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Entries By pepper dee

January 11, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Pack Up and Leave for the Dusty Trail

Hi folks,

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to Aconcagua Base Camp and hit the dusty trail back to Las Lenas. Given the grim outlook on this mountain for the next week, the team is rather excited to be able to get back home to you all just a little bit sooner. We’re hoping that the promise of huge slabs of steak cooked over an open fire will motivate us along the 18 or so miles we have ahead of us today. Hopefully we can stay hydrated and blister free.

You used to call us on our sat phone,

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

Great to meet you and have some fun with your team! 

Cheers!  Fred

Posted by: Fred Doar on 1/17/2016 at 4:07 pm

Hi Eric Leger & ACONCAGUA Team:  It was a nice experience following along on your journey through the blog.  Thank you so much. You have so much to be proud of in all that you were able to experience in your mind/body/spirit.  Wishing you all safe travels home. 

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” -Edmund Hillary



Posted by: millie Chase on 1/13/2016 at 7:07 am

January 10, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team at Base Camp

Hello folks, Team 3 is resting and doing well back at base camp on Aconcagua. There are a lot of teams that have retreated from the upper mountain and have departed base camp. Last night Pepper and one of our team members, Brian, played guitar and sang for the entire base camp and yes, they received a standing ovation. 

As for our team, we are not quite ready to throw in the towel but I have to be honest, the weather and the forecast is looking horrible with extremely high winds continuing for several days. We will keep you posted to our progress. As for now, the team is really happy not having to hold tents up from the inside and actually enjoying visiting the bathrooms.

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Pepper Dee

Bonjour Éric,

Un petit message qui j’espère t’arrivera où que tu sois. Je suis sûr que tu réussis à atteindre tes objectifs. Et pour une fois, oublie ce vieux dicton qui dit : “Quand tu as atteint le sommet de la montagne, continue de grimper”.  On pense à toi, on t’aime et n’hésite pas si tu as le moindre problème pour redescendre à m’appeler : je ferai le max !  À tantôt,  Phil

Posted by: Phil on 1/11/2016 at 7:36 am

Hey Brad! We sure hope the weather turns enough for you to summit. We can’t wait to hear all about your trip and hope it will include a summit. If not, it sure will be great memories for yall, just stay safe.  As big as that mountain is, just know that you are loved even more, way more!! We think about you every day. We love and miss you! Love Mimi and Dad XO

Posted by: Mimi Rearden on 1/11/2016 at 7:18 am

January 7, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Hunker Down in Wind and Snow at Camp 1

Well, when life gives you 50 mph wind gusts and incidental snow storms, you hole up in your tent, drink tea, and eat ramen. In other words, the team is getting a taste of expedition living at its finest up here at Aconcagua Camp 1. The good news is, all team members are doing well, battling the elements through stoic tent maintenance, self care, and once in a while poking their heads outside to catch a glimpse of the spindrift whipping down the neighboring slopes. Send us all the positive weather vibes you can!

Blessings on blessings from the boys on the hill,

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

On The Map

Brad & Co… Still hoping for better conditions for you guys!  Hang tough and I’m sure you guys will get to push up and summit soon!  Until then, rest up and keep your head down! Good Luck!

Still following along daily..

Posted by: J Davis on 1/9/2016 at 9:13 pm

Brad & Brian:

Hang in there…hope the weather is better soon and you get to the summit.  Miss you and will be glad when you are safely back home…stay warm.

Posted by: Bobbi Birt on 1/8/2016 at 2:44 pm

January 6, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman and Team Settle in at Camp One

Hey Everyone,

This is JJ Justman and Pepper Dee and Team 3 Aconcagua. We had one heck of a day you can probably hear the wind here. We fought the battle and we got up here to Camp One at 16,500 feet. Pretty adverse conditions, but the team just did a fantastic job! Actually Pepper and I are really impressed with these guys, none of them hired any porters and when we got to camp they set up the tents themselves. They’re anchoring them out right now and getting moved, it’s been a long day. I wanted to write a dispatch to let you know how great the team is doing, but we’re running a little bit behind schedule. We’ve got some stoves to get going and get some snow melt into water to get re-hydrated and make sure these folks are doing well. Everyone’s doing great! Thanks for Following along, Tough day to get up here at Camp One, but everyone safe and sound.  As usual we’re still having fun and the views are only getting better!  We’re probably going to have a couple of lazy days here. The forecast is calling for a quite a bit of wind for the next several days, so we’re not in a huge rush to go running up hill. It is nice to get a little higher and improve on our acclimatization.

Again, thanks for following along and we’ll touch base soon.

JJ Justman and Pepper Dee Checking in from Camp One on Aconcagua.

Brian and Brad: I hate to hear that the weather isn’t cooperating…y’all will have to make the most of it - swapping stories while you’re holed up in the tents.

Posted by: Johnny on 1/7/2016 at 10:33 am

Congratulations, everyone!!!  Please continue to hydrate and to err on the side of caution.
God bless every single one of you.  Mama Kucik

Posted by: Karen Kucik on 1/7/2016 at 6:41 am

January 5, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Relax at Base Camp

Wind, wind, wind! Because the forecast is calling for foul weather the team has decided to spend one more day at Base Camp. After all, after a great day up to 16,400 feet we will only get stronger down low. So, the team is relaxing, eating pizzas, taking showers and enjoying another day in base.

Everyone here wants to say hello to their friends and families. Keep your fingers crossed for calmer winds. We are hoping to move up to Camp 1 tomorrow.

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Pepper Dee

On The Map

Brian—Worried about you—you are my favorite Bulldog and I am counting on you to kick butt
with Mother Nature!

Posted by: Dan McIntyre on 1/8/2016 at 7:07 pm

JJ—you da man—climb strong and safe!


Posted by: randy c on 1/6/2016 at 10:26 am

January 4, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Carry to Camp 1

Today was a big day for our Aconcagua Team! After loading up our packs with food and supplies for the upper mountain, we set off above Base Camp into the penitente maze separating Base Camp from Camp 1. For those of you in need of a mountaineering glossary, penitentes are chunks of hardened snow molded by the elements into spires, ranging from shin high to-under some conditions-over head high. Negotiating the penitentes, combined with the wind and snow the team encountered at Camp 1, made for a challenging but successful carry day. Spirits are high as we enjoy a potato hash back at Base Camp.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

On The Map

Hey Dad (Mike)!! So glad to read that you all are having a great trek! Cheering you on from VA.

Devon & the kiddos

Posted by: Devon on 1/4/2016 at 8:37 pm

Yum, potato hash! TJ is jealous. The boys are all caught up on your progress, babe, and we are cheering you on from afar.

FYI: We managed to frontline two kitties (with Townsend’s help). One has evaded us; can you guess who?!

Love you and miss you, Terry/Daddy.

Posted by: Amanda, TJ and Townsend on 1/4/2016 at 5:54 pm

January 3, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team R&R Time after Acclimating Hike

First, this dispatch is brought to you by Starbucks…I sit here drinking an Italian roast as I write this. Second, this team is rocking and rolling! Today we took a well-deserved day of rest at Aconcagua Base Camp; however, everyone had a great first night at altitude.

The team woke up to a fresh egg veggie scramble. We went to work after breakfast and began organizing food and gear for our carry to Camp 1.  We went for an acclimatization hike and explored the surrounding area. Everyone is doing great and despite the strong winds, we are having a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for more Aconcagua action and as usual… Go Green Bay!!

RMI Guides JJ Justman and Pepper Dee

On The Map

Who is the Packer fan?  I love my Green Bay Packers but they let the Vikings beat them.  Oh well, on to Washington.  Good luck to all,  especially Terry!  Thinking about you.  Judi

Posted by: Judi Harper on 1/6/2016 at 2:27 pm

Brad and Brian:

Hope you guys are having fun.  Be safe.  Looking forward to having you home!  Happy Trails!

Posted by: Bobbi Birt on 1/5/2016 at 4:59 am

January 2, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Reach Base Camp

Hola friends and family! This is Pepper Dee writing along with JJ Justman from Aconcagua Base Camp. Today was a bit of an action packed outing. We started the day off strong with a mule ride across the Vacas River at dawn to reach the base of the Relinchos Valley (probably the closest the team will ever get to starring in a spaghetti western), and then trekked up the valley all day until we reached Base Camp early this afternoon. Everyone is doing great and is adjusting well to life at just under 14,000 feet. It’s very windy around basecamp, and we’re hoping the gusts start to simmer down during our rest day tomorrow. Hugs from the team! We’ll be in touch tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pepper Dee and JJ Justman

On The Map

The stir-man is pulling for y’all! Crush it!!

Posted by: Johnny on 1/4/2016 at 7:19 am

Hope you are having a great day and get some rest!  We enjoyed spending time yesterday with
Becky, Halle, Brody and Jake. We ate at Chiles, one of our favorite places. Everyone is doing great.
We miss you, stay safe. Dad took pictures of the lake and it is something to see.

Posted by: Mom and Dad on 1/3/2016 at 9:32 am

January 1, 2016


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Send New Year Greetings from Casa de Piedra

Hey everyone, this is JJ Justman and Pepper Dee with our Aconcagua team. We had a great New Year Day trekking to Casa de Piedra.  It was beautiful sunny day it was very windy towards the end, but the winds starting to calm down. Pepper and I are chopping vegetables we are throwing the chicken on the grill, and we’re going to have another great evening here under the Andean sky. Everyone’s doing great the entire team wants to say hello to their friends and family back at home and they told me to just give a general shot out for the Happy New Year to everyone. Things are going great. Stay tuned because we are going to end this trek as we move into base camp tomorrow. So stay tuned and we will talk to you tomorrow. Good bye from Casa de Piedra.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman checks in from Casa de Piedra en route to Aconcagua Base Camp.

On The Map

December 31, 2015


Aconcagua: Justman & Team to Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Las Lenas

Hey, everyone, this is JJ Justman with Pepper Dee. We are sitting here at Las Lenas Camp.  The team had a great day here, hiking into camp.  It is a little bit windy here right now as we are getting the gear all situated. We are going to have a nice dinner this evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve out here in the mountains.  We are going to hang out with the cowboys, drink some Cokes and Tang and some matte and put that big slab of beef on the grill and get this trip underway. The team is doing great. We have a really great team, as usual an All-star team of ten guys looking forward to continuing the trek in tomorrow. Thanks for following along. Stay tuned - it’s going to be a good one.

Bye bye,
RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman calls from Pampa de Lenas en route to Aconcagua Base Camp.

On The Map

Happy New Year Big Brother! Hope you are having a blast! Be careful!!!
Love you!

Posted by: Lynda Heidorn on 1/1/2016 at 7:06 pm

Big Bri!!  Happy new year brother!!  What a way to ring in the new year!  Hope you are having a blast!  All y’all take care and be safe!

Posted by: Jeff on 1/1/2016 at 6:22 pm

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