Entries By mike walter

Ecuador: Walter & Team Head Toward Chimborazo

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 13, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

After a relaxing stay at Hosteria La Cienega, we’re travelling south towards our next climbing destination, Chimborazo. At 6,310 meters, Chimborazo is the highest peak in Ecuador and higher than any peak north of it in the Americas. Due to the earth’s equatorial bulge, Chimborazo also holds the distinction of being the point on the earth that’s closest to the sun, and the point furthest from the center of the earth.  Chimborazo will definitely test this team’s mettle over the next few days of climbing.
We will head out tomorrow morning and establish a camp high on the flanks of Chimborazo. We plan to climb on Monday morning and return to camp that same night. We call in to let you know how our climb goes. But tonight we’re resting in beds again in the beautiful lodge, Estrella de Chimborazo, with great views of the mountain.

Cheers, 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Ecuador: Walter and Team Climb Antisana

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 12, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,000'

We spent the past two nights camped near the base of Antisana, at an altitude of around 13,500’, getting ready for our summit bid. Last night we woke well before midnight and were pleased to find a starry sky with calm winds. The climbing on Antisana was very enjoyable, weaving in and out of crevasses and climbing steep slopes, all on consistent snow for cramponing. Everyone did very well, but as our altitude increased throughout the climb, so did the wind speed. Very strong winds and moisture were streaming in over Antisana from the Rainforest to the east and far, far below. The winds were consistently blowing 30mph with much higher gusts, and it made it challenging to stand up, much less climb a volcano that is well over 18,000’ in height. We climbed strong but the winds proved too much, and we turned around about 500 meters shy of the summit.

We all arrived back at camp safely and packed up our tents and now we’re headed south. Our first stop, tonight, will be the historic Hosteria La Cienega. Hot showers, warm beds, and delicious food awaits our team as we will take a much needed rest day tomorrow.

That’s all for now. We’ll be in touch again tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Climbers on the Route - Photo Mike Walter Rest break on Antisana - Photo Mike Walter Climbers on Antisana - Photo Mike Walter

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Ecuador: Walter & Team Explore Papallacta

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 10, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 14,500'

We’ve been enjoying the natural hot spring pools in Papallacta, even if it is a bit rainy. Yesterday we took an acclimatization hike up to around 14,500’, but only stayed out for about an hour and a half, as rain, snow, and wind drove us back to Papallacta. We’ve been sleeping at 11,000’ in Papallacta, so we’re definitely acclimating to the high altitude.
Today we’re off to base camp on Antisana, where we’ll set up tents and establish camp for two nights prior to our summit bid. We’re all looking forward to getting deeper into the mountains…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Ecuador team enjoying breakfast at Papallacta.  Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador Team on acclimatization hike. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador: Mike Walter & Team Arrive and Start Acclimating

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,400'

Our climbing team has all arrived in Ecuador, and we just got back from our first acclimatization hike up Rucu Pichincha, a 15,400’ volcano outside of Quito. Now we’re traveling to the town of Papallacta, well-known for its natural hot springs, for another acclimatization hike.

Everyone is doing great with the rapid increase in altitude, but we all felt the thin air and were huffing and puffing up above 15,000’.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll be in touch…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The team's view from Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter Walter and team descending Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter

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Cotopaxi Express: Walter & Team Relaxing after a Successful Summit

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 05, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We had a great climb of Cotopaxi yesterday, and everyone summitted! We took advantage of cool weather and firm snow conditions and were able to climb during the day yesterday, hiking only the approach to the glacier in the dark. The weather was great, with no wind all day. The team climbed very strongly up the steep slopes of Cotopaxi, and had enough gas left in the tank to enjoy the summit and climb safely back down to the climbers’ hut in 10 1/2 hours round trip.

We had great views along the way, being able to see many of Ecuador’s high peaks, including Cayambe, Antisana, the Illinizas, the Pichinchas, Cotocachi, Imbabura, and El Corazon, as well as the beautiful mosaic of Andean farmlands far below us.

We spent last night relaxing at the climbers’ hut and descended to our waiting vehicles this morning. Now we are at the beautiful Hosteria La Cienega, enjoying hot showers, lower altitude, and the comforts of life off of the mountain.

Congrats to our team for a successful summit of Cotopaxi!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Sunrise on Cotopaxi. Photo: Mike Walter Climbing Cotopaxi on summit day. Photo: Mike Walter Climbing through an icicle garden on Cotopaxi. Photo: Mike Walter

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Cotopaxi Express:  Summit Day!

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 04, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Thursday, July 4, 2013

RMI Guide Mike Walter checked in at 10:50 am PT from the summit of Cotopaxi.  The entire team had reached the summit of Cotopaxi and was enjoying beautiful weather with scattered clouds and no wind.

The team will descend completely today and drive to the Hosteria La Cienega for a well deserved dinner and spend the night. 

Congratulations to the team!

An RMI Team on the summit of Cotopaxi.  Photo: RMI Collection Climbers ascending Cotopaxi.  Photo: RMI Collection Cotopaxi, 19,348 ft.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Cotopaxi Express: Team Makes Acclimatization Hike in Ilinizas

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 03, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Yesterday we had a great acclimatization hike up to the climbers’ hut on the Iliniza mountains. This hike brought us up to an altitude above 15,000’ once again, and will help prepare us for moving higher on Cotopaxi. After the hike, we transferred to the wonderful Hacienda Chilcabamba for the night. Chilcabamba is a beautiful, tranquil hacienda located just outside of Cotopaxi National Park. With the quiet surroundings and the great food, it’s a perfect place to relax before heading up to Cotopaxi.
Today, we’re off to the climbers’ hut on Cotopaxi, where we’ll spend two nights preparing for our summit attempt. Everyone is doing well, and we seem to be acclimatizing well to the high altitude. We’ll keep you posted from Cotopaxi.

Hast luego…
RMI Guide Mike Walter

The RMI Cotopaxi Express Team outside of the Iliniza Refugio during acclimatization hike.  Photo: Mike Walter

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Cotopaxi Express: Walter & Team Acclimatize on Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,413'

We experienced some thin air on our first acclimatization hike today, as we climbed Rucu Pichincha, a volcano that sits just to the west of Quito. At 15,413’, it was certainly a new altitude record for some climbers on our team. Everyone did well on the climb. Tomorrow we will leave Quito and head south for our next acclimatization hike going up to the climbers’ hut on the Illiniza mountains. We’ll be in touch with our progress…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The trail on Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Jake Beren Quito from Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter

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Cotopaxi Express:  Mike Walter & Team Tour Quito, Visit Equator

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 01, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Our Cotopaxi Express trip is under way! Today was the first official day of the trip, and we started it off with an introductory team meeting over breakfast. We spent the rest of the day enjoying an informative and educational City Tour of colonial Quito, visiting various churches and parks, the Presidential Palace and the Virgin of Quito (a large statue situated on a hill above Quito). Our local tour guide, Jorge, is very well versed in the history and culture of Ecuador, and we had great time seeing the city.
We also visited an ethnographic museum located on the equator, where we learned about the different indigenous cultures of Ecuador. We also got a photo of our team straddling the equator, some of us in the northern hemisphere and some of us in the southern hemisphere!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The RMI Cotopaxi Express June 29th team visiting the equator.  Photo: Mike Walter The Basilica in Quito, Ecuador as seen on our City Tour.  Photo: RMI Collection

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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

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