Entries from Ecuador
January 12, 2016
If you asked the team yesterday if they were ready to climb another 18,000-foot mountain tonight, I’m sure the answer would’ve been a chorus of “No!”, but after a good night’s sleep at Hacienda Gualchalá, everyone woke up with a spring in their step, a smile on their face, and determination to get back out there and tackle another peak. It’s hard to understate the value of a relaxing evening and a lazy morning, but its effect on us is clear: our sore muscles and tired minds are a thing of the past!
After a delicious breakfast out in the morning sun, we began the now familiar process of repacking the bus with all of our climbing gear, and we hit the road towards Antisana, our next objective. En route we stopped at a mall for some last minute grocery shopping and Kentucky Fried Chicken (seriously!) before heading up the long bumpy roads towards base camp.
Upon arriving at camp just after 4pm today, we set about pitching tents and making dinner. This was done in short order and the team is now “in bed”, resting for tonight’s climb. (The ironic air quotes here are a nod towards the difficulty of getting any real sleep when you need to get up in five hours and the sun still hasn’t even set.) The climb is a bit more challenging than Cayambe, but everyone is ready to give it a shot.
The bags are packed and we’re ready to go! Stay tuned for an update when we return from our climb!
Looking forward to seeing more photos soon. Hoping it was a fabulous climb for all. Love to Ranger Lorenzo too!
Trying to leave this comment again. Not sure why an error message appears after selecting submit your comment two times now? Maybe can’t use autofill?
Posted by: Debbie Worden on 1/14/2016 at 9:20 am
Enjoy every moment, experience the thrill, and take pride in the accomplishment. We’ll be following you up to the summit as you lift your head towards the sun. Have fun Eileen! Be safe!! We’re so proud and very excited for you!!
Posted by: Mary Segesta on 1/13/2016 at 8:24 am
January 11, 2016
Hi everyone! This is RMI Guide Adam Knoff checking in from Ecuador. We reached the summit of Cayambe this morning on what turned out to be a beautiful day. Last night at dinner we were nervous about the climb; it was pouring rain outside. Would it clear for our climb? Would we even be able to leave the hut?
My alarm went off at 11:00 p.m. and when I went outside to check the weather I saw stars in the sky. Our climbing window was open! It turned out to be a great climb. The rain last night didn’t hamper our efforts. We had a great route with great local guides. The team did an awesome job. On the summit we had views of Antisana and smoky Cotopaxi.
Now we are back down and waiting for our bus to take us Guachala, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador. Our bus is delayed by rain, the same rain that made us nervous at dinner last night is now delaying our pick-up. Delays are part of the game so we take them in stride but I must say that this delay is definitely increasing our appetite for a juicy hamburger…hopefully soon we will be able to satiate our appetites.
Until next time,
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, and team
On The Map
Mountaineering experience enhances with good quality equipment. To get more insight about Mountaineering expedition and mountaineering please visit our website www.mountaineering.asia
Posted by: Tripti on 1/12/2016 at 1:44 am
Congrats on reaching the summit! The photo looks gorgeous. Great job everyone! Glad to see Justin Halls’ bad jokes aren’t weighing you guys down. ;)
Enjoy your adventures!
Posted by: Aimee Gilchrist on 1/11/2016 at 10:16 am
January 10, 2016
I can’t remember the last time I woke up in a room of ten other people and everyone felt hungover. Come to think of it, it was probably the last time I was here. I hope all of you in the blogosphere don’t think I am telling all the climbers on my team that chugging beer is a good idea before spending our first night above 15,000 feet. Quite the contrary actually but no matter how many preventative measures we take, the first night sleeping this high always produces hangover-like symptoms the next morning.
Fortunately these symptoms are more easily combated and by 8:30 a.m. the team was feeling much better.
Out hut sits at 15,300 feet on a beautiful rocky ridge. We were blessed this morning with glorious views of Antisana, our next major objective and Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s most famous mountain. Sadly she is suffering from a bit of indigestion and burps up large amounts of lava and ash. Not good for climbers wanting to look into her crater.
Anyway, Cayambe is in great shape so making good use of our expedition’s best morning, we pack our things and hiked a solid hour to the glacier. Here we reviewed basic skills then got into a fun crevasse rescue scenario. Our high point for today was almost 16,500’, a new altitude record for many on the team. We knew time was getting close to head down, not when the dark clouds began to threaten rain but when a large local family arrived on the glacier next to us in tennis shoes and began taking their clothes off. At one point I was trying to review how to tie a friction hitch when a large man began screaming for a photo while doing jumping jacks in a speedo. Most likely the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen on a glacier.
Once down we all rested and then packed for our big night tonight. We plan to “wake up” at 11:00 p.m. to begin our climb.
Wish us luck! It is raining now so think dry thoughts as well.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team
January 10, 2016
I’m not sure what it was about Casa de Sol, but my head hit the pillow at 11 and didn’t move until the sun broke through our window at 6:30 am. When I asked everyone else how the night went, it was clear the sand man wasn’t as generous to others in the group. Oblivious to the world, it was revealed to me at breakfast that the neighbor dogs got a bit vocal right outside most of the rooms. I apologized for not trying to help but then just blamed things on Nick, so after much strong coffee and delicious eggs, the team was at full force.
After leaving Casa de Sol, damage free for both bus and garage, we were off to Otavalo to visit Ecuador’s largest crafts and goods market. Here sensory overload is impossible to avoid but with good self control the team managed not to sink the ship with souvenirs and we made it out in good fashion.
After lunch we all piled into the bus once again and began our upward push toward the Cayambe hut sitting nicely at 15,300 feet. After two hours of driving up roads that make the pot holes of New York look like ice cream dishes, the bus could go no further. With all bags loaded into a jeep we walked the final 30 minutes to the hut.
We were greeted by our local guide, David, and moved right in to our private hut just below the main Refugio. It was perfect timing because 20 minutes after arriving, the skies opened up and a soaking rain doused the mountain around us. With all things dry we practiced knots for a bit, had a great dinner and are now tucked in ready to listen to my bedtime stories.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team Ecuador out.
On The Map
January 8, 2016
Hello from Casa Sol or the “sun house” located high on steep hillside overlooking a beautiful valley.
Today our team left the hustle and bustle of Quito and drove north in Victor’s Magic Bus to a beautiful reserve called Mojanda. Translated this word means “black lake” but the lake we parked at was a deep emerald blue. Created by a sunken crater, lake Mojanda is surrounded by steep craggy mountain sides covered with a thick carpet of tall grasses and plants unique to this high altitude ecosystem.
One of these tall mountains was our acclimating objective for the day. Fuya Fuya, which would sound a lot better if you put the word Kung at the beginning of it, stands at close to the same height as Mt. Rainier but is much more easily climbed. After following the nice trail through those tall grasses for just over an hour the team reached a windy saddle splitting the mountains two summits. Banging a hard right toward the northern peak, we had to scramble over a challenging 10 foot rock step and then continue up a steep ridge for another ten minutes to a flat and welcoming summit. The entire team arrived together but only had enough time for a quick high five, group photo and a few personal pictures before being greeted by distant thunder advising us it was time to depart. A quick hour long descent was motivated by a laughing group of high school kids racing downhill both on foot and rolling. We were reminded by those playful youths that we can’t take things too seriously because even with lightning and thunder around, smiles and fun can make any situation better.
After the hike we ate lunch at a nice local hacienda before driving to Casa Sol for the evening. The most exciting part of the day wasn’t the lightning or thunder but watching Victor try and park his large mini bus in the cramped garage. The scar where he tore off a chunk of the gate still showed from last year. He made it, barely, so we all raised a cup and declared success all around.
Let’s hope for a successful mission to Cayambe tomorrow.
RMI Guides Adam Knoff & Nick Hunt
On The Map
January 6, 2016
Buenas dias from Ecuador.
Adam Knoff here, lead guide for 2016’s first RMI Ecuadorian Skills Seminar. As mentioned in the program name, learning new skills is the name of the game down here. The first skill encountered was getting to a foreign country, finding the taxi stand among the bustling group of tour operators in Quito’s new airport then getting to the Hotel and finding a way to sleep for a few hours before awakening to meet a bunch of strangers. I am happy to announce everyone passed! We are only missing 3 bags out of twenty so that ratio could be much worse but all humans are accounted for.
This being our first day together as a team, we started with lots of coffee at the Hotel’s nice in house restaurant while doing individual introductions and chatting about what is to come. After breakfast we all gathered in a cute mini bus to take a tour of some historical sites in and around Quito.
Our tour began with a visit to the actual equator. Here we saw physical evidence of why, when we flush the toilet, water spins counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the south. We learned about the bizarre gravitational effects on our bodies if you stand directly on the line and three out of eleven actually will be coming home with certificates proving they can use the force better than the rest of us and literally balance an egg on a nail.
After the Mitad Del Mundo, or middle of the world, we drove south into the heart of old town Quito where we gained beautiful vistas of this enormous city, visited an amazing old Cathedral, walked right to the front gate of their “White House” and strolled through Independence Square.
By three in the afternoon we were all feeling the effects of long travel days so we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. Throughout the tour the weather was perfect, 70 degrees, partly cloudy and a small breeze. Just what I ordered when I put in my request with the big man before the trip. I must have gotten greedy though because 30 minutes after getting back to the hotel, an absolute down pour fell from the sky with lightning so close the booms were setting off car alarms all around the hotel. Let’s hope that got out of the system.
Now it is calm and nice again as evening sets in so we should have a pleasant and dry walk to dinner.
We will write again tomorrow about our first upward outing which could result in a summit over 15,000 feet.
RMI Guides Adam Knoff & Nick Hunt
Justin! I know being up there in the Andes is bringing you all the happiness you deserve, buddy. I’m sure it’s gorgeous up there and after living in Colorado I finally understand why people love being in the mountains so much. There’s so much peace and serenity. My apologies for being an awful friend this year and not keeping in touch. But hopefully before I move in June we’ll be able to catch up!
Posted by: Carlos on 1/8/2016 at 11:55 am
Looking forward to seeing more pics and travel updates! Wishing good weather conditions for fantastic viewing! Glad to see the spot is working, Justin!
Posted by: Sharon Halls on 1/8/2016 at 11:24 am
December 17, 2015
Posted by: Casey Grom
Update: 11:30 a.m. PT
The team has completed their descent and are headed to Quito. Photos from the Chimborazo climb below.
6:40 a.m. PT
Hello everybody this is Casey Grom calling from the summit of Chimborazo. It is a nice day up here although it was pretty blustery this morning when we got up a little after 11 o’clock and started our stoves to have a little quick breakfast and some coffee. Thankfully shortly after we started walking the wind died down and we hiked or climbed in some gravel and dirt for about 2 hours before we got to the start of the glacier. Then it was pretty icy and pretty tough. The team did another fantastic job today. We ended up having to belay quite a few pitches to keep it safe. The team did fantastic and we’re up here in the sun everyone is smiling and doing great. Everyone is a little tired, but the game plan is to get a few more photos and then head on back to camp. Then eventually all the way back to Quito, as we make our way back down in the land of Wi-Fi and cell service then we will send you one of our summit photos. Thank you following and look forward to seeing some of our photos. Alright, take care.
RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from the summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador.
Welcome back down, What an adventure!*
Posted by: Ron Birch on 12/17/2015 at 11:06 pm
Posted by: danny on 12/17/2015 at 4:03 pm
December 16, 2015
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hey everybody, this is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition. We are up here at just over 17,000 feet at our high camp on Chimborazo. We had a pretty nice day to hike up here. Was a little bit of clouds, which was nice to have it cool for our hike. The team had a great time and we hired a couple of porters to help expedite our arrival to camp, which was great. We just wrapped up a nice dinner of hot soup and watched the sun go down up here, which was incredibly beautiful. We’re crawling into our tents and do our best for a little bit of sleep until we get up. Similar to our game plan as we had on Cayambe. We are going to try to get up at 11 and try to start climbing around midnight. So that will be our game plan for us. We will do our best tomorrow to give a call once we are back down off the mountain. I’m sure it’s going to be a long, busy, hard day for everybody. We’ll update you guys tomorrow once we are off the mountain. Thanks.
RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Chimborazo High Camp.
glad to hear you all made it to High Camp and enjoyed the views. By now you should close to back from the summit.
Can’t wait to hear the good news and of course, am sorry I could not be there with you.
Posted by: danny on 12/17/2015 at 7:43 am
All is well here in Ecuador especially after a wonderful night of rest. The team did a fantastic job on Cayambe yesterday and really deserved it. We spent last night in the oldest Hacienda in Ecuador called Guachala, which dates back to the 16th century, and isn’t too far from the mountain.
After a relaxing morning at the Hacienda we loaded up our gear and headed south for five hours to reach our next climbing objective, Chimborazo. We are spending the night in another newer hacienda, not far from Chimborazo, built about 20 years ago by a German mountain guide that’s full of climbing memorabilia. Our plan is to have another good night’s rest here, then hike up to a high camp tomorrow afternoon to help shorten our climb. If all goes according to plan we’ll be settled in camp by 5pm and hopefully get a little more rest before starting our climb around 11-12pm.
Everyone enjoyed the drive and the beautiful views we had today. We are all excited for tomorrow.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
Made it back stateside and have slept most of the day.
Also had issues w/connection or would have posted sooner
Great news u r going for the summit
I know u will all do great and am sorry can’t join u
I am with you in spirit
Kick some Chimborazo butt!!
Posted by: Danny on 12/16/2015 at 4:05 pm
December 14, 2015
Posted by: Casey Grom
100% on top!!!
The Ecuador team reached the Cayambe summit in stormy weather. Although the weather was not stellar, they were all happy to have made it.
RMI Guide Casey Grom sent this summit photo and will check in once the team is safely off the mountain.
On The Map
That’s awesome, congratulations to the team!
Posted by: John Arnold on 12/15/2015 at 7:30 am
Posted by: Ron Birch on 12/15/2015 at 12:30 am