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Entries from Expedition Dispatches


Aconcagua: King & Team Make a Carry to Camp 2

The general consensus was that last night -20 degree sleeping bags were more then warm, they were down right hot at times. In a three-person tent filled with enough goose down, it can look like one of those ball pits at a McDonalds… Good luck finding anything your looking for.

We woke with the sun hitting our tents and not even a hint of wind the entire night. The first night at a new altitude can make good sleep difficult and the Team was feeling the effects of this and the move up from Aconcagua Base Camp.

Our task today was to move food, fuel and some summit gear up to Camp 2, located at 18,000’. The trail takes us up to Amegenio Col (saddle) with spectacular views of the Central Andes. Glaciated peaks like El Mano and Mercedario dominate the skyline. The group did well with the carry and even better showcasing their downhill skills.

Rest, water, food and some cards is all that remains of the day. We’ll take a rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike King

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hi Rogan, thinking of you, we are in Clarens till Sunday, no Wifi, fewer messages,sounds like everything in your favour of summits get. Holding thumbs for all of you,love mom

Posted by: Daphne Carew on 1/9/2018 at 4:17 am

Hi Rogan, thinking of you, we are in Clarens till Sunday, no Wifi, fewer messages,sounds like everything in your favour of summits get. Holding thumbs for all of you,love momx

Posted by: Daphne on 1/9/2018 at 4:15 am


Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Move Into the Refugio

Greetings from the Cotopaxi Refugio just shy of 16,000’!  The team awoke this morning extremely well rested at Hacienda Guachala.  “Slept like the dead” and “I fell asleep with my book in my hand” were common conversation points during breakfast.  After getting our fill of fresh fruit for the day we loaded Viktor’s trusty Hyundai bus and began our journey towards Cotopaxi

We took a pit stop at the San Luis Mall to stretch our legs, grab some snacks, and get our last taste of the thick air at 9,000’.  Another hour and a half on the bus brought us to the gates of Cotopaxi National Park.  As always Viktor navigated the steep, rutted roads with ease and we soon found ourselves in the parking lot during the middle of an afternoon snow squall.  As we quickly loaded our bags we enjoyed watching and listening to the joy of locals playing in the drifted snow of the parking lot.  Snow rarely accumulates so low.

A 45-minute walk up switchbacks brought us to the newly remodeled Refugio.  After stowing our gear and pleasantly noting the fleece sheets and pillow cases that each bed was made with we went outside for a short walk to check the route and see if we could catch some views with the lifting clouds.  We were not disappointed and were treated to beautiful views of Cayambe and Antisana bathed in evening light and the mountain shadow of Cotopaxi. Grinning from ear to ear the team returned to the Refugio for some R&R before dinner.  Tomorrow will take us up to ~17,000’ where we hope to get in some ice climbing and continue to sharpen our mountaineering skills.  Thanks for tuning in!

RMI Guide Jordan Cargill

Leave a Comment For the Team

Aconcagua: King & Team Move to Camp 1

The Team decided that they have had enough of the comforts of base camp…roasted lamb, showers, Internet and pit latrines and told the guides they trade it all in for pasta, dusty scree, interpersonal conversation and blue bags. With our lungs and legs feeling stronger after another rest day we cruised up to Camp 1 in under 5 hours and spent the remainder of the day setting up camp and enjoying the view. We can see the first hour and half towards Camp 2 and the red, brown and orange pastel colors of the Central Andes to the East. There is some apprehension in the group about what the coming days and weather will bring. So far everyone is acclimating well and excited to be finally heading up Aconcagua. Thanks for following along, we’ll carry gear and supplies to Camp 2 tomorrow and check in with an update.

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So good to hear your voice, Dave.  Sorry to hear of the BP change you had.  So you are on your way again,  keep trucking!  Enjoyed the post to you all by Rachel Ford,  so fitting.

Posted by: Donna Bernier on 1/7/2018 at 10:21 am

Camp I - The loo with the valley view. Best wishes Mike and team. Godspeed. Waltero, IN

Posted by: Walter Glover on 1/7/2018 at 5:16 am


Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Cayambe

I am happy to announce that our team reached the summit of Cayambe today at 7:45 this morning.  Much like the driving challenges we have faced in the last few days, the mountain played the same game.  With unusually high snow falls lately the mountains have been seeing few ascents.  Cayambe has not seen a successful summit since before the new year.  So we knew our chances were 50 50 at best. 

With an 11 pm wake up call, we hit the snooze only once and soon got motivated to power down instant coffee, white bread with Nutella and some weird cheese I don’t eat if I can help it.  The morning was clear and warm so our psyche was high.  We left the hut at 12:15 am with hopes to make the glacier by 1:30. Walking was smooth and efficient, so we made good time on the first two stretches.  It was around 17,500’ things began to change.  The solid supportable crust layer which had made walking so easy down lower began to turn more into punchy post-holing making climbing extremely taxing.  By 18,000’ we were literally on the fence on whether to go down or not.  The temps were well below freezing and it was clear some storm clouds were building over the mountain. 

With a long discussion between the guides and the mountain gods, we decide to press on.  Pedro, or Peter in English, our Peruvian local guide, who’s legs are like giant pistons, broke trail up the 50 degree headwall landing us on the summit ridge just as the wind started to howl and the snow began to blow.  15 minutes after reaching the summit ridge we stood happily on top. 

The descent was fairly uneventful with the storm clouds offering welcomed shade from the intense sun that can cook your nose in a matter of minutes if you let it. 

By noon we were loading the trucks and making our way down to the warmth and comforts of Hacienda Guachala.  Ecuador’s oldest operating hotel. 

Tonight, we will enjoy a nice meal, get some clothes washed and prepare for our next adventure which begins tomorrow.  Wish us luck as we move to 16,000’ on the flanks of Cotopaxi. 

Buenas Noches….

RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sweet adventure, congrats on summit. Thank God for Pedro Piston pumps! (Loved that description)

Posted by: Patrick on 1/6/2018 at 8:39 am

Amazing! Bravo! I hope Cotopaxi goes well! Great blog update! Thanks!

Posted by: Susan Mulvey on 1/6/2018 at 7:47 am


Aconcagua: King & Team Rest Day at Basecamp

With a portion of our gear safely stowed away at Aconcagua Camp 1, the team took a well-deserved rest day to soak sore feet and massage aching leg muscles. The guides let the climbers sleep in as they prepared a nutritious and delicious egg and bacon breakfast followed by an alpine pizza lunch. Meals designed to replenish lost calories from the taxing carry the day before. Basecamp was buzzing as climbers and guides from other outfits prepared for their own move up to the next camp, at 16,400 feet, despite an unsettling weather forecast. As the RMI crew strapped on their booties for an acclimatization hike, we wished our friends good luck and watched from a safe vantage as they ascended into the low hanging clouds. When the last climber disappeared from view, we were all left to wonder what the weather would look like tomorrow and if Aconcagua would grant us safe passage. What the future holds is uncertain, but this RMI group is in high spirits and ready to get moving.

RMI Guide Nick Scott

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Virg-just finished watching play off game between KC and Titans.  Titans were down 18 points and came back to win 22 to 21.  Very exciting. Hope things are going well.  I am doing well and feel good - Dad also - he even watched some of the football game.  We love you.  Mom & Dad

Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/6/2018 at 5:02 pm

Craig and Caroline, I’m following the blog and your progress daily. You know I still worry but that’s a “mom” thing. Stay hydrated and healthy. Love you both.
It’s wicked cold here, -3°F at night with brisk winds. The high today was 11°F. I’m glad I only have to hike out to the barns 4 times a day to care for the horses, dogs, cats, etc. There is nothing in the world as fun as shoveling frozen horse manure. LOL
We are looking at a warm up in the next few days so that is good. I’ve not been hunting the last couple weekends due to the deep cold. The deer are not moving anyway so why should I freeze, ha ha ha. Take care of each other. Love Mom

Posted by: Sarah Relyea on 1/6/2018 at 3:20 pm


Aconcagua: King & Team Carry to Camp 1

The Team is back down at base camp after a successful carry to Camp 1, located at 16,400’. There is no snow between Plaza Argentina and Camp 1 which means lots of scree. This makes footwork more difficult and the combination of high altitude means the Team ate a lot at dinner and are anticipating a good night’s sleep. We will have a rest day tomorrow before moving up the mountain.

The weather has been good despite some high winds, we are anticipating deteriorating weather over the next 36 hours. The Team is gelling and getting to know each other, lots of laughs and some inside jokes already, so we’re doing just fine. Thanks for following along.

RMI Guide Mike King & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

16,400-that made me want to turn up my oxygen.  Hope everyone is doing well.  Virg we are fine, but as usual having computer problems - so if you don’t hear from me that is why.  Love, Mom

Posted by: Barbara(mom) on 1/5/2018 at 7:16 am

Woohoo, 16400! Warm and dry in Colo., you’re not missing any skiing! Wishing you all continuing success up the mountain!

Posted by: Carol Clark on 1/5/2018 at 6:15 am


Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team arrive at the Cayambe Hut

Yesterday the team started the day with a leisurely breakfast at La Casa Sol followed by a trip to the Otavalo Market to do a little shopping. The market was full of color and everyone was able to find a few souvenirs to bring home. In the afternoon it was time to head to the climber’s hut on Cayambe. The heavy rains down low brought a significant amount of snow to the mountain. So, again we had to rent 4x4 trucks and see how high they could take us. Our packs were loaded heavy, and we were ready for a long hike. One by one our trucks pushed snow out of our path. Thanks to our adventurous drivers, this left is with only abut 20 minutes of hiking to get to the hut. A lot further than most of us thought! By mid-afternoon we were settled into the hut. We spent the rest of our evening relaxing and going over more knots. We had our first restless night’s sleep as we are all getting used to life above 15,000’.

This morning we were treated to an excellent breakfast prepared by our Cayambe Hut staff before starting our training day.  In all the times I have visited this hut, I have never seen so much snow! With crampons on we headed out to the toe of the glacier to refresh our mountaineering skills. The new snow made for great glacier travel and setting anchors.  Everyone did a great job! We are back at the hut now listening to the thunder, lightning, and light rain. It is an 11pm wake up call for us. The summit awaits!

Wish us luck!
RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Glad to hear you are now truly on your way now, good luck to all of you.,Rogan I bet you can’t wait for the snow? It’s boiling at home, Mel and kids having fun at the river. All return from holidays on Monday,  agh, more traffic!
Keep going upwards, it’s the only way to go.
Love , mom

Posted by: Daphne Carew on 1/4/2018 at 10:26 pm

Wishing best of luck to the whole team. We in Boston are getting pounded by snow!  LaLa

Posted by: Karen Norris on 1/4/2018 at 2:42 pm


Aconcagua: Gorum & Team Enjoy Sunshine and Good Food in Mendoza

We have shifted back to city life, and the intent of the blog has shifted as well. Some of the team members have changed their flights and gone home early, and while we miss them dearly, we want nothing more than to make them jealous, because that’s what friends are for.
So Kevin, Casey, and Patty, we’re glad you made it home safely, and we hope you’re enjoying the below zero temperatures in Minnesota and the NE. Because today we sat by the pool, soaked up some sun, and enjoyed a delicious southern summer feast for dinner. Tomorrow I think we might travel around and sample the Mendoza regions fine wines, while enjoying the sun’s warming rays, and a nice cool breeze. We’ll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide JM Gorum

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Venture Their Way to Fuya Fuya

Hello from Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador. 

Today we finally packed our duffels, checked out of our nice hotel and headed for the mountains.  It may sound a bit confusing that we stood in ankle-deep snow yesterday at 15,200 feet but weren’t actually “in the mountains”.  Strangely enough, yesterday’s mountain took ten minutes by taxi to get to followed by two hours of hiking.  Not exactly the adventure one thinks of when breaking the 15,000-foot barrier. 
Today was a different story.  By 8:00am, we were packed and ready to load all 22 duffel bags into Victor’s magic bus, point that thing north and drive for three hours toward a large concentration of volcanoes which includes the 19,000-foot Cayambe, famous for being the only location on the actual equator to hold year-round snow.  Things started smoothly, picking our way slowly through heavy Quito morning traffic.  By 11am we had reached our turn off in the renowned market town of Otavalo.  From the main road our plan was to turn off and head up a large extinct volcano to a beautiful crater lake and then hike 2,000’ to the sharp summit of Fuya Fuya.
Two miles up the road we ran head on into a sign that read Detour!  We quickly asked another driver what the road was like and he responded by saying no big buses could make it to the lake.  With some quick phone calls, a bit of luck and some willing participants, we hired two 4x4 trucks, loaded them full of 12 climbers and powered upward.  Thirty minutes later we arrived at Laguna Mojando.  From the lake, two hours of strenuous hiking brought us to our first Ecuadorian summit.  We had light rain and distant thunder but overall very pleasant hiking conditions. 
The team did great sticking together reaching the summit in very good style.  Although this summit was only 14,000’, we still felt the strain and know it will play an important role in preparation for our bigger objective starting tomorrow.
After the hike our trucks returned and carted us back to town where Victor and all of our things were waiting. 
Once regrouped, we drove directly to the “House of Sun” or Casa Sol, where we enjoyed learning knots by the fire and had a fabulous traditional Ecuadorian dinner. 
Reports keep coming in from the higher mountains of deep snow and abnormally bad road conditions.  We have plans around these challenges but it should keep things interesting.  Stay tuned for what’s to come…...
Everyone sends their best to loved ones back home.

Buenas Noches,
RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Leave a Comment For the Team

Aconcagua: King & Team arrive at Base Camp

We were up before the sun having breakfast by headlamp and quickly packed up camp to catch our mule ride across the Relinchos River. Shortly after 7am, we were making our way up the narrow Relinchos Valley on our way to thinner air. After two days of gentle terrain in the Vacas Valley, it felt good to head uphill and gain some elevation. We enjoyed another pleasant, sunny day with a light breeze that stayed with us all the way to Basecamp, and we had another brief Guanaco sighting. We are now all settled at Aconcagua Basecamp and getting ready to switch gears for the days to come. Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to seeing what the upper mountain has in store for us.

RMI Guide Mike King

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Great job Virgil glad you’re having the weather with you hope it stays

Posted by: Len Currier on 1/4/2018 at 4:19 pm

Great job Virgil glad you’re having the weather with you hope it stays

Posted by: Len Currier on 1/4/2018 at 4:18 pm

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