Entries By steve gately
December 21, 2016
The wind battered our tents for most of the night but tapered towards the morning. Today our goal was to reach the col in between Aconcagua and Ameghino at 17,100 ft. With the winds at camp blowing at a strong 20 MPH we bumped up and prepared for the few hour climb to our destination. Shortly into our ascent we put our crampons on for the first time this trip as the brisk wind kept the snow frozen an firm. The team did great with yet another push into higher altitude and we found the winds to be very manageable. We passed through the col with little effort and walked a few more minutes to where we get a massive view of the Andes stretching out to the North. Furthest in the distance is Mercedario, the 5th tallest peak in South America at roughly 22,275 ft. It’s early afternoon now and we’re all back at camp safely. We’ll take a few hours to rest and re-hydrate before starting the stoves for dinner. Tomorrow the winds are expected to increase yet again and we’ll take this opportunity to rest and prepare for lighter winds and our move to Camp II (18,000 ft.) on Friday.
RMI Guide Steve Gately and Team
Can’t stop thinking about all of you! Stay as warm as possible, incredibly safe, and full of the spirit of adventure which drew you to the very spot on which you are now standing! Peggy and John
Posted by: Peggy on 12/22/2016 at 10:36 am
A special shout out to Boyd to stay save and warm. We are keeping all the members up to date on your climb.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas while you’re “on top of the world.” . Here’s hoping the wind is at your back, otherwise the next blog will remind us Lori’s dad’s stories: “When I was a kid, we had to walk to school in 4 ft of snow, uphill, against the wind, both ways!”
Stay safe and warm!
Posted by: Lori/Karen/Maty on 12/22/2016 at 9:56 am
December 20, 2016
Today we left the comforts of Base Camp and moved to Camp One! Our whole team did great on the way up, and we are excited to be making upward progress on the mountain.
Our journey today was mostly on rocky trails that wove through moraine material, and finished with walking up a big snowy hill the last hour before camp. The view from here is stunning. We can’t see the summit, but we can see shape-shifting clouds rip over it. Looking downhill we can see the warm multi-colored mountains that make the far side of the Vacas Valley. Dinner tonight was not three courses, and it’s cold and windy and we no longer have well maintained outhouses… And this is exactly what we came here to do! Everyone is in high spirits.
And now the game of chess begins. We’re expecting strong winds over night and tomorrow, but we’ll see what happens. Wind permitting, our plan for tomorrow is to walk to at least 17,000 feet for acclimatization. Meanwhile, a couple of us guides will move some group food as close to camp two as we can get to set the group up for success if we end up having to make a quick move to camp two in the coming days.
As the moon wanes the stars are becoming increasingly more spectacular through this dry and thin air. If it wasn’t so cold it would be easy to stay mesmerized all night! Wish us mellow winds and dissipating headaches…
RMI Guide Steve Gately and Team
3 rules of mountaineering.
It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks and it’s always harder than it looks.
Keep up the good work!
Posted by: chris on 12/21/2016 at 7:02 am
December 19, 2016
Ah, the rest day! A whole day spent just relaxing and taking care of ourselves. It’s the dream, right!? Not always, it can be a real struggle to find ways to pass the hours and a lot of our climbers find the lack of an agenda anything but relaxing. Luckily our team seems to be coping with all the free time like expedition veterans. This morning we started with a scrambled egg breakfast with onions, peppers and tomatoes. The group split after breakfast and have been passing the time by reading, taking walls through old glacial moraines and the occasional nap. This afternoon we’ll prepare for our move to Camp 1 (16,200ft) by dividing up our remaining group gear and discussing our strategy for the upper mountain. Our forecast is calling for increasing winds over the next few days, with the highest winds coming in at 45mph at Camp 1 and well over 70mph on the summit! We take things one day at a time up here in the high mountains and will be looking at the forecast closely over the next few days. The team is excited to move up and ready for the challenges that Aconcagua has to throw at us. Pray to the weather Gods for us! Thanks for following!
On The Map
We’re sending our best wishes and prayers for all of you from Boyd’s hometown….it’s supposed to be 85 degrees here tomorrow (Tuesday) with a low of 67…..aren’t those the same temps on ACON? LOL! We’ve been enjoying Steve and Hannah’s daily comments. And here’s hoping the wind prognosis is not accurate! Peggy and John
Posted by: John on 12/19/2016 at 7:56 pm
December 18, 2016
The team did an incredible job today with our Carry to Camp 1 (16,200ft). The route starts off traveling up the moraine to the Glaciar de Los Ingleses. The terrain is loose and awkward, peppered with penitentes as tall as 6 feet. Penitentes are towers of snow and ice that form from different melting patterns in the snowpack, specifically from wind transported glacial pumice. After that the terrain eases off as we pick our way through a maze of rock debris covering old glacial ice. We finish with what is normally steep loose scree but we had the pleasure of ascending snow which made the walking much nicer. This portion is a lot of work as we’re carrying 40-50lbs packs and are entering an elevation of over 16,000ft. We reached Camp 1, left some gear, teased our bodies with a new high altitude to jump start the acclimatization process and took in the views. We’re now back at basecamp and everyone is resting before another enormous basecamp dinner. Tomorrow we look forward to a well deserved rest day. Keep your fingers crossed the weather stays nice for us! Hasta mañana!
On The Map
December 17, 2016
Ahhh, what a lovely day to take a rest. The team took our first rest day today at Aconcagua Base Camp, Plaza Argentina. We slept in, enjoyed a hearty breakfast and then went about leisurely preparing for our carry to camp one tomorrow.
We took a midday walk up a small valley outside of Base Camp to stretch or legs and breathe a bit more actively. As we walked along the valley’s crumbling walls, in which every shade of red to brown seemed to be represented, the geology of the Andes became the theme of our walk. On the way back, nearly each person’s curiosity was sparked by stones in the creek bed from one of the many rock layers above.
We spent the rest of the afternoon planning and packing the things that we will cache at Camp One tomorrow. Our tasks were completed before another amazing three course dinner from Grajales’ Base Camp staff. It seems no one’s appetite is suffering due to altitude!
Everyone is doing well and we are ready to work hard in the morning. Wish us calm winds and easy breathing!
I’m sure we miss you too…
RMI Guides Steve Gately & Hannah McGowan
On The Map
Rest up and breathe easy team. And Bob, I’m sure you’ve probably already taken several hundred photos. We all can’t wait for the slide show!
Posted by: John Horgan on 12/18/2016 at 7:10 pm
My dog and I walked the beach this morning and thought of all of you at 16,200 ft! Hope the wind and the cold were tolerable to you courageous souls! Peggy
Posted by: Peggy on 12/18/2016 at 1:38 pm
December 16, 2016
The team woke this morning after a few showers last night to clear skies. Our first obstacle of the day was to cross the Vacas River. Having to get an early start for our big day and it still being very cold, we opted to ask the Arrieros to ferry us across on their mules. One by one the team slowly accumulated on the other side of the river until only myself (Steve) remain. The Arrieros waved me over to my mule and I jumped onto the back of the animal. Just at that time something spooked the front mule (there was three tied together) and all three took off in a sprint, first through the river and then turning there attention up valley. At the time it was actually quite comedic as I tried to calm the lead mule from the center position. It became clear that he wasn’t going to give up until I got off his back. So I began looking for my exit and humming the Indiana Jones theme song to myself when I swung one leg over the mule and leapt off to the side. The mules stopped and we reunited with their cowboy. I rejoined the group and we all had a good laugh! The team is now all settled into Basecamp (13,800ft) after a fantastic trek into the high country. Everyone did well with the workload and the new altitude. We’ll enjoy a well deserved dinner tonight, prepared by our wonderful basecamp staff, and look forward to our first rest day of the trip tomorrow! Thanks again for following. More to come tomorrow!
RMI Guide Steve Gately
On The Map
Sounds like everyday is full of new adventures! We look forward to reading the blog each day. Love the pictures and can’t wait to see more!
Posted by: Rowan and Sawyer on 12/16/2016 at 4:19 pm
December 15, 2016
Today we continued our trek up the Vacas Valley to Los Piedras. The sun was scorching for most of the walk, but luckily, we are now enjoying a gentle drizzle as we relax in our tents. We did manage to get our first glimpse of Aconcagua right before clouds began to roll over the peak. I think the opinion is entirely unanimous that it is a stunning and dramatic mountain! Spirits are high and despite a sunburn or two, everyone is in excellent health and relishing in the beauty of the Vacas Valley. Tomorrow we will start up the Relinchos Valley, where we will conclude our trek to base camp.
If you’re thinking of us, then I’m sure someone here is thinking of you too.
RMI Guides Steve Gately, Hannah McGowan and the Aconcagua team
I hope everyones adventure is bringing everything each of you hoped for and more. Tyson and I send our love to Boyd.!
Posted by: Nichole jensen on 12/19/2016 at 7:06 pm
These photos are stunning. Go team!
Posted by: John on 12/16/2016 at 9:43 am
December 14, 2016
The team enjoyed one last breakfast in civilization this morning before stepping outside to blue skies and calm winds. The walk to our first camp, Las Lénas, in the Vacas Valley went perfectly. The valley can often times be extremely hot when there is no wind or extremely frustrating if there is a lot and we were gifted with the perfect amount to keep us cool and enjoy the trek. The team did great on their first day of trekking and enjoyed getting into the high country and working up an appetite for our carne asado tonight. The asados in the Vacas Valley our one of my favorite parts of the trip. The Arriaros make a fire and cook large cuts of beef and whole vegetables over an open fire. Everyone sits around the fire and is served family style. It’s a wonderful bit of Argentinian mountain culture and a true highlight of the trip. Tomorrow we will continue our journey up the Vacas to our second camp “Casa de Piedra” (11,000 ft) and we’ll finally get our first view of Aconcagua! That’s all for now, thanks for following!
RMI Guide Steve Gately & Team
Praying for safety in your trek. Wishing my brother, Rob, the best!!!
Posted by: Marg on 12/15/2016 at 6:15 pm
Have fun and don’t f*** it up! (See Bob that statement works for more than rugby!) Cheering y’all on!
Posted by: Kat Roche on 12/15/2016 at 10:48 am
December 13, 2016
The drive into the mountains starts by passing through many of Mendoza’s Bodega’s until the landscape changes to rolling hills peppered with bushy green shrubs. Soon there after we gain elevation and follow the Rio de Mendoza up to the Uspallata Valley where the topography changes yet again to tall jagged peaks colored red,orange, tan and grey. Another hour down the valley takes us to Los Penitentes where we will be calling home tonight. The team spent the afternoon packing and repacking there duffel bags for the trek into the Vacas Valley tomorrow. At the moment we are all probably much to full from dinner and excited to get to bed and finally leave the creature comforts behind for a sleeping bag and tent tomorrow. Everyone is doing fantastic and eager too start our adventure! Tune in tomorrow for more!
I need this information for a school project.
Posted by: Connor on 12/15/2016 at 8:52 am
Love the picture! Looks like a healthy group. Godspeed!
Posted by: Terry (Jen's Mom) on 12/14/2016 at 12:20 pm
December 12, 2016
Aconcagua season has officially begun! The team all safely made it to Mendoza today and enjoyed finally putting a face to the names in the what felt like 1000 exchanged emails over the last month. Most of the team enjoyed a few hours exploring the culture and sights of Mendoza’s city center before getting to work trying to figure out how to navigate the park’s online registration form. After figuring out that Argentinian keyboards have a different key layout and with only mild frustration, we managed to get everybody registered! We spent the rest of the evening doing our gear check and enjoying a delicious dinner out in town. Tomorrow we pack up and head to Los Penitentes (9,000ft) where we will pack our things to survive the long and arduous journey attached to the back of a Argentine mule. Everybody is in great spirits and excited for the challenge ahead. Thanks for following.
Wishing everyone a beautiful and safe experience. Sending Boyd lots of hugs . I’m excited for you!
Posted by: Nichole jensen on 12/14/2016 at 5:11 pm
The entire O’Shaughnessy family wish Boyd and they entire expedition a safe and exciting climb. Looking for updates on your adventure!
Posted by: Mike O'S on 12/13/2016 at 8:01 pm