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Entries By christina von mertens

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Return to Mendoza

Hello everyone! We are in Mendoza safe and sound and enjoying a few of the finer things in life. The team is sitting down to a dinner that would make Anthony Bourdain insanely jealous.

We had a rough go on Aconcagua. High winds and freezing temperatures prevented us from topping out. However, it was Lou Whittaker, one of my mentors and a man i deeply respect who once said to me, “mountaineering isnt about the destination, its about the journey”.

And our journey has brought us full circle, now, closer as friends. We just received our first course at the famous restaurant, Siete Cocinas. We are smiling, laughing and relishing in the incredible journey we are experiencing.

RMI Guides JJ and Christina

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Tough decision Doug, glad you’re all down ok.  The mountain will still be there when you go back

Posted by: Jean & Rich Krohn on 12/23/2015 at 3:17 pm

It’s time to enjoy a hearty glass of single malt scotch Doug. Glad all of you are safe and sound. Goose.

Posted by: John Newland on 12/23/2015 at 6:39 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Trekking Out from Base Camp

Hi everyone. This is JJ Justman and Christina with our team on Aconcagua. Hopefully the wind isn’t too strong and it’s blocking out my voice. Today the team left base camp, Plaza Argentina, and trekked down to Las Lenas, our trekking camp here. We’re about one day out on our way to Mendoza. We had a good eight-hour walk, a very long day, cold day, windy day. It’s pretty much been windy for over two weeks, so we’re very excited to hopefully be out of the wind at some point. Tonight we had a great dinner, an asado dinner, with the cowboys that help us bring our gear in and out of base camp. We are spending the night. It’s a beautiful evening, regardless of the wind. Everyone is doing great. Just wanted to report in. We’ll check in tomorrow when we get out to Mendoza. Thank you for following along.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman checks in from Aconcagua.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yes I agree with Katie Thank you Christina and JJ!! These blogs were the highlight of my days. Happy holidays and New Year!


Posted by: Karina on 12/22/2015 at 8:14 am

Thank you Christina von Mertens and JJ Justman for every day blog. We really appreciate it. These blogs made us happy every day.

Wish you all the best .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted by: Katie Kelemen on 12/22/2015 at 6:03 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Make Tough Decision

The hardest thing to do in the mountains is to know when to leave the summit for another day.  Our group had to make a very difficult decision today and based on a very poor weather forecast we have decided to head back to Base Camp.  Our first priority in the mountains is always safety and we all agree the best choice in these super cold temps and high winds is to take care of ourselves and head down the mountain.  Juan said that the birthday celebration with beers and pizza at Base Camp made up for skipping the summit.  Tibor said he felt like fighting the dragons on the upper mountain was enough for him.  Steph said we are all in good spirits now but the decision was a hard one.  Ongun’s sun burnt nose has spoken for him.  Doug called, full porter.  It has been an amazing journey and we’ve recognized that learning more about ourselves is far superior than reaching the summit.  The ultimate destination is to be home safely. 

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Christina von Mertens

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So proud of the team & making the smart decisions! Safety is always first! Looking forward to hearing about the journey.
Happy New Year!

Posted by: John Arnold on 12/21/2015 at 6:51 am

Safe. Admire you so much. Decisions are really hard sometimes, I am sure this was one of those times. Rejoicing with you at your good judgment and inner growth. Love to all.

Blythe and Larry

Posted by: Blythe Lasley on 12/20/2015 at 9:30 pm

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to High Camp

For some, it’s a hard thing to understand, that which we do not have control over. Today our team did a carry/acclimatization day in relatively calm, however, freezing temperatures to High Camp at 19,600 feet. Everyone did well despite me not knowing who anyone was all bundled up. All I could see of Stephanie was her nose.

The team is now safely back at Camp 2 and we just made an afternoon snack, which warmed everyone up! The weather is changing again as the clouds build and the winds are slowly picking up. Tomorrow is a rest day here at 18,000 feet. Regardless of the weather we are having fun and enjoying the alpine views at Camp 2 on Aconcagua.

RMI Guides JJ and Christina

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Juane, Feliz Cumpleanos! Que mejor manera para celebrar que haciendo lo que te apasiona. Espero que las condiciones mejoren! Disfruta, espero verte pronto! Un beso.

Posted by: Maria Ester on 12/20/2015 at 4:12 pm

Hi All- tough call!  But it sounds like the right one for sure. Hope you had a great time tagging 19,600’ and a smooth downclimb to base camp. Pizza & beer… Yeah, things could be worse :-). Have a great hike out over the next couple of days and hope you get to enjoy some time in Mendoza. Best, Chris. PS. Juan- happy birthday!

Posted by: Chris Villar on 12/20/2015 at 11:10 am

Aconcagua:  Justman & Team Settling into Camp 2

First, congrats to Casey Grom and his team for making the summit of Chimborazo! As for our Aconcagua team, we made our move to Camp 2 at 18,000 feet. It was a tough day but the team did great!

Tents are up, sleeping bags are laid out and the guides are busy making water. The wind was a little more kind to us today and we sure hope it will continue to get better. The forecast is calling for stronger winds and all we can do is hope for calm seas and continue to enjoy this beautiful mountain.

Tomorrow we are hoping to do a carry day and an acclimatization day to Camp 3 at 19,600 feet…weather cooperating of course.

Stay tuned!

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Christina von Mertens

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Happy birthday to Juan. Hope you have better weather. Wish you and your team are enjoying your adventure. God Bless you all.


Posted by: Ana Maria Suris on 12/20/2015 at 5:29 am

A great big birthday shoutout to my big brother Juan. Keep having fun, we will toast to you with a little chateau Serralles.

Jorge, Noreen, and kids

Posted by: Jorge suris on 12/19/2015 at 4:22 pm

Aconcagua:  Justman & Team Experience a Blustery Night at Camp 1

We are all ready to head uphill but Aconcagua has other plans for us.  Last night freight trains of wind rolled down the mountain rattling our world.  This morning there was no sign of the winds letting up so we decided to take another rest day here.  This has proved to be a wise decision because moving to a higher camp with these cold temperatures and high winds would not be a safe and productive plan.  We are all hunkering down with hot tea and good books for today with hopes of a good move tomorrow.  Spending time here is making us all stronger and more acclimatized for our summit bid in a few days.  The team is doing well with the variables here on the side of the mountain.  Everyone is healthy and happy and sends hellos to all back home.

RMI Guides Christina von Mertens and JJ Justman

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Steady as she goes, team! Being well rested and acclimatized will, I feel sure, add to the strength of your summit bid when the time comes. Larry and I are following along, and sending all of you our best. We lived near the ice fall here for a few days, with tons of ice-blocky snow stuck on our metal roof. It warmed up yesterday and crash boom bah, it all came down with no damage. (the dogs were tired of being kept inside out of harm’s way!)

Blythe n Larry

Posted by: Blythe Lasley on 12/18/2015 at 11:41 am

Hey Doug - enjoying following your adventure.  I’ve made a sacrifice to the weather gods for you and the group, hopefully it will pay off.  Enjoy and best of luck.  Push on - very jealous!
Kevin from Nova Scotia.

Posted by: Kevin Walsh on 12/18/2015 at 4:41 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Rest at Camp 1

Hello from 16,400 feet on blustery Aconcagua. 

After a successful carry to Camp 2 yesterday we all took a well deserved rest day today.  We slept in, which proved difficult to do because of the winds trying to huff and puff and blow down our houses.  Then after hot drinks we took a small walk to a beautiful spot overlooking the valley.  There we got the blood flowing by doing some high altitude yoga.  Now we’re back to the tents for an afternoon nap to prepare for a big move day tomorrow.  Everyone says hi and is doing well.

RMI Guides Christina von Mertens and JJ Justman

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yoga! Awesome :-) keep up the good work team, special hugs to Juan.

Juan, we miss you very much and as always, we are so proud of you! Enjoy this wonderful adventure!

Lilly & the Suris clan

Posted by: Lilly Suris on 12/16/2015 at 8:50 pm

I totally support the yoga practice on the mountain!!! Hopefully you’re all giving some love and gratitude to the bodies that got you 16,400 ft up a mountain! Take care and rest well!
Namaste :)

Posted by: Karina on 12/16/2015 at 4:23 pm

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 2

Team Aconcagua is getting down to business! This morning we awoke to windy but clear skies. After we loaded up on coffee and waffles we threw the backpacks on and climbed uphill. The team did a fantastic job reaching Camp 2 at 18,000 feet. We emptied our packs into a duffle bag and zipped it shut. Our second cache of gear is done and the team is now even more acclimatized.

We are now back at Camp 1 and we just finished a round of hot soup. The guides are busy melting snow for water. Needless to say, the team is tired. Tonight is pizza night so I need to start making the dough.

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Christina von Mertens

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Christina wish I would be there with you on your climbing squad!  Have a great time!

Posted by: Meredith on 12/15/2015 at 9:27 pm

Good job and good luck to the whole team!  Way to go, John McFarlane!  Keeping the drinks in your cup?

Posted by: Chris Colleran on 12/15/2015 at 7:20 pm

Aconcagua:  Justman & Team Move to Camp 1

Hey everyone. This is JJ and Christina with team one on Aconcagua. We are up at Camp One. We settled into camp at 16,400 feet. It was a windy day. We’re putting on the wind burn cream as we speak. The team did a phenomenal job. It was a tough day to get up here, probably had about 30 mile-per-hour winds, but we did a great job getting tents up. Right now we have the stoves going. We’re melting snow because there’s no running water here, which there usually is. So we are melting snow for water and getting some hot drinks going and recovery at 16,400 feet. Everyone says hi to family and friends. We’re doing great, but we’re going to go for now and get busy on hots and dinner. Thanks for following along. Stay tuned. Tomorrow if the weather is decent, we are hoping to do a carry to 18,000 feet, Camp Two. Take care. Ciao from Aconcagua.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman calls from Camp 1 Aconcagua.

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yeah! Wishing you all continued success. This is a wonderful way to end 2015 and be ready for new challenges in 2016. A special good wish and high-five to our nephew Chris. We are sooo proud of you! Prayers for you and the team…and a bit of the Christmas Cheer to warm you up.  Say “Hi” to Santa! Love, Aunt Cindi and Uncle Roy

Posted by: Cindi Burrell on 12/15/2015 at 5:30 am

Great job on the move, in those conditions. The views only get better from here on. This is JJ’s mountain, and sounds as if you have a very strong team. Special shout out to Chris and John, and wishing only the best for all of you!

Posted by: Peter rogers on 12/15/2015 at 2:37 am

Aconcagua: Justman & Team Beat the Precip on Carry to Camp 1

A tough day today and our group truly shone.  We woke up early and had a quick breakfast of oatmeal and cold cereal then threw on some heavy packs and headed to Camp 1.  Our goal today was to bring up food and fuel to Camp 1 then descend back to basecamp for the last night in luxury.  Our carry today took us up to 16,400 feet in quite strong winds that made the climb very challenging.  Everyone performed well and we walked into Camp 1 as a strong cohesive team walking together.  As soon as we left our cache of gear we flew down the mountain as light as if we were on the moon.  Timing was perfect because behind us rolled in some light precip and clouds.  Back at basecamp we all celebrated our well-timed carry with snacks and tea.  Tomorrow our plan is to move up to Camp 1 and be in great position to learn lots from Aconcagua.  The team says hi to everyone back home and keep the words of support coming. We’ve been reading them aloud in the evenings!

RMI Guides Christina von Mertens and JJ Justman

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Your good timing on that carry is something to be thankful for! Here in the Cascade Mountains, at 4500 feet we have 2 full feet of fresh snow. So beautiful. Dogs diving and surfacing like dolphins to get through the powder. Back to you, intrepid team that you are, we wish you a smooth “moving house” day up to Camp 1. Onward!!

Blythe and Larry

Posted by: Blythe Lasley on 12/14/2015 at 2:37 pm

Sending you Love from Colorado! GO TEAM!!!

Posted by: Megan O'Meara on 12/13/2015 at 9:48 pm

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