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RMI Expeditions Blog


January 24, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador: Grom & Team Prepare for Cayambe Climb

Hey everybody, this is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador’s Volcanoes trip to let you know that we had another nice day down here on the equator. We woke up this morning at about 6 and had a quick breakfast and then tried to get out the door as close to 7 as we could. We hiked for about an hour and a half up to where the start of the glacier is here on Cayambe and took a nice break.  We spent the next couple hours reviewing some basic climbing techniques and trying to do a few advanced things and just getting ourselves prepared for tonight’s climb. The team is doing great, we just wrapped up dinner not too long ago.  We packed our backpacks and everybody’s off bed. If all goes well our plan is to wake up at about 11 p.m. and have another hot breakfast and hopefully be headed up hill about midnight. Currently it’s been pretty icy down here it’s been pretty dry and they haven’t had a lot of snow so I think the route might be a little more circuitous than normal. I am anticipating about a 7 hour ascent so if we are fortunate we might be able to reach the summit around 7 a.m.  Then we will take a handful of photos and then we’ll make our way back down. Regardless of how our climb goes tomorrow, our plan is to pack up and get out of here and head down to another hacienda so we will check in sometime tomorrow mid day and let everybody know how we’re doing.  All right you guys.

Thanks,
RMI Guide Casey Grom


RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from the climbers hut on Cayambe.

On The Map


January 24, 2016

Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Waiting out the Winds at Camp 2

Well, we are currently pinned down by high winds at Camp 2 and despite the sunny weather we are stuck alternating between chilling outside in camp or baking in the tents. Last night a pretty hefty storm thrashed camp with strong winds, new snow, and repeated thunder and lightning. Skies began to clear this morning and the wind began to abate in camp as it shifted more to the southwest putting us a bit more in the lee of the mountain. Unfortunately, it is still howling up at Camp 3 and the entire flank of Aconcagua is adorned with swirling clouds of spin drift and the summit is sporting a sizable contrail. Today is officially our first weather day as we have been knocked off our planned itinerary for the first time. Still, two days stuck in the tent feels like a lot and we are trying not to get saddled with cabin fever. The team is doing a great job staying positive despite the fact that nearly every other expedition on the mountain has bailed for Mendoza and we are eagerly awaiting the latest weather forecast for a potential summit window… 

Wish us luck!

Stuck in the tent for now anyway,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

I love you Daddy We all miss you so much.I hope you and Doug are having fun!!!  HI Daddy!                  Love,Bailey

Hey Babe- bails wanted to write you a message on her own!!  You guys are all in our prayers for a chance at the summit but we are all so proud of you even if you don’t get a chance at it!!  See you soon!!

Love you

Posted by: Bailey on 1/26/2016 at 8:28 am

Praying your team gets a break in the weather Jake.

We are following you from SAMCOM in Dallas

Good luck

Bob & the Crown gang

Posted by: Bob Fiedler on 1/26/2016 at 5:07 am


January 23, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

Hey everybody. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador Volcanoes trip. We have a great day today. We started off with a nice leisurely breakfast at La Casa Sol. We departed there at about 10:30 and made our way, just about 10 minutes down the road, to the big open air market of Otavalo. Otavalo has one of the largest markets in South America. It just so happens that Saturday is the big market there. We spent a little more than an hour doing some shopping, a little bartering and just general sightseeing as we made our way around the the central square in the town of Otavalo. After we had our fill there, we hopped in our van and we go to the town of Cayambe, which sits just at the base of the mountain Cayambe where we had a nice lunch and then we loaded up the vans one more time and had a nice bumpy, but enjoyable, ride up to the hut that is right at the base of the glacier here on Cayambe. We’re currently relaxing up here at about 15,000 feet. In fact it is a little after 8:30 for us here, that’s east coast time, and the team is outside looking up at a beautiful full moon and a fantastic view of Cayambe. Everyone’s doing great. We’re going to head to bed here pretty soon and then hopefully head up to the glacier tomorrow to do a little training in preparation for our climb. Other than that everything is going great for us and we’ll check in again sometime tomorrow. Alright thank you guys.

RMI Guide Casey Grom


RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Cayambe Climber's Hut.

Thank you, Casey, for these wonderful updates and for this awesome expedition!  I loved my phone call from the top of Cayambe.

We are thinking of all of you, and can’t wait to hear the stories and see the photos! 

Group hug! 

Laura

Posted by: Laura Bryson on 1/25/2016 at 6:57 am


January 23, 2016

Mexico’s Volcanoes

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Solveig & Team Summit El Pico de Orizaba

Hello Everyone!

We are all back in Tlachichuca after a beautiful summit day on Orizaba.  We awoke at midnight and were out the door by just after 1. The team did an excellent job of preparing and getting out of camp on time!  With all he new snow in the area lately, we were able to put crampons on just above the Piedra Grande Hut which made the walking conditions a bit more efficient! We reached the summit at just after 9 am and enjoyed clear skies, calm winds, and relatively warm weather, considering it was one of the coldest climbs I’ve had down here. 

We enjoyed nearly an hour of time on the summit and then carefully began our descent to camp.  The upper mountain was a bit icy and we exercised careful footwork and precision focus on our walk down the steep and smooth slopes of the Jamapa to the glacial moraine at 16,000’.

Back in town, we were all excited for the delicious dinner the Reyes family provides, and quickly got our equipment packed and ready in order to fully enjoy our meal at this quaint and historic soap factory.

Today was the final day of our expedition, and we are all looking forward to heading home to family and friends!

Thanks for following along!

RMI Guides Solveig Waterfall Billy Haas, and the team

Audio transcription from Orizaba summit
Hi everyone! This is Solveig calling in from the top of Orizaba. The team and I are up here. It’s a beautiful day- light winds and clear skies. Was a beautiful night as we climbed under a full moon. The team is doing well. We’re going to take a few more minutes and enjoy yourselves and then start our descent. We will check in from Tlachichuca. Cheers.


RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall calls from the Orizaba summit!

On The Map


January 23, 2016

Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Rest Day at Camp 2

We woke this morning to our first bit of precipitation. When I stuck my head out of the tent around 5 am, we were essentially in a cloud with some light flurries coming down but now the clouds have parted a bit and we’re enjoying views towards Mercedario again. It’s calm and more or less pleasant but we are waiting for a system to hit this afternoon with wind and precipitation. We are on a scheduled rest day and will hopefully see what this storm brings before we try and figure out our next move. When a window presents itself we’ll make a move for high camp at Plaza Cólera and hopefully take a crack at the summit the following day. But for now… We’re about to be stuck in a holding pattern. On a brighter note, we are celebrating a teammate’s birthday today complete with a cake and balloons courtesy of Katrina. Hoping everyone at home wishes John a happy one!

Signing off for now,

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Dear Dad
We are glad that there are only 9 more days until you get home.  We are missing on you.  LOVE:  Addy Leith Babe

I love you Dad so much.  We can’t stop thinking of you because you are our best dad and babe ever.  Love, Leith

Posted by: Addelyn on 1/25/2016 at 8:14 pm

Hey Babe!!

Hope all your crazy coats are keeping you warm while you wait out the storm!!  We are praying hard you stay safe but have a chance at the summit- hearing the kids prayers would bring a smile to your face for sure!!  Can’t wait to see the pics and hear all about your adventures- I like Charlyn an def looking forward to seeing that beard and crusty the clown hair you most likely have by now!!

The kids did awesome in their games yesterday and Mason even played on Bails team since they were short players!!

Stay safe all!!
Xoxo
Bre

Posted by: Bre on 1/24/2016 at 8:01 am


January 22, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Enjoy the Scenery from Fuya Fuya

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 quiet 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 wasn’t too bad 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 nice quiet night here.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Howard and Bill—-you guys look great!!!!!—continue being SAFE CAREFUL CAUTIOUS and enjoy this awesome experience. Best of luck to the whole team.  (Love you Howard —neehi :-). )

Posted by: Anita on 1/23/2016 at 5:58 am


January 22, 2016

Mexico’s Volcanoes

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Solveig & Team Ready for Orizaba Summit Bid

Hi everyone. This is Solveig calling in from the Piedra Grande Hut on Orizaba. Our team arrived around 3 p.m. We have beautiful skies and light winds; we’re all really excited about our climb tonight. We are going to have a delicious pasta dinner and then tuck in early and get ready to go climbing. We’ll touch base tomorrow when we return. Ciao.

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall


RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall calls in from Piedra Grande Hut.

On The Map


January 22, 2016

Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Settled into Guanacos Camp

Checking in from Guanacos Campo 3, or Camp 2 for us at well over 18,000’. We are moved and settled in, enjoying yet another perfect afternoon with coffee, cribbage, prosciutto, and of course, siestas. We felt the altitude before but with this most recent move higher we are all moving a bit slower and scratching our heads a bit longer when trying to figure out where that one stuff sack with our snacks went. The team is staying positive despite a tough looking weather forecast and we are hoping that Mother Nature will give us an opportunity to sneak in a trip to the top. Not much else cooking up here besides our broccoli and rice dinner…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Doug,

Man!  We sure hope you guys can at least take a crack at the summit.  Always in our prayers.  I know I’m a day late on this post, but just know we have been actively thinking and praying for your adventure.  Enjoy your time and keep that mind of yours sharp!  That altitude is no match for my babers!
We love you so much and miss you lots!
Char and kids

Posted by: Charlyn on 1/23/2016 at 8:29 pm

Hi Heather
Amazing to think you’ve gone so far. Hope you get a weather window for your attempt on the summit.
Love Brian, Mary Lou, David and Sarah

Posted by: Brian Macfaden on 1/23/2016 at 10:50 am


January 22, 2016

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Seth & Team’s One Last Adventure in Tarangire

Hello from Seth and the last of the team. We are at the end of the road, so-to-speak. Three of the team have left the group to continue their adventure in Zanzibar, we have a person flying out in a few minutes and the final three are leaving at 10pm tonight.
We have had a great trip with basically non-stop action the whole time. What I thought was going to be a mellow day started with our safari trucks getting dragged by tractor across a rising river. (Click on Seth’s video below.) The trucks can usually handle anything we come across but our drivers thought better of chancing the crossing and called in a tractor from our safari camp. That machine made quick work of the river and hauled both our vehicles across in less than ten minutes.
After that it was a breeze through Tarangire National Park where the elephants were out in full force. We saw hundreds of them.
That was a very appropriate ending to a whirlwind trip. I can’t wait to see what the next one brings!

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

A video posted by Seth Waterfall (@sethwaterfall) on

We have loved receiving your blogs.  Thanks for keeping Derek and Karen and the rest of the team safe during so many adverse conditions.  We wish you well on all your adventures. Stay safe.

Posted by: Delta and Peter Fuller on 1/22/2016 at 2:35 pm


January 21, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Acclimatize on Rucu Pichincha

Hello again everyone.
Today we had a very nice hike to help with our acclimatization on a nearby peak called Pichincha. It is one of the many local peaks that is situated above Quito and is used by many climbers to help adjust to the higher altitude here in Ecuador. We made use of the gondolas to help us gain access to around 13,000ft then hiked the additional 2,500ft to the summit. It took our team roughly three hours to gain the top after a little scrambling up the final bit to reach our high point thus far. It was a personal high point for a few of us, and the entire team did a fantastic job. After spending a bit of time on the summit and getting our photos we descended all the back to our hotel for a brief nap before dinner.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

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