Entries By billy nugent
January 22, 2016
Checking in from Guanacos Campo 3, or Camp 2 for us at well over 18,000’. We are moved and settled in, enjoying yet another perfect afternoon with coffee, cribbage, prosciutto, and of course, siestas. We felt the altitude before but with this most recent move higher we are all moving a bit slower and scratching our heads a bit longer when trying to figure out where that one stuff sack with our snacks went. The team is staying positive despite a tough looking weather forecast and we are hoping that Mother Nature will give us an opportunity to sneak in a trip to the top. Not much else cooking up here besides our broccoli and rice dinner…
On The Map
Man! We sure hope you guys can at least take a crack at the summit. Always in our prayers. I know I’m a day late on this post, but just know we have been actively thinking and praying for your adventure. Enjoy your time and keep that mind of yours sharp! That altitude is no match for my babers!
We love you so much and miss you lots!
Char and kids
Posted by: Charlyn on 1/23/2016 at 8:29 pm
Amazing to think you’ve gone so far. Hope you get a weather window for your attempt on the summit.
Love Brian, Mary Lou, David and Sarah
Posted by: Brian Macfaden on 1/23/2016 at 10:50 am
January 21, 2016
Well, we are enjoying a pleasant, if a bit breezy, rest day here at Aconcagua Camp 1. People are passing the time watching movies, playing cribbage, reading, and taking Spanish lessons from Pato, our newest addition to the guide team. Not much else to report, we’re hoping to move up to Camp 2 tomorrow where we plan on waiting out the coming weather before making our move to Plaza Cólera (Camp 3) and subsequent summit push. Morale is high and we are all looking forward to being reunited with our best snack food up in the cache at Camp 2.
More to come as the story develops,
Hey Randy (AKA - Mountain Man),
Enjoy your day off. Hope your climb to Camp 2 goes smoothly and the weather there is not too much of a challenge.
Stay strong and be safe.
Posted by: Dad on 1/22/2016 at 6:36 am
Buenos dias querido Randy (Good morning dear Randy) I am sure that you will make your goal. Arrive safe to the top of the mountain. Good for you that you are learning Spanish ( Bueno para ti que estes aprendiendo espanol). Receive all my love and blessing from God,
Posted by: Luz Irwin on 1/22/2016 at 6:31 am
January 20, 2016
Hola! Billy here back at Camp 1 chilling (out) and filling (up on food) after a flawless carry to Camp 2. We moved well and had little trouble putting in our cache of the usual food, fuel, and cold weather/summit gear. We bumped into friends and acquaintances all along the way enjoying the better than decent weather. There were a few minutes of flurries and even a little thunder in the distance but nothing of consequence. As I write this we’re basking in the sun, satisfied with the day’s work.
Oh, we also met our third guide who traversed the mountain from the other base camp (Plaza de Mulas) and descended with us back to camp. His name is Pato, which means “duck,” and he’s a pretty cool dude. Not much else to report other than some inclement weather in the forecast, hopefully it doesn’t slow our roll too much…
Until our next dispatch,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent and team
On The Map
Randy…sounds like things are going well so far. In fact with all your chilling and filling and basking in the sun it sounds like you are on a very leisurely vacation…makes me a little jealous…haha. I know better but I hope you are enjoying the challenge. Lucas wanted me to tell you his great news that he just passed his MIG certification for a vertical up weld. He is so excited!
I miss you and I’m hoping Mother Nature remains kind to you.
Posted by: Lisa Irwin on 1/21/2016 at 10:26 am
It’s National Hug Day, so a great big hug with warm thoughts to Dr. H from all of us! Have a good climb today!
Posted by: Linda Sitton on 1/21/2016 at 6:55 am
January 19, 2016
Billy here checking in from Aconcagua Camp 1 after a smooth move on up from basecamp. We enjoyed sunny skies and a bit of light breeze, all in all a perfect day to head up the hill. After arriving mid afternoon we took our time settling in. We had to move our cache over to our actual campsite, setup tents and get moved in. Sometime after we had set up camp the notorious Camp 1 creek began to flow. This made for a little engineering project redirecting the flow of water around our tents and with just a little bit of effort we’ve managed to stay dry… So far anyway. Camp is a bit crowded with several teams so good tent spots are at a premium. We just scarfed a toretellini dinner and are crawling in for the night, all of us a bit tired but no worse for the wear.
On The Map
Good luck Dad,
Posted by: Sam Falkenhagen on 1/20/2016 at 11:58 am
Great that things are going smoothly. Looks fantastic from up there. Good luck to the team and with weather the rest of the way. Look forward in seeing Jake with hair..LOL
Cheers from The guys at Sound Beverage.
Posted by: David Bruce on 1/20/2016 at 7:49 am
January 18, 2016
Ground control (RMI base) to Major Tom (our intrepid Aconcagua team)...
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on…
We are eating up on our last rest day here in Base Camp and making our last minute preparations.
Ground control to Major Tom…
Commencing countdown engines on… Check ignition and may god’s love be with you…
Wish us luck as we blast off up onto the beast. Tomorrow’s plans call for a move up to Camp 1 which has the team excited if a bit nervous. Lots of work lies ahead but we are poised and ready for the challenge. The weather has been stellar and we hope it continues to cooperate for us as we step out of the capsule that is Plaza Argentina not to return until our bid for the top has culminated. Of course we’ll keep checking in along the way.
On The Map
We are all pulling for you! CPLs and TRs send their best!
Posted by: Arland Fagerstrom on 1/19/2016 at 12:53 pm
I’m so glad the weather is good! All our thoughts are about the A-team having THE BEST CLIMB EVER!
Posted by: Sally Falkenhagen on 1/19/2016 at 10:54 am
January 17, 2016
We enjoyed an amazingly perfect day on our first push above Aconcagua Basecamp. Despite the good weather our loads were big and the route up to Camp 1 was quite different than in years past. Lots of penitentes (tall, spiky snow features) made for difficult walking at times and a new route across the glacial remnant below the final scree slopes into camp. Despite these challenges our team remained true to form and moved extremely well ultimately putting in a big cache of gear, food, and fuel at over 16,000’. We are resting/acclimatizing tomorrow in basecamp before we head out on the upper mountain for good. All is well here in Plaza Argentina and the team is looking forward to the coming days.
Please don’t let Branchflower fall off the hill…....he owes me $20 from a football bet!
Be Safe to All!!
Posted by: Tom Lozier on 1/18/2016 at 7:29 pm
What an awesome picture. What an incredible experience you are having. Take lots of photos.
We are with you all the way.
Take care and stay safe,
Dad & Luz
Posted by: Dad & Luz on 1/18/2016 at 5:37 am
January 16, 2016
Well, we made it to Base Camp yesterday! The team is moving well and feeling good despite our first abrupt change in elevation since the drive from Mendoza to Penitentes. We are now sitting pretty and all moved in at Plaza Argentina at an elevation of right around 4,200 m or about 13,800’. Anita and Griselda, head honchos here with Grajales, prepared us an over the top welcome dinner complete with soup, veggies, a slab of beef, and tiramisu for dessert! Despite the extravagance of the meal the living still isn’t super easy up here and we knew were we are all in for a little bit of discomfort trying to sleep up here on our first night.
Today is another sunny and glorious day up here at Plaza Argentina. The gang actually fared quite well through the night and enjoyed a casual wake up this morning. We all hung out and drank real coffee along with enjoying stuffed breakfast burritos complete with prosciutto and grilled veggies thanks to Katrina’s solid work in the kitchen. We’ll probably burn the rest of the day today preparing both our group and personal loads for tomorrow’s carry up to Camp 1. Everyone’s hanging out grooving on the Andes and looking forward to tomorrow’s foray higher. That and wondering how the Seahawks are gonna do against Carolina.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
Those are some good lookin Donkeys you got there. Now you know what it’s like to hang around West Point in the middle of winter.
Hey, what are the bathrooms like?
You know, I see you doing this and I think, wow! You could have been a Navy Seal and probably led the raid to get Bin Laden.
Remember, one foot in front of the other and if you begin seeing Sharon Steinhauer, get on oxygen immediately.
Posted by: TJ on 1/18/2016 at 2:52 pm
Sounds like things are going well for my mountain man. You definitely have the better weather right now…windchill of -20 here tonight…yikes! All is good on the homefront…Lucas got a promotion at work and Allison is happy with all her classes. Think of you often and miss you!
Posted by: Lisa Irwin on 1/17/2016 at 3:28 pm
January 15, 2016
¡Hola de Pampa de Leñas! After a last night in a real bed we got outta Penitentes and hit the trail. Needless to say the team is psyched to finally be on the move after the months of anticipation and the seemingly endless packing and repacking. We enjoyed clear skies and a decent breeze that despite kicking up a bit of dust was actually pleasant in keeping the temps manageable. Everyone moved extremely well and is currently lounging around camp waiting for the herrieros to finish up grilling up some giant slabs of beef for us. Steak and wine, and a crew of happy campers. Not bad for our first day on the hill.
All for now!
On The Map
Hi Heather and all of you up there.
Sorry to hear about the weather. The New Yorkers have been hit by heavy snow and the weather system is heading to us across the Atlantic but will change to strong winds and heavy rain for us this week. Not quite as bad as you are getting.
Stay positive and try and meditate if the storm noise allows!
Love Diane and Paul
Posted by: Paul and Diane on 1/24/2016 at 11:13 pm
The tough part begins - our thoughts are with you - stay safe
Dad & Luz
Posted by: Dad & Luz on 1/16/2016 at 5:07 pm
January 13, 2016
The team met up around 8 a.m. for a not too early breakfast. Afterwards we split up and set out on the streets of Mendoza, running all of our last minute errands. We visited a couple gear shops, hit the pharmacy, grocery store, all the usual stuff before reconvening for a team lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Nicolas, our liaison from Grajales, was kind enough to deal with all the permit rigmarole that is normally a complete pain. So the pace of the morning wasn’t nearly as rushed as in years past.
Our transfer out to Penitentes showed up at the hotel and we loaded up our gear and hit the road. The drive to Penitentes is absolutely gorgeous, rolling through the vineyards outside of the city, up into the foothills, and eventually making our way into the heart of the Andes. Four hours on the road brought us to the Grajales packing facility where we unloaded and spent the rest of the afternoon packing up for the mules and prepping for tomorrow’s start up the hill.
Psyched to hit the trail…
RMI Guides Billy Nugent and Katrina Bloemsma and team
Hello Dear Rob !!
.....and thank you for the updates Billy ! Just know that there are many of us at home checking the blog multiple times a day for any and every bit of the story .... So don’t be hesitant to overload us with detail :)
RMI really does it right .... Wine and grilled steak ....And with chimichurri I bet!
Relieved to hear the temps are significantly warming at the summit ..... I never thought I’d be happy to see a -7 windchill forecasted for later next week (rather than the -35 I’ve been seeing).
Hoping and praying for continued health and goodness for you and all your comrades. Feeling especially confident since your flock of angels are comfortable with the altitude ;) and cared for you so well in Mendoza!
Missing you tons and tons but so happy for all you are experiencing.
..... Always in my thoughts and prayers…M.
Posted by: MFG on 1/16/2016 at 5:03 pm
Dear Dad (Rick),
I miss you sooooo much, I hope you are doing all right, and I love you.
Posted by: Hillary and Hallie Haggard on 1/15/2016 at 4:38 pm
January 12, 2016
Hi everybody and welcome to the dispatch blog for this year’s early January RMI Aconcagua expedition. Billy here checking in from lovely Mendoza, Argentina, where the last of our team (and a bunch of missing luggage) has finally arrived. We had an informative meet and greet this evening poolside at the classic Nutibara Hotel, a haven for Aconcagua climbers from all over the world, where we all got to know each other and run through some important details about our upcoming adventure. Afterwards we headed out on the town for our first team dinner, enjoying the steaks, wine, and Italian influenced food Mendoza is famous for. It looks like we have a very fit and experienced climbing team this year which bodes well for our chances up on the mountain. We’ll check in again tomorrow from Los Penitentes where we’ll be packing up our loads for the mules and finishing up the last of our preparations before heading onto the mountain.
Gerald from team 2015 wishing you all a safe climb! Remember it’s about the journey not the destination :)! However let’s face it the destination is pretty AWESOME! Can’t say enough good stuff about Billy and Katrina. Love Love Love e;m!!! You guys are in good hands with this A team! Watch listen and learn…They have so much experience and knowledge not to mention their professionalism as guides was invaluable to the 2015 teams success. Been thinking about joining you in Ecuador Billy Feb.2nd… What no Katrina! Maybe not then LOL!!!
Have a GREAT climb team!
Posted by: Gerald Flynn on 1/13/2016 at 9:06 am
Randy…your epic adventure begins! Best of luck and try to stay warm. I will think of you every time I crawl under our nice warm electric blanket. I love you! “The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir
Posted by: Lisa Irwin on 1/13/2016 at 8:32 am