Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Great news everyone, at approx 5pm Aconcagua time, on the 27th, the three of us reached the summit of South America's highest peak!!!

It was an extremely long day, but we pressed on through wind chills of -30F, very high winds, and almost 10 hour of ascending through snow and loose rock. Sadly, no one else from our group made the summit. I guess that is a testament of our group strength and determination!!! The views were awesome and the experience was, well, hard to sum up in words, but we say it was another life-time achievement for each of us.

We're back in Base Camp right now and will be making a long hike and then drive into Mendoza tomorrow. That's when we'll be able to reply to many of your comments and e-mails. We just wanted to get the word out about our success to all of you, and to thank ya'll for your support and wishes.

Oh yeah, and to the boys of the 71SOS, time to pay up, as Rob knocked out 50 pushups, so get that money ready for the SOWF!

Hopefully there is a picture attached to this one.

Take care all, and we'll be in touch soon!

Rob, Heidi, Justin,
Climb High, Fly Low

Friday, February 23, 2007

Base Camp Part II

Buenas Tardes everyone. This is our second, and most likely last blog from the mountain until after we return from our summit attempt. What has changed since the last blog: Weather! We no longer have snow every day. In fact, the sun has been shining like it's supposed to and people are starting to summit again. They are still calling this the worst summer in 30-40 years, but it looks like there is a chance we'll have weather safe enough to take a shot at the summit... not that we're jinxing ourselves right now. We plan to take our first attempt at the summit on the 27th, with two to three days of weather back up if we need it. Right now the winds are still quite high and some tents are still getting damaged. Anyway, our hopes are still high, as in 23,000ft high!

Twice over the past three days we've been over 16,500ft, once on a peak called Cerro Bonnete (sp) and one trip up to Camp 1 (Canada) and beyond. Heidi, Justin, and Rob are all feeling great, with O2 levels in our blood right as they should be and no signs of altitude related illness. In fact, check out the picture that is hopefully on here of the three of us on Cerro Bonnete.

That's it for us. once again the sat connection is expensive and we don't have long. I don't think we'll have a chance to write again until we come back down from the upper camps, so keep your fingers crossed, knock on lots of wood, and drink a cerveza or four for us.

Take care, be safe, and enjoy life-

Rob, Justin, Heidi
Climb High, Fly Low

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Base Camp Info!!

Grettings Friends and Family! We're reaching you via a sat uplink, so time is precious AND expensive!

All three of us are doing very well, especially with health and strength. No issues with the altitude and our spirits are high. It's been a great experience so far and we hope it continues to go well. The only issue we have right now deals with weather. We have been snowed on every day on the mountain, and greeted by quite high winds most the day as well. This is quite unusual, as in our last camp most people would normally wear shorts and t-shirts and sit outside talking, but we had on many of our clothes and had to battle the below freezing temps, not to mention the blowing snow.

We're now at base camp, which sits under the steep ascent to the high camps. Each day we see groups coming off the mountain with news of destroyed tents and right now one missing climber (but not part of a guided group). A group of 10 people literally had to all huddle in one small tent two nights ago since all their other tents had failed under the high winds. Anway, this is a very unusual weather to have on Aconcagua this time of year, but it doesn't seem to be something just passing by. It's been a problem for some time, preventing most groups, well, pretty much every group for summiting. We're hoping to catch a break in the weather or maybe just have it blow itself out. Until then, we will be taking on the winds, snow, and frozen conditions as we slowly work our way up the camp.

We want to make a shout out to Mark Uberuauga, wish you were here buddy (Vern Tejas passed through today... w/o his banjo!), to all the people that helped to get us here (esp our military commanders and supporters who made the time avaliable), and most of all, to our family that is out there thinking of us. So, keep us in mind when you see the sun and are warm throughout the day... all for now from 14,500ft!!

Vaya con dios!

Rob, Justin, and Heidi
"Climb High, Fly Low"

Friday, February 16, 2007

We´re Off!

This is the last post from Mendoza, as we're just about to hit the road.  All is well!  We've got a big, yet very upbeat and happy group of people to climb with.  Mostly made up of American's, we have one Brit, one Dane, and one guy from Holland (who is actually American now).  We have more people in the group than expected, but plenty of guides and our lead guide is a nice American named Tom Torkelson who has a very good background in mountaineering.
The winds were high last night and the temps came down (from the 98F high in the day!), which means we'll be a little bit colder than avg on the first few nights, but that's a blessing, as we all have warm sleeping bags and the warm nights would cook us!  So, hopefully we'll be able to send out a blog from base camp, which is about 5 days away (Plaza de Mulas).  Between now and then we'll be hiking up a valley, enjoying the views and a relaxed pace.  That will take us to the base of the mountain (base camp), which will be just around 14,000ft.  From there we will do a few cache-and-carry trips, where we just move our gear up to the next higher camp in stages, eventually sleeping at about 18-19000ft on our last night b/f summit. 
So, really nothing out of the ordinary!  Keep your fingers crossed we run into good weather and low winds.  If we don't, no worries, we'll press on and fly that flag anyway!
Take care everyone.
--Rob and the Gang
Climb High, Fly Low

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Buenas Dias!

Greetings from Mendoza, Argentina!! Everyone made it into this beautiful town without incident and we even have all of our bags (far better luck than we had w/ luggage on the Russia trip). The weather is nice, with temps in the 80s and slight breeze to keep it from getting too sticky. The flights down here were long, but the layovers were the hard part. We were lucky to all meet up in Santiago, Chile, where we spent 8 hours in the airport terminal eating and drinking while catching up on each others´ lives. Justin and Heidi had never met, though they got right to telling all the stories they had on me... gotta love when friends bring out some stories you had either forgotten or hoped would never come up again! After quite a few beers we ended up in Mendoza, but not after getting a view of Mt. Aconcagua from the airplane (looks big!). Here in Mendoza we are staying at El Portal Hotel ( If anyone needs to reach us, this will be the place for the next two nights.

So far we´ve been walking all over Mendoza, enjoying some delicious food and drinks. The people are all real friendly and we're enjoying the fresh warm air! Today was just a laid back day of sleeping in, getting food, and soon we´ll be meeting up with the folks on our climb and heading out to a gear store to pick up any last second items and rent any gear we might need. Our guide, Tom Torkelson, is a nice dude from Jackson, Wyoming. Seems like we have some good folks to climb with, so it should be quite enjoyable to get to know them all.

That´s about it from Mendoza! All is well, though we wish the rest of you were here with us, enjoying the local steak and great weather. I´m sure many of you wish you were here as well! Have a great day and stay tuned for more info as it comes!

Cheers- Rob
Climb High, Fly Low

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


So, this is the first blog of what will hopefully be a great collection of writings. Thanks for stopping by and supporting the USAF 7 Summits Challenge. Hopefully we'll get a serious website makeover this spring so everything will be contained on our mainpage. Until then, check into this blog for updates on our current and future climbs.

Tomorrow we'll be leaving for Mendoza, Argentina and our 18-day climb of Mt. Aconcagua. There won't be any chances to update the blog from on the mountain (unless we get really lucky and mooch off someone w/ a sat uplink), but you can bet we'll keep it up to date as much as possible.

Thanks again for stopping by and here's an e-toast to a safe and successful summit!!

Climb High, Fly Low-