Progress from Aconcagua

Progress from Aconcagua

combat-wounded-veteran-challenge-aconcagua-day4-4The CWVC Challenge Warriors are a third of the way up the Aconcagua Summit!

Billy Costello reported in and shared the schedule for the remainder of the week.
“Last night the team stayed at Plaza de Mulas. Today, we climb up to Camp Canada and back down to Plaza de Mulas for the night. Thursday Team CWVC takes a rest day at Plaza de Mulas and then commences the climb once again on Friday.”

The team excitedly relayed this story as well…
The other night, CWVC Team 1 headed out at 2am, with Team 2 following at 4am. While traveling, they were fortunate enough to view several stunning sights – The Southern Star, as well as the Milky Way…oh, and the Space Station came screaming by in the night sky, lit up like a Christmas tree!

The views of the Andes Mountains are breathtaking and the team is doing quite well traversing the summit to this point.

Here are a few pics from the trek from the past day or so. In one of the photos you can see the Summit in the background covered by a cloud.

More to come as our combat wounded and injured veteran team continues its ascent on the Aconcagua Summit. Keep checking the CWVC website for progress updates over the course of the next two weeks. The team returns March 1 to CWVC HQ.

In the news: Tampa Tribune

Howard Altman wrote a short bit about the Aconcagua challenge (you have to dig through the column so here’s what he wrote about us)

I had the great pleasure Friday night of attending the send-off for the latest adventure from the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, who are embarking on their third mountain climb, this time to Aconcagua, located in the Andes mountain range on the border of Argentina and Chile. At 22,841 feet, Aconcagua is the world’s second-highest.

As with the other trips, the group, run by retired Navy Capt. David Olson, is made up of those who have lost limbs and suffered brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service and who are helping assess prosthetic design, traumatic brain injury and PTSD. This year’s trip includes four-time space shuttle astronaut Dom Gorie.

You can follow the adventures of the team, which pushed off Sunday and end their expedition March 4, at To learn more about the prosthetics, go to To learn more about the PTSD effort, go to

original location of article:

Next stop on the Aconcagua Challenge: Plaza de Mulas

Next stop on the Aconcagua Challenge: Plaza de Mulas

This photo shows the basecamp Team CWVC is headed to.

This photo shows the basecamp Team CWVC is headed to.

The CWVC team made it to the Confluencia camp last night, elevation 10,892’. The team is doing well and moving up to the base camp, Plaza de Mulas at 14,009 feet on schedule.

Yesterday, part of the team stayed at the Confluencia camp and conducted a portion of the case study work. According to CWVC Team Leader Pete Quintanilla, “…It was some of the best data collection we have done yet!”

The other part of the team did a 4 hour acclimatization hike towards the the south face.

Billy Costello and Pete Quintanilla, along with a few of the guides had an early start today leaving at 2 AM, and the others leaving a bit later, to avoid the heat of the day on the 12 mile beautiful river bed hike today. This hike is amazing. It is open, dry and very hot during the day. This area reminds some climbers of a lunar landscape!

This one shows the wide open terrain of part of the today's hike.  It's not all flat, as there is steep terrain too!

This one shows the wide open terrain of part of the today’s hike. It’s not all flat, as there is steep terrain too!

It’s estimated with the gain in altitude of 3,114’ and 12 miles it may take the team aprox. 12- 15 hours of moving today. They will take a well deserved rest day tomorrow at Plaza De Mulas, the basecamp for staging for the upper mountain.

The reports are that it is very dry in the mountains this year, though they are expecting a dusting of snow in a few days, which will be good.

Check back daily for updates, as there is more to come as the CWVC Aconcagua Summit Challenge Team continues the ascent!

Update Aconcagua

Update Aconcagua

The team departed Mendoza Friday bound for Penitentes. The CWVC Aconcagua Challenge team spent the night at the ski resort at nearly 8500’ last night, so this move up by mini bus is an important acclimatization day and night for them. As you can see from the photos with water bottles in hand, they are doing a good job keeping hydrated. as this helps their bodies acclimatize better.

Saturday they had already hit the trail where they passed by some scenery with an alpine lake, over small bridges, tall trees and into higher alpine and dry river bed landscapes. Our team of combat wounded and injured warriors have already started the ascent on Aconcagua. Safe travels team and we look forward to receiving daily updates.

Some of the pictures shared with us by Caitlin (Alaska Mountaineering School) are below: (Thanks Caitlin!!!)

Aconcagua Challenge Warriors Inspire VA Veterans

Aconcagua Challenge Warriors Inspire VA Veterans

BillySpeak1Last week, in the midst of preparing to ascend one of the 7 Summits of the World, our Challenge Warriors took some time off and traveled to the James A Haley VA Hospital.

They were on a mission.

This time it wasn’t about scaling the side of a mountain or trekking across icy terrain or gathering data for evidence based studies in the field or replenishing dying reefs undersea.

It was instilling hope and dispensing inspiration by being who they are and sharing themselves with other veterans who have lost a lot. Just like them.

The CWVC Challenge Team sat across from wounded warriors and looked these vets in the eyes as they shared their stories. The losses, the rebuilding of lives torn apart by war. One minute they were fine and the next they were not.

As Billy Costello said, “Hey, I by accident stepped on an IED and it changed everything.”

Expedition Leader Pete Quintanilla and Roland Vaughan explained that CWVC helped transform their perspective and provided an opportunity to go out and accomplish things. Slowly a transition occurred, with all of these warriors as living proof that perseverance pays off.

“We are going to climb one of the Seven Summits of the World,” said Bryan Wiedle. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m excited to do it with this group of guys.”

It was time to leave. Wheelchair bound warriors joked and mingled with the CWVC team as they offered encouragement to one another. “Keep up the rehab….Stay safe up there!”

They all walked away a little bit more inspired by the experience and better for it.

The Haley Vet group plans to keep track of the CWVC Aconcagua Summit Team’s progress by checking our website starting February 7-February 28. The team will post daily updates (photo, thoughts and perhaps videos) based on the ascent schedule and weather permitting.