Entries By billy nugent
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
September 25, 2015
The final Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir of the 2015 climbing season is wrapping up their final day on Mt. Rainier. Yesterday, the Seminar led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Billy Nugent made a summit attempt. The teams reached 13,300’ before increasing winds and deteriorating weather conditions prompted their descent. Today the teams are descending from Camp Muir to wrap up their week of climbing and training. We look forward to welcoming all of the climbers at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford this afternoon.
Sorry you did not make it to the Summit. We hope the experience was still worth the challenge!
Good job to all the climbers!
Posted by: Beth n Tyler on 9/26/2015 at 7:23 pm
An amazing feat, inspiring and beautiful. Congratulations on your ambitious drive!
Posted by: E J FIsher on 9/26/2015 at 8:37 am
September 15, 2015
The guide team monitored weather conditions throughout the night, only to find snow and poor visibility each time we looked out of our tent. With our time frame and weather forecast, our plan for the day is to pack up camp and take as much time as we need to get down the Chimneys safely. We’ll send another dispatch from town.
RMI Guide Zeb Blais & Team
September 11, 2015
Posted by: Billy Nugent
Update 7:15 pm PT
We are safely back at camp after a long descent down a very wet and snowy central gully on the summit pyramid. The team stayed strong the whole way through and rounded out a great day after putting the whole team on the summit.
Now, it’s just a walk through the woods tomorrow morning and we’ll be back in Babylon!
2:07 pm PT
Hey everyone. It’s Billy checking in from the summit of Mount Shuksan with our whole crew! Give a shout you guys,“Yeah!” I will give you guys a call when we are back down at camp , safe and sound. We are about to begin our descent.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Mt. Shuksan summit!
Hey, it’s Billy here checking in from the Sulphide yet again on our Expedition Skills Seminar. We ended up not going for the climb today despite the perfect weather. There’s a ton of new snow up on the upper summit pyramid. We figured we’d give that stuff a chance to sort of settle out and melt and see whatever it was going to do on the first truly hot day in quite a while. We let things just sort of mellow out up there, and we kept ourselves busy with ice climbing in and out of crevasses. We went for a little walk around the Sulphide Glacier and then capped off the day with some belaying and rappelling practice. Everyone is super excited for our summit attempt tomorrow. We’ll call and hopefully check in from the tippy top and let you know what we run into up there. Alright. All for now.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Shuksan Seminar.