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Aconcagua Expedition: Nugent and Team Readying in Mendoza

A hearty hello to everyone out there following along as RMI’s February 1st Aconcagua Expedition gets started. Most of the team trickled in to Mendoza yesterday afternoon and hit the ground running despite being weary from long stretches of airline travel. We held a team meeting followed by a fantastic dinner at one of the local restaurants.  I can assure you that large quantities of beef and wine were consumed as we made our last efforts to pack on a couple pounds before heading onto the mountain. The guides packed group gear late into the night and after a brief nap we rose early to finish up our permitting process and run a few last minute errands. We’re headed for Penitentes this afternoon where we’ll finalize our packing and help ready the mule loads before spending one last night in a bed for a long time. Busy busy!

More to share as our program continues… Stay with us!

RMI Guides Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens and the rest of the gang.

Hope all is going well! Eat MEAT…lots of MEAT! And we are all ready to read about the next leg of your journey to the top of S.A.!!

Posted by: Paula S on 2/6/2013 at 8:43 pm

Big hello’s from Texas.  Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Posted by: Hammond's of the North on 2/6/2013 at 7:06 pm

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team at Pampas de Lenas

Greetings from Pampa de Leñas! Our team enjoyed one last night in a bed and awoke this morning to beautiful sunny skies. Seemingly, a great day to begin our long journey. The team thus far has been exceptionally well organized and we were able to enjoy a relatively stress free morning putting the finishing touches on our packing and stashing a bunch of city clothes in the Grajales packing facility. We caught a quick ride over to the trailhead at Punta de Vacas and after checking in with the guardaparques began our journey. Relatively calm winds and scorching temperatures in the nineties caught us all a little off guard and forced us to stop frequently and soak our clothes in the river to cool off! Even after a complete soaking, our shirts were dried off completely in ten minutes! Well, despite the heat we persevered and even made good time into our first camp.

More info to come as our expedition develops,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Reach Casa de Piedras

Another passage from the annals of RMI Aconcagua #5 history:

Today was decidedly less hot and subsequently much more enjoyable than yesterday. Our intrepid crew rose early and made short work of our journey from Pampa de Leñas to our second camp on the approach at Casa de Piedras. Sunny skies and a nice breeze kept our spirits high as we cruised through the enormous Vacas Valley. Right as we were arriving in camp we spotted Pete Van Deventer’s crew headed down from their successful summit bid. They were looking tired and skinny but super-psyched on their accomplishment and the fact that they were headed for the barn. We gave them high-fives and settled in to build our camp. We too are in good spirits, moving well, and excited to make it to Basecamp tomorrow at Plaza Argentina.

Hasta pronto,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent and the rest of the gang.

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Arrive in Basecamp

Greetings from Plaza Argentina! After a very early rise and a FRIGID river crossing our team wound our way up through the Relinchos Valley (a side valley of the Vacas) and arrived at Basecamp. We moved well and made good time on our ascent, with everybody feeling strong on our first bit of sustained elevation gain. We arrived just ahead of a pretty decent squall that gave us a but of wind, hail, and rain but we made short work of setting up tents ahead of the worst of it. Later on we were served up some delicious steaks and a little bit of Cabernet for dinner by the Grajales Basecamp staff. We crashed out around 9 or so when the weather started to get a little squirrelly again and enjoyed a well deserved rest!

Adios from Plaza Argentina!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Rest Day at Basecamp

A rest day! The gang has been hanging out most of the day today catching up on sleep, reading, and calories. Our first night in Aconcagua Basecamp wasn’t the smoothest… Despite sleeping quite well most of us were feeling a little lethargic this morning from spending the night at nearly 14,000’. Regardless, spirits are high after moving around a bit and getting prepared for tomorrow’s carry/cache up at Camp 1. The guides spent the morning packing group food and equipment and the team has been packing up their personal gear that they plan to cache. The weather has been a little funky but nothing terrible, hopefully tomorrow brings better or at least similar weather for our first foray onto the upper mountain…

Hasta mañana,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Greetings from the chilly blizzard region of New Hampshire! Congratulations to all for reaching Base Camp! That’s excellent news and you all bring inspiration to those of us watching your adventure. Please pass on my “congrats” to Ken Young and a high-five! It’s dumping buckets of snow on us here in NH…hoping for clear weather on Aconcagua!

Posted by: Renee Ciulla on 2/8/2013 at 4:54 pm

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Carry to Camp 1

Today’s weather report: not so good. We woke up this morning here at Plaza Argentina in a cloud with it steadily dropping gloppy snow. The prospect of a successful carry up to Camp 1 was looking dismal but we decided to get up and fire the stoves anyway. Over the course of breakfast and our morning coffee the weather began to improve and by 10 am we were looking at some continuing light precip but nothing that would hold us back. The team rallied, geared up, and hit the trail. With a six-hour round trip effort we were able to put in a sizable cache of food, fuel, and cold weather gear up at Camp 1 (16,200’). The team performed well despite unstable scree and our first real taste of carrying big loads at high altitude.


RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Rest Day at Plaza Argentina

We’re spending today resting and acclimatizing at Plaza Argentina under a beautiful sunny sky. We slept in, ate some bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos, drank maté, and are hanging out. This will be our last night here at basecamp before we head up on the mountain. The weather (as far as we’ve heard, anyway) is supposed to hold and should make for a nice move up to Camp 1 tomorrow.

We’ll check in tomorrow night and let you know how it went…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

What a spectacular journey!  Enjoy your climb and be safe!  Love and prayers to Rei and the entire team!

From Taipei,
Grace and Eric

Posted by: Grace and Eric on 2/11/2013 at 8:51 am

Good luck all… wishing you good weather and a safe climb!  And to Ryan Waters… very proud of you for daring to DO, instead of merely dreaming it.  Climb on!

Posted by: Todd Waters on 2/10/2013 at 5:57 pm

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Move to Camp 1

We woke again today to completely clear and beautiful skies, and seemingly perfect weather for our move out of basecamp and up on the mountain. The gang packed up quickly and were ready to march in short order. Anticipation has been building for a long time and everyone was ready to get the show on the road. We moved well and enjoyed a nice breeze that actually helped temper the heat of the sun. After about 4 1/2 hours of climbing we were setting up tents on the upper bench of Camp 1 (16,700’) and heading down for a super short back carry to retrieve our cache. As we were getting settled the wind was coming in and out and eventually it started snowing. The whole camp and surrounding cliffs got a beautiful dusting of 2 or 3 inches of snow. The squall eventually died down and I’m hoping for a calm rest of the evening…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Carry to Camp 2

More sun today with light winds and nearly perfect temperatures made for a great carry up to Camp 2. Our group is starting to work like that proverbial well-oiled machine with solid efforts the last couple days moving and pushing carries up the mountain. Our foray took us above 18,000’ which was an altitude record for many and certainly the highest anybody in the group had carried a heavy load. We enjoyed a “picnic” with beautiful new views up at Camp 2 while we built up our cache of food and fuel in a nook among the rocks. And after hanging for an hour or so we made short work of our descent back to Camp 1. All in all we were on the go for only 3.5 hours and about 4.5 hours round trip. The team is feeling strong, motivated, and ready for the hard work ahead!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Your love, liftin’ me higher
Than I’ve ever been lifted before
So keep it up, quench my desire
And I’ll be at your side forevermore

Sounds like things are going great! Everyone back home is rooting for you all! Keep it up!

Sarah Hammond

Posted by: Sarah Hammond on 2/13/2013 at 8:32 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Rest at Camp 1

Here for I am to be writing from resting day the third in Camp 1. But seriously, we are resting comfortably here at Camp 1 passing the time jamming Talking Heads, reading, and drinking maté. Most of us are actively working to keep the altitude and tent time from scrambling our brains. The team is understandably a bit restless hanging out with such good weather but managing nonetheless. Rumor has it that there may be a bit of wind tomorrow but nothing that should shut us down on our planned move to Camp 2. As we head higher and higher the reality of a summit bid is getting closer and closer. More to report after we push camp uphill to Camp 2 tomorrow!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Go Gail Go!  Aloha The Cori(ey)‘s

Posted by: Cori F on 2/12/2013 at 2:22 pm

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