Entries From Ecuador 6-18-13

Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Our team is back in Quito, safe and sound after a successful and challenging Cotopaxi summit today. The weather looked perfect when we woke before midnight but that didn’t last long, as a storm began to brew as we were climbing. Most of the climb, we were in the clouds with light precipitation and moderate winds. It never got bad enough to turn around; instead, it just made our climbing harder. We didn’t need any help making the route harder, as we encountered ladders spanning crevasses, steep slopes, and open crevasses, in addition to the extreme altitude that is always present on Cotopaxi.

All in all, we had a fun and safe climb. We were climbing for more than 12 hours, so we’re all bushed. Hopefully showers and a quick nap will rejuvenate everyone so that we can enjoy our celebration dinner tonight in Quito. It’s been great spending the past 10 days in Ecuador with our team. We enjoyed a ton of different activities, both cultural and adventurous. Thanks team, for being an integral part of a great trip.

Hasta la próxima montaña,
Adios.

...stay tuned for the Cotopaxi Express trip’s blog, starting this weekend!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI Team on Cotopaxi. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

3

Looks intense! Awesome job guys!

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Posted by: Kim on 6/28/2013 at 7:13 am

Congrats!! Look at that snow!

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Posted by: Jan on 6/27/2013 at 5:05 pm


Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter’s Team Enjoys some R&R at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We just enjoyed a much needed rest day at the Hacienda, Chilcabamba, a beautiful rural farmhouse/bed and breakfast situated just outside of Cotopaxi National Park. The serene location is perfect for relaxation and recuperation, in preparation for our summit attempt on Cotopaxi. We have enjoyed good views of Cotopaxi and our climbing route from Chilcabamba all day today.
Tomorrow, we’ll pack up and head to the climbers’ hut on Cotopaxi, at roughly 16,000’. An early alpine start on Thursday will see us ascending the steep, glaciated slopes of Cotopaxi, hopefully en route to a successful summit. We’ll keep you abreast of our progress. Stay tuned!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

View of Cotopaxi, 19,348'. Photo: Mike Walter Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

4

For Jeff Oderman:

Your fan club here in SoCal is sending you lots of push energy for the next summit.  Good luck on the ascent and lots of love… read more

Posted by: Kit Spaulding on 6/28/2013 at 7:53 am

what an amazing trip!  love the pics.

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Posted by: Theresa Sparks on 6/27/2013 at 10:07 am


Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Returns from Cayambe Climb

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 25, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hey, this is Mike Walter calling on Tuesday the 25th of June.  We are all at Chilcabamba Hacienda outside of Cotopaxi National Park.  We spent two days at Cayambe, sleeping up above 15,000’.  Yesterday we went out for our summit bid on Cayambe, we had a great day of climbing.  The winds turned us around above 18,000’.  We were within about 1,000’ of the summit maybe 700’  of the summit.  But the winds, a cloud cap and some riming ice on our clothing turned us around. We are back at Chilcabamba resting and we’ll head to Cotopaxi tomorrow to attempt that one.  We are all doing well and enjoying our climbing here in Ecuador.

Cayambe, Ecuador Volcano, 18,997 ft.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mike Walter checks in from Ecuador after Cayambe climb.

On The Map

1

Oh, that sneaky Cayambe. Give the doggy a pet for me at Chilcabamba, and sending good weather thoughts your way for Cotopaxi. xoxo K2 & Kobi

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Posted by: K2 on 6/25/2013 at 7:32 pm


Ecuador Volcanoes: Mike Walter & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

After a relaxing night at the hotel Casa Sol, we headed to the world famous market in downtown Otavalo this morning. Here the indigenous Otavaleños display their artisan craft goods, including ponchos, blankets, and sweaters woven from the wool of sheep and alpaca, jewelry, paintings, wood carvings, and the like. We spent the morning exploring the market, and now we’re about to head out to the climbers’ hut on Cayambe, where we’ll spend two nights and hopefully get good weather for a shot at the summit. Cayambe sits at an elevation of 5,790 meters, with massive glaciers flowing from the summit. It is the 3rd highest peak in Ecuador, and also holds the distinction of the highest altitude on earth over which the equator passes.

The weather today is beautifully warm and sunny, and we are optimistic that the good weather will continue while we are up on our climb.

Hasta luego…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

A day at the Otavalo Market. Photo: RMI Collection Colorful jewelry at the Otavalo Market. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

4

Exciting to watch and hear your progress!!  Glad to hear everyone is moving strong and feeling good.  Looking forward to seeing you at the top and celebrating your summit!!  go,… read more

Posted by: Jennifer Lumley on 6/25/2013 at 4:12 am

Been following and envious! Sorry to hear just 300ft short of Summit - better safe. We will hope for the best on the next climb. Be safe & enjoy!

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Posted by: Dan C on 6/24/2013 at 9:17 am


Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Mike Walter & Team Ascend Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 21, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 14,000'

We packed up our luggage this morning, checked out of our hotel in Quito, and headed north, towards the town of Otavalo. As much as we enjoyed our time in Quito, I think we all are very excited to leave behind the hustle and bustle of car horns and traffic, get out into the mountains, and enjoy the views of the snow covered peaks of the Ecuadorian Andes. That is, after all, why we’re here.
We summited our second peak today on our final acclimatization hike. Fuya Fuya was the objective this time. At just over 14,000’, the old volcano is lower than yesterday’s climb of Rucu Pichincha but the climbing was consistently steep, from the trailhead to the summit. The trail gained elevation quickly as it climbed thru high Andean grasses, culminating in a short rocky scramble to the summit. Although the summit was in the clouds once again, the weather was terrific for the climb. We were treated to stunning views of the Laguna Mojanda below us, a large lake formed in an ancient volcanic crater. Our team also caught a brief glimpse of an Andean Condor soaring in and out of the clouds around Fuya Fuya.
Now we’re all settle in at our tranquil hacienda, Casa de Sol. We’ll have a relaxing morning tomorrow, visiting the Otavalo market, before heading up to the climbing hut on Cayambe for a couple of nights. We’ll keep you posted as always…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Mike Walter's team acclimatizing on Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Makes First Acclimatization Hike

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 20, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,413'

Well rested from our recent international flights, our team went for our first acclimatization climb today, summiting Rucu Pichincha. Rucu is a volcano that is located just outside of the city of Quito, and the gondola-assisted approach allowed us to enjoy some very high altitude today. The summit sits at 15,413’, and was a personal altitude record for many members of our climbing team; we should break that record a few more times during our stay here in Ecuador.

After riding the gondola, the climb consisted of a relatively moderate ascent on good trails to a small Col just shy of the true summit. From the Col, we scrambled for about 15 minutes up 3rd class volcanic rock to the summit. Clouds obscured our views from the top, but added to the ambiance of our team’s first Andean summit. Other than some high clouds, the weather was great for our climb today. The temperatures were quite comfortable for climbing, and we had great views of Quito from nearly 6,000’ above.

Our team climbed very strong today, without exception, and it is obvious that everyone has been dedicated to their training programs in the past few months. The climbers on this team have a ton of experience in the mountains, from Rainier to Aconcagua, and it definitely shows.
Tomorrow our crew will pack up in the morning and leave Quito, traveling north to our next acclimatization hike of Fuya Fuya, en route to our first major climbing objective, Cayambe.

At the risk of sounding redundant, these climbers are strong and well-prepared for this trip. Sure, we all feel the affects of altitude at this point, but that is expected. The team’s collective dedication to climbing and training is allowing us to fully enjoy our experience here in Ecuador.
Thanks for checking in, and we’ll provide an update after our next climb. But for now, the well-oiled climbing machine is on track.

Hasta la proxima cumbre,

RMI Guide Mike Walter & team

An RMI team ascending Rucu Pichincha on their acclimatization hike.  Photo: Jake Beren
1

Ola Amigos!  Greetings from 1100.00000 elevation in the Allegheny Mountain Range of NW Pennsylvania, USA.  Awesome photos—you guys rock!  Go Larry!  How much do they pay you for that awesome… read more

Posted by: Patti and Joe on 6/21/2013 at 8:31 am


Ecuador Volcanoes: Mike Walter & Team Arrive in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

The Ecuador Volcanoes climbing (and all of our luggage) has arrived in Ecuador! Everyone arrived in the country by early this morning and hit the ground running. We spent the bulk of the day on an interesting and educational tour of colonial Quito, visiting the Presidential Palace, the Basilica, and various other points of interest in southern Quito, also known as Old Town Quito. Our local city guide, Jorge, is extremely knowledgeable and happy to share the wealth of information he has about the history, culture, politics, and religion of Ecuador. As always, it’s a pleasure to work with Jorge.

After a typical Ecuadorian lunch of empanadas, locro de queso (potato soup with cheese & avocado), and fritada (fried pork with corn and plantains), we headed to the Equator. We visited an ethnographic museum and stood straddling the Equator, with a foot in each hemisphere (see photo).
We’re all still a little weary from a long travel day to get here, and I’m sure everyone will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we had head out on our first acclimatization hike. We’ll be in touch tomorrow to let you know how it goes.

Cheers,

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Mike Walter and the Ecuador team visiting the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter

On The Map

8

Ken!  Amazing to read, incredible to SEE!!  Great job everyone!

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Posted by: Carlo Barone on 6/24/2013 at 9:46 am

Thinking about you Ken!  Be super careful.  What an experience!  Jan

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Posted by: Jan Swenarton on 6/23/2013 at 2:23 pm