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Entries from Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Arrive At Base Camp

February 5, 2017

After a very snowy and windy period here at Base Camp the sky’s finally broke and the sun started shining.  So we got a load of gear together and carried it up to 16,200 ft.  It was a perfect day for climbing, not to hot and not to cold.  We are now back a base resting after a hard days work.  I think I smell some chicken dinner coming from the cook tent, can’t wait!

February 4, 2017
After three days of approach we have arrived at Plaza de Argentina, our Base Camp.  The day began with an icy creek crossing on mule back just as the sun came up over the mountains. Then we were off on a 6 hour jaunt up valley in pleasant overcast conditions.  But by the time we arrived at camp winds were howling and snow was falling.  The rest of the day felt like full on winter.  Tomorrow is a rest day that will be met with lots of eating and some prep for the next day.  Spirits are high!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

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Aconcagua: LIken & Team Arrive at Second Trek Camp

Our team has made it one step closer to Aconcagua by moving further up the Vacas valley to Casa de Piedra, our second camp.  The awesome views continued but we did encounter our first dose of wind.  By the fourth stretch we were pressing into a 25-30 mph headwind!  Just before camp we got a view of our objective, it was covered in clouds from 18,000’ up but still impressive.  Tonight we will have another grill out, before we head to base camp tomorrow.  The team is doing excellent!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

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Dr Folsom. The surgery team is keeping track of your progress. Stay safe and have a great trip!

Posted by: Ed Sutton on 2/2/2017 at 8:45 pm

Aconcagua: Liken & Team at Pampas de Las Lenas

Hey there followers,

Our entire team has made it to our first camp at 9500 ft here in Argentina.  After a sturdy breakfast and some quick repacking we were off on a five-hour walk to the Andean high country.  Between the steep rock walls on each side of the valley we saw lizards, the raging Vacas River, and a bunch of mules carrying our gear.  When we got to camp we settled in and enjoyed a traditional Argentinian asado of steak, chicken, potatoes, and peppers.  Now we are headed to bed under the southern sky excited to do it again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Ben Liken

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Return to Mendoza for Celebration

Well, the whirlwind is finally over… We enjoyed a breezy, sunny,  but not too hot walk down from Plaza Argentina into Pampa de Leñas complete with multiple river crossings and the sore feet that come with a seemingly endless rocky trail. The camp at Pampa de Leñas turned out to be a ghost town… only the Rangers were there along with us and one herriero who was running a small mule team with our gear. The head ranger at the camp, Hugo, wished for me to pass on his hello to several RMI guides including JJ, Garrett, and Katrina. It’s fun to see familiar faces like Hugo’s over the years, and even though we only get to hang out over maté once a year we still feel like we know eachother. Anyway, our ragged team enjoyed a truly amazing meal prepared by Barco, our lone herriero which we devoured sitting around the fire. We ate a typical Argentine asado complete with roasted veggies, slabs of grilled beef, bread, and of course wine.

The next day was a bit of a slog but we managed to dispatch the remaining miles to the trailhead before the afternoon and before we knew it we were packed and on the van back to Mendoza. While the Rodrigo and the friendly staff at the Nutibara hotel are totally used to returning Aconcagua climbers there were certainly looks from other hotel guests while we were checking in. I guess they’re not used to crews of people coming in dusty, sweaty, bleary-eyed, and stinking of mule farts with over a dozen filthy duffel bags piled in the lobby. Lucky for the people of Mendoza we cleaned up nicely and ate a casual meal at a nearby restaurant because we were a bit tired.  We’re saving our big celebration dinner for tonight at a fancy pants restaurant even though some of our comrades are gone already and others will be headed out this afternoon. Sorry amigos, you’ll be missed.

I wanted to thank our whole team for their hard work in making this expedition a smashing success… but I especially wanted to thank Hannah and our local guide Rolo for working their butts off for the rest of the team. You guys are rad.

Well, that’s about it… Until next time.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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Hello Everyone,

Tommy and I wish we could be there for the celebration.  It was great being with all of you.  It was a truly amazing trip.  Reaching the summit and enjoying the time on the trail with each of you was terrific.  Congrats on a successful trip back to Mendoza.  Thanks again for being willing to help me when the injury occurred. 

A special thanks goes to Billy, Hannah and Rolo for being the best guides ever!!!!

Posted by: Rick Jordan on 2/2/2017 at 8:57 am

Aconcagua: Liken & Team Pack Gear for the Trail

Hola friends and family,

Well, it seems like we’re actually doing it! We bid a hasty farewell to Mendoza this morning, and after a necessary empanada stop found ourselves in dry, barren, windy Penitentes. The afternoon was spent answering the question “to mule duffel or not to mule duffel,” and as of now our gear is locked, loaded, and ready to lug uphill. Everyone is looking forward to throwing a pack on and starting the walk in to Aconcagua Base Camp tomorrow.

Ciao for now,

RMI Guide Pepper Dee

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Shannon, you got this.  Just be your usual mighty self…  Love you   Good luck to everyone on the team…  Godspeed.

Posted by: Linda on 2/2/2017 at 8:59 am

Kiss some serious mountain ass Shannon! I’ll be cheering you from home.

Safe travels to the whole team!

Posted by: Kathie on 2/1/2017 at 8:44 am

Aconcagua: Ben Liken & Team Arrive in Mendoza

Hey all,

Our entire team has arrived in Mendoza and excited to get moving toward the mountain.  But we can’t go to Aconcagua before our inaugural steak and Malbec dinner, so we hit the town and took care of business.  Now with stuffed stomachs we are ready to get a full night’s rest after a long journey to South America.  Tomorrow we will head into the Andes!

Stay tuned,
RMI Guide Ben Liken

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Return to Plaza Argentina

We’ve made it back to Plaza Argentina safe and sound after a successful summit bid and a subsequent long descent from Plaza Cólera. Per the norm our team worked together and made great time descending despite large loads and tired legs. Anita, Juan, and Leandro from the Grajales basecamp staff greeted us with homemade pizzas for an afternoon snack and another fabulous celebratory steak and potato dinner. Juan and Leandro both got their first summits of Aconcagua the same day we did and rallied down the hill ahead of us to provide hospitality. Between those great meals we readied our loads for the mules and got settled back in to basecamp. Tomorrow’s walk is gonna be a long one but at the end of the tunnel should be another asado dinner at Pampa de Leñas. Typically the valley is too tight for satellite phone reception here so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from us tomorrow evening. We will check in again when we hit the trailhead and transfer back to Mendoza. Not much else to report…

Tired, but with a full belly,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Return to High Camp

Hey, it’s Billy checking in from High Camp, Plaza Colera.  The whole crew is back down safely, and we are super psyched that we all had the chance to stand on top of Aconcagua today. We’re a little beat up, but ultimately no worse for the wear.  We’ll check in again. We have a long walk down to Base Camp tomorrow, and then the journey continues until we hit the road in Mendoza in several days from now. So a lot of activity coming up, but we’ll try to keep you guys posted on our whereabouts.

That’s all for now.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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Great news.  Looking forward to the details. Stay safe!

Posted by: ROGER COFFEY on 1/30/2017 at 11:55 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Call from the Summit of Aconcagua

Hey, it’s Billy. I’m checking in with Hannah and Rollo my two assistant guides here. We are on top of South America, 6962 meters, we are also up here with eight climbers and not a single puff of wind. We are the first crew on top today, and it’s all smiles from our climbers. We got some happy but tired folks. So that’s all I have to report for now. We’ll check in when we’re back at camp safe and sound.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from the Aconcagua summit!

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Felicitaciones!!!! un abrazo enorme a ROLO, y a todo el equipo, buen regreso para todos!!!. Esperamos noticias..

Posted by: deby on 1/30/2017 at 6:40 am

Congratulations to Billy, Hannah, Rollo and the rest of the team. I bet that is a great experience to be on top with no wind. Enjoy the rest, when you get the chance.

Posted by: David Clemmons on 1/30/2017 at 5:51 am

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team at High Camp

Hey there. It’s Billy. I am checking in from 19,600 feet on Aconcagua. Our crew just rolled in, actually we didn’t just roll in, we rolled in a while ago to Plaza Colera, Camp 3, which is going to be our high camp. We’re planning on taking a crack at the summit tonight. Everyone moved super well from Camp 2 to Camp 3. We were able to make good work of that leg in under three hours. Right now the team is lounging around, enjoying the calm weather and blue skies, and resting and gearing up for a late or early, depending on how you want to look at it, wake up tonight for our summit attempt. Wish us luck. We’ll hopefully check in with you guys again on the top of South America.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls in from Aconcagua High Camp.

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You are unreal. Your strength and calm inspire me. Go crush tomorrow!!!!

Posted by: Maude Lebowski on 1/27/2017 at 9:57 pm

Good luck Brian!! Wishing you and the team a safe summit push. Keep smiling!
Love from Australia - Renee.

Posted by: Renee Duvoisin on 1/27/2017 at 3:36 pm

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