Entries By billy nugent
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Well, the whirlwind is finally over… We enjoyed a breezy, sunny, but not too hot walk down from Plaza Argentina into Pampa de Leñas complete with multiple river crossings and the sore feet that come with a seemingly endless rocky trail. The camp at Pampa de Leñas turned out to be a ghost town… only the Rangers were there along with us and one herriero who was running a small mule team with our gear. The head ranger at the camp, Hugo, wished for me to pass on his hello to several RMI guides including JJ, Garrett, and Katrina. It’s fun to see familiar faces like Hugo’s over the years, and even though we only get to hang out over maté once a year we still feel like we know eachother. Anyway, our ragged team enjoyed a truly amazing meal prepared by Barco, our lone herriero which we devoured sitting around the fire. We ate a typical Argentine asado complete with roasted veggies, slabs of grilled beef, bread, and of course wine.
The next day was a bit of a slog but we managed to dispatch the remaining miles to the trailhead before the afternoon and before we knew it we were packed and on the van back to Mendoza. While the Rodrigo and the friendly staff at the Nutibara hotel are totally used to returning Aconcagua climbers there were certainly looks from other hotel guests while we were checking in. I guess they’re not used to crews of people coming in dusty, sweaty, bleary-eyed, and stinking of mule farts with over a dozen filthy duffel bags piled in the lobby. Lucky for the people of Mendoza we cleaned up nicely and ate a casual meal at a nearby restaurant because we were a bit tired. We’re saving our big celebration dinner for tonight at a fancy pants restaurant even though some of our comrades are gone already and others will be headed out this afternoon. Sorry amigos, you’ll be missed.
I wanted to thank our whole team for their hard work in making this expedition a smashing success… but I especially wanted to thank Hannah and our local guide Rolo for working their butts off for the rest of the team. You guys are rad.
Well, that’s about it… Until next time.
Tommy and I wish we could be there for the celebration. It was great being with all of you. It was a truly amazing trip. Reaching the summit and enjoying the time on the trail with each of you was terrific. Congrats on a successful trip back to Mendoza. Thanks again for being willing to help me when the injury occurred.
A special thanks goes to Billy, Hannah and Rolo for being the best guides ever!!!!
Posted by: Rick Jordan on 2/2/2017 at 8:57 am
January 29, 2017
We’ve made it back to Plaza Argentina safe and sound after a successful summit bid and a subsequent long descent from Plaza Cólera. Per the norm our team worked together and made great time descending despite large loads and tired legs. Anita, Juan, and Leandro from the Grajales basecamp staff greeted us with homemade pizzas for an afternoon snack and another fabulous celebratory steak and potato dinner. Juan and Leandro both got their first summits of Aconcagua the same day we did and rallied down the hill ahead of us to provide hospitality. Between those great meals we readied our loads for the mules and got settled back in to basecamp. Tomorrow’s walk is gonna be a long one but at the end of the tunnel should be another asado dinner at Pampa de Leñas. Typically the valley is too tight for satellite phone reception here so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from us tomorrow evening. We will check in again when we hit the trailhead and transfer back to Mendoza. Not much else to report…
Tired, but with a full belly,
Hey, it’s Billy checking in from High Camp, Plaza Colera. The whole crew is back down safely, and we are super psyched that we all had the chance to stand on top of Aconcagua today. We’re a little beat up, but ultimately no worse for the wear. We’ll check in again. We have a long walk down to Base Camp tomorrow, and then the journey continues until we hit the road in Mendoza in several days from now. So a lot of activity coming up, but we’ll try to keep you guys posted on our whereabouts.
That’s all for now.
Great news. Looking forward to the details. Stay safe!
Posted by: ROGER COFFEY on 1/30/2017 at 11:55 am
January 28, 2017
Hey, it’s Billy. I’m checking in with Hannah and Rollo my two assistant guides here. We are on top of South America, 6962 meters, we are also up here with eight climbers and not a single puff of wind. We are the first crew on top today, and it’s all smiles from our climbers. We got some happy but tired folks. So that’s all I have to report for now. We’ll check in when we’re back at camp safe and sound.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Aconcagua summit!
On The Map
Felicitaciones!!!! un abrazo enorme a ROLO, y a todo el equipo, buen regreso para todos!!!. Esperamos noticias..
Posted by: deby on 1/30/2017 at 6:40 am
Congratulations to Billy, Hannah, Rollo and the rest of the team. I bet that is a great experience to be on top with no wind. Enjoy the rest, when you get the chance.
Posted by: David Clemmons on 1/30/2017 at 5:51 am
January 27, 2017
Hey there. It’s Billy. I am checking in from 19,600 feet on Aconcagua. Our crew just rolled in, actually we didn’t just roll in, we rolled in a while ago to Plaza Colera, Camp 3, which is going to be our high camp. We’re planning on taking a crack at the summit tonight. Everyone moved super well from Camp 2 to Camp 3. We were able to make good work of that leg in under three hours. Right now the team is lounging around, enjoying the calm weather and blue skies, and resting and gearing up for a late or early, depending on how you want to look at it, wake up tonight for our summit attempt. Wish us luck. We’ll hopefully check in with you guys again on the top of South America.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from Aconcagua High Camp.
On The Map
You are unreal. Your strength and calm inspire me. Go crush tomorrow!!!!
Posted by: Maude Lebowski on 1/27/2017 at 9:57 pm
Good luck Brian!! Wishing you and the team a safe summit push. Keep smiling!
Love from Australia - Renee.
Posted by: Renee Duvoisin on 1/27/2017 at 3:36 pm
January 26, 2017
Well, not literally. But yes figuratively. Our weather forecast is looking great and we are waiting out what will likely be our last rest day of the program here at Camp 2. The calm winds and sunny skies should persist through our summit push which is set to start with tomorrow’s move to Camp 3 at Plaza Cólera (19,600’). If the weather holds true to the forecast we’ll be taking a crack at the summit the following morning! I think some nervous butterflies are settling in with the team right now as all we have to do is sit around and finish out our acclimatization process. Too much tent time can be a tough thing to handle but in actuality we are slightly ahead of schedule. We’re trying to keep that in mind as we finish off our rest day and begin what will be at least five busy days of hard work that will eventually bring us back to the milk and honey of Mendoza.
We’ll do our best to keep checking in along the way!
On The Map
Good luck guys on continued good weather. I’m with you all in spirit, especially Scott!
Posted by: ROGER COFFEY on 1/26/2017 at 2:41 pm
January 25, 2017
Another perfect day here in the central Andes… We woke to sunny skies yet again and took our time eating breakfast, breaking camp, and buttoning up a cache of refuse for us to grab on our way home. We climbed up to Camp 2 at 18,000’ in under four hours with big, but manageable loads. As usual the team worked hard and moved smoothly and efficiently through the terrain. Before we knew it we were in camp, set up, and chilling the afternoon away. I wanted to take one last second to wish one of our teammates a happy birthday… So, happy birthday Alex! Feel free to wish him one too in the comments…
Talk again tomorrow,
On The Map
We are having fun following you on your climb.
Stay healthy and keep laughing. Have you exhausted the poop stories yet? I doubt it.
Posted by: Art Muir on 1/26/2017 at 8:14 am
Best of luck on your climb and summit attempt
Posted by: Kevin on 1/26/2017 at 8:12 am
January 24, 2017
Trying to think of a compelling story but truth be told we are just hanging out here at Aconcagua Camp 1... passing the acclimatization day eating snacks, listening to music or reading books, and telling stories. The weather is clear and sunny today and a teeny bit breezy this afternoon which is actually nice, keeping our tents from getting too hot. No doubt the team will be chomping at the bit tomorrow morning when we plan to make our move up to Camp 2. Slowly but surely we’ll continue up!
Not much else to report,
On The Map
To my Grandson Alec
Have a wonderful 27th birthday! Enjoy the unique moments of your special day. Love, Owa
Posted by: Sharon Tieszen on 1/25/2017 at 3:46 am
January 23, 2017
We are back safely in Camp 1 after a beautiful carry up to Camp 2 at over 18,000ft. This camp in addition to being our “Camp 2” is also called Guanacos Campo 3, or Chopper Camp because there used to be the pieces of a crashed helicopter sprinkled about. Those are all cleaned up these days and virtually no trace of a crashed helicopter is left. We enjoyed sunny skies and calm winds all day today while making great time. We were three-ish hours up and just over an hour down with a nice break up at our cache site in between. The team is back down soaking up some sun and relaxing the afternoon away. We have a rest/acclimatization day on deck that will hopefully set us up well for our climb higher.
All for now…
On The Map
January 22, 2017
Here we are in Camp 1 all settled in at over 16,000’. We enjoyed dinner in the late afternoon sunshine after putting in a hard day’s work coming up from Plaza Argentina and are now in our tents trying to rest up and get used to the living at our new altitude. Our team performed extremely well today and made short work of the steep scree field directly below camp. We are acclimatizing nicely as the amount of effort on today’s move was significantly less than on our carry just a couple days ago although I’m not expecting the night to be all peaches and cream. Your first night over 16,000’ on any trip is a tough one. Tomorrow we are hoping to get another carry of food and fuel up the hill and into Camp 2 before descending back here to continue our acclimation process. Slowly but surely…