Entries From Cotopaxi Express 12-10-11

Ecuador Cotopaxi Express: Casey Grom & Team Explore Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom | December 11, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello Everyone,

It was a beautiful first day here in Quito, Ecuador. We started the day off with a visit to the equator which is just a few miles north of our hotel.  The short drive through the busy streets of Quito gave us a brief glimpse of life here in this city of over 2 million people. We spent an hour at an outdoor cultural museum that is set up to show the importance and effects the equator has on the planet. Most of us were amazed to see the Coriolis effect in both hemispheres. It is true that water spins in different directions while being drained.

After our visit up north we headed back to Quito where we took in the sights of the colonial old town. There was much to see in this city that was founded in 1530. Our stops included the monastery of San Francisco (built in 1535), the church of La Compania, which has gold painted throughout the interior, and a quick stop at the Virgin de Quito. It’s also called the La Panicia and it sits atop a small hill and overlooks this beautiful city. We snuck in a very appropriate siesta after yesterday’s long flights and wrapped up the day with a wonderful dinner full of good conversations.

Everyone is doing great and looking forward to stretching our legs tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

RMI Team at the equator.  Photo: Casey Grom Seeing the sites of colonial Quito.  Photo: Casey Grom Team dinner in Quito.  Photo: Casey Grom
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What a nice and informative Blog. I cannot wait to read more about the climb. Hoping for good weather for all of you! I will be watching from my warm… read more

Posted by: Sue Campbell on 12/13/2011 at 8:46 am

Great picture, Chuck!!!  At 2,250 feet in my treestand, I didn’t have any trouble breathing!  Have a great climb.  We’ll be in Wmspt. when you get back.

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Posted by: Charley Knauff on 12/13/2011 at 5:36 am


Cotopaxi Express:  Acclimatization Hike on Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Adam Knoff | December 12, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,200'

Hola Everyone,

Today began much like yesterday.  Breakfast in our newly remodeled hotel at 7:30 with the team preparing for the day’s activities. But instead of taking a tour of Quito, we stayed close to home and headed ten minutes east of our hotel to the 15,500’ Rucu Pinchincha volcano.  This mountain gave Quito quite a scare in 1999 spewing large amounts of ash into the air which caused half of this enormous city to be evacuated. Nothing major came of the eruption.  So today it is a prefect acclimatizing hike.  Because it is only the team’s second day in Ecuador, one might speculate that marching from 9,200’ to 15,500’ first thing might be a bit much.  Not the case when a gondola zips you up the mountain side turning what should have been a two hour hike into a 10 minute cruise.  We were a bit bummed to have thick cloud cover resting heavily in the valley but we lifted out of the mist at 13,000’  and were allowed great summit views of both Cotopaxi and Cayambe, two of Ecuador’s most impressive peaks. 

Once on the move our team showed their enthusiasm and readiness to climb.  Led by RMI’s local Ecuadorian Guide Fredy Tipan, we all headed 2.5 miles up a well traveled trail making good time to the mountain’s summit.  Several members of the group broke personal altitude records.  We spent 20 cool and cloudy minutes on top before returning to the cable car.  With a rather late arrival back in town, it was decided that a late lunch would set everyone up nicely for a leisurely evening and some much needed rest.  We are all looking forward to leaving the city and seeing more of this beautiful country tomorrow.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff 

The team on an acclimatization hike of Rucu Pichincha.  Photo: Casey Grom The team on the summit of Rucu Pichincha (13,451').  Photo: Casey Grom
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Great group and the pics are really beautiful!! Great job, keep working hard!! Charlie, I like your jacket!!!!

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Posted by: simona fioravanti on 12/14/2011 at 5:58 am

It’s great to see you all on your hike.  Thanks for sharing the photos and story.  Best of luck on Cotopaxi!  Do you see any airliners flying right over your… read more

Posted by: Charley Knauff on 12/13/2011 at 1:42 pm


Cotopaxi Express: Acclimatization Hike in the Illinizas

Posted by: Casey Grom | December 14, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello everybody back home, this is Casey Grom checking in from the Cotopaxi Express Ascent.  Today we left the busy city of Quito and traded in for a little rustic countryside visit. We did a short acclimatization hike on the Illinizas where we reached just over 15,500’. Everybody did fantastic and we even got to use our gore-tex jackets with fresh snow falling on us today.  We have since descended and have retreated to the Hacienda Chilcabamba where we have just finished a delicious meal and great conversation. Everyone seems to be doing really well and everyone’s relaxing right now inside.  We are looking forward to some clear skies tomorrow and a nice view of Cotopaxi.

That’s all for now and we will check in again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

Sign post located in Ecuador. Cotopaxi (19,438')  Photo: Ian Patrick


RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from Ecuador.

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Great job guys! I wish I were there to celebrate with you. It was great to meet all the guys on the climb & Casey & Adam.

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Posted by: Rejan on 12/16/2011 at 8:25 am

GO BILLY!!!  So proud of you!  We will be praying for you and your team that you all may have a SAFE expedition!!!

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Posted by: The Terry's on 12/16/2011 at 8:19 am


Cotopaxi Express: Team Readies for Summit Climb

Posted by: Casey Grom | December 16, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,000'

Hello everybody back home, this is Casey Grom checking in from the RMI Cotopaxi trip.  We wanted to let you know that we’re all here just below 16000’ at the Cotopaxi hut. We had a nice morning, a great breakfast with some eggs, cereal and yogurt and a nice relaxing start to the day.  We went for a short walk, about 45 minutes, up to where we could access the glacier.  We spent about 2 hours reviewing some of the techniques that are going to be applicable for tonight’s climb.

Everyone seems to be doing great. The weather’s been a bit in and out today, some snow and a little bit of light rain.  And currently we are kind of socked in a cloud but not much precipitation. The team has just finished dinner and we had a little pre- summit climb chat.  Everyone is off to bed right now. So, our plan is to try to get up and leave about 12:30 and hopefully will reach the summit just after sunrise. If we get the opportunity we will try to give a call from the summit. And if not, we will certainly give a call as soon as we return back to the hut. Thanks for following, and we will talk to you guys later on. 

RMI Guide Casey Grom

Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi (16000 ft)


RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from 16,000' on Cotopaxi.


Cotopaxi Express:  Team on the Summit

Posted by: Casey Grom | December 16, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Hey everybody, this is Casey from RMI checking in from the Cotopaxi Express Ascent. We are currently on the summit of Cotopaxi with everyone!  We are 100% today.  It was a tough climb and took just over 7 and a half hours.  A little bit of new snow, definitely some slow going.  Everyone did fantastic. Not too much of a view right now. We’re actually up here in the clouds and can’t really see much other than our little faces.  Everybody is doing well. Our plan is to take a few photos up here and then start back to the hut.  We will check in a little later on today.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

The team at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. At first light on summit day. The last steep section before the summit.


RMI Guide Casey Grom calls from the summit of Cotopaxi!

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Congrats Everyone, I am not a big fan of climbing but I was excited to watch you ascend to the Summit and learned that it is truly a team sport.… read more

Posted by: Sue Campbell on 12/17/2011 at 12:48 pm

Congratulations Michael!  Stay safe!

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Posted by: Betsy Moore on 12/16/2011 at 7:16 pm