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Entries By dominic cifelli

Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Ascend to Camp 1, Leave Comforts of Basecamp

Buenas from Camp 1 family and friends!

We have began our ascend up Aconcagua with the first familiar, yet challenging, climb to our new temporary home on the mountain. The day began with quick and strategic balance between gear packing and tent breakdown to allow for some overnight frost to melt. We devoured one of our last five star breakfasts for the next week, provided by our basecamp support team Ezikiel, Nadine and Laura! Truly the unsung heroes of expeditions. See you laters and thank you’s exchanged shortly after, the uphill climb started. Familiar zig zags and moraines appeared, quick breaks to refuel followed and meaningful conversations made the hike up enjoyable! Basecamp team had one more surprise for us upon arrival - tents already set up. With gear secured and camp established, we are all enjoying a new viewpoint of the Rallenchos valley below and a pristine snowfield above. Alternating between naps, reading, or podcast listening we are all replenishing energy. As we get ready for dinner and a restful night in this new rugged environment to my teammates I say ‘ Po paten vqtur’ / may the wind be with you/ , and those at home Obicham te/ We love you.

Camp 1 over and out.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

To Pops and team, Amazing work everyone! You had a group of 10 yr old boys all very impressed. Xander was telling his friends how his grandpa is climbing the tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas. One friend said he imagined his grandpa climbing a mountain and there NO WAY he could that. He said he’d like to meet you when you return from your expedition. I think you’re starting a fan base. Keep up the good work.
Love, Noel

Posted by: Noel on 1/29/2023 at 9:59 am

Really appreciate the updates!! -Be careful - don’t slip - take lots of pictures!
Love my John,  Jack R’s mom

Posted by: Elizabeth Roelofs on 1/28/2023 at 9:59 pm

Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Relax and Rest at Base Camp

Base Camp : Rest Day Before Moving to Camp 1

We spent the first true “rest day” since leaving the trailhead 5 days ago. Yesterday’s carry to Camp 1 was challenging.  This was and will be the most elevation gain in a single day aside from Summit Day. Combine the gain with the continued challenges that come with acclimatization and it was tough. The downtime on the legs and lungs has been greatly appreciated by all.

Whether it was reading, visiting with new friends, playing Kings in the Corner and Farkle, hiking, or just taking some time for self care, we each found something to enjoy and make the most of our time together on this Mountain.

Climbing forces one to be in the “now”. Focusing on each step to sure our footing. Employing the rest step to sustain and finish a long, steep ascent.  The kind that has you praying for a “long” traverse. Pressure breathing to best utilize the oxygen available to you. You focus on what you can control. Not what happened yesterday, or possibly what greater challenges await tomorrow. You tend to the now. Conversely, you “let go” of what you can’t control and you practice trusting others to handle those things. As such, each day the bond of the team grows stronger.

Tomorrow we move to Camp 1 and “really” begin to climb this mountain. We will Largely be out of touch except for text messages from a satellite device. We will have minimal creature comforts like the ones we enjoyed on the trek in and at Base Camp. We embrace the challenge however.

We will do this one step at a time … together!

PS .  Molly - Give Hadley Bear a huge hug and kiss from Daddy!!

Climber Cameron Presley 

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Go go go! Rest, you are strong!. You got this! I am so proud of you. You are the best!! Move forward with confidence you have done the work to be ready!

Hugging you from afar!

Posted by: Teri Derr on 1/30/2023 at 4:14 pm

Tim, I am amazed and inspired by your incredible drive to win! Love you! Teri

Posted by: Teri Derr on 1/28/2023 at 7:55 am

Aconcagua: Cifelli and Team Carry toward Camp 1 on Windy Day

January 26, 2023

The wind is a feral creature, lamenting into the void. Our nearly constant companion, shifting mercurial between head and tailwind the moment we accept whatever circumstances fate most recently dealt us. 

We sojourned beyond the impossible luxuries of basecamp, making our way up serpentine paths through scree and scramble, to deposit material ever higher in preparation for climbs to come. 

While the sun shown splendid, the wind conspired with the very rock to threaten barrages of stones upon our heads. Luckily, our benevolent overlords: Don Dom, Toothpick, and Gator, ensured protective gear emplacement, forestalling calamity and facilitating a timely return to basecamp, amid jubilation for our first successful climb of the trip and empanadas without equal, from our generous Grajales hosts. 

Climber Jack R

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Aconcagua: Cifelli and Team rest, acclimatize, and await a Farkle champ

We spent the day at Basecamp. Rest and Acclimatization

Walking to Basecamp would be enough of an adventure for most people but not us. The mountain looks down on us; both inviting and intimidating.

Tomorrow, we will carry a good portion of gear, food, and fuel up to Camp 1. Thus, one of our tasks was to organize and reorganize our gear for the move ahead. 

The other task for today was to rest, acclimate and mentally prepare for the challenge ahead. Most of us awoke feeling the altitude to one degree or another but today was a day to recover and prepare.

After our packing was complete, most of the team took naps, read, chatted, or played cards. Dom “yet to be named” Cifelli imparted the sage advice to take care of our ourselves, something so frequently overlooked in our day to day lives. And so, we took care of ourselves and each other. We took a brief stroll in the late afternoon to move our bodies and explore the area around us while enjoying another sunny afternoon.

As we prepare for dinner, a cloud and some light flurries rolls in and we start to plan for our evening. Will Tim remain the reigning Farkle champion, or will Jack “Gator” Delaney get his vengeance and his first victory, or will Jess “Pa-li-llo” Wedel come out of nowhere to earn the crown? Regardless, the night will be filled with laughs and good conversations. 

Good night from Basecamp.

Climber David Scordino 

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Cameron, know you’re embracing the challenge and reaping the daily accomplishments.

Enjoy every step of the way as the fulfillment is unparalleled!

I applaud you.

Your Friend,


Posted by: Ed Crowell on 1/28/2023 at 5:43 am

Hi dad,

We accidentally left a message for you in the other blog . . . and we thought, wow, that was the fastest summit ever :-) lol.  #teamnosleep   #momlife

We’re glad you guys have made it safely to Basecamp and you guys are keeping yourselves entertained by the beauty and your games. Not sure if Sir Albert would be pleased to hear you’re dethroning him - Farkle Champion.

We’re thinking of you and praying for a safe journey for all. Love you to the moon and back.

God bless,

Chris, Bo, Lillian, and Carl

Posted by: Chris Bo Lillian Carl on 1/27/2023 at 8:31 am

Aconcagua: Cifelli and Team Reach Basecamp


Our first start before sunrise, 

   The wake-up call came at five.

Soon the climbers were busy,

   Our camp was a beehive.

Quickly our duffles were packed,

   And our tents were taken down.

Our daypacks readied for travel,

   We were soon Base Camp bound.

Our first task of the day,

   Was a frigid river to cross.

The pain upon entering hit shockingly fast,

   But once forded no toes had been lost. 

Up Relenchos Valley we trekked, 

   Steep canyon walls on each side. 

We passed mesmerizing formations,

 That Jack our geologist would describe.

We stopped once and marveled, 

   At guanacos high on the hill.

Their grace and their splendor,

   We carry with us still.

We trekked all day on a trail of dust, 

   And rocks, and then more rocks.

Some big rocks to step over, 

   Some small ones in your socks.

Finally Base Camp came in sight, 

   We slightly quickened our pace.

3500’ gain, 7.9 miles in 6 hours, 

   This was truly no race.

We were warmly greeted at camp, 

   With cold drinks and snacks to eat.

The afternoon feast was ended,

   With a delicious chocolate treat.

We have all settled into camp life,

   Playing cards or just laying low.

As we think of the mountain, 

   And those we love down below.

By: RMI Climber Tim Cavanagh  

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Greetings Pops!
Im finally getting on here. We are all doing well here at home. Including your pups. Sounds like you’re having a great start to your expedition. Love your poem. We love you and miss you !
Love, Noel and kids

Posted by: Noel Imfeld on 1/25/2023 at 8:02 am

Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Check in from Casa de Piedra

If you were with us last night you would have slept out under the stars of the southern hemisphere, and when you woke after midnight you’d stay up a few minutes longer watching the Milky Way stretch from ridge to ridge. You might have dreamed of this trip for years or signed up only a month ago.You might be back for your second attempt, comparing this to your trek up Denali, or counting down for an Everest attempt. After all the prep and planning you’d be settling into the pace of the mountain and getting to know our guides. You’d hear about their careers in social work, Iowan ice climbing, and physics research and be grateful both for their expertise on Aconcagua and experience guiding together before. You’d want family back home to think you’re roughing it, and might not tell them about the malbec, bistec, and fresh vegetables prepared over an open fire for dinner - then, as the morning light grew in the Vacas valley you’d laugh again about mummy 10 movies and make your way to the tent for coffee. As you linger over a first-class breakfast Jess races from the kitchen to teach us the Spanish word for toothpick - palillo – with hip and hand motions to ensure correct enunciation for each syllable.

Then, we start to hike. Tim might teach you about the physiology of mammals in the Andes mountains, David would explain the nuances of altitude’s effect on the body, and Jack points to geological features and tells you how they came to be. At breaks we sample apple-flavored kettle corn and sandwiches with every sauce mixed together, cheer as a water bottle is rescued from the glacial river, catch our first sight of guanacos traveling together, and wonder how many birds we could name if put on the spot. Most exciting, and just before camp, we catch our first glimpse of the summit. It stood proudly with the snowfield in view and a wisp of cloud scarfed near the peak. Now, we stay out of the sun, read, and rest - thinking both about those we love back home and the big push that waits for us ahead.

Trusting our training, hoping for good weather, and gaining confidence from the group we passed who made the summit, we settle in for our last night before base camp.

RMI Climber Hudson Baird & Team

P.S. Jane, Shane says hi. 

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Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Get Ready in Mendoza then Hit the Trail

The team arrived in Mendoza with all of their gear. The first hurdle of any expedition is the logistical hoops one must jump through in order to pack and prepare. It can feel like quite a challenge to ‘feel ready’ when you step on to the gravel at the trailhead, but the team has it dialed in and we’re truly ready for the expedition ahead of us. Uspallatta, a small town a little ways outside the mountain, was our humble abode last night. We took the time to enjoy the creature comforts of the hotel after packing our bags for the journey ahead. Laying in grass, reading our respective books, and taking naps is how we spent our time after the work was done. The night wasn’t complete until the team and other hotel guests were singing and dancing in a Congo line with live music to boot. Expedition life can be so tough sometimes. Today we leave the comforts of hotels and head out on the trail for our first mountain day. We will do one more pack in the town of Penitentes and prepare our gear for the rigorous journey up the Vacas Valley to Plaza Argentina. Wish for tailwinds, scattered clouds for shade, and cool temps for the trek into Basecamp!

Thanks for following along!

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Jack Delaney and Jess Wedel

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Aconcagua: King and Team Return to Plaza Argentina

We had a windy and cold morning to break camp down and descend to Basecamp. The team rallied and now we are enjoying some snacks, drinks and packing for mules. Tomorrow we’ll walk to Pampa las Lenas for an asado and night under the stars if the weather cooperates. The end of a great expedition to Aconcagua.

This is our last dispatch, thanks for following along.

RMI Guides Mike King, Dominic Cifelli, Jack Delaney & Team

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Saturday, January 14, 2023 1:07 PM PT

We awoke early in the morning to chilly temps and moderate winds. Our summit bid had begun! It took several hours of slogging uphill before the sun finally blessed us with its presence. The rest of the climb was warm and the summit itself was windless!

The descent was smooth and exhausting. Everyone is back in camp safe and sound. Tomorrow we begin to descend into thicker air.

RMI Guides Mike King, Dominic Cifelli, Jack Delaney and Team

Saturday, January 14, 2023 9:30 AM PT

The Team stood on the summit of Aconcagua at 22,841' today!  All is well, and we will share more details of our climb when we get back to camp!

RMI Guide Mike King

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good Job A! We’re so happy for you and Mike and the whole crew! I new you could do it! Love You! Uncle.

Posted by: Kim Peltier on 1/15/2023 at 9:11 am

Way to go team!  Feeling proud and nostalgic as we watch this blog from Vermont.  #LLLL. Hope you felt those vibes all the way to the top.
With love and admiration - the Wilhelms

Posted by: T and B from Vermont on 1/15/2023 at 6:40 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Move to Camp 3 and Prepare for Summit Bid

Our Aconcagua team moved to High Camp. The winds stopped as if a switch had been flipped around 9:30 last night. The eerily calm night led to another calm and hot day. The summit winds were still high with snow blowing 1,000 feet into the sky but have begun to calm down, or all the snow has vacated the summit. We will get some rest, eat and hydrate before turning in for the evening. Sleep is hard to come by at 19,600'. Hoping for a successful summit day tomorrow. We'll keep you posted!

--RMI Guide Mike King and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Love reading the updates. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers for a safe and successful summit. Brother Mitch, we love and can’t wait to hear all about your adventures.

Posted by: Marianne Harvey on 1/14/2023 at 10:05 am

Good luck team - Pez and Mike make it happen!

Posted by: Scott on 1/14/2023 at 6:17 am

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