It was the winter of 1996, when a group of Buenos Aires climbers gathered to share an asado, the sacred Argentinean grill, and to watch a slide show on the last summer expeditions to Patagonia. I was excited to share my photos from my winter in Colorado and I got to watch some sheer Yosemite big wall climbing photos by Diego Magaldi, whom I didn’t know will become my partner years down the road!
I only saw Diego another couple of times during weekends spent in the rocks of Los Arenales, south of Aconcagua. I knew by then that Diego M. was leading courses for the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School (now OB West) in California and started the Argentine Mountaineering Institute (IAM), which offered guided trips to Aconcagua and the Southern Patagonian Icefield during the Southern summer.
I started working from NOLS in 1997 and devoted my time to get some field weeks under my belt, working in Idaho, Wyoming, Baja California, Washington and Patagonia. By December 1999 I started Remote Consultants and I was exploring guiding and corporate training opportunities in Argentina and Chile. I decided to request Diego M. whether he was in need of an assistant guide. DM offered me an assistant position to guide one of his groups to the Southern Patagonian Icefield.
It took a few cowering days in the tent in true Patagoniac weather, and a few beers at the end of the trip, to realize that we had common interests and training. We were both Instructor for the leading Outdoor education programs in the United States and had a dream of living and working in Argentina. Why we decided to return to Argentina, despite all its economic problems, is still a matter of discussion amongst our friends.
We both had a dream of transferring the knowledge we acquired in the United States, back to Argentina, where we thought there was a big need for standards in the new adventure travel industry. Diego Magaldi and Federico Avellaneda developed the first Wilderness First responder curriculum and courses for an Argentinean audience. Diego Allolio delivered the first Leave No Trace training courses for the National Parks Administration in Argentina, the accepted environmental ethics program throughout the Americas.
After having guided together in the Southern Patagonian Icefield, Tronador, Lanín & Aconcagua and after having run our own projects during 6 years, we launched MERIDIES company, a joint effort to deliver high quality outdoor experiences to individuals and organizations. Our two companies, the Argentine Mountaineering Institute and Remote Consultants, merged to form meridies® in May of 2002. Today we have both, the background of 15 years combined of working for Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School and the local expertise of more than 15 years of experience in Argentina.
Many of our friends with whom we started climbing, now work with us in meridies® to deliver safe and fun programs in Argentina.