Entries By mike walter

Cotopaxi Express: Walter & Team Visit the Equator and Colonial Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,000'

Our Cotopaxi Express team enjoyed a tour of colonial Quito today, visiting various churches, museums, parks, and plazas, and learning about the history of Quito and of Ecuador. We then traveled to the equator, just north of Quito. There we visited an ethnographic museum, and straddled the equator with a foot in each hemisphere!

It was a good, relaxing day in Ecuador as everyone is adjusting to the new altitude (9,000’) and recovering from a long day of travel yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll head out on our first acclimatization hike, climbing Rucu Pichincha, a volcano outside of Quito.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Cotopaxi Express team visits the equator. Photo: Mike Walter A Cotopaxi team member walks the equator line. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Back to Quito after Successful Cotopaxi Summit

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,000'

Well, we earned this one. We woke up early, at 10:30pm, to eat ‘breakfast’ and don our climbing clothes. At first it was warm and calm at the hut; soon it was foggy with light rain. We weren’t sure what to expect. The first hour was dry and very warm. The last hour to the summit was anything but. On our ascent of Cotopaxi, we climbed through various intensities of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. The winds picked up in third hour of our climb, and were persistently strong and gusty, strong enough to make us work even harder to maintain our balance. Our climbers were as persistent as the winds though, and eight hours after starting out we were standing on the summit of Cotopaxi (19,347’)! The summit celebrations were short-lived because of the weather. After a tiring decent, we were all back at the parking lot, safe and sound, twelve hours round trip.

For the bulk of the climb we were all covered in rime ice; our ropes looked like frozen fire hoses, and we were glad to have helmets on when a flapping jacket hood would clock you from behind. We gave up any semblance of a view from the summit for the opportunity to test our merit in full alpine conditions. And we came away with no more than a few blisters and some tired climbers.

I’m proud of our Ecuador Volcanoes team for climbing hard all day today…we were the only team on the mountain today, and we even got a summit! Now we’re en route to Quito, anticipating hot showers and well-deserved cervesas (with maybe a nap or three thrown in there) before meeting for a celebration dinner tonight. Great job team!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

View of Cotopaxi, 19,348'. Photo: MikeWalter

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Cotopaxi

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,328'

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 10:07 AM PT

The Ecuador team is back at Cotopaxi’s high camp.  All is well.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 7:01 AM PT

RMI Guide Mike Walter checked in this morning from the summit of Cotopaxi!

We look forward to hearing from Mike again once the team is safely off of the mountain.

Congratulations team!

The view from the summit of Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter and Team Ready for Cotopaxi Summit Bid

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,000'

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team are checking in with the RMI office as they prepare for their summit bid on Cotopaxi:

June 25, 2014 5:38am PT

We enjoyed a relaxing rest day at the Hacienda Chilcabamba. Today we will head into Cotopaxi National Park and prepare for our summit bid. We’ll be in touch!

June 28, 2014 - 3:01pm PT

We we’re treated to good views of Cotopaxi and five condors as we drove into the National Park. We are at the hut now, going for the summit tonight.We’ll be in touch soon!
 
Stay Tuned!

The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi. RMI Photo Collection

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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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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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