Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Thwarted by Rain & Winds on Cayambe

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,300'

We had an alpine start this morning, waking up in the middle of the night for our summit attempt on Cayambe. At midnight the winds were moderate and there was a beautiful, clear, and starry sky above us. We were psyched to see the clear sky, and we hoped that the winds would subside a bit throughout the day.

By the time we left the climbing hut (15,300’) at a little before 1 a.m., a cloud had settled in on us and it was raining lightly. As we ascended, the wind and rain increased in intensity and the temperature kept dropping. After about a thousand feet of climbing, we were soaking wet and the wind speed was strong enough that it made climbing difficult. With another couple thousand feet more to climb, we turned around and headed back to the comfort of our climbing hut. Wet and cold, we drank some hot tea and then crawled in our sleeping bags for a few hours of well deserved sleep.

We are all off of the mountain now and headed for the Hacienda Chilcabamba, located just outside Cotopaxi National Park. We will take a rest day there tomorrow, drying out our clothes and getting ready for our climb up Cotopaxi.

We will be in touch again tomorrow.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI team descending towards the Cayambe Climber's Hut in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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10

Ecuador: Walter & Team Ready for Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

We had a very windy day today amidst the clouds at 15,300’. Despite today’s weather we’re optimistic about our Cayambe summit attempt for tomorrow. Caio for now! 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Cayambe Climber's Hut. Photo: Nick Hunt

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Ecuador: Walter & Team Spend Their First Night at the Cayambe Climber’s Hut

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola from the climber’s hut on Cayambe! We just enjoyed a high-altitude soup and bread dinner at 15,300’. Everyone is doing great up here. We’ll touch base soon.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Approaching the Climber's Hut on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Acclimate on Cerro Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

After a couple of nice days in Quito, our team packed up early this morning and left the city life for more rural flavors. We traveled north a few hours from Quito to the beautiful mountain lakes of Lagunas Monjanda and went for a great acclimatization hike up Fuya Fuya.

The hike consisted of a steep trail through high altitude Andean grassland, or “paramo”, followed by a rock scramble to the summit…with great views of beautiful lakes below us.  Everyone climbed really well as we made short work of the 14,000’-plus peak.

Now we’re resting at the tranquilo Casa Sol, watching Ecuador play Honduras in the World Cup. Buena suerte Ecuador!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Road to Cerro Fuya Fuya, Ecuador. Photo: Jake Beren An RMI Team acclimatizing on Fuya Fuya in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,696'

Hola from Ecuador. We had great weather today as our team went on our first acclimatization hike, summiting Rucu Pichincha, a volcano that forms part of the western perimeter of Quito’s valley. To start our hike, we took a gondola from Quito up to an altitude of around 13,500’. Then a well-maintained trail with stunning views led us out onto a ridge toward Rucu Pichincha. An easy rock scramble later and we were on top, at 15,700’.

Our climbing was very strong today, making quick work of the altitude. We had good views of volcanoes Cotopaxi, the Ilinizas, Pasachoa, and Ruminuai the south, and Cayambe and Cotacachi to the north. We will leave Quito tomorrow morning, heading north towards Cayambe. But, before we get to Cayambe, we’ll take another acclimatization hike tomorrow on Fuya Fuya, and then visit the market in Otavalo the next day. We’ll keep you posted!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Views from the top of Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Ecuador Volcanoes:  Mike Walter & Team Meet in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,000'

Greetings from Ecuador! Our team all arrived in Quito, Ecuador yesterday, and we met for our first official team meal this morning. After introductions and reviewing trip logistics, we departed the hotel and spent the day on a city tour of Old Town Quito. We visited the Basilica, the presidential palace, and various other historically significant locales while learning about the foundation and history of Quito and Ecuador from our very knowledgeable local guide, Jorge.

After lunch we headed north to the Equator, and visited an ethnographic museum where we were able to straddle the Equator, as well as learn about various native cultures of Ecuador. A fun day of sight seeing was just what we needed, as we get used to the altitude of Quito (9,000’) and recover from a long day of travel yesterday.

Tomorrow we will venture out on our first acclimatization hike up the Volcano Rucu Pichincha. We’ll keep you posted with updates along the way.

Hasta luego!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Team Mike Walter at the Equator in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Visiting Quito's Basilica on the Ecuador Volcanoes expedition. Photo: RMI Collection Visiting the government buildings of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Nugent & Team Arrive Back in Quito

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens | February 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Well, we are off the mountain safe and sound back at the hotel in Quito. Our descent went extremely smoothly with the snow conditions making for a much easier time than we had on Cayambe. At our lunch pit stop on the way back to the city we happened to randomly run into another RMI team headed by Casey and Topo that was headed from Illiniza Sur into Cotopaxi. I hope they come across the same great weather and conditions we enjoyed today. Anyway, we are all resting and cleaning up at the hotel before we meet one last time as a team tonight for a celebratory dinner.

Until next year…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

Panoramic view of Quito. RMI Photo Collection

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Ecuador: SUMMIT COTOPAXI!

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens | February 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Hey, it’s Billy here checking in with our crew 100% on top of Cotopaxi. Enjoying another gorgeous day and another summit of an Ecuadorian Volcano! We have been taking probably hundreds of photos here on the top and we are going to gear up shortly and begin our descent. We will check in when again when we are down safe and sound, so wish us luck.

Ciao ciao!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

Sunrise on Cotopaxi. RMI Photo Collection


Billy Nugent calling from the summit of Cotopaxi.

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Ecuador: Nugent and Team Enjoy Rest Day at Chilcabamba

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens | February 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hi all… Just checking in on a rest day here at Chilcabamba. Been enjoying the views and the rustic setup of this farmhouse turned lodge and lazing about like monarchs. The famous dogs of Chilcabamba, Pacha and Toa are still around and friendly as ever (anyone who’s been here knows what I’m talking about). These guys might be easier to adopt than the aforementioned monkey but I’m pretty sure the folks here won’t give them up so easily. Not much else to report besides views, wood burning stoves, hundreds of hummingbirds, and ponchos! Enjoying our rest and letting our brains as bodies recoup after yesterday’s challenge, getting ready for the next…

RMI Guides Billy, Garrett & Team

Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. RMI Photo Collection

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Ecuador: Nugent and Team Recap Summit of Cayambe

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens | February 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

All smiles on the summit of Cayambe!

Our strong team made short work of Cayambe today and were on the summit in about 6 hours and 45 minutes after leaving the refugio. Conditions were very firm on the glacier and when combined with fair weather and almost no wind it made for a quick trip up. A rope length of steep snow and ice just below the summit required some front pointing and a belay especially because the runout emptied into a giant chasm of a bergschrund. A little ice climbing is always nice to keep you on your toes. The sun came up at some point while we were negotiating this steep pitch and we enjoyed the dawn from the summit. We took pictures and exchanged high fives on top and after a short while began our descent because we wanted to pass over several hollow spots on the glacier before the day heated up. Those firm glacier conditions that made the climbing so nice on the way up made the descent a fair bit more taxing. Despite being tired and a bit worked we were back at the refugio just after 10:30 am. A quick pickup and we were headed down the road to meet Victor and jump on the bus for the long ride to the Chilcabamba eco lodge at the base of Cotopaxi. And after a time warp of a bus ride, here we are chilling and filling up on a hot meal with a rest day ahead.

Time for sleep…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

Climbers Hut on Cayambe. RMI Photo Collection

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Recent Images From Ecuador

  • An RMI climber on a Cotopaxi rest break. Photo: Mike Walter
  • RMI Guide Mike Walter and climber on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • RMI Climbers ascending the toe of a glacier on Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The view of Illiniza Sur and Illiniza Norte from Cotopaxi yesterday. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The view from the summit of Cotopaxi (19,348 ft), Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cotopaxi from the Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. Photo: Zeb Blais
  • The Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. RMI Photo Collection
  • The RMI team with the summit of Rucu Pichincha in the background.  Photo: Mike Walter
  • Cotopaxi Express team visits the equator. Photo: Mike Walter
  • A Cotopaxi team member walks the equator line. Photo: Mike Walter
  • View of Cotopaxi, 19,348'. Photo: MikeWalter
  • The view from the summit of Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi. RMI Photo Collection
  • An RMI team descending towards the Cayambe Climber's Hut in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cayambe Climber's Hut. Photo: Nick Hunt
  • Approaching the Climber's Hut on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Road to Cerro Fuya Fuya, Ecuador. Photo: Jake Beren
  • An RMI Team acclimatizing on Fuya Fuya in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Views from the top of Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador. Photo: Billy Nugent
  • Team Mike Walter at the Equator in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Visiting Quito's Basilica on the Ecuador Volcanoes expedition. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Visiting the government buildings of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Panoramic view of Quito. RMI Photo Collection
  • Sunrise on Cotopaxi. RMI Photo Collection
  • Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. RMI Photo Collection
  • Climbers Hut on Cayambe. RMI Photo Collection