Entries By alex barber

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Celebrate in Mendoza

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

As the expedition draws to a close, the days come flying by in a blur. After a big descent to Aconcagua Base Camp with heavy packs, we fell into our sleeping bags and got one of the best nights of sleep of the trip. The group chose to fore go setting up tents and laid out sleeping bags in the big dining tent, and for the first time in many nights, we didn’t spend the whole night listening to the wind slap at our tents.  We woke in the morning, caffeinated up, and did a hasty pack job of the our duffels for the mules. We grabbed our day packs, light once again, and started off down the mule trails, retracing the paths we had walked two weeks earlier (ironically, most of the group didn’t remember much of it and was convinced that we were exiting a different way). While our packs were light, and our hiking shoes a lot more comfortable than our boots, the nearly 15 miles of rocky trail walking took about ten hours, and by the end, everyone’s dogs were far beyond barking.

Fortunately, the amazing arryaros were waiting at Pampe de Lenas, with the fire already started and meat on the grill.  The team feasted on more carne than we could possibly eat, especially with the shrunken stomachs that result from two weeks of high altitude living.  Once again, we chose to fore go the tents, and everyone unrolled pads and bags on the ground and watched the Southern Cross trace its arc across the canyon rim.  We woke early, and though everyone was feeling the previous couple of days, the motivation to finally reach the park entrance and be done trumped all of the physical discomforts. Three and half more hours brought us to the tree-lined aqueduct that signals the final stretch to the end of the long trail. We grabbed our dust covered bags from the mules and loaded a shuttle to Mendoza. With a quick stop for another huge meal, we were in Mendoza by evening, showering off the weeks of dust. 

We wrapped up the trip with another great culinary experience at El Patio Azul de Jesus Maria. We feasted on a traditional Argentinian parilla (bbq) with boundless different cuts of meat cooked slowly over a wood fire. Malbec was plentiful for washing the meal down, and was the perfect way to refuel after weeks up the mountain. Most of the group will spend the next two days in Mendoza, planning to explore the shops, rest by the pool, and perhaps tour a few vineyards, before we return to winter time in the States.

We would like to thank the whole team for the incredible team work that they displayed throughout the entire trip, the camaraderie, and the effort that each and every one put out. This was a group that was a pleasure for the guides to work with. Finally, I’d like to thank Alex and Juan for kicking ass the entire trip. The whole trip was a pleasure all the way around, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

Thanks,
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

Trekking through the Vacas Valley, Argentina. Photo: Ty Reid

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Congratulations to team on an exciting adventure! It was a well deserved celebration! I’m looking forward to the stories and pictures Bruce. Safe travels home. xo

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Posted by: Joyce Pully on 2/8/2015 at 4:40 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Back to Base Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

After nearly two weeks of progress moving in fits and starts, as we move camps, carry gear, and take rest days to acclimatize, the last several days suddenly start to rush by. We had a great, though very difficult, summit day yesterday. The sun shone in a completely clear, brilliant, azur sky, but as has been the nature of the last several days, the wind continued to rush on. We prepared in gusty conditions that made it uninviting to leave the tent, and donned our packs. For much of the climb we received only gusts, protected from the main force of the wind, the constant noise of which we couldn’t ignore. This region has received very little precipitation for the last several years, and the results of that were the second major challenge of the climb. Where snow fields usually provide nice cramponing, only sand existed, and climbing sand hills at 22,000 feet is no small task. We persisted, and at 2:45, crested the summit of Aconcagua.

Time flies, and while that was only yesterday afternoon, it feels much further removed. We woke this morning to the ever present wind gusts plastering the tent to our face, and packed our bags to head to base camp. As we descended, we picked up the items that we had cached at our previous camps, so our packs grew heavier, even as the air grew thicker. We arrived at base camp to a delicious spread, which was followed up shortly with our first carne dinner in a while. We organized our bags for the mules, and tomorrow we will reverse our course, once again carrying light day packs as we descend the Relinchos and Vacas Valleys back towards Penitentes, and ultimately Mendoza. Everyone is excited at the prospect of more beef, wine, and warm temperatures that await us in the coming days. Thanks for following,

RMI Guides Pete, Alex, Juan and team

Aconcagua view near Basecamp. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Congratulations to everyone! I was sorry to read about wind and sand but share your elation at completing the climb!

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Posted by: Sally Falkenhagen on 2/5/2015 at 3:43 pm

Congratulations to everyone and get back safely!  Will look forward to hearing more about your accomplishment, Kevin, next time I’m in Easton!

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Posted by: Jane Osman on 2/5/2015 at 4:40 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer and Team Summit!

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Pete Van Deventer and Team called into the RMI Expeditions Office to let us know they reached the summit of Aconcagua and are safely back at High Camp.  Pete will send a full report of their summit day after they rest and re-fuel.

Congratulations Team!

The Candeleta on Aconcaga. RMI Photo Collection

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Fantastic job Kev! Congratulations to you and the team and continued success coming down.
Cheers to all!  Jeff Logeman

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Posted by: Jeff Logeman on 2/5/2015 at 10:49 pm

Congratulations everyone!

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Posted by: Ruthie on 2/5/2015 at 5:33 pm


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team in Position for Summit Bid

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Though the tents shook with the wind again last night, the gusts came fewer and further between. As the sun rose this morning the gusts became rarer, and we decided that this was our day to move to our high camp at Colera (Spanish for anger, not the disease). We were still prepared to face strong winds as we moved into more exposed terrain on the way, but Aconcagua gave us a pass and we climbed with gentle breezes and brilliant sunshine the whole way. We are now settled in, working on heating water for dinner- which takes a long time at 19,600’- before we rack out early to prep for a hopeful summit attempt tomorrow. All of the days of hard work have gotten us here, and everyone is excited to be in place for the final push to our objective. We’ll be in touch tomorrow to let you know how it goes.
Best,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and the team

Aconcagua High Camp beneath the Polish Glacier. Photo: Tim Amos

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You mom asked me to tell you comgratulations on how far you went, She is very proud PBB.

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Posted by: Joyce Pully on 2/3/2015 at 6:31 pm

So glad to hear weather will let you take your shot at the summit today.  We are all cheering you on from Fargo!

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Posted by: Diann on 2/3/2015 at 6:32 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Rest Day at Camp 2

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 31, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

The sun has been shining on us all day, and the temperatures are pleasant, but something has changed: early this morning the tents gave a foretelling rattle, and then the wind settled in. While the wind hasn’t been too strong yet, mostly it just makes a lot of noise, the forecast is hinting that the winds may strengthen tonight, and that they may persist for at least a week. We are hoping that they allow us to move up tomorrow, and that a forecasted lull may give us our shot. At this point, everything is ready for us and we are in Dr. Suess’ proverbial waiting place, so we just have our fingers crossed for our summit window to show itself. Keep your fingers crossed for us,

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Juan, Alex, and team

Views of the surrounding Andes on the trail to Aconcagua Camp 2. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Fingers are crossed!
Sending calming vibes your way.
Good luck PBB and Team Van Deventer!!

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Posted by: Joyce Pully on 1/31/2015 at 6:23 pm

Go Team Van Deventer and shout out to Bro Kevin Stitely..  wishing you fair skies, fair winds and strong backs, Stick the Flag in that one!!!!  J Dienes

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Posted by: John Dienes on 1/31/2015 at 6:10 pm


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Move Up to Camp 2

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

We had a perfect move day to Aconcagua Camp 2! The day dawned calm, bluebird, and warm, and looked like the ideal day to push up higher to our next camp at Guanacos Tres (a confusing name since it is our camp two). We packed the tents once again, shouldered packs that were once again heavy, and set out. It’s not a far climb, as most of the elevation gain happens right out of Camp 1, and three hours later we were walking into our new abode. We are now happily settled in and are looking forward to another rest day tomorrow.  So far everything is going very smoothly and according to plan, and we all have our fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Hasta mañana,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juampi, and team

An RMI Team on the move to Camp 2, Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Brian Palmer and the Team!  Congratulations!  You made it!  Vern Kabat

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Posted by: Vern Kabat on 2/3/2015 at 3:18 pm

Knock the bastard off!!! Well stated, I’ll second that.

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Posted by: Carlo on 1/31/2015 at 12:50 pm


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy a Rest Day at Camp 1

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

We had a relatively uneventful rest day at Aconcagua Camp 1. While base camp offered pizzas, cook tents, and showers, folks spent the day at Camp 1 napping, catching up on journals, listening to music, and chatting. There were clouds in the Vacas Valley this morning, which we watched push up towards us, with the upper reaches just brushing our camp, before they would push back down valley again. Watching the curling cloud forms provided some entertainment as well. Our leisurely day should have us prepared to pack camp tomorrow morning to head up to Camp 2 at 18,000 feet. Once there, we will start the process of acclimating over again, and we will be one step closer to our summit push. Though we haven’t been here that long, everyone is excited for the next step and a new home for a few days.

Hasta mañana,

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juampi, and team

The moon rises above the Andes from Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Great picture btw.
Bruce, Excited at the progress and am rooting for you and the team. Stay strong and move on up! xo

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Posted by: Joyce Pully on 1/30/2015 at 3:53 am

Getting excited for the team as you take those next steps toward the summit. Good luck to you.

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Posted by: Joyce Pully on 1/30/2015 at 3:32 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Keep Momentum and Carry to Camp 2

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Another day, another step in the uphill direction. We continued on yesterday’s momentum, woke with the sun, sorted loads, and pointed our boots uphill to Guanacos Tres, or our Camp 2. It’s not a huge day, only 1,600’ of elevation gain, but it’s great for our acclimatization process, and now we have the bulk of our food and fuel up high. This year is a bit bizarre in that this is traditionally high season and the mountain is very empty. We are the only team in Camp 1, and there is one other small team at Camp 2, which makes for a much more remote feeling to the expedition.

Some clouds blew over this afternoon, with a few flurries, but our weather remains spectacular overall. We’re looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, and then hopefully on up to Camp 2.

Hasta luego,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and team

An RMI Team climbing above Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection Aconcagua Camp 1 view. Photo: RMI Collection

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Hope are all acclimating well and enjoying your rest day. We enjoy hearing about your progress.  Now the entire Nativity Elementary school is following your progress and cheering you on. … read more

Posted by: Diann on 1/29/2015 at 1:42 pm

To the Norwegian in the group. Have fun toiling away in that freezing climate, tomorrow it is my turn to shut off civilization, but I crave the tranquil heat….. It’s… read more

Posted by: Ruthie on 1/29/2015 at 8:30 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Move to Camp 1

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Today we moved to Camp 1 under perfect weather. The team made great time moving to Camp 1 and are handling the altitude well. Shortly after arriving we exchanged high-fives with Billy Nugent’s team. They made the summit of Aconcagua the day prior. We’re all settled into camp now and enjoying hot drinks. Having left the comforts of base camp, we’ve had some lively discussions about the toilet situation, etc. Tomorrow we will carry to Camp 2, as we continue to take advantage of this good weather and push higher.

RMI Guide Alex Barber

Climbers on the approach to Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: Ty Reid

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Following your progress every day. Best wishes and good luck from Santa Fe, NM in the Rocky Mountains.

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Posted by: Jim Arnold on 1/28/2015 at 9:35 am

Will be following your progress.  Good luck and all best wishes from NJ!
Jane Osman

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Posted by: Jane Osman on 1/28/2015 at 6:46 am


Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Ready to Move Uphill

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

With our departure from Aconcagua Basecamp imminent, the group took full advantage of the amenities today, ordering pizzas for lunch, taking showers, and sipping coca colas. Cards came out and heated games ensued. A few folks headed back down the trail to take photos and stretch their legs, but ironically, the blue sky turned dark gray and a short but intense hail storm chased everyone back to cover. We enjoyed our last base camp dinner for a little while, with several people heading back for seconds on lasagna. As dinner wrapped up, we stepped outside to another gorgeous pink sunset, but today the shadow of Aconcagua imprinted itself on the sky as well. We’re heading to bed ready and excited for the move to Camp 1 and the continuation towards our goal that it signals.

We’ll be in touch,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and team

View on the way to Aconcagua Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Best of luck and fair skies to everyone on the team, with a shout out to my good friend Kevin Stitely.  Tag one for the Slingers Kevin.  We are following… read more

Posted by: Dick Greenbaum on 1/27/2015 at 5:22 pm

Let the adventure continue!  Hope the climb to Camp 1 went well and you are all safe and sound.  The kids are enjoying the daily blog updates and taking them… read more

Posted by: Di Hoedl on 1/27/2015 at 7:28 am


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