There was an error in this gadget

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Back in civilization and ready to post updates about the past 3 weeks


Greetings,

I returned from a successful summit of Aconcagua with plenty of stories.  Over the next few days, I intend to document both climbs and provide you with sufficient details to either share the experience vicariously or follow from my good moves and avoid my bad moves to allow you to summit this mountain.  Thanks for following and expect more shortly.....

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.89157
Longitude:-68.83801
GPS location Date/Time:12/31/2014 08:45:25 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kyztc/32.89157S/68.83801W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.89157,-68.83801&ll=-32.89157,-68.83801&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/30/2014 05:23:40 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kxzeu/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Monday, December 29, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64841
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/29/2014 10:04:28 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KxDdH/32.64841S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64841,-70.05884&ll=-32.64841,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64848
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/28/2014 20:22:36 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KwrUy/32.64848S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64848,-70.05884&ll=-32.64848,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.63763
Longitude:-70.02869
GPS location Date/Time:12/28/2014 17:14:41 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KwjSQ/32.63763S/70.02869W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.63763,-70.02869&ll=-32.63763,-70.02869&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.65314
Longitude:-70.01196
GPS location Date/Time:12/28/2014 12:51:10 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KwV-c/32.65314S/70.01196W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.65314,-70.01196&ll=-32.65314,-70.01196&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.63765
Longitude:-70.02875
GPS location Date/Time:12/27/2014 11:45:43 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KveXb/32.63765S/70.02875W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.63765,-70.02875&ll=-32.63765,-70.02875&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64844
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/27/2014 05:37:59 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KvRrp/32.64844S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64844,-70.05884&ll=-32.64844,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Friday, December 26, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/26/2014 06:48:03 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KugzP/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64845
Longitude:-70.05871
GPS location Date/Time:12/25/2014 15:50:12 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KuLra/32.64845S/70.05871W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64845,-70.05871&ll=-32.64845,-70.05871&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.63812
Longitude:-70.02844
GPS location Date/Time:12/25/2014 13:55:36 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KuIIr/32.63812S/70.02844W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.63812,-70.02844&ll=-32.63812,-70.02844&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/25/2014 05:11:04 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Ku4qp/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/24/2014 05:50:00 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KtQET/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05887
GPS location Date/Time:12/23/2014 06:55:00 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KscAu/32.64842S/70.05887W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05887&ll=-32.64842,-70.05887&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64845
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/22/2014 18:31:39 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KsGbE/32.64845S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64845,-70.05884&ll=-32.64845,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.75879
Longitude:-69.96756
GPS location Date/Time:12/22/2014 04:28:23 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KrhXq/32.75879S/69.96756W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.75879,-69.96756&ll=-32.75879,-69.96756&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.84059
Longitude:-69.84225
GPS location Date/Time:12/21/2014 08:02:36 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kq-Ku/32.84059S/69.84225W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.84059,-69.84225&ll=-32.84059,-69.84225&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aconcagua Round 2 about to begin

Seasons greetings friends and family. We are ready to head off to the hill for round 2.  All is well.  Sorry no blog posts but it has been a crazy few days.  Expect a full update upon our return.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/16/2014 04:41:39 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KmIzv/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05884
GPS location Date/Time:12/15/2014 10:20:10 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KlYaF/32.64842S/70.05884W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05884&ll=-32.64842,-70.05884&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.63789
Longitude:-70.02898
GPS location Date/Time:12/15/2014 07:08:54 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KlQnn/32.63789S/70.02898W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.63789,-70.02898&ll=-32.63789,-70.02898&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64481
Longitude:-70.04309
GPS location Date/Time:12/13/2014 11:52:41 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KjzFh/32.64481S/70.04309W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64481,-70.04309&ll=-32.64481,-70.04309&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64845
Longitude:-70.05887
GPS location Date/Time:12/13/2014 06:39:28 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kjmyn/32.64845S/70.05887W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64845,-70.05887&ll=-32.64845,-70.05887&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64845
Longitude:-70.05875
GPS location Date/Time:12/12/2014 13:44:03 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kj9yz/32.64845S/70.05875W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64845,-70.05875&ll=-32.64845,-70.05875&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64482
Longitude:-70.04300
GPS location Date/Time:12/12/2014 12:02:19 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kj42b/32.64482S/70.04300W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64482,-70.04300&ll=-32.64482,-70.04300&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.64842
Longitude:-70.05878
GPS location Date/Time:12/11/2014 15:17:12 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KiHLn/32.64842S/70.05878W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.64842,-70.05878&ll=-32.64842,-70.05878&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.75865
Longitude:-69.96722
GPS location Date/Time:12/11/2014 04:27:34 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/KhmQ0/32.75865S/69.96722W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.75865,-69.96722&ll=-32.75865,-69.96722&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

PEM
Latitude:-32.75870
Longitude:-69.96725
GPS location Date/Time:12/10/2014 11:00:04 EST

Message:Climbing in Argentina right now. All is well with us. Please check the map to see our progress.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Kh0dD/32.75870S/69.96725W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-32.75870,-69.96725&ll=-32.75870,-69.96725&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

PEM

You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure
FindMeSPOT.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Made it to Mendoza and had a busy day

My Aconcagua climbing permit...wanna know how I got it?

First, I went to the Tourism office to register for my permit.   Just as I overlooked some details about my flight, I managed to overlook the paperwork details for my permit.  Yeah, those details are easy to find and readily available in most books.  I just forgot about them.  Between finishing up my semester teaching and getting a few manuscripts submitted before my departure, I just didn't have a ton of time or interest in remembering these details.  Glad I came early to learn the ropes before Kathy and Patrick arrive in a little over a week.

Tangent... I messed up my flight by not paying attention to the duty and customs requirements.  Yeah, sure I read about them before I left.  I just forgot.  When I checked into the gate in Miami to board the flight to Santiago, the gentleman working the counter informed me that I needed my reciprocity fee documentation - a payment that goes through some cryptic Argentinian site that pays for my visa.   I neglected to pay the fee so he rearranged my flight and bumped me from my scheduled flight to the one following my flight - following it by 30 minutes.  Boy was I luck!  Better to be lucky and stupid than just stupid I figure.  All was well.  We rushed through Miami International Airport to find a computer to print out the document.  I failed several times to even render the darn page.  The guy who helped me was sweating profusely - saying I was probably going to miss my next flight.  Needless to say, those words of encouragement made my fingers type all the wrong letters.  I made it to the plane as the last one to board.  You know the one....the person who looks totally disheveled and relieved to board as the doors close?   That was me.  I traveled business class on this flight so I snuggled into my chaise lounge chair as I peered back at the rabble - the place I always find myself on these flights - and felt a twinge of guilt.  I lost that twinge when I fell asleep lying down on my seat.  No, I wasn't lying on the floor in the aisle.  I had a fully reclining seat with all the latest movings on demand.  No wifi but who could complain about a fully reclining seat.  After a glass of wine and a nice shrimp meal, this grateful, lucky, and stupid traveler fell asleep.

Repacking after another gear sort

The permit fiasco took me all morning.  I arrived at my superb hotel at about 11am and quickly set out to figure out what I needed to do to get my permit.  Finding the tourism office was a piece of cake.  I intentionally chose the hotel because of its proximity to the office.  The fellow working at the office desk for permits looked at me when I asked about applying for a permit.  He thought I was actually attentive to the repeated instructions.  Well....he was wrong.  After he carefully explained to me that this was going to be a long affair, I reassured him that I was in no rush.  Boy!  Good thing I didn't plan to leave Mendoza to climb today.  It would not happen.  So, off I pressed on my mission to get my permit.  Stop one was at some office to hire a mule.  Yep, a mule.  I don't intend to climb with my newfound friend - or rather friend for hire - but could use a little assistance with my basecamp gear (mostly food and climbing gear not needed on the lower part of the approach).  The mule service turned out to be a smoking good deal because by hiring a mule, I got roughly the mule service cost as a discount to my permit fee.  Seems like a lot of hands holding out for climbers' cash but I hold no ill feelings.  Everyone I dealt with all morning was really pleasant and apologetic.

Tangent...you see, nobody here likes the paperwork necessary to do everything in life.  They grow tired of the long lines and endless bureaucracies encountered for much of their lives.  I get it.  Still, they all seemed very pleasant.  I think I might lose my patience after a short bit.

OK, back to my permit mission.  I managed to find the mule service office located way up in a building not far from the tourism office.  The lady managing the service was delightful.  She had me fill out multiple forms and after a few long waits for the computer interface to update my form submission, I was a client.  Mule service here I come!

Little did I know at the time, hiring the mule service was just the initial step in a long, drawn out process.  I paid the mule service fee in US dollars.  Step 2 required me to pay for the permit fee - now that I registered for the mule service and submitted my paperwork to the tourism office via an online form I thought I was set.  Nope.  Gotta pay for these things.  The tourism office does not take the payments directly.  I needed to first take my US currency and exchange it for pesos....leading to step 3

Step 3 was an odd journey.  I had to go back to the hotel to get more cash.  Once I had my cash in hand, I sought out one of the many black market cash exchange guys loitering on the streets.  Mendoza or rather Argentina in general has a cash crisis.  The inflation rate is so high and the government controls are so numerous on cash that the citizens created their own little market for currency exchange.  At a bank, I would get 7 pesos for each US dollar; my black market exchange guy gave me 12.2 pesos per buck.  Not a bad exchange rate.  Well, that little interim step took me 30 minutes to find the dude, 10 minutes to haggle with him, and then another 5 to count out the thousands of pesos I got for my US$450.  It all felt really sleazy but when in Rome...do as the Romans.  I was a willing participant in the black market.  We shook hands and then I was off to Step 4 - still have yet to get Step 2 done by this time so wait for it...

Step 4 required me to take my cash to a PayGo stand where they process government payments.  It seemed like a government run Western Union and probably was at one point.  I passed the nice woman my paperwork and she asked me something in Spanish.  For those of you who know me, you know I speak one language - English - and I don't speak that one very well.  So here I am standing in front of this bullet-proof cage that reminded me of a NYC subway token booth from the mid-1980's.  She patiently explained to me in English I could understand that I needed to pay the fee of $4,880 pesos and I handed her $5,000.  It seemed like a test of my Spanish language skills to point that out but her intent was merely to alert me that I was getting money back.  How gracious of her to point out the obvious.  At this point, I was so relieved that I had passed another test, I thanked her profusely and moved on to complete Step 2.

Remember Step 2?  Yeah, get my permit.  Off I walked back to the tourism office with a fistful of paperwork.  Stamps and duplicate copies of all sorts of things that seemed like utter nonsense.  I didn't fuss at all; I was on a mission.  So I made it up the long, winding staircase to the tourism office where a very nice young lady helped me with my permit.  There we sat, filling out more paperwork and signing documents I had no clue what I was signing.  My son might now be the property of Argentina....who knows?

Finally, I got my permit and headed back to the hotel.  On my way back, I noticed that all the shops were closed.  That expedition to get my permit consumed two and a half hours.  I was relieved and somewhat exhausted.  Time for a siesta. 

I napped for about 90 minutes and then awoke to repack all my gear.  The mule service woman told me that the buses to Penitentes leave at 6am, 10:15am, and 3pm.  I want to get moving and up the hill right away so I intend to leave on the 6am bus for the 3-hour bus ride up to the ski area.  There - at the ski area - I will find my mule and mule service whereupon I will drop off my basecamp duffle and start climbing the hill.  Well, not exactly.  The mule service provides a free shuttle to the Horcones trailhead.  There, I intend to start my climb.  It should be about 1pm when I embark on my solo attempt of Aconcagua. 

I sit here in my hotel room typing out this blog post.  After my nap and repacking, I headed out to get fuel canisters for my stove and a lighter.  Now my packing is complete and I am ready to head out.  All electronics will be shut down until I return but I will keep posting these updates on my phone with pictures; they just won't be posted until I return to civilization. 

Thanks for following along.  Hope you find these updates entertaining.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Leaving soon....

Successful first leg on my way to Aconcagua





Kathy dropped me off at Dulles airport early this morning. We had a nice time chatting en route to the airport. I then had a very nice, relaxing, and uneventful flight to Miami. Now, I get to sit for 10 hours waiting for my next leg to Santiago, Chile.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fwd: Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM

working?  Just a test folks.  About to take off in about 27 hours.  


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <noreply@findmespot.com>
Date: Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM
Subject: Check-in/OK message from SPOT PEM
To: pem725@gmail.com


 PEM
 Latitude:38.83118
 Longitude:-77.27292
 GPS location Date/Time:12/06/2014 17:28:42 EST

 Message:Climbing in Argentina right now.  All is well with us.  Please check the map to see our progress.

 Click the link below to see where I am located.
 http://fms.ws/Kdcvy/38.83118N/77.27292W

 If the above link does not work, try this link:
 http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.83118,-77.27292&ll=38.83118,-77.27292&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

 PEM

 You have received this message because PEM has added you to their SPOT contact list.

 Ready for Adventure
 FindMeSPOT.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2nd, 2014: Back from Portland and getting ready for Argentina

Had a great trip to Portland to see family and friends.  We got back yesterday afternoon to a pair of happy dogs.  They didn't wreck the house so we had little cleanup duty.  All in all, a wonderful trip!

I planned to climb two days but the weather was horrendous so I only have one climb to report.  One day - November 28th - I managed a solo trip up Rainier.  I left Portland at 5am where it started to rain lightly.  The closer I got to Rainier, the harder the rain came down and the colder it got.  Upon parking in the Paradise lot (5,400 feet according to the NPS but 5,280 feet on my GPS), I noticed the thermometer in the car read 37 degrees (F) and the rain was coming down in sheets.  Sheesh!  Fun ain't always fun but I was ready.  I donned my hard shell pants and top along with plenty of layers underneath to keep the cold out.  My aim was to climb as fast as possible for 3 hours and then turn around wherever that 3 hours left me.  Off I went.

The snow on the route was unconsolidated, wind-blown and crusty snow/ice about a foot or two deep - sometimes a bit deeper in areas where the snow drifted.  I had almost no visibility outside the tree-lined areas.  When I first pushed off, I saw this:


Nice blueish day with flat light.

Not much to see other than snow, rain, and hail.  It was pretty miserable at first but I was on a mission.  No rain would keep me from a good training climb.  Yep, climbing in the Cascades - a true experience.

On I went.  I climbed as quickly as I could and almost jogged up the hill.  The going was fast at times until I started post-holing in the drifted snow.  My patience ran thin a few times.  The snow conditions were nothing short of aggravating.  Instead of getting frustrated, I opted to turn up my tunes and focus on getting higher as fast as I could manage.  Never throughout the early climb was I out of breath.  By the time I took my first picture, I was already at 6,500 feet.  

The cold rain gave way to slightly warmer weather and no precipitation.  Finally!  I was out of the pouring rain.  Below, you can see what I looked like at about 30 minutes into my climb.


Happy dude at the beginning.  Rain?  What is a little rain?  I'm in the Cascades for crying out loud!

Yeah, I was wet but wet and warm was not too bad.  If I started to get cold, life would get much more miserable.  Time to press on!

I climbed for a steady hour more before taking a short water/snack break.  Along the way, I grabbed a few more pictures.  Here they are in the order I shot them.  Notice the fog rolling in during the picture sequence?  Yep, it started getting foggy before the real Cascade weather set in.  Keep reading and you'll see.


Postholing on the route.  Not fun.

Note the post-holes in the snow?  The picture above shows a rough few steps but the snowshoe imprints packed the snow enough to keep me from dropping down too far.  I managed to keep each post-hole step to no more than about 9 inches.  Still, a 9 inch drop makes for some pretty nasty climbing.  


The picture above shows you where I was and below is the same shot after the fog rolled in and altered the lighting.  I saw nothing but white after this point...well, apart from the trees and signs that I encountered along the route.
Looks like a moon scape.

The little sign in the lower center of the picture above was one of many that demarcated the "Skyline trail" or what lay beneath the 2 feet of snow.  That trail is the well-worn path by most hikers in the summer.  Today, it was just a route buried by snow and served as a "b-line" for my climb.  I was glad to encounter the signs just as a confirmation that my route finding abilities remained intact.

Cruising up the hill in a white-out.

Lousy visibility set in and I resorted to climbing by compass headings rather than landmarks.  The funny thing about the picture above is that I could see very little of what the camera resolved.  I recall a ton of white.  Yep, a white out.

Nice sign.  Very reassuring that my route finding abilities were still working.

My friendly reminders that my compass headings were pretty spot on with the trail.  See these guys above and below....very comforting.


And then there were the signs I didn't care to see well above me at the top of a steep pitch.  Instead of post-holing up that pitch, I took the easy way around.  

Yeah, I could get there by climbing up that snowy incline but why bother?  I took the easier route.

Now the fog rolled in without much warning.  The winds picked up and soon I found myself in a true white out; my face sandblasted by hail, snow, and frozen sleet.  Boy was that pleasant.

Uh oh...fog!  The true white-out was about to begin.

On occasion, I found some comfort from the rocks that contrasted the whited out terrain.  Still more to go....

Ugh!  Fog rolling in but rocks helped me resolve my route.

I stumbled across the sign below that gave me some pause.  At first, I could barely read the ice-encrusted sign.  Thanks to the NPS for pointing out some objective hazards.  Now I was warned.  Proceed with caution I did....

NPS sign that helped me make a better turn-around decision

Can't read the sign above?  Neither could I.  Here is the sign at my more comfortable viewing distance:

A better view of the NPS sign.

Unfortunately, at this point, my camera started resolving nothing but white.  I had huge snowball looking images close-up with a ton of white in the background - sometimes black and white backgrounds.  Not sure what happened but I did manage a few pictures on the way down.  Below is one sign on my return that I managed to chip off the ice just to read it.  You can see from the signpost that the ice accumulation was rather thick.  I knew at this point that I was about 1,800-2,000 vertical feet from my car.  No snowshoes (aka "slow" shoes) and non-waterproofed approach shoes were not keeping my feet terribly warm.  Oh well.  Almost home.

Last picture of any trail sign

Just before I pulled into the parking lot, I took one last selfie.  It was raining cats and dogs and I was soaked to the bone.  Notice, however, that I still managed a smile.  My climb was 3 hours up and 1 hour down - made it to the snow fields of Camp Muir where the crevasse were indeed open and ready for someone to take a long tumble.  I spared the National Park Service (NPS) the headache of a rescue on that lousy day.  

Last selfie before climbing into the car and heading home

After the 4-hour round trip climb, I drove the 3 hours back to Portland and set my climbing gear out in our hotel room to drip dry.  Moments after unpacking, I found my way to the hotel pub for a few malt pops and some greasy food.  What a day!

Drip drying in the hotel room
Beer!  A climbers best friend.  Well, perhaps second best friend to down.  I now have five more days to pack my gear for Argentina.  All my gear went through the wash so I am ready to get packing.  Kathy and Patrick are all set with their gear.  More on gear in the next day.  I promise to post the final gear shots.  

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the brief and somewhat curtailed trip report.