Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 4

Guide:


Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:


Another get day of trekking! We took off from pampa de lenas just before 10 and eith a nice little head wind, meandered our way up the Vacas valley to cas a del piedra. We ate some tasty roast chicken and prepped our kit for an early departure and frigid river crossing to put us on our way to Plaza Argentina tomorrow. The upper mountain has been getting doused with some pretty high winds, but with all of this sun, and continued high pressure we are in a good position for the summit when the time is right.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 3

Guide:


Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

From AAI lead guide Tad McCrea:

Today went pretty smoothly. We had one last breakfast in civilization before departing Penitentes at 11am. After checking in with the park service at the trailhead we casually trekked to Pampa de Lenas (9,330ft) in 5 hours. We were treated to an authentic gaucho asado with chorizo, roasted veggies and an amazing steak. Prepped for the “hunger to come” we are looking forward to another epic day of trekking in the Vacas Valley to Casa del Piedras and our first view of Aconcagua tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in sports fans!

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 2

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

Crew is thriving and doing well! We are scheduled to leave tomorrow morning at 11 for the trailhead. So far the team has peaked up the classic gringo hobby of empanada sampling, and eaten a collective Total of 30 empanadas! If we can keep this up in the mountain we will be a force to be reckoned with! We will spend tomorrow night in Pampa de Lena’s and enjoy a nice Assad’s with our gaucho arrieros. Until tomorrow!

-Tad and crew!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Aconcagua Upper Guanacos Expedition - Team 1 (Dec 10 - 31, 2018) - Dispatch 1

Guide:

Tad McCrea

Climbers:

Jennifer Jolliffe
Shelby Clippard
Michael Abel

Hello all and welcome to the first dispatch of the AAI Aconcagua season. AAI lead guide Tad McCrea and this small, but experienced, group began their expedition yesterday with a thorough equipment check before dining at a local eatery. Today the group left for Penitentes where they will stay in a hotel and enjoy one last night "not in the mountains". A beautiful high-pressure system has graced the beginning of this expedition and the team wishes for a swift start to take advantage. Tomorrow they will make the trek to Papa de Lenas (9,330ft). Looking forward to hearing more from the team tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018 Ecuador Antisana Skills Expedition (October 5 - 14, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Jim H. and Wade L. 


Romel called with the following reports:

Greetings from Ecuador!

We had an excellent acclimatization hike on Pasachoa (13,776') yesterday, and just now we completed our second acclimatization hike on Rucu Pichincha (15,413'). We had fairly cooperative weather, and despite some clouds, we didn't have any precipitation until we were just finishing our descent.

We are now traveling to the Illiniza area to get in position for our climb of Illiniza Sur. There is an international bike race here on the Pan-American Highway, so we are experiencing delays, but we will get there eventually!

Romel called again with the following update:

Hello again from the Andes!

Yesterday we made an attempt a steep face on Illiniza Sur (17,217'), but conditions were not very cooperative. After we were on the route, the weather got wet and we began finding very hard water ice. So we decide to call it got and instead retreat and climb Illiniza Norte (16,817'). After a little break, we made a quick push for the north summit and reached the top before noon.

Here is one of our team members Wade Lindley who would like to add to our dispatch:"

"Hi – this is Wade. I have the pleasure of reporting that I am feeling great down here in the high mountains! I'm from Mississippi where we are not much above sea level. so the adjustment to the altitude of Quito [9,350'] was very interesting. I haven't had any complications or illness from the altitude. I hear myself breathing differently, but I have been pleasantly surprised not to feel bad at all.

To recap the trip, I loved our time in Quito. It's a beautiful and intriguing city. I really like our hotel there and exploring Quito with Romel on our first full day was awesome. Walking around exploring was also a very good way to begin our acclimatization since Quito is so high!

The acclimatization hikes were more amazing than I expected. I figured they would be nice, but they were really beautiful, with interesting terrain and views on both of them.

I think Romel's climbing instruction has been excellent and his decision making on the Illinizas was great. I learned a lot and enjoyed learning some things about how he made decisions on the mountain.

I found the altitude pretty comfortable on the Illiniza climbs. I think it shows that our acclimatization in Quito and on the two hikes up Pasachoa and Pichincha really helped us a lot. During our ascents on the Illinizas, I felt very comfortable going up, but I could feel it a lot more on the way down. I understand from Romel that it's because we are working so much less on the descent – it's just a lot easier – so we tend to feel like we don't need to breathe as much. So we breathed less and then start feeling the altitude (slightly headache-y ). We have to remind ourselves to breath often and deeply on the way down, even though we aren't working hard. In general, though, I feel fully acclimatized to 17,000 feet,

Today we woke up to perfect views of Pichincha and the IIllinizas. It was a very relaxing morning, and now we are at the market in Saquisilí. It's lively and colorful and a lot of fun to be here. Quite a contrast to the mountains where we've been hiking and climbing this week.

It's great being here. Thanks for reading our update on the trip!"