Checking in one last time here from Mendoza where our intrepid crew has just checked in at our hotel, dusty and stinking from 15 days on the trail. After our rough awakening at Camp Cólera and rallying “lights and sirens” style to save our camp we had a relatively uneventful walk down to Basecamp where we were greeted by the great staff at Grajales. Then there was yesterday’s walk from Basecamp to Pampa de Leñas which is normally a bone-crusher, this time it was all gravy after our battle up at Cólera. The herrieros (mule drivers) at Pampa de Leñas treated us to a delicious asado that was mostly beef tenderloin, salted and grilled over wood coals! The crew was very appreciative after so many days of hard work. After sleeping out under the stars last night, today saw another seven miles of easy walking til we hit the road and loaded up for our shuttle to Mendoza. We are certainly tired but, again, very psyched on our accomplishment and intend to spend the next several days enjoying Argentine cuisine and wine. The gang is even going to head out on a group winery tour in a couple days since we’re kinda stuck here with our early arrival from the mountain. Lotsa love from way down south, signing off…
Great article Billy! We trekked to to the Base Camp of Aconcagua around the same time in February 2013 and stayed in the Andes for 7 days, it was truthfully fantastic the whole way around. The views, the place.. one of a kind experience.
I must agree on the asado as a good lunch option while we enjoyed the fresh mountain air, although having a veggie trekking partner she wasnt so into the meat-based lunch, although they did BBQed some veggies..for her, awesome. We hired a Mendoza-based company Acomara, which provided us with english speaking guides so that was a plus for us. I dont know how you guys dealt with the language barrier but for us having these guys that spoke good English sure made the whole experience smoother.
Once again great article, regards!
Posted by: Dave Cowell on 8/22/2013 at 8:05 pm
February 17, 2013
Hey everyone, Billy calling checking in again. Had a really rough day coming down the mountain yesterday, but everyone made it down in one piece. We got back to High Camp with nice weather and then the weather just kinda gradually turned for the worst through the evening. And by about 5 In the morning, we were fighting about 80 mile an hour gust of winds just battling to keep our camp in one piece. And at first light, around 6:30, we pretty much had to get out of the tents and we’re just battling hurricane force winds and to get everybody’s stuff together and we got everything out of Camp Cholera. Moved on down to our Camp 2 and reput up tents and cooked breakfast and filled water bottles and recuperated from the hellish evening. And after that everybody walked on down to Basecamp last night and we enjoyed an awesome steak dinner, courtesy of the great Basecamp staff at Grajales. We are all geared up, everything’s been loaded on mules and we’re now headed for Pampa de Lenas and tonight will be our last night on the trail and tomorrow we are headed to Mendoza. We’ll check in one more time tomorrow, after we’ve made it safely to the road. Ciao, ciao.
Billy Nugent checks in from Basecamp.
On The Map
February 15, 2013
11:39 a.m. PST Billy Nugent & Team called and they are safely back at High Camp. It has started snowing so they are packing up and heading for Plaza Argentina. The team is doing great and they will send an update when they get there.
Hey everybody, I am checking in for our Aconcagua crew giving you guys a call from the summit. We are [broken] clear skies [broken] and 100% of our crew on the summit. We are all giving hi-fives, taking pictures and just looking around kind of in awe. I’ll give a call when we get back to camp safe and sound but until then, ciao ciao.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in from the summit of Aconcagua, 22,841 ft.
On The Map
Hi Uncle Kenny! Hope you’re having a great time in Argentina! I’m having a fantastic semester so far, I got hired as an RA for next year! I’m so excited, and all my classes are great too. Can’t wait to see all the amazing pictures I’m sure you took, have a safe trip back to the US! Love you!
Posted by: Natasha Young on 2/17/2013 at 12:15 pm
Congratulations to you all!!
I hope there was some summit wine.
Posted by: Rolf on 2/17/2013 at 6:44 am
February 14, 2013
Hey everybody, this is Billy checking in for Mike King and Garrett Stevens and the rest of our crew. We are at high camp on Aconcagua at about 19,600 feet and we made our move up today. And we’re gonna be hopefully taking a crack at the top tomorrow. Because it is the only weather window that we have. There is a wind event that is coming on that is supposed to blow 75 miles an hour at the summit for the next 5 or so days out in the extended forecast. So our chance is now. We’re hoping things are going to lighten up for us right now. Kind of a little bit crappy here at [Camp] Cholera. Fair bit of blowing snow and about 20 mile an hour winds maybe gusts of 30 to 35. But yeah, keep your fingers crossed, and we’ll give you guys a call in a little bit and let you know how it all went down. Ciao.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in from High Camp.
On The Map
Congrats you made it again , we are so proud, ! We look forward to hearing all about it That was a fast climb for you time flys when you are having fun. love Ypu Brian & Jeannie!!!!!
Posted by: Brian and Jeannie Young on 2/17/2013 at 12:25 pm
Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top, it is willpower that is the most important. This willpower you can not buy with money or be given by others…..it rises from your heart.
All of you are awesome, it has been so exciting following your progress.
Moses last words to Joshua were “to be bold & courageous”. All of have have been both.
Posted by: Beth Behrle on 2/15/2013 at 4:10 am
February 13, 2013
Billy here, checking in from Camp 2 at over 18,000’ on Aconcagua! The rumored winds did indeed materialize today but they also came with perfectly clear skies and were thus not enough of a hindrance to keep us stuck at Camp 1. Our team looked awesome on our move today with everybody moving well and climbing strong despite the elevation, big loads, and the gusting breeze. We’ve set up shop here at Chopper Camp (although nobody seems to call it that since they cleaned up all the wreckage that used to be strewn about camp) and are enjoying a sunny afternoon. Today’s move only took 2 hours and 45 minutes, which speaks for this team’s strength and bodes well for summit day.
More as it develops… Wulpseeya!
On The Map
Your Dad and I wanted to say how proud we are of you. Everyone we brag to are in awe of you accomplishments.
Kisses and Hugs on Valentine’s Day (hee hee). Love and God’s Blessings to your group, Mom and Dad
Posted by: Kathleen on 2/14/2013 at 11:54 am
Just a walk in the park. Billy is making yall sound like a bunch of climbing badasses, no doubt it’s true. Congrats on making it to Camp 2.
Posted by: Nathaniel on 2/13/2013 at 4:58 pm
February 12, 2013
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!
Go Gail Go! Aloha The Cori(ey)‘s
Posted by: Cori F on 2/12/2013 at 2:22 pm
February 11, 2013
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!
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!
Posted by: Sarah Hammond on 2/13/2013 at 8:32 am
February 10, 2013
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…
On The Map
February 9, 2013
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…
On The Map
What a spectacular journey! Enjoy your climb and be safe! Love and prayers to Rei and the entire team!
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
February 8, 2013
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.