Entries By ben liken

Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Summit!

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 05, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Update January 5th at 3:30 pm PT
This is the day that all the hard work, both at home and on the mountain, are for and it is always the hardest day of the trip. Thankfully, we made it to the summit and back to camp safely and in great style. With an early dinner in our bellies we will all sleep well tonight.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for our safety.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

[Call from the summit audio transcription]
Hello, this is Walter from the summit of Aconcagua with our team. It’s a beautiful day up here, blue skies, a little breezy- probably about 20 (mph) on the top. We did go through some pretty heavy wind down below, maybe constant 40 to 50 in some of the little saddles, but we made it! We’re happy and it’s sunshiny. Everybody’s tired, so we’re looking forward to the downhill. We’ll call or send a dispatch out when we get there so you know that we arrived safely. Over and out from Aconcagua.

Aconcagua's Canaleta Couloir. Photo: RMI Collection Looking towards Basecamp from near the summit of Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Walter Hailes calls from the Aconcagua summit

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Ready for Summit Push

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Hey everybody!

We have made it to our high camp and we are all ready to try for a summit push tomorrow.  If the weather holds, we will be up early for a big climb to the top of South America!

Everyone up here is feeling strong and ready for the challenge.  We got a taste of what’s to come watching today’s teams return- tired, hungry, and satisfied.  Now we are tucked away in our bags trying to get some Zzzzzzs before the big day.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

Views of the Andes while approaching High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Prepping for Summit Day

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

We had our best rest day yet on Aconcagua. We were away from the bustle of base camp, the wind was calm, the sun was shining, and we spent a lot of the day relaxing outside listening to the melting snowfield surrounded by views of the Central Andes.

We did do a little work in preparation for summit day. Double checking our crampons and discussions of how to stay warm, what and how much to eat, and what to expect as we move toward the summit.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

High Camp beneath the Polish Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Move to Guanacos Camp

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

We had a near perfect day to move up to Guanacos camp. It was a little cool as we started but turned out to be a sunny, calm day at camp. Everyone climbed strong to camp but I realized something much more important today. Our team is the best team on this mountain. Everyone in our group watches out for each other and not only pulls their own weight but is eager to do extra work for the team. There is nothing better than climbing with a group of great people.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes & Team

Climbers en route to Guanacos Camp, Aconcagua, Argentina.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes And Team Sit Tight At Camp 1

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 01, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

We are still hanging out at Camp 1 waiting for the weather to improve high on the mountain. While sleeping through the gales is a little tough overall conditions are not bad. It’s hard to complain when you get to lay around all day and relax, read, play cards, and nap? So yeah, we all would have been excited to move higher today, but this alternative isn’t too bad.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

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

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Enjoy a Rest Day at Camp 1

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 31, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Another restful rest day on Aconcagua! We had a leisurely morning breakfast in bed followed by a warm but windy day of lounging, reading, telling stories, and near constant eating.

We also celebrated New Year’s Eve with a toast of fancy glasses (plastic cups) and bubbly (orange Fanta). We all wish you at home a happy new year.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Aconcagua Camp 1 view. Photo: RMI Collection

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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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