Marty and Graeme at our high camp 6,200m... all is well. Graeme did
stupendously today; he got the rest step down, carried a load and he's got his
breath technique down. The weather was good, the clouds would come over and
chill us down 15-20º and then the sun would pop out and warm up 15-20º. So
that's what altitude weather can do to your body and your soul up here at
So we're sitting really nice and the tent anchored down really well. We're
just having good salami and crackers and a lot of hot drinks. The wind is
brewing up a little bit, we're hoping that it doesn't brew up too much for our
summit day tomorrow. We're gonna get up roughly at about 5 o'clock and get out
by 7. Hopefully it takes about 5 hours from this high camp... roughly 700
meters, we go to get up and over (???), across the North face traverse and
then on into the Canaleta and on to the summit.
Everything is great. Looking forward to the summit and getting a nice
dispatch from the top to let you guys know. We're working hard tomorrow for a
summit. This is Graeme's highest point he's ever been to on this earth - this
is the highest point outside the Himalayas. Every step he takes is more
awareness for diabetes as well as for Annies...Talk to you hopefully from the
summit tomorrow by noon.
Bye bye, Cheers.
[Technology is letting me down this weekend, Marty sent me a txt message to
let me know my voicemail stopped working completely - will hopefully fix this
tomorrow - Daan]
His message said: All is great with us. Two nights at Camp I, off to Camp
II now. Beautiful morning after big storm last night. Talk soon, Marty
Hello everyone following us. We're at Base Camp, at 4,200m. We made it up
here yesterday, trekking in from Casa de Piedra and all went well and we had a
good night's sleep. A little bit of headache in the morning for Graeme, but
with a little bit of French toast this morning and fresh fruit, it got him
going and he carried a 25 kg pack up to Camp I, which is about 5,000m... his
headache went away very quickly.
(...) It's just a wonderful vertical dance that you do here at altitude.
Graeme is here to do that and to experience it and he's doing great; he did a
first carry up to Camp I, all went well and came back down in a couple of
hours, with no issues. We're down right now doing the medical check and signed
in with the Park Service. The medical check is one of those things you have to
do in Aconcagua to get the OK to go climbing...
[At this point the connection was lost and Marty rang me back to leave a
second message. Unfortunately I lost the second message off my voicemail and I
only briefly listened to it once. I'm therefore unable to give a literal
transcription, but the the main focus of the message was that all was going
well, more talk about the delicious food they are having and that they are
planning to push up more carries - Daan]
A quick update on Marty and Graeme’s progress.
They’re on their way to Base Camp. Everything worked really well leaving
Mendoza. First day of the trek was great - rain came in the afternoon. Also on
the second day, but they're comfortably snuggled up in their tent cooking a
beautiful dinner; fresh mushrooms, dried tomatoes, tortelini, fresh peppers,
oregano, thyme, salami and fresh bread straight out the oven. Good food!
Base camp tomorrow - Plaza Argentina, around 4,100 meters. All is looking
good and Graeme is ready for the big league; after an extensive programme
including the ascents of Mt Rolleston, Aspiring, Tasman, Cook and Rainier it’s
now time for the next step.
This climb is not just for fun but also to support Diabetes New Zealand and
promote healthy eating:
CLIMB FOR LIFE 2011
1 in 3 Kids born after 2000 will develop Diabetes!
Support Diabetes Education and Healthy Eating with Graeme Giles and Marty
Schmidt and their Climb for Life: 1 cent per 10 feet climbed. That's
only $22.00 for a successful summit bid!
Graeme Giles says:
"As part of the expedition and to really to give a purpose to the climb I
am raising money for the Diabetes Auckland Kids Camp and their education
programme. Ann and I, via our Annies Business, sponsor this on a regular basis
and we are very passionate about educating people as to the benefits of good
eating and exercise. Did you know that with current trends 1 in 3 of our
children born after 2000 will develop diabetes in their life time and most of
this is totally avoidable."
Marty is about to start his second consecutive trip to
Aconcagua this year. Below you'll find 2 dispatches from Mendoza, Argentina.
Tenth dispatch from Aconcagua:
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Waiting in Mendoza for Graeme Giles of New Zealand to arrive
tomorrow for our climb to begin on Aconcagua. He and Annie are making this
climb worth more than putting one foot in front of the other... this climb is
dedicated to ¨Climb for Life¨; 1 out of every 3 children born after the year
2000 will get diabetes. This climb is so important to make people of this
earth, no matter which country we live in, aware of this issue... for this
generation and beyond. Climbing and skiing can cure many issues, this is a
gift we all have within us. Let's make it count each and everyday.
While waiting for Graeme, my mind and body needed to
train... I am an Asics running shoe man, have been for so many years, love
them. But I could not find one single pair in Mendoza to buy. I like staying
with items that I know and can trust. Back in the 1970s, I was running all the
time with my new Nike Waffels, does anyone remember the royal blue and yellow
Waffels??? They were great, light weight and good support back then. So I went
for Nike in Mendoza and this has been bringing back the good old days of
Castro Valley, California running days and nights in and out of all the hills
of Lake Chabot.
Been at it hard every morning and evening, beating the heat
of the day, temps getting to around 34ºC. Running is a wonderful base to have,
along with cals, swimming, cycling, yoga, meditation, etc. It is a good life
that we all have when balanced.
While on Aconcagua for the past 2 weeks with Rob and Bri, I
had many good memories come into my way of living in the mountains. Just the
connections that we get from walking into this hills and then having the goal
of life staring right in front of us to be challenged wich brings a smile to
my face and heart everyday. To capture this feeling and expressions from the
high mountains and bring them down to the horizontal world is the key to my
life. As I get older, this key is getting more balanced, becoming more soft to
work with, more awareness of my true self so that others can feel good towards
themselves. It is in the sharing that counts for us human social beings.
This past trip I met my good old climbing guides of the
past, Damien, Kurt, Eric, etc. and some new guides getting into the work. I
met many new potential clients who want to use this Aconcagua experience and
make it happen on other mountains around the world. We are all in this
You´ll get some dispatches from the hills soon again.
All the best,
Eleventh dispatch from Aconcagua:
Hello Macpac and everyone one interested in another journey
This expedition is with my wonderful client Graeme Giles
from Blenheim, New Zealand. He and Annie have started "Annie all Fruit Chews"
many years ago and in 1992, when I went to K2, the Abruzzi Ridge, they were
one of my first sponsors. We have not looked back, only forward and have been
committed to each other ever since. Almost 20 years now. Annie came up to me
about 6 years ago and asked me to get Graeme out of the office and into the
mountains with me... so we did Mt Rolleston, then walked in and out of Mt
Aspiring, then flew in and walked out of Mt Tasman and then walked in and out
of Aoraki/Mt Cook... with some technical rock in between all these climbs...
going overseas last year with Mt Rainier. This has lead us to where we are
right now, Mendoza, Argentina and preparing for our expedition as I am writing
to you these words.
I just picked him up from the airport and all is super, he
looks and feels great, his bags come in and we are getting our permits this
morning and leaving on the bus for the National Park in the morning. Our route
will be the Vacas Valley, with Plaza Argentinas as our BC, then pushing the
gear and camps back up to 5,800 meter camp for our summit push. We are
planning to circumnavigate the whole Aconcagua mountain, after our summit bid,
we will traverse across the north face and down to Plaza de Mules on the other
side, arrange one mule to carry our our gear while we run the 26 miles back to
the Park entrance of the Horcones Valley. This all leads to Graeme heading
back home to New Zealand with me on the 6th Feb and going straight into the
famous Kiwi adventure race called the Coast to Coast, starting in Greymouth
and ending 250 kms away in Christchurch. He will run, cycle, kayak all the
This is so exciting and a wonderful opportunity for us to be
together on a high mountain, enjoying the challenges and finding the peace
within that all of us have... some just need to get out more and find it.
I know these dispatches might seem ongoing, I will try to
spice them up for you each time. I don't like drama or epics so if you are
waiting for something like this please think differently, all the prior
planning on each of my trips works well, for this is the mountaineering way on
all the mountains of this earth. It is great that Graeme is becoming my
climbing partner and he is doing such a great job of it.
Looking forward to sending words out to you while we are
ascending this Aconcagua.
Good thoughts to you all and hope to see you in the hills
one day. Much love and light, cheers, Marty
Hello everyone from Mendoza, Argentina.
Just checking in to let all know that Brianna and I summited
on the 11th of Jan, 2011 on Aconcagua after reaching the summit of the middle
Peak, between the North and South summits. Bri did so well at altitude, she is
on her way now to bigger things. Rob, her father, also did really well, making
it to 6,300 meters but needed to turn back because his feet would not warm up.
He is safe and sound in Mendoza with all his feet and ready to head home to
Utah. He is already preparing more for his next climb...
I am off again for the second summit this season making it
the 33rd time up there. Every time is very special, new people, new weather,
always working hard to balance all of life anywhere on this earth. Keep in
touch, I'll send more dispatches from the hills.
Thanks for following us on this expedition... next one kicks
off in a few days time. Cheers, Marty.
Another summary of Marty's last call to me:
All is going well. Rob, Brianna and Marty have brought their
last pieces of gear down to Base Camp and will take a few days to walk out and
get back to Mendoza.
They all came down the mountain safely after the successful
summit bid of Bri and Marty. Rob was in good spirits when they joined up again
and had a good night's sleep. They packed up and headed down.
The team clearly had a great adventure together and is
looking forward to seeing each other again in the future.
Bye bye from Aconcagua
Today's dispatch was quite hard to
understand due to static on the line, but here's a summary of Marty's words:
Marty and Bri calling from just under the summit.
They started early this morning together with Rob. At 6,300
m (21,000 ft) Rob's feet were really cold. It was -20ºC (-4ºF) and with the
wind the windchill was even worse! He couldn't keep his feet dry (?) and Marty
tried to warm them on his chest for a while but to no avail. So they turned
around and went back to camp to leave Rob there and save his feet from frost
Marty and Bri then went up again for their summit push. They
first took a detour to a 'sub-peak' which went well and took them about 2
hours. They then continued and reached the 'normal' peak of Aconcagua at 6,962
m (22,841 ft). What an awesome effort by 22 year old Brianna.
Now on their way down back to camp. Playing it safe and
They'll make a plan what to do next when they get to camp.
Marty is keen to give Rob another go at the summit.
Hello everybody, This is Bri and Rob and Marty,
It's 1.30 and brewed up... I believe it's the 11th of
January... 11.1.11 that's what Rob says in my other ear... and it's take-off
time for the summit! There's no wind, temperatures are ok and all systems are
go. So it's feeling really good, everyone is fine and happy. We had a little
bit of sleep last night and it feels good to be preparing for hopefully a 10
hour ascent and with a 5 hour descent... 15 hours round trip. So that's in our
minds and that makes us motivated to just put one foot in front of the other
and going to the summit.
So this is their objective for this trip and hopefully we
attack the summit today and we'll call from the top.
Ok, letting everyone know that we're doing well and off to
the summit today.
Bye bye from Aconcagua
Fourth dispatch from Aconcagua:
Just letting you know everything is good. Rob and Brianna are doing great,
the father-daughter team. They're experiencing every day, setting a new height
record for themselves - they've never been above 14,000 ft and we're sleeping
right now at 16,600 ft which is roughly around 5,100 meters and we're getting
We're at Camp I... did really well up here. Yesterday we pushed a great
carry up to Camp II, which is 5,800 meters, so a big jump and everybody did
really well. Rob's knee is coming around* and a little bit of sinus drip in
the back of his throat and persistent coughing (...) sleeping with a scarf on
his face as well as climbing with a scarf around his face to get a bit of
warmth going into him instead of the cold air. And Brianna is just cruising
along at altitude, what more can I say... she's doing great and her attitude
is positive and she's enjoying the adventure and just the excitement of being
on a big mountain. And it's great to see a father-daughter team working
together, great lively conversations in the tent. We're all sleeping in the
Macpac Hemisphere tent and loving it... a lot of room since Rob is 6'6"...
he's a big tall basketball player and he's fitting nicely in the tent.
So today was a good rest day, it makes us stronger and prepared...
* Daan says: I now realize that I made a mistake in the last dispatch. Some
parts were very hard to understand because of a dodgy connection and I wrote
'... Rob and me were a little bit hurting...' At the time I was surprised
because, as you know, Marty is a machine. After hearing this message I realize
he said '...Rob's knee was a little bit hurting...' Apologies!
Fifth dispatch from Aconcagua:
Hello everyone following us,
This is a dispatch from our high camp at 5,900 meters, roughly 19,300 ft
... about 300 ft below Kilimanjaro and about 700 ft above Mount Elbrus in
Russia, so just to give you an idea. So Rob and Bri are doing fantastic,
they're weathering it out at this altitude... never been up here before, so
it's a record for them. They're doing great, no headaches and (...) having
We went out today, out into a storm and tried to get up as high as we could
just to acclimate and the storm knocked us back. We're in the tent right now
and it's storming away and I guess it's like pulling the top away from your
dining table and putting a sheet over the top and sitting underneath it for 48
hours, 50 hours and preparing to then go for a 7,000 meter mountain. It gives
you an idea and that's what we're doing right now and everyone is coping well.
We're just waiting for the weather to break and hopefully try summit day
tomorrow, which would be the 10th and if the 10th doesn't work, we'll try the
11th and if the 11th doesn't work we'll try the 12th. So that's our game plan.
So if you don't hear from us for a couple of days, it's because we're sitting
still waiting for the summit and when you do hear from us hopefully we're on
the summit giving everyone a big hello from the top of Aconcagua.
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