Entries By steve gately
December 31, 2016
Our last night at Las Lenas we didn’t use tents. After our asado we simply rolled pads out onto the ground and spent the night under the stars as they say. With the moon unable to be seen that night the star show was one of the best I’ve seen. The next morning we trekked the last four hours out of the Vacas Valley back to Los Penitentes. We meet the second RMI Expedition lead by Mike King and JM Gorum getting their gear prepared for the walk into the Vacas Valley the following day. We stopped at the Estancia de Elias and ordered 40 Empanadas to go for the remainder of our drive back to Mendoza. Once we arrived to the hotel we all split, took the famed first shower after a long expedition and met in the hotel lobby at 8:30 to walk to dinner. We made reservations at a famous Italian restaurant in the city called Francesco’s. The owner of the establishment Maria Teresa, pushing into her 90’s still works at the restaurant making pasta from scratch. We all enjoyed a magnificent dinner and celebrated a wonderful and safe trip into the heart of the Andes and the roof of South America. This will be the last blog of the trip. Thanks to everyone for following along. We had an amazing group of climbers and I look forward to hopefully climbing with all of them again in the future. Muchas Gracias, hasta luego!
Sounds like quite an adventure! We can’t wait to hear all about it Boyd! Thankful you and your team returned safe and sound. I can’t even imagine a trek like that. Impressive!! Happy New Year !!!
Posted by: Linda & Pete on 1/1/2017 at 3:30 pm
Steve, Thanks for bringing everyone back safely!
Posted by: Peggy on 12/31/2016 at 7:51 pm
December 29, 2016
This morning we woke before the sun hit basecamp, had a simple breakfast of oatmeal and prepared our duffels once again to survive the journey on the back of a pack animal. The trek to Las Leñas is a long one, taking around seven hours, most of which is in a hot, shadeless landscape. Upon our arrival we took a few minutes to arrange an area to sleep and then gathered around the fire the Arrieros prepared to cook our asado for the evening. We enjoyed carne and vegetables cooked over open flame along with a few bottles of Malbec that we had carried in to celebrate the trip. Tomorrow, four hours of trekking brings us out of the Vacas Valley and back to Los Penitentes where we will meet our transfer back to Mendoza!
Wow what an adventure of a lifetime. What great experience and all returned safely. Will want to hear all the stories when you are back in Denver, Boyd.
Posted by: Pam on 12/31/2016 at 10:28 am
So glad Boyd and the team are safe have a safe trip home Boyd!!
Posted by: Brenda on 12/31/2016 at 7:10 am
December 28, 2016
A little snow was falling after dinner last night but this morning the skies were clear. We began breaking down camp and enjoying our last views from 18,000 ft. The team was excited for the thicker air of basecamp at 14,000ft. Thicker air at 14,000ft!!?? Well acclimatized after a long expedition the air at 14,000ft feels like we’re at sea level as it’s nice to finally be able to fill the lungs each breathe. Our decent went smooth without any hiccups and we were welcomed at Base Camp with sweet bread and juice by our staff. The team spent the afternoon reminiscing and revisiting memories of our trip. After a big dinner we were all ready for bed. Tomorrow we make the long trek back down the Vacas Valley to our first camp of the entire trip, Las Lénas, where we’ll enjoy a carne asado prepared by our Arrieros and a night under the stars.
On The Map
December 27, 2016
The team is all back at Camp II safe and sound. Today was a very demanding day. I was up at 2am this morning checking the weather and temperature every 30 minutes looking for clear skies and moderate temperatures. I woke the team up at 4:30am. An hour later we were off on our way. Attempting a summit from Camp II is an extremely ambitious endeavor and the pace needed to be kept in order to be successful would daunt even the fittest of athletes. We gave it our best try and despite valiant efforts our pace fell short of what was needed to climb safely. On top of that the recent wind and snow events created steep, firm slopes of wind deposited snow. Imagine a 6,000ft+ snow slide at 45 degrees. We encountered these slopes at roughly 21,500ft and decided the risk was not worth the reward! All in all a tough day, mentally and physically. But that’s exactly why we take on adventures like these, to test ourselves mentally and physically. To me, any expedition that returns with climbers safe and sound is a success for me. You get used to days like this the longer your mountaineering career. It’s important to remember that the substance of experience lies in the in betweens, not the ends. A lesson that us climbers have to learn quickly! We’ll spend one more night here at Camp II then descend to basecamp tomorrow to get organized for our trek out of the Vacas Valley. We’ll post a couple more blogs during our descent. As always thanks for following! What a wild ride it’s been!
I love the comment that the heights of this experience are in the ‘in betweens’. That makes such sense! What a feat - just so incredible. So very proud of your effort and it is not over yet! We all await your return and the stories thereof. Safe travels home!
Posted by: Patty and Brian McConaty on 12/28/2016 at 9:26 am
WOW!!!!! 21,500 feet…..what a terrific accomplishment! We can’t wait to hear all about it! Safe travels back!
Posted by: John on 12/27/2016 at 7:57 pm
December 27, 2016
RMI Guide Steve Gately checked in from 21,500’ on Aconcagua. The team made a summit attempt today with a push from Camp 2. Unfortunately the team members were forced to turn around without reaching the summit due to poor climbing conditions. The storms of the past few days had dropped lots of new snow. The team will stay the night at Camp 2. Tomorrow they plan to descend to Base Camp.
On The Map
So sorry to hear about the weather - a terrible disappointment, but look at how far you’ve gotten! Bob - bravo - there will be more mountains to climb!! Have a safe and uneventful descent, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back!!!
Posted by: John Horgan on 12/27/2016 at 9:41 am
Sorry to hear about the weather problems. Safe returns back down.
Bob - very proud of what you did and looking forward to seeing you on your return!
Joe and Karen
Posted by: Joe Reinkemeyer on 12/27/2016 at 9:38 am
December 26, 2016
The storm settled out late last night and we woke to clear cold skies this morning. The forecast was calling for improving weather and decreasing winds down to 15mph throughout the day. I was a bit skeptical of this forecast as I was seeing signs of approaching weather to the West over Chile. We opted to have a slow morning to allow the weather time to deteriorate if it was going to. After getting an updated forecast speaking yet again of calm weather we opted to start packing and head up to high camp. Of course a few minutes into taking down our tents a large lenticular cloud, often indicative of high winds, formed over the mountains rocky summit. By the time we were finished packing, clouds were rolling over camp and a gentle snow had begun to fall. Not more then 10 minutes out of camp the weather turned into a genuine blizzard! We turned around, made the 5-minute walk back and started to reestablish camp. Tomorrow is our last opportunity to go for the summit before high winds plague the area again. With the forecast still showing clear skies and light winds we’ll opt to try for the summit from Camp II tomorrow morning assuming the forecast is correct. This makes an already big day that much bigger but the team is up to the challenge. Pray to the Weather Gods for us!
Boyd and Team, I am sending good karma your way and praying for a safe summit tomorrow!
Posted by: George on 12/27/2016 at 4:53 am
Good luck on the summit attempt tomorrow! We are cheering you on Bob!
Joe and Karen
Posted by: Joe Reinkemeyer on 12/26/2016 at 8:20 pm
December 25, 2016
Well it was a white Christmas here on Aconcagua. Shortly after dinner last night the snow and winds arrived and they’ve been with us ever since. Tonight, things should taper and we’re hoping to wake to gentler weather tomorrow morning so that we can move on up to high camp (19,600ft). More importantly though the team wanted to say Merry Christmas and pass along a few words to Ioved ones. I’ll let them speak for themselves!
All is good on Aconcagua. Merry Christmas to everyone back home - Jed
Merry Xmas -Jim odonnell
Trip is going well. Hope to summit on the 27th. Merry Xmas. -Bob
Mu kallid emps ja tommar, triinukas ja au pere, padrunipeff ja imeliste klann, armastan teid kogu sudamest! - kerttu
Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday Nicole, Frank, and Pocho! Love you guys. -Jen
Nichole, Brenda, Amy, Mom, Dad and family: Love you and Merry Christmas! Everyone else, Merry Christmas and thanks for following! See you soon. -Boyd
Merry Christmas Lisa, Mom & Dad, Еllie and Everyone. happy birthday Mary! I love you all! -Rob Millman
On The Map
Merry Christmas, Rob! We miss you bunches but it looks like you are doing well!
Posted by: Mary on 12/26/2016 at 3:58 am
Happy Holidays everyone! Good luck in the final push. Stay warm and safe and don’t let that gimpy Floridian slow you down!
Posted by: Joshua on 12/25/2016 at 10:44 pm
December 24, 2016
Wind, wind and more wind! The forecast keeps calling for all this wind but we haven’t seen any of it yet! Knock on wood, right? Because that’s what your supposed to do? By admitting that there hasn’t been any wind when there should be I’ve now angered the wind somehow, woken it from its slumber and now it’s only purpose is to make it windier then it ever was supposed to be. But! If I slam my knuckles against a piece of wood, POOF! I can control the weather. Unfortunately there isn’t any wood here. Maybe a rock would do? Is it just anything hard? My head has gotten pretty dense over the years maybe that will suffice? Hopefully you viewers at home recognize the above as sarcasm. Of course it only works on wood!
Okay, let’s get serious. The team is doing great! We went for an acclimatization hike around midday today to about 18,500ft. The winds blew at about 15-20MPH from the Northwest but nothing anywhere near the 50+ that was forecasted. After reaching our destination the team turned around with Hannah and I continued up to our High Camp at 19,600ft to cache some food and fuel. Tomorrow, Merry Christmas, will be our last rest day at Camp II before we look to move up and set our sights on the summit. Tomorrow we’ll surprise the group by making them a traditional Christmas Pizza for lunch! Okay, it’s pretty much just a normal pizza, but at 18,000ft, so it should taste better, right? I thought we were trying to be serious?Anyway, don’t tell them and ruin the surprise, okay. Thanks for following as always. Tomorrow we’ll let the team write the blog in the form of small notes to loved ones so stay tuned!
RMI Guide Steve Gately
Merry Christmas Rob & team! We just had dinner w/ Mel & Jeff @ Jeff’s sister’s house. Praying for your safety and that you can fully take in the wonder of it all! Deb for Mark & boys….
Posted by: Debbie Millman on 12/25/2016 at 5:41 pm
Merry Christmas, Hannah! Sending you and the team lots of good energy. Enjoy the stars this evening and let them inspire you as you prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. Remember to take a private moment to savor the joy of the higher world. Continue to shine as you help guide your new friends to the summit.
All my love,
Posted by: Tom McGowan on 12/25/2016 at 3:48 pm
December 23, 2016
The winds finally settled out last night for the first time in days and you could hear the heavy sounds of breathing and snoring coming from the other tents again. We woke to a pristine morning in the Andes and enjoyed being able to sit comfortably outside for breakfast. Shortly thereafter though our focus turned to business as our agenda for the day had us climbing to Camp II (18,000ft). The team was moving well and we forewent putting crampons on for the traverse up a snowy bowl feature. The lack of wind finally allowed the icy surface to thaw allowing us easy passage. Once past the col between Aconcagua and Ameghino we were treated yet again with the expansive view of the Northern Andes only this time we kept going! The route flattens out for a moment as we contour onto the North side of the mountain, before ascending again, and traversing another glacial valley to our destination, Camp II. The winds at camp for the moment are light and variable but we expect them to increase over the next 24 hours. The team is all doing well and readjusting to thinner air. Tomorrow we further the acclimatization process by pushing a bit higher to 19,000ft and returning to Camp II to recover.
On The Map
Christmas morning has been exciting and eventful as expected but we miss you. Love you very much! Hope your Christmas meal is as yummy as ours.
Posted by: Jennifer, Adam, Susan, Rowan and Sawyer on 12/25/2016 at 5:29 am
Merry Christmas Hannah and the team!
Maybe up there in the thin air you’ll be able to clearly see Santa, Rudolf and the reindeers!
Sending y’all warmth and merriment, with much admiration for your courage.
Love and care for each other up there and I look forward to hearing your stories.
Posted by: Lisa Nezwazky on 12/24/2016 at 1:28 pm
December 22, 2016
Yet another rest day! Today the team just chilled… all day. It was a windy night so most people made up for the lack of sleep by taking naps. Walks around camp, reading, taking pictures and talking took up the the rest of the day.
The assistant guides made it up to Camp 2 and back to cache almost all of the group food for the rest of the climb. This should help lessen the load for our team’s move to Camp 2 tomorrow.
The wind died down this evening (woohoo!) so we enjoyed a comfortable quesadilla-making session outside as part of or dinner. Bellies are full and everyone is excited to continue moving up the mountain tomorrow.
Thanks for tuning in!
RMI Guides Steve Gately & Hannah McGowan
On The Map
Merry Christmas Hannah and the rest of the team! Maybe way up there where the air is thin you’ll have a clear sighting of Sant, Rudolf and all the reindeer!
Sending you all much love, warmth and admiration,
Hannah’s Mom, Lisa
Posted by: Hannah's mom on 12/23/2016 at 5:41 pm
The pictures really are unbelievable. What an amazing opportunity?!?!?!?! Can’t wait to hear all the stories and see more pictures when you get back.
Posted by: Rowan and Sawyer on 12/22/2016 at 4:23 pm