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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Aconcagua: Scott & Team Meet in Mendoza

The climbers have all arrived and day one is in the books. While the guides were kept busy with preparations for the coming days, the climbers that arrived early had a chance to experience a bit of Mendoza. Everyone is excited and eager for the days to come. Hopefully the sudden thunderstorm this evening means our bit of moisture for the trip has come and gone and sunny, blue skies await us on the mountain. Here’s to hoping!

RMI Guide Nick Scott

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Settle In at Base of Ixtaccihuatl

Hello everyone! We all had a fantastic day down here. This morning was cool and damp as we loaded up the bus around first light with a broken cloud layer just above us at 12,000 feet.

A three-hour drive got us up to the base of Ixta where we went for another quick acclimatization hike up a sandy road. Clouds blocked our view of Ixta and Popo before a squall of snow rolled in and dusted us with about a half inch. We got a good laugh watching 100 runners participating in a 5k having a slippery descent down the road as they pelted each other with snowballs.

Once the snow passed, we got spectacular views of both Ixta and Popo covered in a fresh coat of white snow.

We’re finishing up preparing our equipment for our ascent to Campo Alto (high camp) on Ixta tomorrow. Our local staff is preparing us a Mexican feast. Tomorrow is the first day of forecasted sunshine! 

RMI Guide Grayson Swingle

On The Map

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The trail dogs will show ya the way! Be sure to hold your pole bag when setting up tents at high camp

Posted by: Whit on 1/20/2020 at 8:42 pm

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Move to High Camp

The time is here! We woke today to clear skies, a welcoming sight from yesterday's mean looking clouds. It was time to move up to Aconcagua High Camp and put ourselves in place to go to the summit. With efficiency, we packed up camp. By now the team is seasoned pros at camp disassembly and assembly. Packs loaded, we hit the trail and made our way to 19,600'. There we made camp and got settled in. The rest of the afternoon we took care of ourselves and got ready for summit day tomorrow. Staying hydrated, getting calories on board, resting the body and mind are all important. Its early to bed tonight because we will have an early start tomorrow. All we can do now is try to catch some Zzz's and hope the weather holds for a beautiful summit.

Wish us luck!
RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

We’re rooting for you Pops! Keep up the great work! So excited for you all

Posted by: Noel Imfeld on 1/20/2020 at 8:24 pm


So proud of you, you’re the man! Stay strong….I know you will reach the summit!

Posted by: Diane Rollo on 1/20/2020 at 8:08 pm

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Arrive at the Rivertrees Lodge

RMI's Kilimanjaro Climb #2 is underway!

The team arrived late last night after some very long flights. It was a short and uneventful ride to our Rivertrees Lodge that is nestled in between Arusha and Moshi and not so far from the base of Kilimanjaro. We had a quick but delicious dinner and headed for bed as the time change has the arriving team feeling just a little off and pretty tired after all the traveling.

Today we started our morning with our official meeting at 10 am, where we did a round of introductions and then discussed the upcoming program and the game plan for the days ahead. We spent the afternoon getting our gear packed up and exploring the grounds of our peaceful Lodge.

We wrapped up the evening with another delicious meal and plenty of friendly conversations. Everyone is doing well and excited to hit the trail tomorrow and get a little bit of exercise.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Kili crew!

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Stretch Their Legs on La Malinche

Greetings from La Malinche! Today the team moved from the busy streets of Mexico City up to our cabanas at 10,000 feet. From here, we went for a hike up to 13,500 feet to stretch our lungs and our legs. The day started off a bit cloudy for us which mostly obscured our view of the higher peaks but we did see Pico de Orizaba towering above the clouds for a brief moment. A little rain chased us off of of the mountain this afternoon leaving us eager for a hot shower and another delicious meal.

The weather looks like it is improving throughout the week which should set us up for success on the bigger peaks to come! Tomorrow we will head to the base of Ixta. Now it is time to crawl into our beds for some well deserved rest. 

RMI Guide Grayson Swingle

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Grayson & Alan,
Have a great trip on Ixta & Orizaba!  I’m so thankful to have had you guys on our trip last year!  Be careful on that labrynth!  :O)

Posted by: Ron Seib on 1/20/2020 at 10:30 am

Aconcagua: Smith & Team Enjoy Pancakes and Rest

Who wants some pancakes? To celebrate our last rest day before moving to High Camp and trying for the summit, we enjoyed a pancake breakfast. Pancakes at 18,000' topped with jelly and peanut butter make the tummy happy. With a happy tummy, we took it upon ourselves to then enjoy a siesta. By mid day, a few teams showed up carrying gear from Camp 1. It was nice to socialize with some new faces and break up our rest day. This will be our last rest day because starting tomorrow we will be on the go for the next 5 days. All the resting, self care, and acclimatization the past 12 days were for these next 2 days. Tomorrow we will move to high camp, followed by our summit bid. You can feel the excitment and nerves in the team for what is to come. We are ready and we are looking strong. Fingers crossed mother nature doesnt throw us any curve balls. 

Be good to us mother nature,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and Team

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Good luck Sue…Wishing you and your team a safe and successful climb!

-Mychal (Mexico clim teammate)

Posted by: Mychal Wooldridge on 1/20/2020 at 1:15 pm

Wow! Really a testament to your preparation & believing you can do it! We are all thinking of the whole team!
Mom & Dad, Anna, Heather,
Tinker & Beans!

Posted by: Judy & Dale Collins on 1/20/2020 at 7:12 am

Ecuador Seminar: Weather Forces Knoff and Team Turn on Chimborazo

Deja vu happens to people all the time. A familiar face, feeling or experience happening in the present that one is sure has happened in the past. Most of the time this strange phenomenon passes quickly and the day continues on its normal path. Today was a different type of deja vu.  

One year ago at this very time of year, I was on Chimborazo guiding a team of climbers motivated to ascend this beast of a volcano. We were camped at the same camp, had the same tent sights and experienced the same weather. Unfortunately this weather was the kicker. From well below the mountain, a mean looking cloud cap obscured the summit and it was clear that wind, whipped up from the volatile tropics had a grip on the upper mountain with no intention of loosening it. Today, everything from our parking spot to the cloud formations was the same.

We reached high camp at 17,400' at the 3:00 p.m. This section of the climb was actually much more pleasant than expected. Beautiful backdrops of our climbers were framed against the moody upper mountain and the deep red volcanic rock making for amazing color contrast and Kodak moments.  

Once at camp, things began to change and the wind began to pour down the mountain making our tent houses flap. Through dinner the wind didn’t let up. Then around 8:00 p.m., as we were tucked in, things went calm. Exactly like last year. With this sign, I knew what was coming.   

By 9:30 p.m. the atmospheric fan was turned to high. Dust found every tiny opening in the tents covering our sleeping bags and getting into our eyes and mouths. From here on we knew it was going to be an uncertain climb.

At 2:00 a.m. we left our camp with winds so strong we needed to collapse our tents and put rocks on them to keep them from getting destroyed. Last year that’s what happened. Unfortunately an hour into the climb, having been protected by a large rock band, we turned a corner and were greeted with the full force of Chimborazo. With all the local guides urging us to turn back, we were left with little choice. Having only climbed 600 feet, we turned the group around.  

Sometimes the house deals some bad hands. Unfortunately on this trip, two out of three were not winners. Although we didn’t summit Cayambe or Chimborazo, we were blessed with a perfect day on Cotopaxi. We all feel psyched to be heading home soon but a bit disappointed we couldn’t get higher. All in all we had a great journey learning a lot while making life long memories.   

Now we are enjoying a welcome afternoon of football before heading back to Quito and ultimately back home. Thank you all for following our Ecuadorian adventure.   

Hasta Luego!

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Dustin Wittmier and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good Luck Sue!!  Wishing you and your fellow climbers a safe and successful climb!

- Mychal (Mexico climb teammate)

Posted by: Mychal Wooldridge on 1/20/2020 at 1:14 pm

Glad you are safe!  Sorry that the wind blew you off the summit! Packers also were blown out!

Posted by: Jane on 1/20/2020 at 5:03 am

Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Arrive in Mexico City

Holà de Mexico!

Checking in from the lively Zona Rosa in Mexico City. All of our climbers and bags are accounted for. After a savory dinner of authentic Mexican fare we are retiring to get some rest in preparation for our next leg. Stay tuned for more updates along the way!

RMI Guide Alan Davis

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Aconcagua: Smith & Team Carry to High Camp

Where did all the air go? We kept our momentum and carried gear to high camp today. We sat in a small circle on rocks for chairs as we ate breakfast and watched the ominous looking clouds hug to tops of Aconcagua and Amigino. The summit looked a tad scary but where we sat it was sunny and where we were going looked ok too. High camp sits at 19,600', which is a high point for most of the team. The air is feeling thinner and thinner. Our breathing heavier and louder. Each step we are closer to the summit. Today was a good day. The team performed wonderfully, hitting such a high altitude. At high camp, we are higher than Kilimanjaro. After hanging out for a bit, we said farewell and good luck to IMG's team, who we have been paralleling. They will go to the summit tomorrow. Tomorrow we will rest at Camp 2 and get organized for our move to high camp the following day. With a big day under our belt, the team is sleepy, so its off to bed for all of us.

Sweet dreams all,
RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

What y’all are doing is pretty incredible! Scotty, I’ve been following your journey on this blog, and I couldn’t be more in awe of your and your team’s achievements. Sounds like you’ll be summiting soon. I’m sending lots of love your way. Keep kicking butt Mister!

Posted by: Danielle Demko on 1/19/2020 at 3:28 pm

Yea Scott ! Looking like you and your team are going to make it to the summit. Stay safe and good luck!

Posted by: Rebecca Shindler on 1/19/2020 at 7:30 am

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff and Team Arrive at Chimborazo High Camp

The team has arrived at High Camp on Chimborazo, 17,300. It has been a roller coaster of emotion watching the weather.  One minute it looks perfect and the next it is cloudy and windy.  So we are just doing everything we can to be ready for a summit push tonight.  Dinner will be ready at 5:30 pm, with a little charcuterie spread preceding.  We be sleeping in tents on a gritty, windy mountain but we are not barvarians!  We will eat the finiest dried meats, cheese and olives the Mega Maxi grocery store has to offer.  

We will be up climbing under the stars (hopefully) on the switchback deprived trail tonight.  It literally goes straight up.  

Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Adam Knoff and Dustin Wittmier

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hoping all has gone well. Enjoying your descriptive blogs.

Posted by: Jane on 1/19/2020 at 6:06 am

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