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Entries from Expedition Dispatches


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Finish Climb and Return to Arusha

Jambo everyone!

Yesterday we had a wonderful albeit long day climbing to the top of Africa.
We started shortly after midnight beneath a sky full of stars and climbed for a few hours before the moon came out to help light our way. As per usual we climbed in hour increments with 10-15 breaks in between. The weather was very calm allowing us to take our time and not feel too cold which we are thankful for. The climb took about 7 1/2 hrs to reach the crater rim, where we were greeted with a moderate cold wind, but also the warmth of the sun to keep it tolerable. Then came our final stretch over to the top of Kilimanjaro also called Uhuru peak. Once there, we had the place mostly to ourselves and we hugged each other, enjoyed the view and took plenty of pictures.
It was a true test of endurance for most of the crew, and I’m really proud of everyone. We descended back to high camp, had a quick lunch, repacked and continued further down the mountain to our final camp on the mountain, where we had dinner and then headed to bed for some well deserved sleep.
Today we woke at 7am feeling good, had breakfast, then enjoyed a goodbye song and dance from our gracious crew of posters, cooks, and local guides numbering 46. We finished the little celebration by handing out their well deserved tips and then hit the trail one last time.
It took a little over three hours to reach the park gate where the team had lunch then hopped aboard our awaiting bus for the ride back to the lodge.
Finally we are all safe and sound, and a little less odorous, after an amazing seven day journey up and down Kilimanjaro.
The team is currently relaxing and looking forward to Safari which starts tomorrow!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy Kilimanjaro crew


Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Secure Permits and Get Ready for Trail

January 16, 2017

Assuming there won’t be a satellite signal this evening (Pampa de Leñas is in a tight valley) I’m writing to let everyone know we enjoyed our last night and morning in civilization. We are hitting the trail without a hitch this morning and are looking forward to a safe and successful expedition… we’ll check in again from Casa de Piedra in a couple days!

Ciao!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent


January 15, 2017
Whew… a hectic day today. An early rise helped us get ahead of the curve on a slightly convoluted permit process that we couldn´t have navigated so efficiently without the assistance of our friend Nico and outfitter at Grajales Expeditions. We spent the rest of the morning tying up loose ends, checked out of the hotel, and loaded up into the van for our transfer out to Penitentes. The four hour drive went by quickly and we were treated to amazing views of the Andes along the way. We unloaded at the Grajales packing facility and checked in to our hotel for what will be our last night in a real bed for quite a while. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent getting our personal and group loads ready for the mule team that will carry all of our heavy gear into Aconcagua Basecamp. We´re excited to leave the tedious details of packing behind and hit the trail tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed for good weather on the trail and a smooth trek into Basecamp…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent


Ecuador Seminar: Recap of Chimborazo Climb and Trip Finale

Hola from Banos Ecuador.

I am sorry to announce we did not summit Chimborazo today.  Here’s why.
This morning the team woke up at high camp and we couldn’t tell if we were in Ecuador or Alaska.  As I mentioned in the previous dispatch, the snow level on this mountain is as low as Ive ever seen it.  Normally the precipitation falls during the later hours in the day as the clouds build.  By midnight those clouds usually dissipate leaving clear skies and good climbing conditions. 
Of course this didn’t happen the day we attempted to climb.  When I got out to the tent at 11:30pm, we could barley see our neighbors, let alone the mountain.  Light snow was falling and the wind didn’t seem overly oppressive but the clouds were as thick as pea soup and air was cold.  By the time we geared up and put in a solid hour of climbing, the skies actually began to clear enough to see what lay ahead.  Everyone was climbing really strong and the conditions, despite the new snow were the best I’ve seen that high up. 
By the time we reached 18,900 feet, the mountain had had enough of playing Mr. Nice Guy.  The clouds built, the wind began to blow a solid 25 and the snow began to fall quite hard.  With all of these things happening at once, the safety margin in which we felt comfortable climbing in disappeared.  The avalanche hazard became to high and the only reasonable option was to turn around. 
This was a hard blow to the team but everyone handled it well.  Chimborazo dealt us a hand we couldn’t beat.  So goes the tough game of mountain climbing.  You win some and you lose some.  Fortunately, even the loses create experiences, memories and adventures we won’t soon forget. 
So after the climb, the team descended to the hut, packed up all our gear and headed down to a jungle town called Banos, translated, meaning baths.  There are many naturally heated hot springs here as well as good restaurants and pubs.  We even found one that serves IPA and Stout.  A well deserved treat after two hard weeks of climbing.  Add on top of the beer a good beat down by a local group of teenagers on the basketball court next to the hotel and I would say our day ended better than it began. 
Now we return to Quito for our farewell dinner and travels home.  We hope you’ve enjoyed following along. 
Thanks for the support. 

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt and team saying adios and muchas gracias.


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Move to Camp 1

Well, we’re on the mountain now! After a farewell breakfast with Mike King and company, our team loaded up packs with tents, sleeping bags, and high mountain essentials, and retraced our steps back up to Camp 1. Knowing the route, and averaging lighter packs than our carry day, everyone on the team made it up to 16,500 feet in fine form. We picked a campsite more or less in the middle of the sweeping moraine of camp 1, with fine views down the valley and up higher to Ameghino Col. Tents are set up, bellies are full of Mac and Cheese, and we’re getting ready to hit the hay on our first night above basecamp.

Love from the hill!

RMI Guides Mark Tucker and Pepper


Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Gather in Mendoza

Hola de Mendoza!

Here´s the first installation of what will hopefully be daily updates on the progress of our Aconcagua expedition. Despite a few hiccups in transit all of our crew has arrived along with all of our bags, which is a bit of a miracle considering the number of travelers and the number of connections that all of those bags and travelers needed to make. Everybody is settling in nicely here in Mendoza and enjoying the hot and sunny weather. We had a meet and greet this afternoon in the hotel where the team members got acquainted and where we were also able to give a brief orientation to the program. A gear check and a few errands brought us into our first team dinner where the team got to enjoy their first taste of the famous Argentine beef. The gang is a bit travel-weary and we have a busy day tomorrow so that´ll be all for tonight. We´ll check in again tomorrow evening after the dust settles from what will surely be a busy day getting out of the city and readying to hit the trail.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Hannah, Billy and Team:

Good luck and climb high. Wish we were with you, perhaps next year. 


Your fans,

Tom and Farmer Dave, August 23 Rainier Summit Team.

Posted by: Tom Salata on 1/15/2017 at 2:07 pm


Aconcagua: King & Team Begin the Trek Out

The team arrived to Base Camp early afternoon and in the commotion of celebrating, showers and packing for the mules we forgot to check in. We are heading for Pampa Las Lenas in a few minutes. The walk will retrace our first two days of the Trek and will culminate with an asado dinner and another beautiful night sleeping under the stars. The team is eager to get back to town and looking forward to lighter backpacks. This dispatch will conclude our expedition. We had amazing weather and a great group of climbers! Thanks for following along. 

RMI Guides Mike King and JM Gorum

Kudos to all!! Continued safe travels.

Posted by: Betty (Art's sister) on 1/16/2017 at 5:08 am

I’m looking forward to seeing my husband via chat once you guys get back to town!  Be careful and enjoy your last days on Mt. Aconcagua!

Posted by: Lena Davis on 1/15/2017 at 11:00 pm


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Summit!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and his entire team reached the top of Kilimanjaro this morning!  It was a long day and the team is safely back at camp.  They will be heading lower on the mountain soon.  We look forward to hearing from the team tomorrow.

Congratulations team!

On The Map

Congratulations team!!! Ryan McLean, your team is super proud of you!

Posted by: Ashley Carson on 1/16/2017 at 9:17 am

Congratulations to the entire team! - especially Elaine, the most backwards-pantsed goofball that the mountain has ever seen!

Posted by: Alfred Cub on 1/15/2017 at 9:19 pm


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Ready to Move Uphill

Today our team enjoyed a luxurious day of rest at Aconcagua Base Camp. We breakfasted on deconstructed omelettes, and did a whole lot of relaxing for most of the day. Highlights included the occasional shower, and getting to catch up with Mike King, JM Gorum, and their RMI team as they descended to base camp following their successful summit bid. Our team is well rested, and though we will miss the pleasantries of Base Camp, we are unanimously excited to move uphill.

More tomorrow!

RMI Guides Mark Tucker and Pepper Dee

Good Luck - Alex to u and the entire team!!! Have Fun and take it all in….

Climb safe!!!

Posted by: Jeff Hall on 1/15/2017 at 3:14 am


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Arrive at High Camp

Well we’ve finally arrived at Kilimanjaro’s High Camp!

It was a very short jump from Karanga camp up to Barafu camp, which is our launching point for the summit. The team did great and we arrived in just over three hours and shortly before some light snow started falling. I won’t mention any names, but one climber from Canada accidentally put their pants on backwards, which brought a little laughter this morning.
Everyone is currently relaxing or getting packed up for tonight’s climb to the highest point on the African continent.
This evening we’ll have a summit talk where we discuss the teams strategy for tomorrow and then it will be off to bed right after dinner to get a little sleep before starting to climb around midnight.

The team is celebrating John Ready’s 30th birthday today. Hopefully it’s one he’ll always remember!

Keep your fingers crossed for us, and there’s a chance, weather permitting, some of you back home might receive a satellite phone call from the summit. So keep your phones handy. My best guess is we’ll be on the summit around 8 am our time.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Kilimanjaro crew!

On The Map

Congratulations on conquering the summit!!! Where are you now? News, group, we need an update on Catherine, Deborah and Kaki!!! Downhill is difficult, too, I understand. News please!

Posted by: Sharon Hostler on 1/15/2017 at 8:09 am

All the Best on your summit push to reach the top of Africa.
Have been watch your progress every day. Really cool. Right behind you on the next climb.

Posted by: Kim Gibson on 1/15/2017 at 6:16 am


Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Reach Chimborazo Hut

This morning was the best we have had in almost a week.  No one set an alarm, our ride to the next mountain didn’t arrive at the hacienda until ten and there was no set schedule for breakfast which always feels stress free.  Rumor has it that the beautiful, old Spanish style hacienda is haunted with the ghost of an old woman who’s lover died there over 150 years ago but she must have thought our group smelled too bad leaving us alone.  So by the time we left this morning, we felt rested, clean and ready to head off to the highest mountain in Ecuador. 
Rising to 20,700+ feet above sea level, this mountain is renowned as both the furthest point from the center of the earth as well as the closest point to the sun.  This may be coincidence but it is also considered the hardest peak to climb as well. Our strategy is to break the climb up putting in a High Camp at 17,500 feet which we will be climbing to tomorrow.  This makes our summit day much shorter than those climbing from below. 
Here on Chimborazo there are two Refugios where climbers can stay.  We are at the newly refurbished one sitting close to 15,000 feet.  I have been here three times in the past and have never seen snow this low but today our bus barely made it here because of two inches of slush and fifty aimless teenagers trying to hitch hike up because their tour bus got stuck a mile down the the road. 
Staying here should help us acclimate and prepare even more for our big climb to come.  The sour taste of turning around so close to the summit of Antisana has us eager for another shot at a major peak.  We are looking forward to another long night’s rest which should feel better than our first night at this altitude on Cayambe.  We will report form high camp tomorrow. 

Chow Chow for now from Chimborazo.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff

11/14 9:50pm EST, thinking about Jimmy and the other team members. Best wishes

Posted by: Tom Garner on 1/14/2017 at 6:51 pm

Kudos to Jim Nixon and the team.  Stay safe.

Posted by: Mary Jane stiled on 1/14/2017 at 10:46 am

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