Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Head to the Illiniza Climber’s Hut

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

June 23, 2015 6:31 am PST

We enjoyed a relaxing evening at the Papallacta hot springs last night. After a leisurely breakfast this morning, we are packing up and heading off to the Illiniza climbers’ hut. To get there we have a 3 hour hike ahead of us, carrying our sleeping bags and climbing gear to get to an altitude of about 15,400’. It will be hard work, and a stark contrast to leisurely soaking in the hot springs. But our team is up for the task, and it will be worth it; the hut sits at the saddle between the south (17,267’) and north (16,818’) Iliniza peaks, the 6th and 8th highest peaks in Ecuador, respectively. If weather and conditions allow us, we are prepared to climb both peaks over the next two days. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Termas Pappallacta hot spring and lodge, Ecuador.  Photo: Mike Walter The beautiful grounds of Termas Pappallacta, Ecuador.  Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter and Team Thwarted by Winds on Cayambe

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 17,500'

I woke up to check the weather early this morning (last night, actually) and was pleased to see a clear sky full of stars. The problem was that it was so windy outside I could barely stand up. So, back into the hut I went to wait for the weather to improve.

Winds died down a bit (it’s all relative) and we began to prepare to climb around 2:00 am. We were on the move by around 3:30 am. Everyone climbed very strong, despite fighting the wind to keep our balance. Clouds were interspersed with stars as we ascended. By the time we reached 17,500 ft. we had walked into a cloud cap with winds gusting into the 50 mph range with about 100 ft. of visibility. It was time to throw in the towel and start our descent. Everything went smoothly and soon we arrived at the climbers’ hut.

We enjoyed a fun and challenging day of climbing, even though we came up a bit shy of the summit. Now we’re headed for the Papallacta Hot Springs where we’ll get a good night’s rest before heading out tomorrow on another climbing objective.

We’ll keep you abreast of the latest.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI Team ascending Cayambe in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter and Team at Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

We are up at the Cayambe climbers hut at around 15,300 ft. The weather is quite windy with alternating rain and snow showers. We’re comfortable inside the hut.  We have been going over knots and crevasse rescue systems. Hopefully the weather improves so we can head out on our summit bid with an early alpine start tonight. For now we’re staying dry and warm inside the hut. We’ll touch base again tomorrow to let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The climbers hut at 15,300 ft on Cayambe, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

After a relaxing evening last night at the Hacienda Casa Sol, we are currently enjoying the world famous market in Otavalo. Otavalo is an indigenous kichwa town in the Andes highlands north of Quito. The Otavalos are known for their woolen woven goods, art, jewelry, and music. The market here is a sight to behold, with both native Otavalos and tourists shopping side by side.
We’re enjoying the morning roaming the streets and exploring the market. After lunch we’ll drive up to the climbing hut on the volcano Cayambe. The hut sits above 15,000’ at the toe of the crevassed glaciers of Cayambe. It will be our home for the next two nights as we train and prepare for our ascent of Cayambe.
Cayambe is the third highest peak in Ecuador at nearly 19,000’, and the highest point on earth through which the equator passes. The mountain is situated in the eastern ridge of the Andes and, as such, is influenced by weather rising up from the rainforest of Ecuador and the headwaters of the Amazon. Over millenia the snowfall on Cayambe has formed a massive network of glaciers that we hope to climb.
We’ll have our work cut out for us over the next few days on Cayambe. But for now we’re enjoying the colorful culture of Ecuador.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Otavalo Market in Ecuador famous for its woolen goods, jewelry, and art. Photo: Mike Walter Colorful spices available at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Acclimate on Cerro Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

We packed up our gear, loaded up the van, and left Quito, heading north towards the town of Otavalo this morning. On tap was another acclimatization hike up the extinct volcano Fuya Fuya. The hike started at Lake Mojanda, high up in the Andes. The trail wove through the high Andean grassland, with increasing steepness with every step. A short rock scramble culminated in a 14,000’ summit with great views and not a breath of wind. A quick descent followed. We are now at our hacienda for the night, Casa Sol, where we are looking forward to a hot shower and a nourishing meal…I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Ecuador team on the banks of Lake Mojanda. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador team hiking to the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador team on the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Reach the Top of Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 18, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,700'

We had a great climb today, with everyone climbing strong and reaching the summit of Rucu Pichincha. At a height of nearly 15,700’, many of our team set new personal altitude records today. We were working hard and breathing deeply in the thin air of Rucu, which rises abruptly out of the city of Quito. We accessed the upper ridge of Rucu via a gondola ride to over 13,000’.
The weather cooperated with us today, although on the summit the views were obscured by clouds. Lower on the climb we were afforded impressive views down into the Quito valley below.

We’re psyched for a little down time this afternoon. We head up north tomorrow to climb Fuya Fuya. We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Ecuador Seminar reaches the top of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador Seminar team descending Rucu Pichincha. Quito in the background. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Sightseeing in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 18, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

Wednesday, June 17th

Our Ecuador Seminar trip is officially under way. We met this morning for breakfast and group introductions, and then hit the ground running. First on our to-do list was head out to the Panecillo, a statue and view point overlooking Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. Surrounded by mountains and sitting at nearly 9,000’, the views were beautiful, including a glimpse at tomorrow’s objective, Volcano Rucu Pichincha.
Next up, we toured the streets of colonial Quito. Here we got history lessons from our local guide and visited churches, the presidential palace, independence plaza, and more.
Finally we were off to the Equator to simultaneously place a foot in both the northern and southern hemisphere. At the Equator we visited an ethnographic museum and learned about the various cultures of this diverse country. We also saw some simulations explaining the Coriolis Effect and the significance of being at mitad del mundo …literally at the middle of the world.
The evening ended with a team dinner with traditional Ecuadorian food. One bold team member ordered the local delicacy, cuy, or guinea pig.
With day one in the books, we’re eagerly awaiting our first acclimatization hike tomorrow. We’re headed to the Volcano Rucu Pichincha, one of the major volcanoes forming a geographical boundary of Quito. We’ll be in touch tomorrow!

Ciao,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

Ecuador Seminar team standing on both sides of the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter Beautiful Panecillo statue overlooking the city of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

The Ecuador Seminar team, led by Casey Grom and Ben Liken reached the Cotopaxi summit this morning!  Check out the photos Casey sent us this morning from their summit bid.

Congratulations team!

The Ecuador Seminar team ascending Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom February 15, 2015 - Ecuador Seminar team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team at Hacienda Tambopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone,

We spent the day relaxing here at Hacienda Tambopaxi that sits just at the base of the beautiful volcano Cotopaxi. It’s one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and we’ve been told that Cotopaxi is a pre-inca name meaning “neck of the moon”. The area surrounding the volcano is mostly high plateau grasslands and is home to a thousands of wild horses, which we could easily see just outside of the hacienda.

The team is doing great and everyone is well rested and excited for our last big climb. We’ll be waking up at 10pm and hopefully hitting the road shortly after breakfast and if all goes well, standing at 19,347ft above sea level right after sunrise.

We will check in tomorrow when we are safely back down.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Seminar team hiking in the grasslands to Tambopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom Team dinner at Hacienda Tambopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team’s Rest Day Near Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 13, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Greetings from Tambopaxi Lodge,

Today we took a full day to rest our weary legs and heal our slightly sun burnt faces.  After a breakfast with a view of Cotopaxi a few of team members went horseback riding while the rest of us drank coffee and swapped stories from our Antisana climb.  The riders got all dressed up in Ecuadorean ponchos, cowboy hats, and alpaca chaps.  We then wasted no time getting to our next activity…... A four course lunch.  We did manage to get in some training in during the afternoon but were easily distracted by views of the mountain and galloping wild horses. 

We look forward to a good night of sleep because tomorrow there will be no such luxury.  Tomorrow we will be up and at ‘em around 10 pm to ascend our final peak, Cotopaxi.

Everyone hear wishes their special someone at home a very happy Valentine’s Day!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and Amigos

The team dressed in the new Ecuadorian ponchos. Photo: Ben Liken

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Recent Images From Ecuador

  • The view of the upper slopes of Cotopaxi this morning. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Chilcabamba Eco Lodge in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cotopaxi peeking through the clouds in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Sunrise on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Snow formations on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Meandering crevasse on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • An art vendor at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • A produce stall at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Locals perusing stalls at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending Fuya Fuya with Cayambe in the distance. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending a 3rd class ridge on Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Cayambe as seen from the summit of Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Mike Walter and Team checking out the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Cotopaxi as seen from the Jose Ribas Refugio. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Ecuador Seminar team with Cotopaxi in the background. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Ecuador Seminar enjoys a rainbow seen from Illiniza Norte, Ecuador, acclimating climb. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Termas Pappallacta hot spring and lodge, Ecuador.  Photo: Mike Walter
  • The beautiful grounds of Termas Pappallacta, Ecuador.  Photo: Mike Walter
  • An RMI Team ascending Cayambe in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The climbers hut at 15,300 ft on Cayambe, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Otavalo Market in Ecuador famous for its woolen goods, jewelry, and art. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Colorful spices available at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador team on the banks of Lake Mojanda. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador team hiking to the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador team on the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador Seminar reaches the top of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador Seminar team descending Rucu Pichincha. Quito in the background. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Ecuador Seminar team standing on both sides of the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Beautiful Panecillo statue overlooking the city of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The Ecuador Seminar team ascending Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom
  • February 15, 2015 - Ecuador Seminar team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom
  • The Ecuador Seminar team hiking in the grasslands to Tambopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Team dinner at Hacienda Tambopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The team dressed in the new Ecuadorian ponchos. Photo: Ben Liken