Entries By jess matthews
May 22, 2018
Our day in Talkeenta progressed at a pretty leisurely pace. We started off with our orientation at the National Park Service after a visit to the coffee shop, and followed that with brunch at the Talkeetna Roadhouse, lest old traditions fail. Then it was into gear: double checking everything we brought, sorting, and packing for the plane flight to Kahiltna Base Camp. With our bags weighed and stacked, ready to be loaded into the Otters, we have done all we can do. It’s in the hands of the pilots and weather now. We will head out to town for dinner, and hope to wake up to clear skies and flying weather!
We’ll keep you posted,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Jess Matthews, Taylor Bickford, and team
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You will see majesty at it’s best and definitely understand the creation set before each step of the way to the top! It will be a few weeks of amazing discoveries. Know that you have prayers being sent out for you from So. California. Love and Hugs! (Danny’s parents)
Posted by: Karen Haleen on 5/23/2018 at 6:23 am
Good luck! We will be watching your progress.
Posted by: Kristi and Jill Snow on 5/23/2018 at 5:27 am
January 13, 2018
The team woke to cold and snowy conditions at High Camp…normal Aconcagua conditions, just not what we experienced this expedition. We had some gear to pick up at our previous camps, but finally got down to base camp for some much earned beverages and a delicious dinner. We will walk to Leñas, our first trek campsite for the infamous asado…Chapstick application is key to enjoying the grilled carne after being in the Alta Montana for the last two weeks. The moon is newer then our trek in so the stars/Milky Way dust will be in full effect, my favorite place to sleep under the stars. This is our final dispatch of the trip, thanks for the comments.
Get down to Leñas next climbing season for the best steak this side of the Galaxy and a bid at the highest peak in South America!
RMI Guides Mike King, Jess Matthews & Nick Scott
Thank you Mike, Jess and Nick, for all the post. It really is a comfort to hear about the group and daily postings. I must admit hearing about high temperatures and snow was hard to grasp at first.
Great to hear they had reached the top and now to hear they will be on their way home. Thank you for leading this group to safety.
Posted by: Donna Bernier on 1/14/2018 at 8:44 am
Congratulations team! You have so much to be proud of. Enjoy the well deserved showers and food. Safe travels home brother Dave love Jul
Posted by: Julie Beckner on 1/14/2018 at 8:29 am
January 12, 2018
Update from Mike King at 10:30 am PT:
If you haven’t listened to my hypoxic voicemail from today, you should know that we stood on top of Aconcagua, 22,841’ around 1pm local time. The climbers are back in camp trying to avoid these late afternoon snow/heat waves…ya doesn’t sound fun does it? The climb had wind, snow, heat, drifted snow in the trail and lots of other parties attempting the summit. I’ll leave the details from the summit day for your loved ones to tell…but the guides are in agreement, one of the harder days we’ve had in the mountains. Tomorrow we will start our downward retreat to the thick air of base camp.
Summit call transcription:
Hey, this is Mike with the RMI Aconcagua Team. We are standing on top of Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalaya. The team did well, we had a really cold morning, probably about 25 mph winds in the face for the first several hours. Now we are sitting up here, we could be in jeans shorts and tank tops. The team did well and we’re going to hang out here and take some photos. Then we still have to descend. We will call in or send a dispatch once everyone is safe back at camp. Thanks for following along. Everyone sends their best.
RMI Guide Mike King calls from the summit of Aconcagua.
On The Map
Congratulations everyone!! Sounds like it was a tough final push to the summit. Can’t wait to hear all about it Katja! Be careful on the descent.
Posted by: Wilton Farmwald on 1/14/2018 at 5:35 pm
Congrats everyone!!! What an accomplishment.
Posted by: Adam and Candice on 1/14/2018 at 8:19 am
January 11, 2018
Well, we pulled the trigger and moved to Cholera located at 19,600’. We decided to skip a rest day in exchange for 2 ‘active’ rest days. The Team moved up with the bear necessities to establish camp and summit Aconcagua! We were on our feet for only three hours so the remainder of the day has been R&R. This morning was the coldest of the trip with beautiful clear skies and a 10-15 WNW wind that kept us cooler then yesterday’s sweat locker. Other teams have been coming down from the summit so the track is kicked in which will make for great climbing.
Everyone is doing great, some nervous energy but that is to be expected the day before attempting the highest mountain outside the Himalaya. We are about ready to feast on hot summer sausage cheese quesadillas and soup before doing a little pre-packing and talking summit day expectations and plan of action. Hopefully we will be calling in from the summit tomorrow. The Team is getting their final pep talk from your blog comments tonight, thanks for the encouraging words and being apart of this wonderful expedition with such a stellar crew!
On The Map
Congratulations Virgil what a great climb. What aw inspiring Beauty. See you back at sea level.
Posted by: Len currier on 1/16/2018 at 5:09 am
Wonderful news. Enjoy that summit viewing, Dave, I am so happy for you and for all the things you have accomplished and the new ones to come. Donna
Posted by: Donna Bernier on 1/12/2018 at 10:32 am
January 10, 2018
Wow! It’s was one of the hottest days above 18,000’! We had 4 inches of snow starting yesterday evening that tapered off by 9 pm. The 1,600 vertical feet to high camp took us up a snowy moraine and into a series of switchbacks that terminate below a complex of white rock towers. The camp is named after the fierce winds that plague this part of the mountain…Camp Cholera. We could have used a fraction of that wind today to cool down the Team and maybe prevent the roofs of our mouths from getting sunburned due to the heavy panting brought on by altitude and heat.
The Team got in a small cache and now comes the difficult decision of when to attempt the summit. The weather models are showing increasing winds on Saturday with Sunday winds being high enough that maintaining camp will be difficult. Our current plan is to move up Friday but a move tomorrow is not out of the question in favor of lighter winds and snow and hopefully higher summit success. It’s snowing again, we’ve been able to set out watches by the afternoon snow fall.
Regardless of what happens, the effort today has the guides feeling optimistic for the Team to boot up and meet the challenge. Thanks for following along.
RMI Guide Mike King & Team
Virg - talked to Dad, Nora & Joe and we are all cheering you and the team on. I hope things went well today. Joe went snowboarding, Nora printed out W’2s, Dad went to Harbor Freight and I read one of the books you got me for Christmas. Well l’m sure your day was more exciting. Love, Mom❤️
Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/11/2018 at 4:02 pm
So glad to hear you’ve made a carry to the high camp! I’m sure you’re anxious to keep moving higher. We can’t wait to hear the tales from the trail. Much love and stay safe!
Posted by: Beth Ludwig on 1/10/2018 at 5:25 pm
January 9, 2018
Our rest day ended with three inches of snow falling on camp with little to no wind and some spectacular heat lightning across the Vacas Valley. It’s like one of those quiet winter nights where you wake to a yard filled with snow. We got underway by 9 am and moved camp to 18,000’. With all the new snow and still air we were roasting by the time we reached Amegino Col. The weather this trip has been atypical in that we have had three nights of snow, light to no wind and abnormally warm temperatures. The Team is currently in their tents riding out another snow fall and will hopefully have a good night’s rest at the new altitude. Tomorrow we will carry food and fuel to high camp to continue our acclimatization. The Team has appreciated the blog comments, and send their love to family and friends back home.
On The Map
Great job to all of you! I’m glad you’re making progress. We’re rooting you on from home. Dad (Craig), we miss you and can’t wait to hear all about your adventure!
Posted by: Samantha on 1/10/2018 at 8:07 am
Well done team! Enjoy following along on this adventure of yours and seeing all the pictures. I hope you continue to have good weather! Love and hugs to Nick from his Mom.
Posted by: Coeli Scott on 1/10/2018 at 7:15 am
January 8, 2018
A thunderstorm skirted us late last night as we fell asleep to the occasional flash of lightning and clap of thunder. Luckily, it was short lived and we dozed off listening to the tapping of heavy, wet snow hitting the tent late into the night. As the sun hit camp this morning, we crawled out excited to see all of Camp 1 and the slopes above us coated in a couple inches of fresh snow - quite the refreshing contrast to the myriad of browns, tans and grays up to this point. The team enjoyed a long, leisurely breakfast and hot drinks to start off the rest day with some quesadillas to follow for lunch. Sometimes rest days can be just as tough, testing one’s patience a bit, but everyone is doing a great job taking advantage of today to continue getting stronger for our next big push to Camp 2. We’ll be keeping our eye on the weather which looks to have more snow in store for us, but in the meantime we’re taking full advantage of some really beautiful, calm days here at Camp 1. Hopefully the next time you hear from us we’ll be settled in at Camp 2 with a hot drink in hand, feeling accomplished, but still aware of the effort that lies before us high up on the Stone Sentinel.
On The Map
Hello boss, we are following along back here! Hope the progress keeps moving upward and that the hands are staying warm!!
- Team CRS
Posted by: Team CRS on 1/10/2018 at 4:30 pm
My 1st born son Virgil - hope you are feeling good and having fun. Your bro and l would not have liked the thunder and lightening - the snow he could handle. We think of you everyday - maybe more like every minute of everyday for me. Miss you. Love Mom❤️
Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/9/2018 at 9:53 am
January 7, 2018
The general consensus was that last night -20 degree sleeping bags were more then warm, they were down right hot at times. In a three-person tent filled with enough goose down, it can look like one of those ball pits at a McDonalds… Good luck finding anything your looking for.
We woke with the sun hitting our tents and not even a hint of wind the entire night. The first night at a new altitude can make good sleep difficult and the Team was feeling the effects of this and the move up from Aconcagua Base Camp.
Our task today was to move food, fuel and some summit gear up to Camp 2, located at 18,000’. The trail takes us up to Amegenio Col (saddle) with spectacular views of the Central Andes. Glaciated peaks like El Mano and Mercedario dominate the skyline. The group did well with the carry and even better showcasing their downhill skills.
Rest, water, food and some cards is all that remains of the day. We’ll take a rest day tomorrow.
Hi Rogan, thinking of you, we are in Clarens till Sunday, no Wifi, fewer messages,sounds like everything in your favour of summits get. Holding thumbs for all of you,love mom
Posted by: Daphne Carew on 1/9/2018 at 4:17 am
Hi Rogan, thinking of you, we are in Clarens till Sunday, no Wifi, fewer messages,sounds like everything in your favour of summits get. Holding thumbs for all of you,love momx
Posted by: Daphne on 1/9/2018 at 4:15 am
January 6, 2018
The Team decided that they have had enough of the comforts of base camp…roasted lamb, showers, Internet and pit latrines and told the guides they trade it all in for pasta, dusty scree, interpersonal conversation and blue bags. With our lungs and legs feeling stronger after another rest day we cruised up to Camp 1 in under 5 hours and spent the remainder of the day setting up camp and enjoying the view. We can see the first hour and half towards Camp 2 and the red, brown and orange pastel colors of the Central Andes to the East. There is some apprehension in the group about what the coming days and weather will bring. So far everyone is acclimating well and excited to be finally heading up Aconcagua. Thanks for following along, we’ll carry gear and supplies to Camp 2 tomorrow and check in with an update.
RMI Guide Mike King
On The Map
Good on you, mate!! Have a safe climb and show em how we do it in Texas.
Posted by: Lee on 1/26/2018 at 8:09 pm
So good to hear your voice, Dave. Sorry to hear of the BP change you had. So you are on your way again, keep trucking! Enjoyed the post to you all by Rachel Ford, so fitting.
Posted by: Donna Bernier on 1/7/2018 at 10:21 am
January 5, 2018
With a portion of our gear safely stowed away at Aconcagua Camp 1, the team took a well-deserved rest day to soak sore feet and massage aching leg muscles. The guides let the climbers sleep in as they prepared a nutritious and delicious egg and bacon breakfast followed by an alpine pizza lunch. Meals designed to replenish lost calories from the taxing carry the day before. Basecamp was buzzing as climbers and guides from other outfits prepared for their own move up to the next camp, at 16,400 feet, despite an unsettling weather forecast. As the RMI crew strapped on their booties for an acclimatization hike, we wished our friends good luck and watched from a safe vantage as they ascended into the low hanging clouds. When the last climber disappeared from view, we were all left to wonder what the weather would look like tomorrow and if Aconcagua would grant us safe passage. What the future holds is uncertain, but this RMI group is in high spirits and ready to get moving.
Virg-just finished watching play off game between KC and Titans. Titans were down 18 points and came back to win 22 to 21. Very exciting. Hope things are going well. I am doing well and feel good - Dad also - he even watched some of the football game. We love you. Mom & Dad
Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/6/2018 at 5:02 pm
Craig and Caroline, I’m following the blog and your progress daily. You know I still worry but that’s a “mom” thing. Stay hydrated and healthy. Love you both.
It’s wicked cold here, -3°F at night with brisk winds. The high today was 11°F. I’m glad I only have to hike out to the barns 4 times a day to care for the horses, dogs, cats, etc. There is nothing in the world as fun as shoveling frozen horse manure. LOL
We are looking at a warm up in the next few days so that is good. I’ve not been hunting the last couple weekends due to the deep cold. The deer are not moving anyway so why should I freeze, ha ha ha. Take care of each other. Love Mom
Posted by: Sarah Relyea on 1/6/2018 at 3:20 pm