RMI Expeditions Blog
January 20, 2017
We’re back from our first foray above Basecamp where we carried a load of food, fuel, and cold weather gear and cached it at over 16,000’ in Aconcagua Camp 1. Some of the loosest scree fields and difficult footing on our entire route challenged us today but the team pulled through with good style. Our performance today bodes well for our chances higher on the mountain with the team staying on pace and efficiently navigating the tricky terrain. We started out around 9:30 am and were back in Basecamp before 4 PM which made for a full day but still left us time for a nap before dinner. The kitchen staff knew we were working hard today and rewarded us with a hearty dinner of steak and potatoes. Now it’s off to bed with a full belly and no major plans for tomorrow…
No milk noodles?!?!?!?!!! You
Posted by: Maude Lebowski on 1/20/2017 at 11:24 pm
Hola From Otavalo, Ecuador,
This morning our team of intrepid climbers met our one man team and intrepid driver, Orgel, and headed into the not so subtle Quito morning rush hour. Climbers heading off to a big mountain are always ready to leave the grips of the city in search for greater adventures but today Quito had a way of making sure we didn’t rush off and lose sight of where we were. Wall to wall cars made the first five miles take as long as the final 50 but rain was falling so we didn’t feel rushed either way.
Our destination today was a volcano called Fuya Fuya, which rises to 14,700 feet, higher than Mt. Rainier, but in Ecuador is relatively low in comparison to others. We come here in January because it is supposed to be the “dry” season, but today this high, tropical landscaped proved otherwise. Light rain fell in the morning leaving Quito, but north of the city and higher up the clouds thickened and the rain turned real. In Seattle there are over a hundred ways to describe rain. I’m pretty sure today we only needed one. Let’s just call it, solid. With a “solid” rain falling, we solved riddles in the trailhead shelter, ran quick sprints along the lake shore before sprinting back and did pull ups on the beams to pretend we were getting our heart rate up. All-in-all the acclimating process was short lived and we were headed down having never walked a foot uphill.
The rain continued to pour as we ate lunch in town and killed time before arriving at the hacienda for the evening. La Casa Sol sits high on a steep hill overlooking town and it was here that we had the day’s most exciting event. With a we cobble stone street, our driver gunned it up the hill trying to get momentum before spinning out on the wet surface. It took two more goes to pull the van into the tiny parking spot and unload the bags. Ben and I had to put rocks behind the van’s tires at one point to keep him from sliding backwards into the ditch.
As we say before a day of ice climbing in Bozeman, the adventure starts the second you get in the car. Tomorrow’s road promises to be even more thrilling! The road to the mountain….
Wish us luck on our way to Cayambe.
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Ben Liken and Team
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Hello once again everyone.
We have arrived back in the digital world after another very enjoyable safari. We spent yesterday touring Tarangire National Park which is known for its elephants, in fact, it has more per square mile than any place on earth. And I can easily say it didn’t disappoint! We saw hundreds if not thousands of elephants and even managed to take a break with a family, while some of them slept. There were plenty of other animals too- giraffe, zebra, hartebeest, bush bucks, Nile monitor, and many others. It was very surreal to be so close to them, and we were simply amazed at the abundance that were near the river, which runs though the park.
We never did see the cheetahs, or leopards, but perhaps that had something to do with all the lions we saw.
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.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Kilimanjaro/Safari crew
Thank you Casey for the adventure of a lifetime for your group and sharing for the rest of us as arm chair adventures.
Posted by: Robert Rutter on 1/20/2017 at 9:19 am
January 19, 2017
Today, after a lot of travel and food the team finally got out into the mountains. We set off for a gondola ride on the outskirts of town that takes us all the way up to well over 13,000 feet. We were pleased to find fair skies and moderate temps with sweeping views of the city at the top.
From there it took us 2.5 hours to reach the summit at 15,700 feet with the whole team! This is a great team and everyone did excellent. After some time on top breathing thin air, we descended back to Quito grabbing some tasty carne empanadas on the way.
After an afternoon nap we all got some pizzas and ice cream to soothe the soul before bed. Tomorrow we will venture further outside Quito for another highland hike.
RMI Guide Ben Liken
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Good luck over the next three days as the team moves towards the climbers hut in anticipation of summiting Cayambe on Monday! Let’s hope the weather cooperates better than today!
Posted by: Susan Brashear on 1/20/2017 at 5:27 pm
good luck on your climbing/eating adventure! if this is a race, my money is on Owen. nobody can eat faster than Owen.
Posted by: catherine's sister on 1/20/2017 at 10:15 am
January 19, 2017
Turned out to be a great day to carry group and personal equipment to our high camp of Aconcagua at 19,600ft. We made good time up and down and round tripped it in about five hours. At one point I was down to just a thin poly-pro top. Not bad for being exposed to the elements at 19,000ft.
Big decision time tonight. Weather reports are calling for some unsettled pattern ahead. Need to put all the factors in the hopper and come up with a plan. Excitement is rising and a major buzz going on around camp. My team continues to be a solid unit and so proud of what we have accomplished so far. All is well up on the hill.
On The Map
Safe summit to all. A fine accomplishment for all. Enjoy
Posted by: Mike Albrecht on 1/19/2017 at 5:11 pm
January 19, 2017
January 19, 2017
Checking in from Plaza Argentina at 4,200m on another beautiful day here in the central Andes. Our team enjoyed some tasty breakfast burritos this morning and then passed our checkup with the basecamp doctors. We are settled in nicely and the team is feeling strong and even slept well despite yesterday’s sharp increase in altitude. We’ll spend this afternoon arranging our group and personal gear for tomorrow’s carry up to Aconcagua Camp 1. Not much else to report for now… We’ll check in again tomorrow after our first foray onto the upper mountain.
January 18, 2017
We’ve arrived! After an early a.m. and brisk river crossing on the back of a mule our team made our way up the Relinchos Valley smoothly and steadily. We climbed the 3,000’ into Plaza Argentina (Basecamp) with a little hard breathing but were otherwise unhindered by any real difficulties. Clear skies and amazing views of the mountain were a treat and a hearty welcome from the Griselda, Anita, and Juan, the Grajales Basecamp staff, was icing on the cake. After some refreshments and setting up of camp we are settling in for a tasty dinner tonight and a well deserved rest day tomorrow. Sleeping our first night at nearly 14,000’ might not be the most comfortable but with time our bodies will adjust to the new altitude and hopefully start in to building our foundation of acclimatization for our climb.
All for now,
January 17, 2017
Hola from Casa de Piedra! Last night we enjoyed an amazing asado prepared by our herrieros complete with salad plenty of steak and of course wine at our first trekking camp. After a beautiful night out under the stars our team woke to the rustling of mules and crawled out of our sleeping bags in the early dawn light. A quick trail breakfast and some coffee or tea warmed us up and we hit the trail. We moved extremely well and made short time on our move up through the Vacas Valley and were even treated to our first views of the peak. Tonight’s dinner wasn’t quite as grand as last night’s but it’ll do. Early to bed tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s very early rise… We we all looking forward to making into Basecamp tomorrow afternoon but one more day on the trail and about 3,000’ of vertical gain remain in our way. I’ll check in tomorrow and let you know how it went.
Good luck team. Make it happen!
Posted by: Art Muir on 1/20/2017 at 6:17 pm
Best of Luck to you Billy and the team!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/20/2017 at 3:42 am
Today we are headed off the grid to stay in a remote tented camp. Unfortunately, we most likely won’t have any cell or wifi service.
I will update as soon as we return!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and Safari crew
January 18, 2017
We have just kicked off our next Ecuador Volcanoes program here in Quito. With most of our team arriving late last night, we spent day one casually around town. After a large buffet breakfast we went on a four-hour city tour where we visited the equator along with some key landmarks throughout the old city of Quito. Even though this wasn’t quite as relaxing as laying by a pool all day, it is important that we keep some blood flowing for acclimatization. Just by being in this city we are starting this process because it sits at 9000’.
Once we returned to our hotel and did a gear check the team was ready for a little fun, so we checked out one of Quito’s new micro breweries. The pale ale was on par and the chili cheese fries were among the best I ever had.
Finally we will go to dinner tonight so we can pack on a few more calories before we start burning them tomorrow on our first acclimatization hike up Rucu Pichincha. A small 15,700-foot hill right outside town.
Stay tuned to follow the rest of our journey through the Andean high country!
January 18, 2017
Today our team bid farewell to the thick air and running water of Aconcagua Camp 1 and headed uphill to Camp 2. We spent the majority of the afternoon digging in solid tent platforms, making sure to securely fasten our tents to the mountain with the biggest rocks we could find. We were treated to a beautiful day during the move-in process; the views of neighboring Andean peaks have kept many team members busy with photo opportunities. We’re just getting ready to crawl into our tents before the sun dips below the horizon and it gets COLD.
RMI Guides Mark Tucker and Pepper Dee
On The Map
Go team, go. While we in Washington DC go low you go high keeping our focus where it should be!
Posted by: Charlie Thomas on 1/19/2017 at 3:20 am
Looks amazing, simply amazing, & we are loving the blog updates!
Posted by: Chicago Dees on 1/18/2017 at 9:37 pm
Day 2 on Safari had us visiting the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, and considered by some 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. In the 2 million years since then, hundreds of animals have taken up residence and have created one of the best Safari options in Africa.
We hit the road early with hopes of catching a few more animals before the heat sent them in search for shade. Shortly after descending down into the crater we came upon 2 female lions with 6 cubs, it was almost comical as the little ones kept popping out of the bush to follow their moms.
We continued driving around trying not to stop at all the zebra, wildebeest, and Cape buffalo that were nearly in the way.
There were many sightings today of hyenas, jackels, ostrich, and countless other birds.
One of the highlights was seeing not 1, but 3 Black Rhinos which have become very rare.
We wrapped up the day with a visit to a Maasai village not far from the craters rim. The Maasai people are a nomadic tribe that exist almost entirely off of their cattle. The team spent time asking questions and enjoyed being shown around their small and simple village.
We have just finished another wonderful meal here at the plantation lodge and are looking forward to what tomorrow may bring as we head to Tarangire National Park.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Safari crew