Posts for Expedition Dispatches

Mexico: Solveig Waterfall & Team Acclimate on La Malinche

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Chase Nelson | February 16, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 12,000'

We awoke in Mexico City this morning to clearing skies, warmer temperatures, and relatively quiet streets. Leaving town early on the Sunday morning of a holiday weekend has its benefits! 

The team enjoyed a delicious traditional Mexican style breakfast provided by the hotel, and after efficiently transferring our mountain of luggage into the vehicle to go to the actual mountain, we stole a few extra moments prior to loading our bus to make a final run to the closest Starbucks. This last minute luxury is one which instantly triggers my Seattleite soul into an irrepressible mental fist-bump!

We sailed through the streets of District Federal with ease, making quick work of our exit from the metropolitan area.  We had discussed the need to “roll with the punches”, so to speak, at our evening meeting, as the logistics of traveling in this part of the world can sometimes be an exercise in patience.  Soon after we left the city center behind we were met with our first mental challenge of the trip!

Our driver pulled off the highway, jumped out of the bus, and made a break for the nearest field and distant buildings in what at first appeared to be either a desperate trip to get to the restroom, or an oddly-timed opportunity to get in a quick jog…either way we all followed suit and hopped off to snap a few quick selfies and capture the views of Ixta and Popo.

To our delight, our driver returned, with tools and additional man-power, and we soon discovered we were not being abandoned, but rather beginning the process of repairing a punctured tire.

After an hour of relaxing roadside, we re-boarded and continued toward La Malinche, eagerly anticipating stretching our legs on the slopes of the long-extinct volcano.  Once we arrived here at the La Malitzi Resort, we quickly moved into our Cabanas, organized our day packs, hit the trail, and hiked at a casual pace ascending to our high point of just over 12,000ft.

Back at the resort just before dark, we are enjoying a beautiful sunset here at 10,000ft, awaiting our dinner reservation and a hot shower to wash off the trail dust.

Tomorrow we head to Ixta to continue the acclimatization process and prepare for our first summit bid in a few days!

Buenos Noches!
RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the Team

Tire shop luckily on the way to La Malinche. Photo: Solveig Waterfall Ixtaccihuatl view on the way to La Malinche. Photo: Solveig Waterfall The Mexico team before La Malinche acclimating hike. Photo: Solveig Waterfall

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

The Ecuador Seminar team, led by Casey Grom and Ben Liken reached the Cotopaxi summit this morning!  Check out the photos Casey sent us this morning from their summit bid.

Congratulations team!

The Ecuador Seminar team ascending Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom February 15, 2015 - Ecuador Seminar team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom

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Mexico: Solveig Waterfall & Team Arrrive in Mexico City

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Chase Nelson | February 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

Hi Everyone!

Chase and I have been in Mexico City since last night and spent this afternoon grocery shopping and sorting equipment in preparation for the start of our program.  Climbers arrived throughout the afternoon and evening, and by 9:00 PM we were a complete team around the dinner table at the Holiday Inn here in the Zona Rosa.

We spent the evening discussing logistics, gear, and getting ourselves prepared to hit the trail, starting with our first acclimatization hike tomorrow. We are all excited to leave the sounds of the city behind and get into the mountains! Our first objective will be an afternoon stroll on the flanks of La Malinche.

Thanks for following along and we’ll check in again tomorrow evening!

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall

Overlooking the Zocalo of Mexico City from RMI's hotel. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team at Hacienda Tambopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone,

We spent the day relaxing here at Hacienda Tambopaxi that sits just at the base of the beautiful volcano Cotopaxi. It’s one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and we’ve been told that Cotopaxi is a pre-inca name meaning “neck of the moon”. The area surrounding the volcano is mostly high plateau grasslands and is home to a thousands of wild horses, which we could easily see just outside of the hacienda.

The team is doing great and everyone is well rested and excited for our last big climb. We’ll be waking up at 10pm and hopefully hitting the road shortly after breakfast and if all goes well, standing at 19,347ft above sea level right after sunrise.

We will check in tomorrow when we are safely back down.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Seminar team hiking in the grasslands to Tambopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom Team dinner at Hacienda Tambopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team’s Rest Day Near Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Greetings from Tambopaxi Lodge,

Today we took a full day to rest our weary legs and heal our slightly sun burnt faces.  After a breakfast with a view of Cotopaxi a few of team members went horseback riding while the rest of us drank coffee and swapped stories from our Antisana climb.  The riders got all dressed up in Ecuadorean ponchos, cowboy hats, and alpaca chaps.  We then wasted no time getting to our next activity…... A four course lunch.  We did manage to get in some training in during the afternoon but were easily distracted by views of the mountain and galloping wild horses. 

We look forward to a good night of sleep because tomorrow there will be no such luxury.  Tomorrow we will be up and at ‘em around 10 pm to ascend our final peak, Cotopaxi.

Everyone hear wishes their special someone at home a very happy Valentine’s Day!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and Amigos

The team dressed in the new Ecuadorian ponchos. Photo: Ben Liken

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Aconcagua: King & Team Back to Base Camp

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We are currently back in Plaza Argentina enjoying some well deserved pizza and ice cold beverages. The team cruised down hill this morning, picking up gear and waste, leaving Aconcagua in better shape then we found it.  When your descent takes only 4.5 hours compared to the 9 days it took on the ascent, you have to just shake your head a little.

The team is all smiles, waiting on shower water to heat up, enjoying time out of their boots and laughing.

This will be our last dispatch of the climb. We will walk to LeƱas on Saturday for an amazing Argentine BBQ (that’s slow cooked beef for you non-southerners).  Sunday will see us with a short hike to the road and back in Mendoza.

Thanks for checking in on us during the climb.

RMI Guides Mike King and Steve Gately

Sunset over the Andes from High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Garrett Stevens A group of guanacos forages near the mouth of the Relinchos River on the descent to Las Lenas. Photo: Mike King The Andes Mountains from the flight into Argentina. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Summit Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,891'

Congratulations to our team of climbers on their climb today!

It wasn’t easy, in fact far from it.
We started the day with a 10:30 pm wake up call that no one ever enjoys, but everyone made it to breakfast relatively quickly and seemed excited as the weather looked to be in our favor. We then hoped into our 4 wheeled vehicles and drove about 20 minutes to the start of the climb. The weather continued to improve as we made our way to the the start of the glacier where we put on our crampons and roped up for the rest of the climb. The initial part of the glacier was mostly bare ice which made for rather easy climbing and slowly increased in angle and crevasses. Everyone did a great job of taking care of themselves and stayed calm even though the terrain was challenging.

After several hours of climbing we reached the final headwall that looked to be too much, but with perseverance the team surmounted the last steep slope and made our way to the top of Antisana. All in all it took 9 hard hours to reach the summit where we enjoyed the views and took a few photos. The descent was no easy task either having to reverse the climb, but we all made it back safely in a couple of hours.

Everyone is in good spirits and maybe just a little tired ;)

Special thanks to Sally for the wonderful Sahale mixed nuts that were sent along, we enjoyed them!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy albeit tired crew

Climbing Antisana, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom RMI Team Climbing on Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom Team on the Summit of Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom

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Aconcagua: King & Team SUMMIT!

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

February 12, 2015 - 11:56 am PT
Update:
      The team is all safely back at Camp III after a successful summit day! Warm temps and literally zero wind made it one for the record books!

RMI Guide Steve Gately

9:20 am PT

Hi, this is Mike King with RMI Aconcagua Team 7 stand on the top of South America! We had a challenging day with extremely cold weather, and wind in the morning.  We had a lot of new snow and scree on the way up on the upper mountain. The team did great.  We’re gonna be heading back down in about 20 minutes. A beautiful day,  I don’t have ever seen a more beautiful day on the top of Aconcagua. We will call or send a posting when we get back to high camp.  Thanks for joining us!

RMI Guide Mike King

The Cannelletta on Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection Below the Aconcagua summit looking down into the Canaleta after a recent snowstorm. Photo: Mike King


Mike King Calling from the Summit of Aconcagua February 12, 2015

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Ready for Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,400'

Hello everyone,

Tonight we are heading for the summit of Antisana!  We arrived this morning to our camp and did a bunch more technical training.  The site is like something out of the Lord of the Rings, with tall grasses, roaming horses, and thatch-roof structures all lit by the glaciers of Antisana.

Wish us luck as you head to bed because we will be waking up at that time to go climbing.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the team

Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Aconcagua: King & Team in Position for Summit Bid

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

We finally got around to packing up camp and climbing up to 19,600 feet, our High Camp for the expedition.  Extremely cold and calm morning with a new blanket of snow on the surrounding Andean peaks made for a scenic day.

High Camp is never anyone’s favorite camp for a few reasons:
1. Sleeping at 19,600 feet can be difficult.
2. There are no ‘great’ tent sites due to how the wind swirls around.
3. Lack of snow makes drinking water a time consuming process.

Good thing we are making our summit bid tomorrow and will be back in Base Camp telling stories before to long.

Wish us luck!  We will check in hopefully from the summit on Thursday afternoon.

RMI Guide Mike King

An RMI Team climbing to High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Pete Van Deventer RMI's High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection

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