Ecuador Seminar: Team Weathered Off of Cayambe

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 10,800'

Hey gang,

Being on the border of the Amazon Rainforest almost always keeps some clouds floating around Cayambe, but last night it brought more than just clouds.  We awoke to a soaking mist that would have drenched the team within minutes of climbing.  So we postponed for an hour and a half until there was a minor let up.  Then we gathered our gear and started walking up hill in what can best be described as a “dry mist”.  For 45 minutes we had optimistic smiles as the moon was poking through the clouds and the team was moving strong.  But at the first break the rains came and didn’t let up. We pushed a bit further to 16,500 feet until the crew was soaked and the decision was clear to head down.  To go higher would mean freezing our wet clothes and pushing the limits of a safe climb.

The descent went well and the whole team is now at Papallacta hot springs, happy and healthy.  Everyone is turning their sights to more training and our next big climb…...Antisana!

Stay tuned

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the Team

Ecuador Mountain Signpost. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: King & Team Remain at Camp 2

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

This morning we woke to the traditional Aconcagua weather pattern, cold temps and consistent winds. We watched snow billow off the upper Polish glacier into the sky forming clouds that resembled smoke rising from a 23,000 ft bonfire. 

Everyone is chomping at the bit to move camp and begin our summit attempt, but we will spend one more night at Camp 2 and hope the forecast of 5-20 mph winds holds out.

Quesadillas for lunch and more tent time. If you are reading these blogs with any desire to go expedition climbing get a Kindle and crush tent time like a pro.

RMI Guides Mike King and Steve Gately

Enjoying the views from Camp 2 on Aconcagua, Argentina.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: King & Team Enjoy Rest Day at Camp 2

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

Rest day at Camp 2:

Our coldest morning of the climb here at Camp 2 on Aconcagua. Our water source is a large snowfield, that lately has been a raging torrent due to warm temperatures and almost zero snowfall this season. The amount of water and ice that has melted at Camp 2 has begun to erode tent sites that have been staple spots at an already cramped camp.

We are going for a walk to 19,000’ this morning to stretch our legs and lungs. 18,000 ft is the highest our group has slept and the guides are pleased with how everyone is acclimating. We are still anticipating high winds tomorrow and remain flexible in our ability to move up if we see a significant difference in the forecast.

RMI Guides Mike King, Steve Gately & Team

Enjoying a rest day at Camp 2 on Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Trains on Glacier of Cayambe

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola Amigos!

Sleeping at 15,000’ is not a normal thing, nor is sleeping with 6 other people, but thankfully everyone managed to get a few hours of shuteye last night. 

Today the team woke around 7 am and headed downstairs for breakfast and washed it down with plenty of coffee. We then got packed up and went out for a little training on the glacier that’s about an hour away. Cloudy skies and light snowfall keep things relatively brief as we didn’t want to get too wet before tonight’s climb of Cayambe. Once back at the climbers hut we relaxed with hot drinks and a little additional training, mixed in with a few bad jokes.

Everyone is in good spirits and seems to be ready for tomorrow’s climb. Our plan is to get up at 11 pm and have a quick breakfast and hopefully hit the trail around midnight. If all goes well we should reach the summit around 7 am.

We had a trivia challenge tonight that will allow the winner a sat phone call from the summit. So keep your phones nearby to find out who the winner is.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

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

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team at the Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hey everybody,

Today was a day of rest, tourism, and a car ride to our 15,000 foot hut on Cayambe.  After a light breakfast we leisurely packed our bags and headed to the famed Otavalo market.  Being a Saturday the place was packed with crafts, fresh fruits, and local people. 

Shortly after lunch we loaded the bus and drove to the cute little town of Cayambe.  At this point the clouds that had been floating around all day started to dump rain, so we changed out the bus for some 4x4 vehicles.  We then drove up the bumpiest road known to man… The Cayambe hut road.  After an hour of mud, rocks, and pot holes we made it to our home for the next few days. 

Everyone is feeling great and ready for a day of glacier training tomorrow.

From the snowiest place on the equator,  we’ll talk to ya later!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and friends

The Otavalo Market, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection Colorful jewelry at the Otavalo Market. Photo: RMI Collection On the road to Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: King & Team Move to Camp 2

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

The Gang Moves to Camp 2

Well the good weather only lasts for so long when you are climbing in the big mountains of the world. We moved camp this morning after enjoying another warm and calm night.

We spent the day looking at high wispy cirrus clouds over the summit from the West and ominous lenticular clouds building in the East.  The most recent forecast has high winds entering the picture starting tonight and lasting several days.

We are in a good position to wait for better weather with a rest day tomorrow and the ability to use two weather days if needed. We are sitting on a lot of food and fuel.

Until next time,

RMI Guides Mike King & Steve Gately

An RMI Team moving to Aconcagua Camp 2. Photo: Jake Beren An RMI Team on the move to Camp 2, Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Aconcagua: Van Deventer & Team Celebrate in Mendoza

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Alex Barber | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

As the expedition draws to a close, the days come flying by in a blur. After a big descent to Aconcagua Base Camp with heavy packs, we fell into our sleeping bags and got one of the best nights of sleep of the trip. The group chose to fore go setting up tents and laid out sleeping bags in the big dining tent, and for the first time in many nights, we didn’t spend the whole night listening to the wind slap at our tents.  We woke in the morning, caffeinated up, and did a hasty pack job of the our duffels for the mules. We grabbed our day packs, light once again, and started off down the mule trails, retracing the paths we had walked two weeks earlier (ironically, most of the group didn’t remember much of it and was convinced that we were exiting a different way). While our packs were light, and our hiking shoes a lot more comfortable than our boots, the nearly 15 miles of rocky trail walking took about ten hours, and by the end, everyone’s dogs were far beyond barking.

Fortunately, the amazing arryaros were waiting at Pampe de Lenas, with the fire already started and meat on the grill.  The team feasted on more carne than we could possibly eat, especially with the shrunken stomachs that result from two weeks of high altitude living.  Once again, we chose to fore go the tents, and everyone unrolled pads and bags on the ground and watched the Southern Cross trace its arc across the canyon rim.  We woke early, and though everyone was feeling the previous couple of days, the motivation to finally reach the park entrance and be done trumped all of the physical discomforts. Three and half more hours brought us to the tree-lined aqueduct that signals the final stretch to the end of the long trail. We grabbed our dust covered bags from the mules and loaded a shuttle to Mendoza. With a quick stop for another huge meal, we were in Mendoza by evening, showering off the weeks of dust. 

We wrapped up the trip with another great culinary experience at El Patio Azul de Jesus Maria. We feasted on a traditional Argentinian parilla (bbq) with boundless different cuts of meat cooked slowly over a wood fire. Malbec was plentiful for washing the meal down, and was the perfect way to refuel after weeks up the mountain. Most of the group will spend the next two days in Mendoza, planning to explore the shops, rest by the pool, and perhaps tour a few vineyards, before we return to winter time in the States.

We would like to thank the whole team for the incredible team work that they displayed throughout the entire trip, the camaraderie, and the effort that each and every one put out. This was a group that was a pleasure for the guides to work with. Finally, I’d like to thank Alex and Juan for kicking ass the entire trip. The whole trip was a pleasure all the way around, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

Thanks,
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

Trekking through the Vacas Valley, Argentina. Photo: Ty Reid

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Hike Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

February, 6, 2015 - 6:46 pm PT

Hello again everyone!

Today the team left behind the hustle and bustle of Quito and moved just north of the Equator to the comfortable and quite rural countryside. Once outside the city limits the landscape quickly turned into rolling hills with farms pitched on steep slopes and dozens of small eucalyptus forest.

Our plan was to visit a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we stretched our legs on a nice steep and short acclimatization hike. Thankfully the weather was nice which allowed us to see some amazing views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. 

We are just on the outskirts of a town call Otavalo, which is known for its massive market and we are currently relaxing at a wonderful Hacienda called “La Casa Sol”. The team is doing great and looking forward to a nice quiet night here.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

The RMI Ecuador Seminar Team takes an acclimatization hike on Fuya Fuya.  Photo: Casey Grom The team takes a hike on Fuya Fuya for acclimatization.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Aconcagua: King & Team Enjoying Their Rest Day at Camp 1

Posted by: Mike King, Steve Gately | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 16,200'

It is not often that a group has a camp to themselves on Aconcagua, that is where we find our team today. After enjoying a sunny and near windless morning the team is organizing personal gear, reading and relaxing. The little headaches and discomfort from our carry to Camp 2 yesterday have dissipated and everyone is adjusting to life at 16,200ft.

The weather has been great with lots of sun, warm temperatures and light wind. We would like to climb higher during this high pressure system, and the team is taking every opportunity to acclimatize appropriately.

As I am typing this dispatch, all I hear is laughter and conversation coming from our tents and that is a welcome sign after two hard days of climbing and caching equipment.  We move to Camp 2 tomorrow to begin a holding pattern for our move to high camp and summit day.

RMI Guide Mike King

The moon rise above the Andes from Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team Spend Their Last Night in Africa

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hi! It is our last day on safari and we are back in Arusha doing some last minute shopping. Our next stop is the Dik Dik Hotel to repack, shower and then head to the airport. We will of course be squeezing one more fantastic dinner in as well.

Kikoti Camp was a great place to spend our last evening in Tanzania. The sunset was spectacular and the scenery there is great. This morning we had a nice game drive with tons of elephants playing in the Tarangire River.

I think we are all psyched to head home but it has been a real fun group and everyone has gotten along together amazingly well. All of us will be flying out overnight so for the family and friends following along… See you soon!

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Elephants in Tarangire National Park, Africa. Photo: Seth Waterfall The RMI Kilimanjaro team's last night in Africa. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Previous Page More Entries

Expedition Stats

Vinson Massif Expedition
11/22 - 12/14/2014
Vinson Massif - Summit
Cotopaxi Express Ascent
11/29 - 12/7/2014
Cotopaxi - Summit
Vinson Massif Expedition
11/22 - 12/14/2014
Vinson Massif - Summit
Vinson Massif Expedition
12/3 - 12/25/2014
Vinson Massif - Summit
Ecuador's Volcanoes
12/9 - 12/19/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
12/13/2014 - 1/5/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
12/20/2014 - 1/12/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
12/27/2014 - 1/19/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/10 - 1/24/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/4 - 1/27/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/6 - 1/19/2015
Cayambe - 17,000' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Ecuador's Volcanoes
1/20 - 1/30/2015
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/11 - 2/3/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/24 - 2/7/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/18 - 2/10/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/3 - 2/16/2015
Cayambe - 16,500' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/26 - 2/18/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/14 - 2/22/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Pico de Orizaba - Summit

Recent Images

  • February 21, 2015- RMI team on the Orizaba summit. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • The shadow cast by Pico de Orizaba at sunrise. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • The Mexico Team making the final steps to the summit of Orizaba. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • Chase Nelson and his rope team cresting the Orizaba summit. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • Approaching the foot of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Orizaba on the drive to Piedra Grande Hut. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Orizaba view from Puebla, Mexico. Photo: Chase Nelson
  • February 18, 2015- Mexico team on the Ixta summit! Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • A climber on the ridge of Ixtaccihuatl en route to the summit.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Sunrise on Ixtaccihuatl, Mexico.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team at High Camp on Ixtaccihuatl.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Views of Ixtaccihuatl from the Paso de Cortez. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Tire shop luckily on the way to La Malinche. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • Ixtaccihuatl view on the way to La Malinche. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • The Mexico team before La Malinche acclimating hike. Photo: Solveig Waterfall
  • The Ecuador Seminar team ascending Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom
  • February 15, 2015 - Ecuador Seminar team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom
  • Overlooking the Zocalo of Mexico City from RMI's hotel. Photo: RMI Collection
  • 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
  • Sunset over the Andes from High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Garrett Stevens
  • A group of guanacos forages near the mouth of the Relinchos River on the descent to Las Lenas. Photo: Mike King
  • The Andes Mountains from the flight into Argentina. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Climbing Antisana, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom
  • RMI Team Climbing on Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Team on the Summit of Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The Cannelletta on Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection
  • Below the Aconcagua summit looking down into the Canaleta after a recent snowstorm. Photo: Mike King
  • Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff
  • An RMI Team climbing to High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Pete Van Deventer
  • RMI's High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Views of the Andes from Aconcagua. Photo: Garrett Stevens
  • RMI Guide Katie Bono. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Ecuador Mountain Signpost. Photo: RMI Collection