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  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
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    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
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    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Argentina 2010

Reflections and Lessons . . .


It seems that many times one looks forward to travel and the resulting experience does not meet the expectations one had before the trip. I've long ago buffered this perception by learning that the whole travel experience, for me, is the real goal rather than any particular event or specific experience. This trip; however, was one of those trips that went right and the resulting experience was greater that the pre-trip expectation. Therefore some folks get a thank you and I'll take a moment reflect upon some of the lessons we learned:

The well deserved Thank You's . . .

One of the reasons this trip worked was that every player came through, 100% of the time. To the folks who made the trip possible:

  • To G and Bob - what can I say, climbing and travel partners superior, the likes of which are not otherwise available.

  • To the wives who covered the home front for two weeks . . . kids, cats, dogs, you name it and we all know the value of a spouse with a positive coefficient of climbing tolerance.

  • The partners at my firm covered for me where necessary, especially Paul who kept the lid on a boiling pot so I could walk way for two weeks. I cannot understate the value of his efforts to making my enjoyment of this trip possible. To Linda, who made sure the stuff on my desk did not implode, that my email was under control, and that my clients slept fitfully in my absence.

  • To Anibal Maturano of Don Mercedario who, behind the scenes, put the logistics together and did such a good job that every thing worked . . . everytime.

  • To Celeste who kept the base camp logistics under control and walked a 16 hard mile round trip just to get the show started off on the right foot on the first day. We were lucky to have had her on board.

  • To Manuel, a servador extraordinaire, the fellow who made the high camp cuisine that put us on the summit, and an ambassador of Barreal. I'll have this guy along on any climb . . .

  • To Fernando whose 4x4 and van shuttle service included vehicles that did not break down, on time arrivals, on time pick-ups, answers to local questions, arriero finessing and finally a beer in the hand of everyone who arrived at his vehicle at the end of the hike to Santa Ana. If we climb out of Mendoza again, its Fernando or bust . . .

  • To the very helpful counter agent for LAN Airline in Mendoza who said the missing bag would arrive at our hotel in three hours and then made it happen . . .

  • To Felipe who led the wine tour and got us to the airport the next day, the clockwork driver . . .

A lesson or twenty . . .

A trip like this also teaches lessons, some productive, some punitive and some just weird. Here are a few that we brought home:

  • These 20,000k Andean peaks are big, really big. A close by peak that looks like a Colorado 14'er is really offering you 10,000 feet of vertical and a 15 mile approach.

  • Good logistics make for a good trip, pay for the price and enjoy the trip . . . you really think you are gonna live twice? What if you come back as a horseshoe crab?

  • Sunshine melts glaciers and makes rivers fast and deep.

  • Bob talks in his sleep and if you fart he will answer.

  • A BD knock off of the Bibler Eldorado is a one man tent in the snow at 17k unless you are a midget or glutton for punishment. It is so damn light, just buy another one unless you are headed for some God awful alpine ledge.

  • When in Argentina . . . eat the beef, then do it again and again . . .

  • When the clouds come from the west, you pay attention, otherwise don't sweat it. Bad weather lasts two days, give it a chance to clear out.

  • Celeste and Manuel make great pizza even if you are not a pizza fan.

  • A half tab of Dex takes away the pain, a Vicodin takes away the cough . . . get over your purist thoughts (I finally did) and enjoy the trip.

  • Gonna cross a river? Take the Tevas even if you think they weigh as much as your double plastic boots.

  • If you have a dead battery and try to jump it with a six foot long bent piece of rebar you will not be the first person in the world to try to do so.

  • Mate is good, very good, really good, you should drink it in the base camp, in the high camp, on the airplane . . .

  • They have gellato joints in Argentina, just like the old country, just as good too.

  • If the gendarmes say you need a guide, point to the cook and sign the form . . . you just jumped through another hoop.

  • Wine tours are over rated if have fond memories of running a front end loader.

  • "Choclo" is corn soup AND the name of the guanaco that screamed at Bob when he did a #2 in the beast's back yard.

  • Tang orange flavored drink may not have gone into space but it did make it to Argentina.

  • 21k is pretty high up, you'll breathe hard but not remember doing so; however the video never lies.

  • None of us died from the water at the La Vitrola Camp.

  • Malbec is a variety of wine that was not named after Stanislav Malbec, a little known Hauptsturmfuhrer, who served in the 13th "Handschar" Division of the Waffen SS, from 1943 through the end of WWII. Malbec, a holder of the German Cross in Gold, Silver Wound Badge, Russian Front Medal, Close Combat Clasp and the Anti Partisan Badge, later fled ravaged Europe and settled in a remote area of northern Argentina. Don't believe me? Look it up.

  • A little Spanish goes a long way . . .