January 30, 2010

Skiing the French-Haig-Robertson Traverse

RC Cola crossing over from the Haig Neve to the Robertson Glacier.

Pumped a quick lap with Ryan Creary on this K-Country Classic a few days back. Although it would have been easy to revel in the post-expedition sloth for a little longer, I forced myself off the couch in a desperate attempt to get back on the horse. In the end, I never did surmount any horses but I did manage to break one of my ski boots. Man, when it rains it pours. Does anyone know the name for the universal law which states that when one piece of gear breaks, there will be atleast five other expensive things that crap out at the same time? In hindsight, the boot wasn't a big deal. Infact, it was really just a primer - an appetizer, an amuse bouche if you will - for the news I received 2 days later about my car needing over $5 grand in work.

Other than the the exploding boot, Ryan and I had a good time posing for each other's lenses. (If there are any photo editors out there, this would be a really good time to buy lots of shots from me).

January 28, 2010

Aconcagua Summit Day

The 2 Daves battle their way against heavy winds on summit day.

Well I gotta say that it's a lot more pleasant to look at these photos while sitting on a couch, drinking Argentine wine and listening to Elliott Brood than it was to actually do the thing. But I guess that's often the case eh? Of course, the trick lies in figuring out a way to revel in the hellish moment as much as in the ensuing hedonism. Either way, I hope you enjoy the last set of photos from Aconcagua 2010.

Snow at Camp 1. About 8 years ago, my tent got fully buried in this same place.

Dave K wonders what happened to that Argentine Sunshine.

Moving from Camp 1 to Camp 2.

Camp 2 at 19,350 ft.

After a rest day at C2, we headed for the top. Dave K and Dave C take the final steps to the summit. The South Face drops off in the background to the left.

The 2 Daves

We were fortunate to share the summit with better looking lifelings than ourselves.


The weather deteriorated on the descent. When we finally got close to C2, I got on the radio and asked the other guide to come out of the tent and start shouting. Otherwise, I think we would have wandered around in the white soup for quite some time.

Remains of the last night's asado.

Arrieros have been using these things to make Mate for 12,000 years.

The hike out.


Mendoza's best restaurant Francis Mallmann 1884

January 24, 2010

Aconcagua Photos

Over the next few days, I'm going to post a backlog of photos from the Aconcagua Trip. Not exactly high-alpinism, but definitely a good adventure in one of my favorite places on earth. Of the five trips I've made to The Peak, this expedition was by far the most challenging. Not only was summit day a windy, white-out hell, but it seemed like every day presented some sort of challenge or logistical riddle - a code if you will - that I (The Guide) was forced to solve. If I failed to solve this daily logistical riddle, the expedition faced nothing short of full, complete and utter dissolution. These riddles came in many shapes and sizes and ranged in severity from kidney stones and emergency evacs, to no-show porters, no-show bags, a base camp Dr. who failed 14 times to administer an IV Drip, a $125 apple, a $125 orange and a myriad of other complexities.

Despite the challenges, it was a great and successful expedition and I hope you enjoy the photos (especially since I'm uploading them from 34,000 feet on the final leg home from Dallas to Calgary).

I got really into maps and electronic signs on this trip.

I had a long lay-over in Buenos Aires on the way down and spent some time cruising through an old cemetery. It was surprisingly uplifting. These homes are actually all tombs. The corpses are livin in style!

Another tomb.

This is Carolina, my tour-guide for the day through BA.

Starting the trek from Lenas to Plaza Argentina. The approach to Base Camp typically takes three days.

Crossing the narrow bridge - a metaphor.

Day 2 of the long, dry approach.

Camp on Day 2 at Casa de Piedras.

Arrieros preparing a classic Asado. So good.

January 20, 2010

Aconcagua Summit

A bluebird afternoon at Camp 2 (19,350 feet).

Thanks for all the well wishes! On Jan 18th @ 2:30 pm, after 8.5 hours of up, The Team summitted in full Argentine conditions (blinding steak and wine). We´re just leaving base camp now and should arrive in Mendoza tomorrow night. Looking forward to one last asado on the trail.

Leaving Camp 2 on Summit Day.

A brief respite from the wind on the descent from the summit.