Entries from Expedition Dispatches
Hello from 17,500’ above sea level! We moved to our High Camp on Chimborazo today, getting ready for our last summit attempt of our trip. At 20,800’, this peak promises to challenge us and we’re taking the rest of the afternoon to rest and prepare. We’ll be hitting the sack early tonight and getting up early. Wish us luck! The weather is looking promising at the moment, so the team is optimistic. We’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.
RMI Guide Nick Hunt and the rest of the Ecuador team!
February 3, 2017
After a late dinner last night the team enjoyed a good nights rest at our hotel, La Cienega. Our agenda for today was quite simple, gorge ourselves on burrito’s and drive to our climbing hut on Chimborazo.
After a simple breakfast of sliced fruit and eggs we hit the road at 10:30AM. We made a short stop at a grocery store to buy water and last minute items before heading to El Rey del Burrito and the biggest challenge of our day, surviving lunch. The small restaurant, located in the bustling city of Ambato is home to the infamous 50cm burrito. That is nearly two feet of tortilla, meat and cheese! Fortunate for us, Jason, was willing and turns out quite up to the challenge, finishing the burrito as if were an afternoon snack! The rest of us were content with spectating. With full bellies we loaded back onto our trusty tour bus and our driver Victor speed off to Chimborazo.
We are all now safely nestled in at 15,000’ on the side of the tallest peak in Ecuador. We will get another well needed full nights rest before moving to our high camp tomorrow in preparation for our summit attempt. From everybody on the team, thanks for following along!
Hello everyone -
We spent yesterday touring Tarangire National Park which is known for its abundant elephants, in fact, it normally 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. They have had the luxury of having many watering holes to chose from. There were plenty of other animals as usual, and we got really close to a few big Giraffe, which was amazing. We end our day at a remote and off grid camp called Kikoti. It’s a tented camp that boarders the park with elevated structures that are screened in and allow the night sounds of Africa in.
After yesterday we decided to make an early departure today to increase our chances of seeing Cheetahs and Leopards, they still eluded us.
It’s been a memorable experience for everyone and great friendships forged. But finally it’s time to return home to our families.
Missing all of our family and most of our friends -
RMI Guide Casey Grom
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February 2, 2017
Another great day in the mountains and another summit! Today the Ecuador Skills Seminar team stood on top of Antisana, the second large objective for this trip.
Although the weather was windy and wet when we woke up this morning, we waited it out and were able to leave in decent conditions. The climbing on Antisana is quite a bit more technical than our previous peak of Cayambe, but all the training over the last few days paid off. Everyone was able to tackle the route finding, steep climbing, and exposure in good style.
We did end up climbing in to a cap on the summit, however, and everyone was covered in rime ice by the time we reached the top. Most folks had all their layers on to combat the chilly wind, but it was still fun for everyone!
Twelve hours after leaving camp we returned, and immediately got around to packing up our things and tearing down all of the tents. We traveled to a beautiful hacienda for the evening and are all looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.
Sorry for the short post, but even the guides get tired on long climbs like today!
We’ll be moving to Chimborazo Base Camp tomorrow to prepare for our third and final peak of the trip.
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Steve Gately and the rest of the Ecuador team!
February 2, 2017
Our team has made it one step closer to Aconcagua by moving further up the Vacas valley to Casa de Piedra, our second camp. The awesome views continued but we did encounter our first dose of wind. By the fourth stretch we were pressing into a 25-30 mph headwind! Just before camp we got a view of our objective, it was covered in clouds from 18,000’ up but still impressive. Tonight we will have another grill out, before we head to base camp tomorrow. The team is doing excellent!
On The Map
Dr Folsom. The surgery team is keeping track of your progress. Stay safe and have a great trip!
Posted by: Ed Sutton on 2/2/2017 at 8:45 pm
February 1, 2017
Hey there followers,
Our entire team has made it to our first camp at 9500 ft here in Argentina. After a sturdy breakfast and some quick repacking we were off on a five-hour walk to the Andean high country. Between the steep rock walls on each side of the valley we saw lizards, the raging Vacas River, and a bunch of mules carrying our gear. When we got to camp we settled in and enjoyed a traditional Argentinian asado of steak, chicken, potatoes, and peppers. Now we are headed to bed under the southern sky excited to do it again tomorrow.
February 1, 2017
Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos
Greetings from Chileno Hut. Uneventful 10-mile day we had… just astonishing views left and right as we contoured the Paine Horns into the Ascencio Valley, which will eventually take us to the base of the Towers. Our goal is to see the sunrise, so we’re heading to bed early.
We’ll check-in from Puerto Natales tomorrow!
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Wow!!!! The pictures are amazing! What a fabulous trip! Cannot wait to hear all about it!!! Lots of love! Have a safe journey home!
Posted by: Erle Broughton on 2/3/2017 at 9:41 am
The photos in these posts are fantastic! How are you getting these amazing shots? Are you using some sort of filter that makes them look like artwork?
Aspiring photographer here
Posted by: Tiina Moore on 2/2/2017 at 7:02 am
February 1, 2017
Training day on Antisana. After a good dinner last night and plenty of rest, the team was up and in good spirits this morning. After a relaxing breakfast with coffee, hot cereal, and chill out music, we geared up and headed uphill to the training site for the day.
The lower flanks of Antisana’s glaciers are a rolling field of hard blue ice, making an excellent site to practice some of the more advanced mountaineering skills. We covered steep fixed line travel with ascenders, rappelling, and vertical ice climbing. Everyone had a good time today!
We wrapped the day up in the early afternoon, getting back to our base camp just after 1pm. This gave us plenty of time to crush some quesadillas for lunch and prepare for our summit attempt tonight.
We are going to have an early night tonight, and go for the top of Antisana this evening. Wish us luck!
We’ll check in tomorrow when we’re back down.
Today we visited the famous Ngorongoro Crater, and considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. The crater is what remains of a once massive volcano that erupted and collapsed on itself, leaving behind a giant caldera that’s almost exactly 100 square miles. Every time we’ve visited the crater it’s been excitingly different, and today was the same.
We were able to see many lions, some close enough that they actually stopped to smell the tires of our Safari vehicles. However, we were safely inside our vehicle, yet it was extremely exciting to be so close!
As we made our way around the Ngorongoro crater we saw tons of other wildlife, zebras, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, jackals, Giselle, countless raptors and many other large birds. It was quite a day to say the least, and I’m certain one that won’t be forgotten by anyone.
We wrapped up the day with a visit to a Maasai village just outside the crater rim. The Maasai people are a nomadic tribe that have lived here for more than 500 years among the wildlife, while raising the cattle that sustain them. The team spent time visiting the homes of these kind and gentle people, with tour guides who shared their history and way of life.
We finished the evening here at the plantation lodge and are looking forward to what tomorrow may bring as we head to Tarangire National Park.
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Well, the whirlwind is finally over… We enjoyed a breezy, sunny, but not too hot walk down from Plaza Argentina into Pampa de Leñas complete with multiple river crossings and the sore feet that come with a seemingly endless rocky trail. The camp at Pampa de Leñas turned out to be a ghost town… only the Rangers were there along with us and one herriero who was running a small mule team with our gear. The head ranger at the camp, Hugo, wished for me to pass on his hello to several RMI guides including JJ, Garrett, and Katrina. It’s fun to see familiar faces like Hugo’s over the years, and even though we only get to hang out over maté once a year we still feel like we know eachother. Anyway, our ragged team enjoyed a truly amazing meal prepared by Barco, our lone herriero which we devoured sitting around the fire. We ate a typical Argentine asado complete with roasted veggies, slabs of grilled beef, bread, and of course wine.
The next day was a bit of a slog but we managed to dispatch the remaining miles to the trailhead before the afternoon and before we knew it we were packed and on the van back to Mendoza. While the Rodrigo and the friendly staff at the Nutibara hotel are totally used to returning Aconcagua climbers there were certainly looks from other hotel guests while we were checking in. I guess they’re not used to crews of people coming in dusty, sweaty, bleary-eyed, and stinking of mule farts with over a dozen filthy duffel bags piled in the lobby. Lucky for the people of Mendoza we cleaned up nicely and ate a casual meal at a nearby restaurant because we were a bit tired. We’re saving our big celebration dinner for tonight at a fancy pants restaurant even though some of our comrades are gone already and others will be headed out this afternoon. Sorry amigos, you’ll be missed.
I wanted to thank our whole team for their hard work in making this expedition a smashing success… but I especially wanted to thank Hannah and our local guide Rolo for working their butts off for the rest of the team. You guys are rad.
Well, that’s about it… Until next time.
Tommy and I wish we could be there for the celebration. It was great being with all of you. It was a truly amazing trip. Reaching the summit and enjoying the time on the trail with each of you was terrific. Congrats on a successful trip back to Mendoza. Thanks again for being willing to help me when the injury occurred.
A special thanks goes to Billy, Hannah and Rolo for being the best guides ever!!!!
Posted by: Rick Jordan on 2/2/2017 at 8:57 am