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Entries By ben luedtke

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Return to Mendoza and Complete Trip

Good day faithful readers,

We have concluded our 17 day Aconcagua Expedition. With a final 8mile walk out to the park entrance, we have made it start to finish. Our final night was spent bellies full of Carne asada and a crisp starry night to glance up at intermittently as we rolled in our sleeping bags. It's surreal feeling having been sleeping hypoxic at 19,600' and then in 48 hours on the valley floor. Three hours of walking brought us back to where we started and a quick wait brought us back to our clean clothes at Penitentes. Once back in Mendoza the team cleaned up and became new people. It's crazy what a shower, new clothes, and shave can do for someone's appearance. We enjoyed bottles of wine and listening to everyone tell their highs and lows of the trip. It's been an amazing time in Argentina from the people, the food, the scenery, and the company. On behalf of all three guides, we would like to thank our team for a great expedition. Thier commitment to train and be ready for this trip showed and their ability to adapt and bond as a team has made these three weeks truly enjoyable. So congratulations team, hope to see you all on the next mountain!

That's a wrap,

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Yay! So happy for all of you :)

Posted by: Shelby Read on 1/27/2023 at 11:57 am

Aconcagua: Smith and Team Bask under the Stars for their final mountain night

Howdy howdy,

We woke up for the last time on the mountain.

We opened our eyes to a frosty dome tent as we packed up our sleeping bags and got ready for breakfast. Today, we headed down the valley towards the park entrance. 8hrs and 17miles later, we arrived at Lenas, our first camp we stayed at 16 days ago.

We started our expedition with a carne asada dinner and ended it the same way. Bellies full of steak, potatoes, veggies, red wine. Our bellies no longer rumble and are now instead very full. The team earned this glorious meal cooked by a spectacular chef. With a light breeze we are headed to our sleeping arrangements, some in tents, others sleeping under the stars.

It's a surreal moment looking back at being at 19,600' just yesterday and now sleeping on the valley floor. Tomorrow, we finish our trek out to the gate entrance, concluding our 17-day trip up and down Aconcagua. Everyone is ready and excited for the hotel amenities - top on the list is a shower, a reliable toilet, clean clothes, and a comfy bed.

For now, we are content laying in the dirt after a long day hiking.

Buenos noches,

Hannah, Ben, Dan, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Godspeed to the climber in the red beret!

Posted by: Jenny French on 1/26/2023 at 6:58 am

Congrats Hannah to You and your Team! You all Rock!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/26/2023 at 3:22 am

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Descend to Base Camp

Good evening all,

Today we said goodbye to Aconcagua High Camp and hello to basecamp. We woke to a breezy, chilly morning as we broke down camp. Cold fingers and toes couldn't slow down our packing with so much incentive to go down, one being more oxygen. We made our way back to our previous camps to pickup gear left behind. With each stop our packs got bigger and heavier. Descending almost 6,000' puts some hurt on the body, especially the toes. But the team moved well and before you knew it we were back at the comforts of basecamp in our camp shoes drinking beer and juice and munching down delicious wraps. After enjoying our drinks and food, we sorted gear for tomorrow and patiently waited for dinner. Everyone's tummies are bottomless pits right now. Instead of setting up tents most of the team has opted for a slumber party in the dome tent where we eat our meals. It's one less chore in the morning before hitting the trail to the Park entrance. Tomorrow is a big day walking down to Lenas but it does conclude with a Carne asada celebration dinner. That is it for tonight. Now it's time to enjoy some much deserved and needed rest.

Goodnight all,

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Awesome Hannah!! I love following along!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/25/2023 at 9:17 am

Aconcagua: Smith and Team Summit!

What a day!

The team topped out on the tallest peak outside the Himalayas at 1pm this afternoon.

We stood tall and proud at 22,838'.

While not a technical climb, this climb still requires grit and to give it all you have - mentally and physically. The team did amazing! We are all safely back at our tents with bellies full of Ramen and letting our feet air out from a long day of walking.

Tomorrow, we begin our long descent back to Basecamp. There will be tired legs, feet, and backs but there is a huge incentive to get down: bathrooms, showers, pizza, beer, and wine. All of which each member deserves.

We would like to thank all that asked for good weather for us today, because by golly, it was a gorgeous day.

Now it's time to suck in what little oxygen there is here and rest up for tomorrow.

Well done team,

Hannah, Ben, and Dan

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Woohoo!! Congratulations to you all!!

Nick’s Mom

Posted by: Sarah Read on 1/24/2023 at 5:25 pm

Glad to hear the team is doing well and the weather is ideal. We’re praying for a safe journey to the top for everyone. We love you, dad!

From Lillian, “Pops, keep on climbing!”

Well, You heard the tiny little tyrant, I mean, lady, get moving ;)!

Love and God Bless,
Chris, Bo, Lillian and Carl

Posted by: Chris Bo Lillian Carl on 1/24/2023 at 1:56 pm

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Move to High Camp

Hello from High Camp on Aconcagua!

The team woke to some light breeze and an eagerness to move to Camp Colera. A simple breakfast of oatmeal would fuel us up the 1,600' to our new home for the the next two nights. With each step we could tell we were taking in less oxygen. It is a weird feeling exerting one self while hypoxic. After a few hours of walking uphill we rolled into a busy High Camp. We found four spots to set up our tents and get settled in. This camp has no running water so most of the afternoon is spent making water. It will be early to bed for us since we have an early morning making our way to the summit. The winds have increased but fingers crossed we can stay protected from them and stay warm enough to make the tippy top. Wish us luck as we get ready for our big day!

We got this,

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

All the BEST Hannah!!!

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/23/2023 at 7:34 am

Vamos Equipo Herrero!  let’s pray the winds are calmer.

Posted by: Terry Reilly on 1/22/2023 at 2:47 pm

Aconcagua Expedition: Smith & Team Waiting for Move to High Camp

Hello all,

Another chill day on Aconcagua for the team. Since we had the time we had a fun breakfast of pancakes with white chocolate chips (the grocery was out of milk chocolate chips). After enjoying are delightful breakfast we stretched our legs on the first stretch of our hike tomorrow. It was good to fill the lungs and get the blood going and to get eyes on tomorrow's terrain. We spent most of the afternoon resting, enjoying the scenery, starring at the mountain and sorting gear for our move. Everyone is ready for our next move. This move is significant because once we leave this camp we are go go go for the next five days. The team is ready and looking strong. So here is our last Goodnight from Guanacos Camp. Next chat is from our high camp.

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

To mi hijo Barry, guides, compadres - may fortitude and luck be with you on the ascent tomorrow - climb!

Posted by: Jenny French on 1/22/2023 at 10:23 am

Exciting time for all!

Posted by: Peter Darasz on 1/22/2023 at 8:01 am

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Rest At Camp 2

Good evening,

Not a whole lot to report from Camp 2. Our night was noisy with wind, which didn't let up till later in the afternoon. With the winds blowing in the morning making the camp look all sparkly we decided to stay put and not participate in the windy day.The carry is not a crucial part of our agenda so it is OK that we opted not to carry to high camp. We spent out day watching the snow Dance off the ridges and the top.Tomorrow will be another rest day before we make the move to high camp where we launch for the summit. The winds should be lessening as our day approaches. For now we snuggle into our sleeping bags for warmth and enjoy a other hypoxic sleep at 18,000'.

Goodnight all,

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Send Prayers for Calming winds Hannah!!!

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/21/2023 at 3:11 am

Aconcagua: Smith and Team Move to Camp 2

Hello from Guanacos 3 camp,

Today we made the move further up the mountain. The winds rattled the tents through the night. By the morning, they eased up. After sorting some logistics, we made our way up the mountain getting closer to our final goal, the tippy top.

The team did a fantastic job, making good time to the camp.

I knew it was going to be a good day because as I went to the bathroom, I saw a fox. Foxes have been a good omen for me on big mountains like Denali. I'm sure it will be one here too. This is my fourth trip seeing a fox on this mountain. Any who, we are keeping an eye on the winds as we get in position for our move to high camp and summit bid. We are looking at going for the top on Monday. Tomorrow, we are going to carry some gear to high camp and acclimatize.

To those reading, please ask mother nature to cool her jets with the wind and allow us a calm next few days. For now, we shall be lulled to sleep by the sound of tents flapping in the wind.


Thanks for reading,

Hannah, Ben, Dan, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Hannah! I am sending my Best wishes for calm winds sunny skies and the strength of a 100 bulls to you and your team as you head to the summit!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/20/2023 at 8:17 am

Bummer, Rob!  But,I am guessing as we discussed if you are not 100%, then you have to step aside,  Still a bummer.

Posted by: Terry Reilly on 1/20/2023 at 5:06 am

Aconcagua: Smith and Team Rest at Camp One

Good evening loyal readers,

Today was our rest day. These days can be tough mentally as the day creeps by slowly. A lot of reading, listening to podcasts, and music, watching TV shows, and simply looking at our surroundings to pass the time. The winds stayed calm for most of the day making for a toasty sit in the tents. Tomorrow the winds are supposed to ramp up which could make our move to Camp 2 a little sporty. Everyone is excited for the move because it gets us 1600' closer to the top. We are all tucked into our sleeping Bags ready for some sleep so we can walk uphill.

Buenos noches,

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Hannah! Strength & Stamina & Great weather wishes to you and your team!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/19/2023 at 3:40 am

Buenas Suerte!  Keep the news coming!  Everyone acclimating well?  Sounds like it.  I recently (September ‘22) visited a brother in Taos, NM and did a trail half marathon starting and ending at the Ski Valley(9300 feet -11,400) .  I sure would love the opportunity to try an adventure like Aconcagua!  Cheers.

Posted by: Terry Reilly on 1/18/2023 at 4:54 pm

Aconcagua: Smith and Team Carry to Camp Two

Hola Family and Friends!

What a day it was. After waking up from a night of heavy wind gusts and having breakfast, we took a few extra minutes sipping our (dulce de leche) coffee to allow the winds to calm down and the sun to get higher in the sky. Feeling warmed up, we did some last-minute packing, doublechecked the tie downs on our tents and headed up to Camp 2, AKA Guanacos 3, for our carry day. As we crisscrossed on rocky and snowy terrain, we took in our first amazing views of Cerro Ameghino. Once we passed through the saddle, we began the long traverse below the Polish glacier, and enjoyed more amazing views of the Andes Mountain range to the north.

Arriving at camp, we took the time to take pictures, unload our packs, and headed downhill back to Camp One. With our bellies full of quesadillas, we are currently weathering more winds and looking forward to a well-earned rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guides Hannah, Ben, Dan, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)


Posted by: Terry Reilly on 1/18/2023 at 9:11 am

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