The entire team has returned home from Argentina. The last member to land home was Ben who met his family in Buenos Aires for a vacation before flying back to the United States. We returned having had many great new enriching experiences and carry the memories of a great experience with us back into our daily lives. The group molded together into an efficient and supportive mountaineering team. The insight gained each time we adventure into the mountain brings us closer to who we are and what we are meant to do, finding our calling, and helping others along the way.
Here are a few highlights. The entire photo album of Kurt’s pictures can be found here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Aconcagua-Argentina/Aconcagua-Dec-30-January-14/10953077_tt4NW#765322248_pEPta
The team at the trailhead to the start of the Vacas Valley. From left to right: Ben, Kurt, Tina, Chris, Syd, Chuck.
We use mules to carry our gear on the 3-day trek to Base Camp.
Aconcagua on the 3rd day of our approach to Base Camp.
Syd arriving at Base Camp
Sunset at Base Camp
The team navigating through a “penitente” field on the way to Camp 1.
Chuck, Ben, and Syd settled in at Camp 1.
High Camp at the base of the Polish Glacier.
Sunrise on summit day.
Chuck crossing a snowfield on summit day.
High on summit day in the “Canaleta” with the summit on the skyline.
Ben on the summit of Aconcagua
Ben and Chris on the summit of Aconcagua
Chuck and Kurt on the summit of Aconcagua.
After freshly being back from Aconcagua it was time to check out the local Sierra snow conditions. There is no better way to do that than to host an avalanche course. We offer these a few times each winter/spring. This was SMI’s first course of the year. It was taught by SMI founder Kurt Wedberg. Recent heavy snowfall made for high avalanche danger and lots of interesting snowpack observations.
Avalanche awareness is a very real and intregral part of safe travel in backcountry terrain during the seasons when snow is prevalent. SMI guides stay abreast on the latest in avalanche study and through these courses have the opportunity to pass it on to the students who attend them. A great time was had by all as we examined the causes of avalanches, their types and characteristics, what to look for in observing field conditions from weather to snowpack and avalanche activity, terrain selection, decision making, and much more. At the end of day 2 the class drew out a tour plan for us to follow on day 3. We also spent time learning rescue skills. We spent time getting familiar with avalanche transceivers and how to use them to find and rescue a buried person with an accompanying probe and shovel. At the end of our tour on day 3 we conducted a mock rescue of four people buried in an avalanche. A few pictures from the weekend are below. The entire photo album is here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/Sierra-Trips/2010-Sierra-Trips/Level-1-Avalanche-Course/11044954_KiyNt#772819836_sb8Fv
Conducting a “fine search” is the final of the 3-step process of searching for a buried person witih an avalanche transceiver.
Learning proper probing and shoveling techniques during avalanche rescue practice.
SMI founder Kurt Wedberg giving instruction on snow pack analysis and identification of weak layers after digging a snow pit specfically constructed to look at the profile of the snow.
A beautiful day for a backcountry tour. Part of the fun of this course is being able to experience the pristine scenery in the winter environment.
Our 2010 Aconcagua expedition was another success. In spite of an unusually windy climb we were never forced to sit out any extra days due to inclement weather. Team members did a great job helping and supporting each other and quickly emerged into an efficient climbing team. We began hiking on December 30 for the 3-day approach to Base Camp called Plaza Argentina at 13,779 feet (4200m). After arriving there we spent a few days doing acclimatization day hikes and carrying loads to Camp 1 at 16,600 feet (5059m). We spent three nights here before moving up to Camp 2 at 19,160 feet (5840m). Once we established Camp 2 the winds abated enough for summit bids on January 9-10. After reaching the summit the team returned to Base Camp and walked out. After arriving back to civilization the team spent a couple days in Mendoza soaking up the warm sun, going wine and olive oil tasting, and enjoying fine Argentine cuisine.
We’ll post a few highlights soon. The entire photo gallery of pictures are here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Aconcagua-Argentina/Aconcagua-Dec-30-January-14/10953077_tt4NW
Kurt Wedberg and Chuck Raper made the summit on Aconcagua yesterday afternoon under clear skies and slightly windy conditions. The whole team made it back to Base camp today and are currently experiencing high winds, but everyone is safe and looking forward to the trip back.
Updates will follow soon with pictures.
At 1:00 PM today, Chris Werner and Benjamin Thompson reached the highest point in the Western Hemisphere, the summit of Aconcagua in Argentina, at 22,841 ft. They battled their way through stiff winds and cold temps that turned around 80% of the climbers today. They returned this afternoon and are now happily in their sleeping bags.
Tomorrow, Kurt and Chuck will try for the summit again. The weather forecast calls for similar conditions as today, so they are hoping they can find a way through the weather to reach the summit and come back safely tomorrow.
Will have another update tomorrow.
Kurt and team are at High Camp at 19,150 feet on Aconcagua in Argentina, Weather is good with a slight breeze and everyone is psyched for tomorrow’s summit attempt to 22,841 ft.
Chris and Ben are ready to go tomorrow, looking forward to a 12 – 14 hour round trip hike from High Camp to the summit and back and Kurt and another team member are planning on making a summit attempt on Sunday, January 10th.
Updates to follow…
Greetings from Aconcagua, Argentina!
The team arrived in Argentina with no problems, very smooth, no lost luggage, no late flights. On December 30th we started on 3 day trek to Base Camp at 13,700 feet.
We arrived in Base Camp on schedule on New Years Day under clear and windy conditions and spent the next couple of days taking acclimatization hikes.
On January 4th we carried loads to Camp 1 at 16600 feet and on January 5th we packed up Base Camp and moved to Camp 1 to spend our first night there.
Today, January 6th, is a rest day while we hydrate and acclimatize ourselves at camp 1 before moving higher.
Updates to follow…