Meet the December 19 Aconcagua team!


Truly the “Roof of the Americas,” Cerro Aconcagua, at 22,841 ft. (6,962 meters) is not only the highest mountain in South America, but also the highest peak outside of Asia.

The December 19 group met a couple of days back in the small, lively city of Mendoza, Argentina, capital of the world-renowned Argentine wine country, after traveling long distances from around the globe. They enjoyed a delicious final dinner in the city, meeting each other for the first time, before heading into the foothills of the Andes. From Mendoza, the team drove around 2.5 hours to the ski resort of Penitentes where they organized gear for the “arrieros” (mule drivers) to carry in during their three day approach on foot to Base Camp.

Today, December 21, the team set out from the mouth of the Vacas Valley, where they will hike uphill for about six hours (reminiscent of parts of the Grand Canyon) will get us to “Pampas de Lenas,” to the first camp on their approach, located at about 9,000 ft (2750 m). Tonight they will dine in true gaucho style, with food prepared over an open fire by the arrieros. Tomorrow they will continue their approach up the Vacas to their next camp, Casa de Piedras,

Let’s meet the climbers!

Jake and David Montesanti

Ronald Rogers

John Schaffer

Gustav Deuss

Cassandra Cobb

Rusty Schlessman

The team will be led by highly respected and veteran Aconcagua guide, Fermin Avila, a local to the area. Jesse Yon, who has guided several trips for us in Alaska on Denali, and many day trips near our home office in Telluride, Colorado. Jesse is working towards his AMGA certifications in all disciplines, and is a very accomplished rock and ice climber. The team will also benefit from the infectious energy and assistance of one of our Telluride-based guides, Kevin Johnson, who will be capturing the journey on photo and video along the way.

We hope to post photos and updates, occasionally with audio recordings direct from the mountain, as often as we can. However, please keep in mind the old adage of no news is good news, if we don’t post an update from the team in a couple of days. Sometimes inclement weather or certain terrain features prevent the team from getting a good satellite phone connection. We’ll keep updates coming as often as we receive them. Best of luck to the team!

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