Posts for Ecuador

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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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Summit Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,891'

Congratulations to our team of climbers on their climb today!

It wasn’t easy, in fact far from it.
We started the day with a 10:30 pm wake up call that no one ever enjoys, but everyone made it to breakfast relatively quickly and seemed excited as the weather looked to be in our favor. We then hoped into our 4 wheeled vehicles and drove about 20 minutes to the start of the climb. The weather continued to improve as we made our way to the the start of the glacier where we put on our crampons and roped up for the rest of the climb. The initial part of the glacier was mostly bare ice which made for rather easy climbing and slowly increased in angle and crevasses. Everyone did a great job of taking care of themselves and stayed calm even though the terrain was challenging.

After several hours of climbing we reached the final headwall that looked to be too much, but with perseverance the team surmounted the last steep slope and made our way to the top of Antisana. All in all it took 9 hard hours to reach the summit where we enjoyed the views and took a few photos. The descent was no easy task either having to reverse the climb, but we all made it back safely in a couple of hours.

Everyone is in good spirits and maybe just a little tired ;)

Special thanks to Sally for the wonderful Sahale mixed nuts that were sent along, we enjoyed them!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy albeit tired crew

Climbing Antisana, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom RMI Team Climbing on Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom Team on the Summit of Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Ready for Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,400'

Hello everyone,

Tonight we are heading for the summit of Antisana!  We arrived this morning to our camp and did a bunch more technical training.  The site is like something out of the Lord of the Rings, with tall grasses, roaming horses, and thatch-roof structures all lit by the glaciers of Antisana.

Wish us luck as you head to bed because we will be waking up at that time to go climbing.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the team

Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Travels to Antisana

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 10, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone,

The team is feeling good and well rested especially after a good nights sleep. Our stay in Papallacta was enjoyed by all even though it was short.

We have traveled back into the countryside to very near our next climbing objective Antisana. Originally we had planned on camping tonight, but due to the forecasted thunderstorms we opted to stay at a wonderful hacienda not far from the mountain. After getting so soaked on Cayambe we thought this would help keep us stay dry and set us up for a successful climb. So we spent the afternoon doing a little technical training and reviewing some of the skills we hope to put to use tomorrow on the glacier.

The valley we are staying in is famous for condors and we even managed to see several gliding not far above us. It was amazing to see these beautiful and elusive birds to say the least.

That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

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Recent Images From Ecuador

  • 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
  • Climbing Antisana, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom
  • RMI Team Climbing on Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Team on the Summit of Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff
  • Ecuador Mountain Signpost. Photo: RMI Collection