team packed up base camp and moved outta base camp. On move days the packs are always heavier loaded with tents and kitchen gear. Everyone did fantastic and we are now settled into our new home at 16,600 feet on Aconcagua. We just finished with some hot soup. It’s like I always say, you have to put money in the bank. We used up some good energy getting here and you have to replenish and put energy back in to keep the bank account at a million bucks.

Speaking of a million bucks, anyone want to place some bets on the Super Bowl!?

RMI Guide JJ Justman

On The Map

Keeping pushing forward, dad (Lew Smith)!  I know you are doing awesome! So proud of you!!!

Love ya,

Kyle

Posted by: Kyle A. Smith on 1/23/2014 at 8:50 am

Go Diane! from the Nissan TMG team

Posted by: Ed Nicholson on 1/22/2014 at 12:04 pm

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