Entries from Expedition Dispatches
January 21, 2018
The Team is all assembled with bags in tow here in Mendoza. We broke the ice with a meeting that was followed by gear check and permit registration. Since we are here to attempt Aconcagua the team opted for dinner and an early night to get caught up on sleep from the two days travel instead of a night out on the town. Tomorrow we will head to Los Penitentes to pack for mules and the trek into base camp. We have a great group with a varied collection of personalities, experiences and mountains under their belts. Thanks for following along.
Have a great climb. You all must have a lot of energy after that great steak. Wish I could have a bite.
Posted by: Hikari on 1/21/2018 at 8:33 pm
January 21, 2018
Greetings from 16,000’! The team loaded the bus from Chilcabamba this morning at 10:30 after a leisurely breakfast. After being obscured for most of our stay at Chilcabamba, Cotopaxi made a guest appearance from
amongst the clouds as we rambled down the rough roads to the park entrance. The brief view of “the Crown Jewel of Ecuador” and the full days rest reinvigorated the team and the psyche was high as we pulled into the parking lot and prepped for the 45-minute hike up to the Refugio. We were greeted with strong winds on the hike and were very excited to reach the shelter of the hut and some hot drinks. The afternoon was spent resting and after an early and delicious trout dinner we are off to bed. The winds continue to howl as we settle into our sleeping bags and we are hoping for a respite when we wake in five hours for the climb. Stay tuned!
RMI Guide Jordan Cargill signing off.
January 21, 2018
After a getting an inclement weather forecast last night our team was excited to awaken to blue skies which held for most of the day. Feeling strong, we took advantage of the clear morning and started up towards Aconcagua Camp 2. With our packs filled we climbed up to our future camp at 18,000 feet in a little over four hours! Congratulations were shared throughout the team, Whynde and Brittni had reached a new height. After stashing food and gear we boot skied back down the loose rock to Camp 1 in no time.
January 21, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 8:45 pm PT
Checking in here from day one of our Mexican adventure! The mood was very well set as the group met and shared introductions interluded by frequent laughter under the majestic arches of our hotel in the vibrant Zona Rosa of Mexico City. What an interesting group with lots in common in addition to our passion for mountains. After our fun round of intros and a quick overview of our itinerary, we had our first sample of the country’s cuisine over mostly traditional dinner dishes before hitting the hay early. We hope to be rested in order to be ready for our day of travel and first acclimatization hike tomorrow up on the slopes of the much colder and higher La Malinche.
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January 20, 2018
Hello to those following our Ecuador climbing adventure.
I will begin by saying we did not summit Cayambe yesterday because of difficult route conditions. The morning started as most climb mornings do. An eleven pm wake up call, a bathroom visit the body doesn’t ask for, hot liquid, cold bread and and the ever present feeling of “why the heck am I doing this?”
The weather outside was clear and the temps warm. As we ascended the clouds rolled in giving us light snow and a wet mist.
As we got higher the temps dropped and the snow became more difficult to walk in. The wind was blowing 10 mph and a light snow was falling. With only 400 feet to climb before gaining the summit ridge we turned around because of deep post holing and deteriorating weather.
The team was disappointed but understood the reason.
After the climb we regrouped, packed up and loaded the trucks ready to bounce our way back to civilization. The road to and from the Cayambe Refugio is the roughest I’ve ever been on. Usually a great way to start and end the adventure of climbing the highest point on the Equator.
Once the adventure ended we met our bus at a gas station where we loaded up on post climb necessities such as Pringles, coke and ice cream. This held us over until dinner.
Five hours after leaving the mountain we arrived at our hacienda called, Chilcabamba, tucked quietly away in the beautiful countryside under the shadow of Cotopaxi.
After a well deserved shower, beer and honest night’s sleep, we awoke to appreciate this lodge’s full beauty. Although we couldn’t see the mountain, the surroundings offered enough to observe. Hummingbirds floated outside the windows and flowered trees waived in the wind.
The rest of today will be spent resting, drying gear and preparing for the climb to come. There is nothing better than a full day’s rest after an exhausting day in the mountains.
Stay tuned for more mountain climbing.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff saying Buenas noches from Chilcabamba.
Praying the weather gods give you a second summit as beautiful as you had before!
Posted by: Jane on 1/21/2018 at 5:38 am
January 20, 2018
Good afternoon everyone!
The team woke today to a fresh dusting of snow. It looked as if the heavens above had sprinkled powder sugar on all the peaks. We packed up all our belonging and hit the trail to our new home, Camp One at 16,200 feet. After walking a handful of hours in an environment that looked like Mars we arrived at camp in some snow flurries. In no time our tents were up and we were enjoying some well deserved relaxation. The snow continues to lightly come down as we get ready for dinner. The team is doing fantastic and is climbing strong. We hope to carry to Camp Two tomorrow. Till then, enjoy your day everyone!
RMI Guides Hannah Smith, Avery Parrinello, and Mark Tucker
On The Map
To all you hardy souls…sounds like the trek to Camp 1 must have been quite extraordinary. Hoping you’re all enjoying every moment. Have a great day!!! To my girl..Mly 1T
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/21/2018 at 7:53 am
Do well team…6 years ago yesterday summit day with Pete-Gabby-Gilbert.
“Powdered sugar” really :) !
Posted by: Walter Glover on 1/21/2018 at 7:14 am
January 19, 2018
Our rest day at Aconcagua Base Camp was just that. We slept late and then enjoyed some awesome omelets. We spent some time organizing our gear that will go up with the move to Camp 1. We may have taken some naps with the beautiful weather warming our tents. Lunch included some fresh potato salad and coleslaw not too bad for 13,800’ feet, right?. The group discussed the itinerary and expectations over the next few days. And we even enjoyed a few card games in the big tent. Things are looking good for a move up hill tomorrow, weather permitting. Our team is in good spirits and excited about our next steps.
On The Map
Happy Saturday to all!!! Sounds like you have a “BIG” day ahead of you.
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/20/2018 at 8:55 am
Things continued to be exciting here on our final day in Africa. We started the day early with hopes of seeing a few more animals but the constant rain has most of them running for cover. We did manage to see a few more Lions, elephants, and giraffes, but those smaller cats never showed themselves.
Most of the roads were either a muddy mess or completely covered in water. It made for quite the exciting ride especially after finding our main route impassable due to a bridge being flooded. Thankfully our safari driver knew of another safe way out.
It’s been a memorable experience for everyone and it’s going to be sad to part ways with such a great bunch of folks. But now it’s time to head home and share the stories.
That’s all for this trip.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Kili/Safari crew
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January 18, 2018
Hola from 15,000 feet on the southern flanks of Cayambe.
I would first like to apologize to anyone who was expecting a blog post yesterday. We had technical difficulties which we discovered too late in the evening, so today’s post will include yesterday and today.
I will begin at breakfast yesterday. Casa Sol, our beautiful hacienda high on the the hill overlooking the busy market town of Otavalo, treated all of us very well getting us energized to hit streets for our big shopping extravaganza.
After packing the bus we rolled into town ready to negotiate and spend. The textiles and indigenous goods made for great photos as well as gifts. A few of the guys couldn’t pass up the sexy alpaca sweaters for themselves so I’m anticipating a strong fashion outing when we get back to Quito.
After shopping we drove back south to the actual town of Cayambe where we transferred bags from the bus to the trucks and started up toward the Refugio.
If roads got as bad as these in the states, they would be considered more mountain bike tracks than 4x4 roads.
Nevertheless, our trucks got us all the way to the front door. The temps up here are cool and the mountain weather sporadic at best but we still managed a good hour hike up hill to scope the route and stretch the legs. We topped out at 15,700’ giving a number of climbers a personal high point which likely won’t last long.
After getting settled we had a nice dinner from the full service kitchen then learned the classic Midwest game of Uker from one of the three Iowans in the group. The sun down here rises at six and sets at six so by 8:30 the entire team was ready for bed.
Upon waking the next morning we knew something was different. Even with no beer on the mountain, everyone felt a bit hungover. A product of our first night’s sleep at a new altitude. We warded off the headaches with some active breathing, scrambled eggs and good old fashioned Excedrin.
After breakfast we retraced our steps going a bit higher to the toe of the Hermoso Glacier, starting at 16,000 feet. From here we reviewed the skills needed to climb the mountain safely. The weather continued its moodiness, first snowing, then scorching, then blowing, then back to snowing. It couldn’t make up its mind so by 12:00 we decided to head it down. Now, after a great lunch, some more hot cocoa and a quick debrief, it’s time for a nap. Dinner is at five and our wake up call is at 11 pm. We are all psyched to try our hand at Ecuador’s third highest peak starting tonight.
Stay tuned for a summit post tomorrow.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff saying buenas Noches for now
Appreciate the updates. Hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe and Happy Trails to everybody !!!
Posted by: Sue Romanick-Schmiedl on 1/19/2018 at 6:25 pm
Euchre is the best!!
What a cool adventure, we need some Alpaca Fashion posed photos for sure!
Posted by: Ashley on 1/19/2018 at 7:04 am
After a bit of four-wheeling and stellar driving we made our way to Tarangire National Park, which is known for its abundant elephants, in fact, it has more per square mile than any place on earth. However, with all of the rain Tanzania has been receiving lately, there weren’t nearly as many gathered around the river that flows through Tarangire, but we still saw a few. Some as close as a few feet away.
There were plenty of other animals as usual, and we got really close to a few big and young giraffes, which was amazing. We ended our day at a remote and off-grid camp called Tarangire Balloon Camp. It’s a tented camp that lies inside the park with medium-size, screened-in rooms that allow the night sounds of Africa in.
Tomorrow we’ll have an early departure to increase our chances of seeing cheetahs and leopards, as they have still eluded us.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew!