January 31, 2012
First off, a big hello to everyone who’s following along!
The team convened today on the beautiful city of Mendoza a bit tired from a long stretch of travel but no worse for the wear. Some of us chose to enjoy a late lunch while others chilled poolside for the remainder of the afternoon. The trip did not really begin in earnest until the official team meeting at 6 pm this evening. After the meeting we had a quick gear check and then headed out on the town for a classic Argentine dinner. By classic of course I mean beef and malbec wine. The crew is positive and enthusiastic about the adventure on Aconcagua that lies ahead! Tomorrow will be a busy day obtaining our permits and tying up loose ends on our way out of town and up to Penitentes where we will stage for an evening before hitting the trail…
That is all for now,
February 1, 2012
Well, we have finally made it to Penitentes and finished packing up all of our junk that we’ll need on the mountain for the next few weeks. The loads are readied for the mules to shuttle into basecamp for us and we are all very excited about hitting the trail tomorrow!
After a quick breakfast this morning at our hotel we headed out in Mendoza to pay for and secure the paperwork for our climbing permits. What sounds like an easy task is actually not so simple when you have to run all over town to complete each stage of the permitting process in a different building across town. Luckily for us everything went off without a hitch and after running a few more errands the team was checked out of the hotel and headed out to Penitentes where we have been staging for the rest of this afternoon/evening. Tomorrow we´ll leave the loads for the herrieros (muleteers) and catch a shuttle out to Punta de Vacas which is our trail head at the mouth of the Vacas Valley. The weather thus far has been quite comfortable so we´re hoping that it can hold for a few more days affording us a nice walk in to Aconcagua Basecamp.
That´s all for now, we´ll check in via satellite phone tomorrow evening from our first camp along the approach.
Sending my best fro great weather and exciting hike!
Posted by: Sharon Clarke on 2/2/2012 at 6:41 am
February 5, 2012
The team awoke in Penitentes this morning to blue skies and plenty of sunshine to greet us for our first day on the trail. We spent the better part of the morning tying up loose ends and finishing our preparations for the herrieros. A comfortable breeze was blowing all day which tempered the heat and made the walk in to Pampa de Lenas most enjoyable. An early arrival in camp meant a nice little siesta in the sun before the mules arrived with our supplies. After dining on spaghetti with meat sauce the crew has mostly retired to their tents except for a few avid stargazers who are psyched to see the southern sky for the first time. The group is made up of a bunch of great people and we are all feeling the excitement of finally getting this adventure underway!
That’s about all for now,
Bruce: Be safe! See you when you get back and we have that CA wine waiting for you!
Posted by: Randy on 2/11/2012 at 5:38 pm
Bruce and Michael: Randy and Amy here—sure looks like an amazing climb. Ready for a banquet when you return to VA.
Posted by: Amy on 2/11/2012 at 5:33 pm
February 5, 2012
Day two on the trail was another splitter day with a great breeze to keep the heat at bay. Our team rolled out of camp at about nine this morning and enjoyed a great stretch of trail into the next camp at Casa de Piedra. Currently we’re lounging riverside and soaking up some afternoon sun. Although everybody’s chilling now, our first glimpse of the mountain today was a reminder of the prospective climb ahead and all of the hard work that entails. We’ll check in again tomorrow from Aconcagua basecamp at Plaza Argentina after we climb up through the Relinchos Valley…
February 5, 2012
After our third consecutive day of walking we’ve finally arrived at Aconcagua Basecamp in beautiful Plaza Argentina (13,800’). After a nice snack we settled in to camp by setting up our tents and then enjoying a wonderful steak dinner courtesy of the great Grajales staff. Leon and I also pulled a little surprise of our own with some Cabernet for the team to celebrate our arrival. Who says that you can’t eat great while mountaineering? Anyway, tomorrow calls for a needed rest day as we can all certainly feel the effects of our new altitude…
Ciao from base camp,
February 5, 2012
Greetings from our rest day here at Plaza Argentina. After a lazy morning lounging in our tents we convened in our weather port for a terrific brunch of bacon, eggs, and of course REAL coffee. Most of us felt a bit ragged from our first night at nearly 14,000’ but after a solid meal everyone seems to have bounced back and they’re all enjoying another beautiful day reading, playing cards, and the like.
Leon and I are spending the afternoon drinking mate and packing up our supplies for tomorrow’s carry up to Camp 1.
On The Map
Go Team Nugent!! Billy - excited to follow your progress on this trip. I should have gotten my stuff together last week and gone with you guys. Hopefully Cotopaxi with you in June. Safe travels in the meantime
Posted by: matt wilburn on 2/6/2012 at 5:20 pm
Big Bruce -following you here in hot Northern va.Guys at S&H worldgate also. Any chicks with you!
Posted by: ED Gramm on 2/6/2012 at 6:29 am
February 6, 2012
Today’s plans called for our first foray onto the mountain above basecamp. After a quick breakfast the crew got busy organizing loads of both personal and group gear, food for nearly 12 days, and a couple of gallons of fuel. We then set out for Camp 1 climbing along a lateral moraine, crossing a glacial remnant, and finally ascending a long scree slope (brutally loose) into the camp at over 16,000’. We put a cache together, took a nap in the sun, and then cruised back down to Plaza Argentina. All in all, we spent a little less than 7 hours in the field and the team performed exceptionally well. The guys were really excited to finally get down to the nitty gritty of climbing this thing.
Tired but happy in Plaza Argentina,
Go “Old man” William! We want to hear that you’ve conquered Aconcagua ... and miss you at tennis! For the others, make certain to help out this old guy- if he needs it!
Paul and Margie
Posted by: Paul Taylor on 2/13/2012 at 6:23 pm
The view from above the base camp is remarkable. From what I’ve seen of thepictures, the team is in for quite a scenic reward upon reaching the summit. Keep your eyes set on the top! Best to all.
Posted by: Sharon Clarke on 2/8/2012 at 6:27 am
February 7, 2012
Not a lot to report on our last rest day at Base Camp. The crew has been keeping busy reading, jamming tunes, tanning, etc. RMI Guide Leon Davis lead the guys through a knot and anchor session that everyone found interesting. Other than that we’ve just been chilling, trying not to be anxious about the big day tomorrow on our move to Camp 1. We’ll check in from over 16k tomorrow!
All for now,
P.S. William would also like to wish his son John a very happy birthday! He wishes he could be there to share it with you.
On The Map
February 8, 2012
Today we made our first big move up the mountain as we left basecamp and have settled in atAconagua’s Camp 1. Despite a couple hiccups (negotiating with some Russians over tent platforms, some minor blisters, and acquainting ourselves with the bio-bag human waste system) today’s move was the smoothest I’ve seen. The guys are all in great spirits after having a great meal and a hot drink before crawling in for the night. We hope to take advantage of more good weather forecasted for tomorrow by pushing another carry up to our Camp 2, also know as Chopper Camp.
We’ll check in again tomorrow evening,
RMI Guides Billy Nugent & Leon Davis
On The Map
Congrats on the summit dr. bruce and freed! Can’t wait to hear all the stories and see you guys in va or even at the bay house this spring/summer!
Posted by: Deek on 2/15/2012 at 5:16 am
Thanks for the updates! Good luck and have fun! x
Posted by: Tina Bark on 2/9/2012 at 10:28 am
February 9, 2012
Another day of near perfect weather! So, we took advantage by bringing another load of supplies further up the mountain to our Camp 2 or Chopper Camp. There used to pieces of a wrecked helicopter strewn about camp but today’s visit confirmed the fact that most of the wreckage has been removed. All of the guys on the team performed extremely well on our first mission above 18,000’. Upon returning to camp it seems that several teams moved up today so there’s lots of room in Camp 1. Right now we’re laying around after the day’s work contemplating our next move…
All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
Happy birthday to Michael! We hope you feel so loved and celebrated today! We are so proud of you and cannot wait to hear about your adventure and see your photos. Our thoughts are with you, Dr Bruce and the team!
Posted by: UDON, TURTLES & The Shortman on 2/11/2012 at 11:57 am
Happy Birthday Michael. I cant believe that 24 years have gone by. Stay safe and warm up there. Get in one of the photos so we can all see you. Love you. Mom
Posted by: Joyce on 2/11/2012 at 6:07 am