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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Aconcagua: King & Team Reach the Summit!

Update from Mike King at 10:30 am PT:
If you haven’t listened to my hypoxic voicemail from today, you should know that we stood on top of Aconcagua, 22,841’ around 1pm local time. The climbers are back in camp trying to avoid these late afternoon snow/heat waves…ya doesn’t sound fun does it? The climb had wind, snow, heat, drifted snow in the trail and lots of other parties attempting the summit. I’ll leave the details from the summit day for your loved ones to tell…but the guides are in agreement, one of the harder days we’ve had in the mountains. Tomorrow we will start our downward retreat to the thick air of base camp.

Summit call transcription:
Hey, this is Mike with the RMI Aconcagua Team. We are standing on top of Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalaya. The team did well, we had a really cold morning, probably about 25 mph winds in the face for the first several hours. Now we are sitting up here, we could be in jeans shorts and tank tops. The team did well and we’re going to hang out here and take some photos. Then we still have to descend. We will call in or send a dispatch once everyone is safe back at camp. Thanks for following along. Everyone sends their best.

RMI Guide Mike King

RMI Guide Mike King calls from the summit of Aconcagua.

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congratulations everyone!! Sounds like it was a tough final push to the summit. Can’t wait to hear all about it Katja! Be careful on the descent.

- Wilton

Posted by: Wilton Farmwald on 1/14/2018 at 5:35 pm

Congrats everyone!!! What an accomplishment.

Posted by: Adam and Candice on 1/14/2018 at 8:19 am

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Conquer the Barranco Wall

Hello, everybody. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Kilimanjaro Expedition. It is day four and finally we woke to a little bit of nice weather. There was a little bit of sunshine and some broken clouds. Before the clouds came back in, we finished our little camp luckily without having to wear Gore-tex today. That was super exciting for everybody. Today our first obstacle, which was the technical crux of this whole climb is the Barranco Wall and it was only about 20 minutes outside of camp where we start the ascent up the 1,000-foot rock wall. Luckily for us and everybody else, it is a nice broken pitch system that meanders and weaves it’s way up this wall. It’s still trekking but in a few places where we got to use our hands and baby steps through the trail. Today is a reasonably short day, only about four hours on the trail before we pulled into camp, which was once again fully set up and waiting on us. So we’re being spoiled here by our staff and and taken well care of. Currently the sky has cleared and I am looking up and seeing stars in all directions, so fingers crossed that it will stay this way and we have full sun tomorrow. On another note, we got to celebrate one of our team member’s birthdays up here. Happy birthday Scott! Everybody’s in good spirits and looking forward to moving up to high camp tomorrow. That’s all for tonight, and I will check in again tomorrow when we reach our high camp. Thanks a lot.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro.

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Comments from your Team at WhispeKool:

Christian Bromme: Thanks for the updates!

Amy Marquez: Awesome! Looks beautiful over there!

Derek Faul: That’s awesome, what an experience!

Cindi Bent: Wow what a fantastic opportunity, I bet the scenery is breathtaking!

Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 11:15 am

Hey Tom, G, Alex, & Justin,
I been thinking about how amazing this trip must be for you all, I hope you are meditating and focusing on what your next journey will be. I am sending my love and pray for your safe return.
We cant wait to see you all soon! keep each other safe.

Love you all and sending a virtual hug!
Yours truly
Lisa Leyva aka “Mrs. Mialto” (Alex) hehe!

Posted by: Lisa Leyva on 1/12/2018 at 10:46 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Move to High Camp

Well, we pulled the trigger and moved to Cholera located at 19,600’. We decided to skip a rest day in exchange for 2 ‘active’ rest days. The Team moved up with the bear necessities to establish camp and summit Aconcagua! We were on our feet for only three hours so the remainder of the day has been R&R. This morning was the coldest of the trip with beautiful clear skies and a 10-15 WNW wind that kept us cooler then yesterday’s sweat locker. Other teams have been coming down from the summit so the track is kicked in which will make for great climbing.

Everyone is doing great, some nervous energy but that is to be expected the day before attempting the highest mountain outside the Himalaya. We are about ready to feast on hot summer sausage cheese quesadillas and soup before doing a little pre-packing and talking summit day expectations and plan of action. Hopefully we will be calling in from the summit tomorrow. The Team is getting their final pep talk from your blog comments tonight, thanks for the encouraging words and being apart of this wonderful expedition with such a stellar crew!

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congratulations Virgil what a great climb.  What aw inspiring Beauty. See you back at sea level.

Posted by: Len currier on 1/16/2018 at 5:09 am

Wonderful news.  Enjoy that summit viewing,  Dave, I am so happy for you and for all the things you have accomplished and the new ones to come.  Donna

Posted by: Donna Bernier on 1/12/2018 at 10:32 am

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Chimborazo!

Chimborazo Summit! RMI Guide Adam Knoff called in to report that the Ecuador Seminar Team reached the summit of Chimborazo early this morning. The weather was cold, and windy but climbing was good. Adam was also proud to report that they were the first team in two weeks to reach the true summit!  They are back at the Chimborazo Lodge and will send a detailed report of their climb soon.

Congratulations Team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Nice work Team!!  Not an easy summit.  That final ridge is a never-ending slog at over 20,000’.  I tried 3 times and only hit the true summit once.

Strong work!

Posted by: Peter Whittaker on 1/11/2018 at 8:50 pm

Very impressive team!  Sooooooo pleased you were able to summit Chimborazo today.
Now it’s time for some well earned rest, relaxation, celebration…...
Cheers everyone!

Posted by: Jacquie Byatt on 1/11/2018 at 7:48 pm

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Settle in to High Camp on Chimborazo

RMI Guide Adam Knoff checked in from High Camp on Chimborazo.  The team ascended from the refugio this morning to 16,400’ and established their High Camp, setting up tents during a brief snow storm.  Fortunately, the weather has passed, the skies are clear and things are looking good for the team’s summit attempt tonight.  We look forward to hearing from them tomorrow, hopefully from the summit of Chimborazo at 20,564’.

We wish them a safe and successful summit day!

Leave a Comment For the Team

Aconcagua: King & Team Carry to High Camp

Wow! It’s was one of the hottest days above 18,000’! We had 4 inches of snow starting yesterday evening that tapered off by 9 pm. The 1,600 vertical feet to high camp took us up a snowy moraine and into a series of switchbacks that terminate below a complex of white rock towers. The camp is named after the fierce winds that plague this part of the mountain…Camp Cholera. We could have used a fraction of that wind today to cool down the Team and maybe prevent the roofs of our mouths from getting sunburned due to the heavy panting brought on by altitude and heat.

The Team got in a small cache and now comes the difficult decision of when to attempt the summit. The weather models are showing increasing winds on Saturday with Sunday winds being high enough that maintaining camp will be difficult. Our current plan is to move up Friday but a move tomorrow is not out of the question in favor of lighter winds and snow and hopefully higher summit success.  It’s snowing again, we’ve been able to set out watches by the afternoon snow fall.

Regardless of what happens, the effort today has the guides feeling optimistic for the Team to boot up and meet the challenge. Thanks for following along.

RMI Guide Mike King & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Virg - talked to Dad, Nora & Joe and we are all cheering you and the team on.  I hope things went well today.  Joe went snowboarding, Nora printed out W’2s, Dad went to Harbor Freight and I read one of the books you got me for Christmas.  Well l’m sure your day was more exciting.  Love, Mom❤️

Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/11/2018 at 4:02 pm

So glad to hear you’ve made a carry to the high camp! I’m sure you’re anxious to keep moving higher. We can’t wait to hear the tales from the trail. Much love and stay safe!

Posted by: Beth Ludwig on 1/10/2018 at 5:25 pm

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Rest and Prepare for Chimborazo

It is crazy to think our team has been together for over ten days now.  We have accomplished much, seen a lot, bonded well and now seem more like family than strangers gathering in a hotel lobby meeting for the first time. This is the only time I can remember, on any trip, that all nine climbers arrived as individuals. There are no couples, no family groups, just adventurous souls coming to Ecuador to climb mountains and learn some skills. Until now I think things have gone quite well. Good climbing and good culture has defined the past ten days. 

Now the plot thickens. Today we arrived at Chimborazo. This mountain is the highest point from the center of the earth and an overall giant of sheer prominence. Today though was great. After enjoying the latest wake up call of the journey, a nice late breakfast, a casual four hour bus ride and a home cooked meal in Chimborazo’s Refugio, this was as close to an honest rest day as we’ve had since leaving Quito. Which, after climbing two big mountains in the last four days is a good thing! This mountain is known for its challenging climbing, cold conditions and steep slopes. It will take every bit of energy to reach its 20,564 summit. 

Currently the team is feeling mostly recovered from Cotopaxi and is excited to move to high camp tomorrow located at 16,400 feet high on Chimborazo’s western flanks. We will let you know how the move goes tomorrow. 

Sending hugs to all those following along. 

Wish us luck. 
RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team  

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Whoa, Hugs received. Thank you!

It’s now 3pm in California on Jan 10.  I expect you are all currently resting in preparation for the early start for summit day tomorrow.  That being said I don’t anticipate this message will reach you before you return from the summit but I’m super hyped for the team and the challenge you are taking on.  My thoughts are with you for an amazing day of climbing. 

Ha ha, I not a poet, but…......I’ve written a short poem for the team describing how I envision Chimborazo summit day.  Enjoy!
The Summit
Heart pounding, Lungs starving, Step. Repeat.
Beauty unimagined -

Looking forward to the summit update and your safe return.
With love and hugs

Posted by: Jacquie Byatt on 1/10/2018 at 3:12 pm

Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Trek in the Rain

Hey, Everybody! Casey Grom checking in again here on day 3 Kilimanjaro. Well, today was very similar to yesterday we started off and mostly clear skies we got about two 2 1/2 hours up the trail before the rains came back in. Luckily today’s rains were bit shorter than yesterday’s. We we’re able to get all of our Gore-Tex on and umbrellas out and expedite our selves here to camp, which was pretty necessary considering all our stuff was already a little bit damp. Things are going pretty well. I’m sitting in my tent right now, I’m not sure if you can hear the rain coming down? It’s still raining hard. Our crew has been fantastic, the porters that is. They have been able to get on the trail ahead of us, and get to our camp by the time we get there, and we’ve been able to have everything already set up and ready for us to dive into and get out of the rain! So a little bit like yesterday and we are hoping tomorrow will be dry. They are taking great care of it here, and we’re all doing well. We’re just a little tired of the rain right now, but we’re going to take a little break, we’re going to have some soup to warm ourselves up. It sounds like we’re going to have a little cribbage tournament here in a little bit.

That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Casey Grom & Team

Casey Grom Calling in from Shira Plateau on Kilimanjaro

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Wow! We looked at the blog for day 4!  It does look like you will be at the top of the world.  All is going Aok & no one is sick.  We are having exceptional warm weather in the valley. Sumit or Bust! Ken, Kathy & Ayla.

Posted by: Ken and Kathy on 1/13/2018 at 6:27 am

Aconcagua: King & Team Move to Camp 2 in Warm Weather

Our rest day ended with three inches of snow falling on camp with little to no wind and some spectacular heat lightning across the Vacas Valley. It’s like one of those quiet winter nights where you wake to a yard filled with snow. We got underway by 9 am and moved camp to 18,000’. With all the new snow and still air we were roasting by the time we reached Amegino Col. The weather this trip has been atypical in that we have had three nights of snow, light to no wind and abnormally warm temperatures. The Team is currently in their tents riding out another snow fall and will hopefully have a good night’s rest at the new altitude. Tomorrow we will carry food and fuel to high camp to continue our acclimatization. The Team has appreciated the blog comments, and send their love to family and friends back home.

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Great job to all of you! I’m glad you’re making progress. We’re rooting you on from home. Dad (Craig), we miss you and can’t wait to hear all about your adventure!

Posted by: Samantha on 1/10/2018 at 8:07 am

Well done team! Enjoy following along on this adventure of yours and seeing all the pictures.  I hope you continue to have good weather!  Love and hugs to Nick from his Mom.

Posted by: Coeli Scott on 1/10/2018 at 7:15 am

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Cotopaxi

I glanced down at my watch, 11:44 PM.  One minute before my alarm was to go off.  I silenced it and slipped out of my bunk and flipped the light switch.  It was time for our Cotopaxi (19,347’) summit day. 

The team quickly got out of their sleeping bags, one of the most challenging tasks of the day, and began efficiently putting together their summit kits.  After topping off water bottles and wolfing down some oatmeal and cinnamon buns we moved outside to gear-up and were greeted with light snow fall.  The winds were calm and the cloud cover made for pleasant climbing temps so we set off in high spirits hoping the snow would pass for a clear sunrise on the summit. 

One hour in and we stopped for our first break just shy of 17,000’ at the toe of the glacier to rope-up.  The team arrived together in good style showcasing their increased acclimatization from Cayambe and immediately putting to use the skills learned in the previous day’s training.  The current route is very direct but that also means gaining a lot of elevation very quickly.  The next section had almost no switchbacks and was characterized by a series of steep 40+ degree pitches with very brief benches in between.  The team methodically tackled these pitches where flawless technique was required not to slip-out in the steep loose snow draining valuable and limited stores of energy.

The team arrived at the final break before the summit looking tired but determined.  Cotopaxi would not give up the goods too easily.  The last stretch to the summit was guarded by some of the steepest sections of the climb.  After forcing down some calories the snow stopped and the stars popped out shedding faint light on the summit 1,000’ above us.  Restored by the calories and motivated by the opportunity for a clear summit the team set out on the final push.  An hour and a half later the entire team crested the crater rim and was greeted with an alpine sunrise for the record books.  A massive steam plume from the crater was bathed in pink alpenglow and the mountain shadow of Cotopaxi stretched into the western horizon.  All smiles, the team embraced and congratulated each other.  This summit was accomplished as much through individual grit as was through an extraordinary display of exemplary expedition behavior.  When the going got tough the team propped-up and encouraged each other, just as determined to get their rope team member to the the top as themselves. 

After basking in the equatorial morning glory for about 45 minutes the team descended back to the hut with no wind and clear sunny skies.  After one final meal at the Refugio we boarded the bus and went to have lunch and celebrate at a local pizzeria.  We just arrived at the gorgeous Hacienda La Cienega and are settling in for some well deserved afternoon naps.  Tomorrow will take us to the base of Chimborazo and the start of the tallest objective of the trip.  Stay Tuned!

RMI Guide Jordan Cargill

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Again! Congrats and best wishes for the whole team!!!! Beautiful pics!

Posted by: Karen Norris on 1/8/2018 at 6:53 pm

Wow, awesome acheivement team.  Love the summit photo. Congratulations to all! 
Keep smiling :)

Posted by: Jacquie Byatt on 1/8/2018 at 6:25 pm

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