Entries By ben liken

Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Back to a Windy Camp 1

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Hello again!

We are contacting you from a very windy Camp 1 today after we moved supplies up hill to 18,000ft.  The team did well with the weight and altitude as we got our first grand views of the Andes range.  We could see many glaciated peaks to the north and the intimidating Polish Glacier on Aconcagua proper.  Soon after our descent back to camp another cloud cap formed on the upper mountain which made for a chilly evening.  But now we are bundled up in the tents for a solid 13 hours rest before breakfast.  Hope these winds calm down so we can sleep for some of that time!

Oye!

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Enjoying the views from Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Move Up to Camp 1

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Well after nearly four days spent at the luxurious Aconcagua Basecamp, it came time to move up high onto the mountain to about 16,200’.  The team traveled efficiently and we made it to camp by 1 pm, even if the scree at the end had us “one step up, half a step back.”

The weather is sunny and breezy with a cloud cap high on the mountain, maybe around 22,000’.  We will spend the rest of the day relaxing so we can be prepared to carry gear to Camp 2 tomorrow, providing the weather continues in our favor. 

Thanks for following,

RMI Guide Ben Liken

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

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Rest Day

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Our last rest day at Plaza Argentina brought blue skies and gentle winds. The crew spent a fair bit of time chatting idly over hot drinks, covering topics like:

The Seattle Seahawks
And are Americans actually hated or loved around the globe?

Tomorrow we move to Camp 1. The crew is less than excited for the steep scree we have to ascend, but looking strong and optimistic. We look forward to congratulating the successful descending climb.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Aconcagua Base Camp at Plaza Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection Mules at Plaza Argentina, Aconcagua's Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Make Carry to Camp 1

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Stoney Molina, Ben Liken | December 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We have successfully finished one of the harder days on Aconcagua!
The first trip to Camp 1 is always a surprisingly hard day. It is the first time on the trip that we carry heavy loads in our packs, until now the mules have done all the hard work. It is the first time some people have been above 15,000 ft, and definitely the first time in a long time for the rest us. Most importantly, the terrain on the way to Camp 1 is extremely challenging. The slopes we climb are very loose small rocks and sand. So every step we take up we slide back half way. You can imagine how physically and mentally taxing this can be, happily everyone did great. And we are excited for our second rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Climbers making a carry toward to Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Photo: Jake Norton/First Ascent

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Check In from Basecamp

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Hey everybody!

Checking in from Aconcagua Basecamp after a wholesome meal of steak, potatoes, and red berries.  Today was spent recovering from our three days of approach and preparing for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow.  These days can often be long but this one seemed to breeze by due to great conversation with great people.  We spent hours telling stories and joking around, with the laughter alleviating any sign of an altitude-related headache.

Now the sun has set, lighting the clouds to the east in brilliant blues, purples, and pink.  As the stars rise we drift to sleep looking forward to climbing high on this beautiful peak tomorrow.

Thanks for tuning in!

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Looking out over Aconcagua Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team at Plaza Argentina

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Christmas Day was a little different for us this year than the usual gift giving and big meal with the family. We moved into our new home for the next several days, Plaza Argentina, our base camp. After a great three-course dinner of soup, lasagna, and rich dessert, we discussed some of our holiday traditions including fondue donuts and chocolate coins.

We miss you all back at home and hope you had as happy a Christmas as we have had.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

The views of Aconcagua while approaching Base Camp. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Reach Casa de Piedra

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

Hey everyone!

Today the team made it to Casa de Piedra, our second camp of the trip.  Everyone did well with the hike up the valley despite being blasted in the face with 25 mph winds!  We even got our first view of the mountain right before we entered camp.  I would guess that we shot well over 100 pictures between all of us.

Now it is dinner time,  I think Walt is whipping up a stew with lots of fresh vegetables.  The winds are calming down so I think we’ll have a few laughs, head to bed, and try to envision sugar plum fairies as we hope for a visit from Santa. 

Happy holidays folks!

RMI Guides Walter Hailes, Ben Liken and Stoney Molina

Tents at Casa de Piedra. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Start the Trail into the Vacas Valley

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

First day on the Aconcagua trail and even though it was hot, we had a nice breeze blowing most of the day. We were all very thankful to have that wind. We moved well on the trail enjoying the rigid high desert beauty. We also continued to tell stories of loved ones at home and a few misadventures.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

An RMI team starting the trek into Aconcagua, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection Hailes and team begin their trek into Aconcagua, Argentina. Photo: Walter Hailes

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team are Packed and Ready for the Trail

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

This is always a big day, permits, buying last minute supplies, traveling to Penitentes, gear checking, and packing. Luckily it went as smooth as possible. Our one hiccup was accidentally ordering everyone the same special at lunch which was made for two people. So each of us ate a two-pound steak, papas Freitas, salad, and two empanadas. Or as much as we could handle of the giant meal.

Well it’s off to bed for our final night in a bed for several days… I can’t wait

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

An RMI team loading gear in Mendoza, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection The Road to Penitentes, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: December 20th -Walter Hailes & Team Arrive Mendoza

Posted by: Ben Liken, Stoney Molina, Walter Hailes | December 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

The first step of having a great mountaineering trip is having a complete team with all our bags and I am happy to report that both our team members and all our bags arrived today in great shape. Once in town we were all able to buy last minute items here in Mendoza while enjoying an unseasonable cool but sunny day. Great summer weather. After a quick meet and greet we talked about what will happen over the next few weeks both on and off the mountain then headed out to one of the great eateries close to our hotel. We all shared the first, of what I am sure will be many funny, stories with each other and with bellies full of Argentina beef we all crashed at the hotel ready for another great day tomorrow.

RMI Guides Walter Hailes, Ben Liken & Stoney Molina

RMI Expeditions December 20th Aconcagua Team Assembles in Mendoza.  Photo: Walter Hailes

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