It’s all about people

After four days of waiting my luggage finally arrived! On Friday, I met with the director of Natural Resources of the province of Mendoza, which includes Aconcagua. I also met with Pablo Portuso, co-director of Protected Areas in the province of Mendoza. We discussed the cache project as well as what the park is doing to continue improving the rescue system on Aconcagua. In the meeting, the Park agreed to provide logistical support for the cache project. Also, on Monday, I am meeting with several officials in order to donate the equipment and hopefully sign an agreement to continue working together. Since January of 2009 it has been difficult to work with the political system that controls Aconcagua. However, because of the passion and dedication of many people we have moved this mountain.
Federico Campanini always said that it is more valuable to have friends than money, and those words echo around me with every move I make in this project. I haven’t done anything alone. This project–and life–really is about people. Achievement and success are reached easier with help. It seems like such an obvious statement but I think we often forget.
It’s a chain of people and events. Tom Milne, of Remote Medical International, has been an ongoing provider of support and contacts for this foundation. He put me in contact with Bud Calkin, the owner of SkedCo, manufacturer of the lightweight stretcher that makes rescues easier. RMI (Rainier Mountaineering Inc) has also provided unlimited support to this foundation. The support from the companies in the U.S. has been paramount to this project. Luckily, companies and individuals in the U.S. are generous with their resources and finances.
The help of people in Argentina has also been vital. First and foremost, the foundation would like to thank the former head of Aconcagua Park, Ariel Ghilardi who continues to help the foundation despite his change in position. The foundation would also like to thank Mario Gonzalez who is director of the Mountain Guide Association in Mendoza as well as the director of Elena Refuge, a refuge that was created in memory of Elena Selin, the client that died in the January 2009 accident. Mario has helped the foundation organize meetings and the documents necessary for this project. In addition, Mario has a friend who is the manager of Aerolineas Argentinas, the airline that lost my luggage. I am convinced that this connection sped up the process.
The foundation would also like to thank the owner of INKA Expeditions, Sebastian Tetilla, who has given the foundation logistical support over the past four years.
The foundation would also like to thank Federico Campanini’s family for their support of Amber Christensen and her mission to change the rescue system on the mountain that changed all of their lives forever.
Others: Matias Cruz, Gabriel Barral, Carolina,and Hernan, Pedro Rosell and Mili, Leo and Carina, Mijel Lofti, Magali, Fernando Grajales, Nacho, Pablo Sampano, Tony Ibaceta, Fredy, Pablo Ortubia, Vero, my family in the U.S., my friends around the world…and so many more…
Yes, it’s about people. The person who helps give you directions, or introduces you to someone else, or hears your story and wants to help, just to help, just because that is what we should do as human beings.
So, thank you, to those that I mentioned and those that have helped, regardless. I truly feel supported by many, and despite the lack of governmental support change is happening.
There is power in people and passion and collaboration.

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