Entries By casey grom

Ecuador Volcanoes: Team Takes Acclimatization Hike

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hi Everyone!
We are enjoying a relaxing evening here at the beautiful La Casa Sol near the city of Otavalo.
We left the comforts of Quito this morning and headed into the mountains (where many of us actually feel more comfortable!) for our second acclimatization hike. As we watched the city disappear in the rear view mirror we traded well paved roads for cobblestones and washboard.  The van bumped along, and our driver skillfully negotiated the hazards of rural driving… while we all fought the urge to hold our breath and cross our fingers.  Maybe we should have, because our luck soon ran out and Friday the 13th delivered us a logistical sucker punch. 
With a loud crack, our vehicle let us know it was done going uphill for the day.  A dislodged cobblestone had broken the axel and stopped us, quite suddenly, in our tracks. 
Fortunately, our group has the perfect easy going attitude, and after getting the baggage and van transfer sorted out, we shouldered our daypacks and set off for some slightly more oxygenated exercise.  Nearly three hours and five miles later we arrived at the trailhead! 
One of our local guides, Esteban (nicknamed Topo), had been busy reorganizing our logistics while we strolled, and he and a few others arrived to our rescue shortly thereafter in shining Toyota Hilux’s.
Delivered safely to our hacienda we enjoyed a delicious dinner and are now all busy packing our gear and getting organized and prepared to tackle our first big objective. Wish us luck as we travel towards Cayambe tomorrow!

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall

Lots to see at the Otavalo Market. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition at dinner. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Acclimatizes with hike of Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,000

Hello again everyone
Today we had a very nice hike to help with our acclimatization on a nearby peak called Pichincha. It is one of the many local peaks that is situated above Quito and is used by many climbers to help adjust to the higher altitude here in Ecuador. We made use of the gondolas to help us gain access to around 12,500 ft then hiked the additional 2,500 ft to the summit. It took our team roughly 3 hours to gain the top after a little scrambling up the final bit to reach our high point thus far. It was a personal high point for a few of us, and the entire team did a fantastic job. After spending a bit of time on the summit and getting are photos we descended all the back to our hotel for a brief nap before dinner.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew.

The Ecuador Volcanoes December 10th team takes an acclimatization hike on Rucu Pichincha, Quito Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom RMI Climbers ascending Rucu Pichincha on an acclimatization hike.  Photo: Casey Grom The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes December 10th team on the summit Rucu Pichincha, Quito Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Casey Grom & Team Arrive in Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Solveig Waterfall | December 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello from Quito everyone!

After some very long flights the team has arrived safe and sound here in Ecuador. We started our day with a group meeting where we shared a little about each other and discussed the plans for our expedition. We then headed out on a city tour which was mostly spent visiting the colonial old town and it’s many churches built in the 17th century. We also visited the Virgin de Quito, which is a statue that overlooks the entire city and is similar in importance to our Statue of Liberty.

After our tour we headed back to our hotel to allow the team some time to rest before meeting and discussing the gear needed for our upcoming climbs. After making sure everyone was well equipped with the essentials we took a short walk to a nearby restaurant and patiently waited for all of our food to arrive. The food was delicious and everyone left with smiles on their faces.

It looks like a great group of people and everyone is looking forward to stretching their legs tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Quito, The Basilica. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar Reaches the SUMMIT!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Elias de Andres Martos | September 27, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The last Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir Team of our 2013 Rainier climbing season reached the Summit of Mt. Rainier at about 2:00pm yesterday.  RMI Guides Casey Grom and Elias deAndres Martos reported a blue bird day with cold temperatures and fresh snow on the route.  The team will spend the morning at Camp Muir finishing up their mountaineering skills training before heading back to RMI Basecamp this afternoon.

Congratulations Team!

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Enjoy Last Day on Safari

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

We spent all of yesterday in Tarangire National Park. It’s home to more elephants per square mile than any place on earth, and we weren’t disappointed at all. If I had to guess I’d say we saw somewhere close to a thousand elephants between yesterday and on our short drive back through today.
We spent the night just outside of the park boundaries in another tented camp. And enjoyed an amazing meal provided by the kind staff at the Kikoti Camp.
It’s been an incredible adventure and everyone has had a wonderful time here in Africa, but our trip has come to an end and its time to return to our homes.
Thanks for following.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Game viewing in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.  Photo: RMI Collection Lodging at the Kikoti Camp, Tanzania.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Visit Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Today we visited the famous Ngorongoro Crater, believed by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. It is a two million year old collapsed caldera that is home to more than 25,000 large mammals, and has a dense population of lions.

We spent nearly the entire day driving around looking at all the animals and waiting at times for either the wildebeest, or zebras to get out of our way. We saw about a dozen lions, a far off black rhino, thousands of pink flamingos and many others. I’m pretty sure everyone had a great day.
We finished off the day with a quick visit to a working Maasai Village to see how this semi-nomadic group of people still live the way they have for thousands of years.

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll catch a glimpse of a cheetah and leopard to round out the safari.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew  

A herd of Wildebeests at Ngorngoro Crater. Photo: RMI Collection An RMI team visiting the Maasai Village. Photo: Casey Grom

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: The team visits Lake Manyara

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 12, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

On our first day of safari we headed south to Lake Manyara, which is know for its colorful flamingos and tree climbing lions. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first of many elephants to come. In fact we stopped just short of a mother and her baby and watched them cross between our two safari vehicles. It was surreal to see them so close and feel as if we could almost touch them, while they barely noticed us. We then headed off to our normal lunch spot but had to find another place as several lions had beaten us there. We think we counted 5 all together, two young males and a few females, but it was a little tough to tell as they were trying to stay cool in the bush.

After a nice hot meal provide by our traveling chef Michael, we headed off to see other animals and a quick visit to the hippo pond. Along the way we spotted a huge Monitor (giant lizard) in a creek and spotted many zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, bush bucks, and a few warthogs too.

All in all it was a pretty rewarding first day on safari.

We are spending the night overlooking the lake in a nice tented camp called Kirurumu. Everyone is doing great and excited for what tomorrow might bring.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and Crew

Mom & baby elephant - Photo: Casey Grom Hiding lions - Photo: Casey Grom Safari Lunch - Photo: Casey Grom Dinner at the Kirurumu - Photo: Casey Grom

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Climb Ends Safari is About to Begin

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 11, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

After a short hike today we finally arrived at the exit gate of Kilimanjaro National Park and meet up with more of the Dik Dik staff who had prepared a wonderful lunch for us. It took about two hours to reach the Lodge where we greeted by all of the lodge staff outside awaiting our arrival singing and dancing. It was a very warm welcome and left everyone with big smiles.
As you can guess there were hot showers for all and a few naps too. We finished the evening with a celebration dinner and handed out summit certificates to everyone.
Now it’s time to enjoy the success and do a little animal watching!
Safari starts tomorrow!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The RMI September 2nd Kilimanjaro Team celebrating their success at the Dik Dik Hotel.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 10, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 10,000'

9/10/13 6:49 am PT
Hello all -

The team has finally made it all the way down to Mweka camp situated around 10,000’ and are resting after such a big day.
We had a wonderful day for climbing today with clear skies, moderate temps and very little wind. Everyone did a great job of taking care of themselves the entire day and really impressed me by making the summit in a little over 6 hours. We spent about a half hour taking in the spectacular views and getting the obligatory summit photos, then headed back down to high camp. After a brief rest we packed up and headed further down valley to tonight’s camp.
Everyone is doing well and I’m sure will sleep well tonight.
Looking forward to hot showers and clean clothes tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

9/10/13 3:10 am PT - Success!
Our entire team reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro today.
We have safely returned to high camp and are getting packed up for our descent.
We’ll try to update this evening.

The view en route to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro at sunrise.  Photo: RMI Collection The RMI September 2nd Kilimanjaro Team on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro September 10th.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Preparing for Summit Bid

Posted by: Casey Grom | September 09, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 15,000'

Hello again everyone.

Day 5 and we have arrived at Kilimanjaro’s high camp, 15,000ft!

The team once again did a great job of getting to camp in just under our 3-hour target time. It was another nice day here this morning and now we are sitting in the clouds, which will make for perfect napping temperatures.

We have just finished another enjoyable lunch and have discussed the plans for our upcoming climb. Everyone seems excited and as usual, a little nervous too.

Our plan is to wake up at midnight, have breakfast at 12:30 p.m., and hopefully start our climb around 1 a.m. If all goes according to plan, we should reach the summit somewhere around 7 - 9 a.m. EAT (5 - 7 a.m. PST).

Wish us luck!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The trail leading to High Camp on Kilimanjaro. Photo: Jeff Martin Team Grom excited for summit day in the morning! Photo: Casey Grom

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