Entries By mike king
The Team got started from Refugio Paine Grande at 9:30. The weather was cool and windy for the first two hours as we hiked to Campamento Italiano at the base of the French Valley. We ditched packs and grabbed a light lunch and water, then headed up to the British viewpoint. The views of the Horns, Sharks Fin, and surrounding peaks were worth the side hike. A quick descent down to grab packs and a 30-minute walk to the French Domes wrapped up the day. The skies have been grey and the rain has held off until after getting to camp each day so fingers crossed for two more days of hiking.
February 16, 2020
Posted by: Mike King
We enjoyed a rainy rest day at Refugio Grey. The wind and water on Lago Grey didn’t cooperate for a kayak tour but the time off our feet was appreciated. With only 7 km to Paine Grande we got a later start and walked through the 2011 forest fire scar that provided great views due to reduced vegetation. The trail took us up and down a section of rocky bluffs filled with foxglove and tall grass over 4.5 hours. The winds are usually strong in this section and today was no different. Arriving at Refugio Paine Grande we got glimpses of the main rock formations this area is famous for. High winds, snow and grey skies up high made from some good spectating from within the beautiful and modern hut. Three days remain and we still have a lot of trail to cover and mountains to see. Thanks for following along.
February 15, 2020
Posted by: Mike King
Yesterday was a day that the Team won’t forget for some time. We got a 5:30 am wake up to pack while rain showered down on our tents at Perros Camp. By the time we set off uphill at 7:10 the rain had tapered off but the muddy trail would remain for the next few hours. The group weaved its way through roots and rocks trying to stay out of the calf deep mud.
As we got above tree line the sun had started to illuminate the fresh snow covered peaks above. The clouds stayed high allowing great views of the days previous terrain and the many glaciers surrounding John Gartner Pass. The 1968’ of elevation to the pass consisted of rock trails and snow melt streams. Arriving in the pass at 3840’ the warm up was over and the day’s work was just beginning.
The first part of the descent from the pass was 2,560’ straight down. The trail, if you could call it that is best summed up as a cruel game of chutes and ladders. People use the roots, rocks, trees, ropes and black iron plumbing pipe as handrails. Picking your way down and being cautious to not trip or tumble. With tired legs and a bit of mental fatigue we pulled into Paso Camp.
From Paso Camp at 1280’ we hadmore chutes and ladders terrain that eventually dropped us to Refugio Grey at 500’. To get there we had three impressive suspension bridges that spanned 300’ deep canyons. Along the way we enjoyed spectacular views of the Grey glacier which is one of the arms making up the Southern Patagonia ice sheet. We didn’t all get to camp at the same time, but arrived safe nonetheless to a hot dinner, drinks, showers and a comfy bed.
Aside from sore feet, knees and a few blisters the Team is doing well and enjoying a rainy rest day at Refugio Grey. Boat repairs are keeping us from a Grey glacier tour but there is hope for a kayak tour later this afternoon if the wind dies down.
Apologies for the delay in dispatches, we had poor signal at our last camp and yesterday were busy experiencing this adventure and tough day to concern ourselves with the internet. A huge shout out to Fernando and Francisca our Chilean guides for their professionalism, local knowledge and camaraderie during this trip so far.
February 14, 2020
Posted by: Mike King
We got a casual start from Lago Dickson this morning around 11:15. The hike was about 5.5 hours and the Los Perros camp is in a colder and more humid area. So instead of rushing there we hung out this morning. The hike took us mostly through a dense forest and along side some beautiful glacial rivers with narrow canyons and a nice waterfall view at lunch. Shortly afterwards we began climbing a lateral moraine and got some nice views of the Perros glacier and surrounding peaks. There has not been much direct sunlight this trip and there also has not been much rain. The overcast skies have not made for the best pictures but the temperatures are good for hiking and everyone is enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Tomorrow we head up through John Gardner Pass, the highest point of the trek at 1200 meters.
February 12, 2020
Posted by: Mike King
Our 12 mile hike from Seron to Lago Dickson was an enjoyable day that consisted of rolling hills, tall grass and sporadic forests. We started paralleling the Paine River, “Paine” means blue in the native language. We were moving for about seven hours today, stopping often to take pictures and take in the views of glaciers and mountains that were covered with dark clouds from time to time.
Besides a few birds we didn’t see much wildlife. As we climbed a small hill between two knolls we got a good look at the Dickson Glacier that extends into Argentina and creates Lago Dickson, Rio Paine and Lago Paine. The camp is located on a large flat that has nice river access, large trees to act as a wind break and great mountain vistas.
We continue to eat well, have fun conversations with in our team and other hikers. Once at camp the charcuterie board and vino appeared and our team enjoyed some showers, time in the sun and kicking a soccer ball around. The dinners have been good, a salad, soup, meat and rice typically. Tomorrow we walk to Los Perros Camp. Life is pretty, pretty, pretty good out here.
February 11, 2020
Posted by: Mike King
Today we got a casual start with a two hour drive to the Torres del Paine National Park. On the way we saw 20+ guanacos, which is a wild cameloid, similar to a llama. As we got closer to the park, flamingos and rheas where sighted.
The weather was overcast but we got some views of the glaciers and rock towers that this area is known for. Our hike to Campamento Seron was 5.5 miles and consisted of nice trail and beautiful Patagonia scenery. The tall grasses, wind bent trees and milky emerald green rivers kept people taking photos and enjoying conversations. We are in camp for the night, music in the background, good food being prepared and a charcuterie board with a few bottles of Chilean red wine to kick this trip off right.
This is Mike, checking in for the Torres del Paine trekkers here in Punta Arenas. Everyone arrived after a long two days of travel. We got an early start to head to Isla Magdelana located in the Strait of Magellan to see a colony of Magellan penguins. The Strait of Magellan is protected from the weather of Cape Horn and one of the most important passages between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The hour and half boat ride was calm with nice views of the fractured land that makes up Southern Patagonia. Arriving to the island we had some ground rules laid out to not impact the penguins who are raising their near grown young. The young penguins are shedding their feathers in preparation for a northern migration along the coast of Argentina, Uruguay and even Southern Brazil.
After an hour of walking and taking in the mix of penguins, gulls and brown skua we loaded up to head towards a sea lion colony. From the idling boat we took in these animals that number around 2,000. The smell traveled across the water while the young ones played in the water and swam close to the boat out of curiosity. On our return to Punta Arenas we saw a few Peale’s dolphins swimming alongside the boats. The remainder of the day will be spent in transit to Puerto Natales where we will pack for the start of our Torres del Paine trek. Thanks for following along.
RMI Guide Mike King
January 1, 2020
We had sunshine and calm conditions at 7 AM in highcamp today... which was better than the forecast called for. There was still plenty of cloud about, but we decided to go for the summit. It took until 9:50 to get fully fueled up and geared up for climbing, and by then a few more clouds had rolled in though we still had a good feeling about the day. Vinson put up a fight, of course, and a few of the team were feeling effects of the altitude and so not everybody topped out. Those that did, made it up in about 8 hours, spent nearly an hour on the summit and came down in just a couple more for a respectable round trip under 11 hrs. The conditions swung between sunny and calm, breezy and cloudy and everything in between... all at temps of about -20 to -25 Fahrenheit, so our rest breaks were short and business like so as to keep fingers and toes flexible. We enjoyed views of the tall and jagged peaks to Vinson’s north, and when the mountains were obscured, the sculpted cloud formations covering them were spectacular. On top of Antarctica’s highest mountain, the team lucked out with calm and sunny “gloves off” conditions for photos, fist bumps and flag waving. By 8:30 PM the gang was all back together at high camp. We spent a few hours brewing up, eating, drinking and laughing. A most memorable New Years Day was had by all.
RMI Guides Dave Hahn
On The Map
Way to go! Be safe and see you soon!
Posted by: Chris McKinley on 1/2/2020 at 12:10 pm
Amazing accomplishment guys! Godspeed and safe travels!
Posted by: Steve Minichiello on 1/2/2020 at 12:10 pm
December 31, 2019
We woke to the same thick blanket of cloud concealing the mountaintops and the sun and the blue sky. The good thing was that blanket held in a little more heat than normal, so getting started wasn’t particularly mean and cold. We ate breakfast, caught the forecast passed on from the meteorological folks at Union Glacier, and debated what to do about it. Our decision, since we had no sign or signal that the wind was blowing, was to push up into the cloud and make our move to high camp. It took until 1:00 PM to bust camp and be packed, but that worked just fine. There were occasional snowflakes falling, and we were certainly on the lookout for deteriorating weather, but all-in-all, conditions were stable and we pressed on. We took a short break at yesterday’s high point and then moved higher up the steep snow slope without much at all for views. It was a little like climbing inside a milk bottle. Our boldness was rewarded when we topped out the ropes to find calm and easy conditions (although still cloudy) on the plateau. We pulled into high camp at 6:30, for a respectable five and a half hour push to 12,500 ft. The gang found it tough going... it worked us in about 12 different and mean ways, but everybody set to building camp with good energy and enthusiasm. By that point we’d put on all the big and puffy clothing -down coats and down pants- which seemed just right for our cold new home. We filed into ALE’s good, strong cooking and dining tent and had a deluxe session of hot drinks, dinner, and strategizing for tomorrow. We hope the calm holds and that we can take a good shot at the top to start 2020 off right.
All of us want to wish our friends and loved ones the very warmest and best wishes for their own celebrations. Happy New Year!
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Vinson Massif on New Years Day! Wow.
Good luck everyone!!!
Posted by: Ernie Mennes on 1/2/2020 at 1:00 am
Very excited for you guys. Good luck tomorrow, we are rooting for you. Happy summit!
Posted by: Suzanne Davis on 1/1/2020 at 6:28 pm
December 30, 2019
The sun came around the mountain at 10 AM today, which was also about the time we got out of our sleeping bags and unzipped the tents. There was a faint breeze keeping things cool, but we clambered into the dining tent for a leisurely breakfast/brunch/lunch. By the time we waddled out and suited up for climbing it was 2 PM. Yesterday, although we were roped to one another for glacier travel, it was just walking with ski poles. Today, we had on crampons and carried ice axes. It only took a few minutes to get to the base of the fixed ropes where we paused briefly to rig up and review techniques for climbing steep snow. The goal was “lunch ledge” about an hour up the lines. We were starting to get some pretty good views of our surroundings -including a cloud bank pushing in from the northwest. By the time we’d descended, the clouds were covering the summits and blocking out the sun. Luckily there wasn’t any wind to go with this change in our weather. We were back in camp by 5 PM and set in for an evening of snacking and rehydration. Dinner was fashionably late at 8:45 PM and we were back in the tents by 10 PM. The plan is to move to highcamp tomorrow if the weather holds and everybody has stayed healthy.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Happy New Year guys! Enjoy the view! Be safe. Shoutout from Dayton Ohio fan club.
Posted by: Michael on 12/31/2019 at 8:27 pm