Entries By pete van deventer

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy a Rest Day at Camp 1

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

We had a relatively uneventful rest day at Aconcagua Camp 1. While base camp offered pizzas, cook tents, and showers, folks spent the day at Camp 1 napping, catching up on journals, listening to music, and chatting. There were clouds in the Vacas Valley this morning, which we watched push up towards us, with the upper reaches just brushing our camp, before they would push back down valley again. Watching the curling cloud forms provided some entertainment as well. Our leisurely day should have us prepared to pack camp tomorrow morning to head up to Camp 2 at 18,000 feet. Once there, we will start the process of acclimating over again, and we will be one step closer to our summit push. Though we haven’t been here that long, everyone is excited for the next step and a new home for a few days.

Hasta mañana,

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juampi, and team

The moon rises above the Andes from Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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2

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Keep Momentum and Carry to Camp 2

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Another day, another step in the uphill direction. We continued on yesterday’s momentum, woke with the sun, sorted loads, and pointed our boots uphill to Guanacos Tres, or our Camp 2. It’s not a huge day, only 1,600’ of elevation gain, but it’s great for our acclimatization process, and now we have the bulk of our food and fuel up high. This year is a bit bizarre in that this is traditionally high season and the mountain is very empty. We are the only team in Camp 1, and there is one other small team at Camp 2, which makes for a much more remote feeling to the expedition.

Some clouds blew over this afternoon, with a few flurries, but our weather remains spectacular overall. We’re looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, and then hopefully on up to Camp 2.

Hasta luego,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and team

An RMI Team climbing above Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection Aconcagua Camp 1 view. Photo: RMI Collection

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4

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Move to Camp 1

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

Today we moved to Camp 1 under perfect weather. The team made great time moving to Camp 1 and are handling the altitude well. Shortly after arriving we exchanged high-fives with Billy Nugent’s team. They made the summit of Aconcagua the day prior. We’re all settled into camp now and enjoying hot drinks. Having left the comforts of base camp, we’ve had some lively discussions about the toilet situation, etc. Tomorrow we will carry to Camp 2, as we continue to take advantage of this good weather and push higher.

RMI Guide Alex Barber

Climbers on the approach to Aconcagua Camp 1. Photo: Ty Reid

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3

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Ready to Move Uphill

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

With our departure from Aconcagua Basecamp imminent, the group took full advantage of the amenities today, ordering pizzas for lunch, taking showers, and sipping coca colas. Cards came out and heated games ensued. A few folks headed back down the trail to take photos and stretch their legs, but ironically, the blue sky turned dark gray and a short but intense hail storm chased everyone back to cover. We enjoyed our last base camp dinner for a little while, with several people heading back for seconds on lasagna. As dinner wrapped up, we stepped outside to another gorgeous pink sunset, but today the shadow of Aconcagua imprinted itself on the sky as well. We’re heading to bed ready and excited for the move to Camp 1 and the continuation towards our goal that it signals.

We’ll be in touch,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and team

View on the way to Aconcagua Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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4

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Carry Big Loads to Camp 1

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Today we took the place of the mules and shouldered our first heavy packs of the trip. Our goal was to get as much of our food, fuel, and equipment uphill as possible, so that when we move to Aconcagua’s Camp 1, our loads are reasonable. We succeeded at that goal in fine form, and now everything is ready for us to make the next step uphill to 16,000’ the day after tomorrow.

We woke up to the helicopter over our heads, shuttling propane tanks, building materials, and the full toilet cans in and out of camp. A pretty expensive alarm clock! We ate breakfast, and then quickly got ready to depart so that we could minimize the amount of time that we were in the true heat of the day. The group moved really well today, even on the final 600-foot scree slope, where the uphill track disappeared and every step sent you sliding backwards. We left our gear at camp and then turned to descend. The same slope that was so heinous on the way up, had people hooting and yelling as we skied back down. We were back in time for an afternoon siesta, and to feel safe from the rain clouds that had started to build and were threatening. Though we heard some rumbles of thunder this afternoon, the clouds stayed away and we stayed dry. On the schedule for tomorrow is another rest day, one last chance to enjoy the comforts of base camp before we head up to higher elevations.

Thanks for reading,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juampi, and team

Descending back to Aconcagua Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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1

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy Rest Day at Base Camp

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We took a well deserved rest day today at Plaza Argentina. Though most woke early, everyone opted to stay in their sleeping bags until the sun hit the tents. Our long morning continued with a scrambled egg breakfast and some joke and story telling over coffee. We roused ourselves in the late morning to head to the camp doctor’s building for our obligatory medical check. We are happy to report that everyone is as healthy as they look and we are all clear to keep climbing!

It wasn’t all fun and games, as we all had to sort through the duffels that the mules have been carrying to organize our gear for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow. Unfortunately, Base Camp is the end of the road for the mules, and from here on up we take over their job.

An afternoon siesta led into another delicious dinner, which led to a spectacular sunset that turned the whole sky a variety of red and purple shades. A large thunderhead that has been hanging to the east provided a canvas for the painting, and dusk is just now beginning to overtake the brilliant hues. We are lucky to be in such a beautiful place.

We’ll let you know how the carry goes tomorrow. Hasta mañana,

RMI Guides Pete, Alex, Juan, and team

Camp life at Plaza Argentina, Aconcagua Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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4

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Arrive at Base Camp

Posted by: Alex Barber, Pete Van Deventer | January 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We are settled in to our camp for the next several days in a situation that in mountain terms is very plush. We woke up early this morning to get our bags packed for the arryaros, and then prepared to cross the Vacas river. Some opted to brave the chilly temps, cold water, and multiple channels, rolling up their pant legs and wading right in. Others took the unique opportunity to ride a mule across. We all learned something new from our Norwegian teammate, who showed up with ultralight waders and cruised across without getting the least bit damp.

The sun was shining again today, but the increasing altitude and another welcome breeze kept things mostly comfortable. We saw more Guanacos today (the team no longer believes us when we tell them it’s pretty rare), this time either playing or arguing with a game of king of the hill. As we came through the top of the Relinchos valley, we got our first really unobstructed views of Aconcagua and its sister peak Amegino. A dining tent, lemonade, and an assortment of peanuts, crackers, cheese, and olives greeted us when we walked into Plaza Argentina. With tents up, it was time for the afternoon siesta before a delicious chicken dinner prepared by Anita, the wonderful base camp cook. We’re off to bed shortly, and after a lot of miles and hours the last three days, everyone is looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.
We send our best to everyone back home,

RMI Guides Pete, Juan, Alex, and crew

Enjoying the views of Aconcagua upon approach to Plaza Argentina, Aconcagua Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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1

Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Enjoying the Trek to Base Camp

Posted by: Alex Barber, Pete Van Deventer | January 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

Today was another perfect day in the Vacas Valley. Several of us slept out last night under a stunning Milky Way while the southern cross worked its way across the horizon. We woke to clear skies, and cool temps, and motivated to get the miles ahead of us under way. We kept a breeze with us most of the way, but nonetheless, after two days in the strong southern sun, everyone is a little bit crispier. About an hour before camp, we came over a rise to see a family of 9 guanacos (a wild relative of the llama) grazing along the trail ahead. Normally very shy, they were about as curious towards us as we were towards them and we were able to snap a bunch of photos. It’s pretty rare to get to see them, and especially so close, so we felt really lucky. We arrived in the mid afternoon, so there was plenty of time for a siesta before we filled our bellies, with pasta tonight. Everyone was a bit relieved for the break from huge portions of steak.

Tomorrow we climb through the Relinchos valley to base camp at Plaza Argentina. We’ll check in from there. Hopefully this gorgeous weather continues to hold for us.

Hasta luego,
RMI Guides Pete, Alex, Juan, and team

Casa de Piedra, the second camp on the way to Plaza Argentina, Aconcagua Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection Aconcagua comes into view as the team approaches Casa de Piedra on their second day on the trial to Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Van Deventer and Team reach Pampa de Lenas

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

We had a fantastic walk in yesterday to get the trip started finally! Though everyone agreed it was very hot, a breeze for most of the way kept it much more comfortable than it could have been. We had a leisurely start from Penitentes, and we were comfortably settled into camp by late afternoon. As the shadows lengthened, JJ’s team marched triumphantly into camp, and we shared another delicious asado with them and swapped stories. Tomorrow, it’s onward, following the dusty mule trail, to Casa de Piedras. The group is doing a great job, and it looks as though it will be another warm sunny day tomorrow, just the way we like it.

Ciao,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, Juan, and Team

Looking toward Pampa de Lenas. RMI Photo Collection

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Pete Van Deventer & Team Ready for Aconcagua!

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | January 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

It’s been a really busy 36 hours, getting everyone here, buying food, securing permits, traveling to Penitentes, and packing our gear for the mules, but we have gotten it all done! The bags are packed and we are ready to hit the dusty trail tomorrow and start up Aconcagua! In all of that bustling around, we still found time for our first of several delicious steak and wine dinners in Mendoza. This can be the most stressful part of the trip, making sure that everyone arrives, and with all of their bags. Tomorrow we move into the rhythm of the mountains, things slow down, and we take a deep breath. We’ll be in touch tomorrow from Pampa de Lenas, where we hope to see JJ and his team as they make their way out from a successful trip. We’re hoping ours is as well.

Ciao for now.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber, and team

Aconcagua trailhead. Photo: JJ Justman

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