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“Hi, this is Garrett calling in for the Aconcagua team today is December 18th, Sunday. We are up at high camp on Aconcagua and tonight is our big night. We are going to leave for the summit early tomorrow morning probably around 5AM. And hope to be on top of Aconcagua the highest peak in the Andes midday or early afternoon. Looks like the forecasts are nice weather tomorrow not to much wind not to much snow so with a little bit of luck we will on top of the mountain and back down to high camp tomorrow evening. We will check in soon, thanks so much.”

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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To review our climbing team’s summit route you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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The Stone Sentinel

“Hi this is Garrett calling in for the Aconcagua expedition, today is Saturday December 17th. Today we did a carry from our Camp 2 up to Camp 3 on Aconcagua. We then returned down to Camp 2 to spend the night. Our plan tomorrow is to move up to Camp 3 and hopefully go for the summit on the next day, the 19th. Everyone is doing well here, had some good weather and a little wind, sunny and warm. We are enjoying the views of the Andes and eating a few good meals. All is well and we will check in tomorrow when we get up to high camp. Fingers crossed for good weather.”

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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Aconcagua Expedition

Aconcagua Expedition December 17th 2016

Yesterday our Aconcagua climbing team successfully completed a carry to Camp 2. After moving equipment and provisions higher up the mountain they returned to Camp 1 for the night. Target summit date of the Stone Sentinel is December 19. The team is in good condition and excited to climb higher!

After a few relaxing days in Aconcagua base camp and a carry to camp 1 yesterday we are now heading up today to begin our summit ascent. We plan to climb to camp 1 and sleep there tonight and then carry a load tomorrow to camp 2. The following day we plan to move to camp 2 and then evaluate the weather forecast. If all looks good we will carry a load to camp 3, then climb to camp 3 and sleep, going for the summit the following day on December 19th.

Garrett Madison

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Yesterday we arrived at Plaza Argentina base camp after a nice 3-day trek up the Vacas and Horcones valleys. We received perfect weather on our trek and enjoyed barbecues over the open campfire under starry skies. On our last day of the trek we had a couple of river crossings and noticed that the rivers were a little higher than previous seasons because of the large amount of snow on the mountain, this should make for good route conditions higher up on the mountain. Our plan now is to rest and relax for one day to organize our equipment for the higher camps and the day after begin our first load carry to Camp 1. Everyone is doing great and we are hoping this nice weather will hold for us!

Garrett Madison

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“We have enjoyed a couple of nice evenings in Mendoza and Penitentes, savoring the fine Argentine cuisine and gearing up for our climb. We are very excited to begin our trek to Aconcagua base camp today. The trek to base camp is about 36 miles, and we plan to cover this distance over 3 days.  Recently there has been significant snowfall in base camp, so we are preparing for ‘adverse’ conditions when we arrive, but we hope that the typical hot & sunny weather this time of year will return soon.  Our team members Randy, Peter, Erik, Tom, and guides Javier and myself are all looking forward to getting started on the trail and making our way to the mountain.  It’s great to be back here in Argentina and climbing the highest peak outside of Asia, also the highest in the western and southern hemisphere.”

Garrett Madison

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Peter Rosenfeld, Garrett Madison, Tom Dimler, Erik Richardson, Randy Perkins

The Madison Mountaineering climbing team will soon be arriving in Mendoza, Argentina to begin our December expedition of the highest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres.  Aconcagua stands at an impressive 6,962m (22,834 ft.) above sea level and is great training for high altitude peaks in the Himalaya. Please follow our dispatches as we journey from the lush wine region of Mendoza (known for grass fed beef and Malbec) to the arid slopes of the Vacas Valley and up to the base of the Polish Glacier, before making our way to the highest point in the Andes.  Aconcagua is known at times for high winds (100mph) and sub zero temps, as well as the high altitude extreme environment. This mountain is never an easy feat and over half the climbers who attempt are turned back.

The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10 km long, which descends from the south face to about 3,600 m altitude near the Confluencia camp. Our climbers will begin on the eastern side of the mountain, by trekking along the Vacas River to Plaza Argentina base camp. From here we ascend the non technical false polish and then upper Guanacos route to our high camp.

Stay tuned!

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Sid Pattison and Garrett Madison preparing to climb around the world this month!

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Early this morning our Ecuador climbers reached the summit of Cayambe at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Located in the Cordillera Central, this glaciated super-volcano runs along the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range. The volcano and most of its slopes are located within the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. Weather conditions looked beautiful on the summit today with epic views from high above the clouds! After a short rest at the high altitude hut, our team packed up their gear and will now drive back down the mountain and toward their next mountain ascent on Chimborazo.

Way to go team!!

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William enjoying the amazing summit views from Cayambe.

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Summit success!

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Route to summit.

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Lower glacier crossing.

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Beautiful views in the Andes as our climbers set off for the Ecuador volcanoes! Our team will spend the first few days acclimating on local peaks close to Quito in preparation for Cayambe at an elevation of 18,996 feet. For a detailed overview of this exciting climb please visit our page here.

To the top!

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William celebrating his first summit of Pasochoa. This extinct volcano is located in the Guayllabamba river basin in the Ecuadorian Andes.

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I am very proud to say that the Madison Mountaineering climbing team on Aconcagua had complete success!  All team members stood on the highest point of the Western & Southern Hemispheres together on January 22nd. Congratulations to the following climbers:

-Audrey Cadwallader

-Linda Wohlegemuth

-Walt Harris

-Ginna Kelly

-Peter Horsman

-Bernd Horsman

-Wenny Sanchez

As many climbers are aware, this season on Aconcagua has been a very tough one with severe storms preventing teams from reaching the summit.  As we approached the mountain on our trek into base camp, we encountered many teams that had not ascended past Camp 1 on the mountain, and were very discouraging.  The look of defeat in their faces and of time spent suffering at high altitude without any summit attempt made us wonder….We pressed onward.  After we reached base camp we received a weather forecast that suggested favorable weather, but only for a short time.  In order to take advantage of this, we accelerated our climbing schedule and put our team in a position to summit on the last day of good weather (January 22nd).  All team members pulled together to push the itinerary forward, with hard work and determination we succeeded in reaching our goal.

The day after we reached the summit the next storm cycle began with high winds and snow preventing any other summit attempts, we reached base camp on this day, and were informed by the park rangers that they were closing the mountain to climbers indefinitely because of landslides. We really lucked out with our weather window, and with a group individual climbers who pulled together as a team to make the summit become a reality for everyone.  Great job team!

The team is doing well and we are currently waiting in Penitentes for the road to open so we can drive to Mendoza. Because of the landslides the road is currently closed in both directions. We expect the roads to be opened shorty. Onward!

-Garrett Madison

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A picnic on the approach hike

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Aconcagua from Plaza Mulas base camp

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Aconcagua team on the summit!

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Climbers head up the Canaleta

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Last rest break before the summit

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Peter climbing up the Canaleta

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Summit day!

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The team at Camp 1 on the way up

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View of the Andes from 22,500′!

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