7 Summits, Aconcagua, South America -

Aconcagua Expedition

Join our climbing team on their 21 day expedition to summit Aconcagua (22,842ft, 6962m), South America's highest peak and the second highest of the 7 Summits. Follow their progress through the Delorme inReach Explorer Share Page. They will be sending messages to check in throughout the trip, so check back daily for updates on their progress!

Falso Polaco / Upper Guanacos Traverse

December 28th 2014 - January 18th 2015

The Falso Polasco / Upper Guanacos, is an excellent combination of two routes that starts off ascending the Valle de Vacas, from Punta de Vacas (7,755ft / 2,350m ). Several camps will be established as the climbers move up the valley. At Casa de Piedra (10,725ft / 3,250m) the trail turns west and from here the route continues through the Quebrada de Los Relinchos to the Plaza Argentina (13,860ft / 4,200m) located at the base of the upper peak. The route to the summit wanders through easy rock and occasional snow and a finish on the less technical, upper north side of the mountain via the Guanacos Traverse to a spectacular view of the Andes from 22,842ft / 6,962m. The descent route is down and to the west side of the mountain following the Quebrada de los Horcones on the way out. The combination of these two routes allows the climbers to experience all aspects of this hulking mountain.



Photos from the trip will be posted in an album on our Facebook page: http://goo.gl/Hk11JK

A small batch of the over 2000 photos that Richard took are posted now!


Final Dispatch - January 15th 2015, Mendoza Argentina

Richard called in to report that the entire team is back in Mendoza, safe and sound. They are getting some laundry done, enjoying the city and some much needed rest. Richard will send along some photos from the trip that will be posted in the following days.

Thanks for following our team on their great adventure!


January 15th 

The team spent their first night off the trail at Los Penitentes, a ski area and hostel located between the ranger station and Punta de Vacas, where they started their trek. Richard sent a couple of photos to be shared, to show the beautiful summer weather.


January 14th - Ranger Station 9,700 ft (2,940m)

The team just arrived to the ranger station at 1:20pm PST after 14.2 miles and more than 5000 feet of descending on the final day! The entire loop route around the mountain is approximately 52 miles, with an elevation gain of ~15,000 feet on the ascent and a loss of ~13,200 on the descent over 16 days.

Dispatch 15 - January 13th Plaza de Mulas 14,490 ft (4390m)

The team spent the day descending more than 5000 feet from high camp to Plaza de Mulas. Tonight they will enjoy lots of food, showers and the company of other teams in this base camp. Tomorrow the team plans on continuing their descent to Penitentes.


Dispatch 14 - Aidan called in to update us on their summit attempt and the teams plans for the coming days.


Summit Dispatch!- January 12th 22,842 feet (6962m)

Today Richard and Robert successfully reached the summit of Aconcagua, in 7 hours and 20 minutes from high camp! They enjoyed the summit in perfect weather.


Dispatches 12 & 13 - January 10th & 11th Camp 2 & 3

Over the weekend the team moved from camp 2 to camp 3 located at 19,700 feet (5970m). The weather is still holding very well and everyone is feeling good. They plan to try for a summit attempt on Monday!


Dispatch 11 - January 9th Camp 2 18,000ft (5455m)

The team made the move up to camp 2 at 18,000 feet today. The weather has cleared and the winds remain clam. Tomorrow the team plans on taking somewhat of a rest day, but they still plan on moving their cache higher on the mountain.

Dispatch 10 - January 8th Camp 1 16,300ft (4940m)

The team has been hunkered down at camp 1 for a couple of days waiting out strong winds. Reports are that a French Canadian team had a tent blow away. It sounds like they are fine and have recovered from the mishap. Unfortunately three climbers from the team descended with Richard yesterday due to altitude illness and a back problem. As Richard guided those three down, Aidan and the remaining three carried loads up to cache at a col between camp 1 and camp 2 to be set up for a move to camp 2 tomorrow, weather permitting.


Dispatch 9 - January 6th Camp 1 16,300ft (4940m)

We received a brief inReach text from Richard this morning " Hi everyone! Today we are resting and recovering at camp 1 it has been a very windy night but it's starting to calm down. We are doing fine til the next dispatch -Richard"

Dispatch 8 - January 5th Camp 1 16,300ft (4940m)

Today the team made the move from the Plaza de Argentina base camp to camp 1 located at 16,300 feet (4940 meters). As Richard states "The glamping has finished",now the real expedition climbing begins! The winds are starting to gust and some clouds are moving in today, but the forecast shows clearing and sun again starting wednesday. It sounds as though everyone is pretty tired from the first cache and camp cycle, but in great spirits and getting rested up for more.


Dispatch 7 - January 4th Plaza de Argentina

Aidan calls in a dispatch from base camp. The team enjoyed a rest day with a day hike and a spectacular moon rise. Tomorrow the team will move up to Camp 1.


Dispatch 6 - January 2nd Plaza Argentina 13,720ft (4160m)

The team caches loads at camp 1 and returns back to Plaza de Argentina for the night. With a rest day planned for the next day leaves the team some time to enjoy! The satellite signal gets dropped as Mark leaves his message.

Dispatch 5 January 1st 2015 - Plaza Argentina 13,720ft (4160m)

We received a voicemail from Aidan yesterday morning around 5AM their time.
"Wishing everyone a Happy New Year from the Andes.

Group is en route to base camp. They had a relatively uneventful New Years Eve. There were a few parties going on around camp but they all agreed that discretion is the better part of valor.

It has been very windy but the skies have been clear. Wind is supposed to die own over the next few days.
After sleeping in and finishing breakfast they were packing up and preparing for the move up to BC. 6 to 7 hours of trekking and 3,000ft of elevation gain.
Group is doing great and enjoying the sunshine and beautiful views."

The team moved from Casa de Piedra to Plaza Argentina at 13,720ft (4160m) to ring in the New Year with a 3000+ foot climb. From here they will start caching gear and food higher up the mountain, but sleep lower to help in acclimating to the altitude.
In the second part of the dispatch Kim, Larry, Robert, and Mark take the phone to share their experiences up to this point in the trip.

Dispatch 4 December 31st 2014 - Casa de Piedra 10,720ft (3,250m)

The team ascended to their next camp Casa de Piedra at 10,720ft this afternoon. Windy conditions were encountered along the way with potential for 50+ MPH winds in camp tonight and possibly tomorrow. Despite the breeze the team is still in high spirits and doing well.


Dispatch 3 December 30th 2014 - Pampa de Lenas 9,800ft (2950m)

The Aconcagua team arrived in Pampa de Lenas this afternoon. The weather sounds like it is really good, but there are some winds starting to kick up. After dinner all the climbers hit the hay pretty quick, so a group dispatch will come in the following couple of days.

Dispatch 2 December 30th 2014 - Punta de Vacas 7,800 ft (2350 m)

The team is starting the trek on foot toward the mountain today. From the park entrance they will hike north to the first camp Pampa de Lenas, at 9,800 ft (2950m) over a distance of around 8 miles and 2,000 ft elevation gain.

During the dispatch the satellite signal breaks up a little, but from the sound of it, everyone is happy and very eager to finally be trekking toward the mountain. They are planning on doing another dispatch later in the day where they will pass the phone around to everyone, so they can pass on messages to friends and family.


Dispatch 1 December 28th 2014 - Mendoza Argentina

The team checks gear and finalizes the packing in Mendoza for their expedition.


Richard Riquelme

Aiden Loehr


Eric Johnstone

Kim Olson

Larry Cochrane

Robert VanEtten

Doug Roberts

Mark Smith


  • Richard´s family

    Congratulations Richard we are following your steps , we send you light and our love !
    the family

  • Linda Knypstra

    Hello brother Robert! Everyone in the family is following your climb and Mom was so pleased to hear your voice on the dispatch 5, Jan 1, 2015. In fact we all were. Enjoy yourself and be careful, we’re looking forward to hearing all about your adventures. Our best wishes to your climbing mates and guides. Godspeed.

  • Laura

    Happy New Year to Richard and Team from the other side of the mountains!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published