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RMI Expeditions Blog


January 26, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team’s Decision on Next Climbing Objective

The team is well rested after our long climb on Cayambe. It took us about eight hours to reach the summit and another four to safely descend all the way back to the hut. Everyone was very happy, but also very tired from such a long day.
After descending from the mountain we had a wonderful lunch before arriving at Hacienda Guachala, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, which dates back to 1580. Everyone slept very well and enjoyed the hot showers to say the least.

Today we had a nice big breakfast and had a team meeting to discuss the upcoming climb on Chimborazo. Currently the climbing conditions here in Ecuador are less than ideal on several mountains including Chimbo. The local guides and I discussed the difficulty and hazardous conditions that awaited us there and decided it’s a little more than we are willing to risk.
The team was a little disappointed we weren’t going to climb to 20,000+ft, but everyone agreed it might be best to choose a safer option.
Our new plan is to climb another mountain that hasn’t been affected by the unusually dry weather, yet still gives us a challenging ascent.
We have relocated to a quaint little place in the countryside not too far from our next climb Rumiñahui. It’s not the big mountain we were hoping for, but I’m certain we will all enjoy the climb.

We’ll spend the day doing some training here tomorrow and getting prepared for our next adventure.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew


January 26, 2016

Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Descend to Base Camp and Trek Out

The RMI Aconcagua Team led by RMI Guides Billy Nugent and Katrina Bloemsma were unable to make a summit attempt and are en route to Mendoza.  The team left Base Camp today and is camped at Pampa de Las Lenas where they will spend the night.  They will finish their trek to the trail head tomorrow and return to Mendoza.

Jake and Doug. ..amazing trip I’m sure. ..can’t wait to hear all about it but more anxious to get you back home!  Love you burly, hairy mountain men!!

Posted by: Marsha and jeremy on 1/27/2016 at 5:05 pm

To: Branchflower

Bummer…...

Sorry to hear you had to “turn-back”. At least you were’nt one in 1974!

Have a safe trip home!

Lozier sends

Posted by: Tom Lozier on 1/27/2016 at 10:12 am


January 26, 2016

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team Reach Machame Camp

Jambo! All is well at Camp One, otherwise known as Machame Hut. We are already up at 10,000’ for our first night on the mountain. Interestingly 10,000’ here is still below tree line whereas back home on Mt. Rainier 10,000’ is way above the trees. That’s due to the fact that the atmosphere bulges around the equator so 10k here in Tanzania feels lower than 10k in Washington State.

The hiking today was great with just a few sprinkles of rain. My group from last week would have considered this a dry day.  We did pull out some rain gear briefly but the trail through the forest was mud free and the temperatures were very pleasant.

We have a real fun group and everyone was chatting away between themselves and with the African guides who will accompany us the whole time we are on the mountain.

We spent a total of 5 hours on the trail and combined with the jet lag should make for hungry appetites and good sleeping tonight. I’ll check in again tomorrow.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

On The Map


January 25, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador: Grom & Team Summit Cayambe

The Ecuador’s Volcanoes January 19th trip reached the summit of Cayambe today at 18,977’, RMI Guide Casey Grom said it was a tough climb and the ascent was 8 hours.  The team descended safely back to camp and then packed up their gear and loaded vechicles toward their hacienda for the night.  They were looking forward to hot showers and a good night’s rest.

Congratulations to all the climbers for their great effort today.

On The Map

Well done guys. It sounded like a tough climb so I hope you are all feeling good about your achievements so far!
Have fun on the rest of the trip! good luck and stay safe.

Posted by: Peter Williamson on 1/26/2016 at 8:22 am

Congratulations Dave, John & the rest of your team.  I was thinking about you when I was in PT yesterday.  Glad you are having a good trip.  Gambatte!

Posted by: Jean on 1/26/2016 at 4:25 am


January 25, 2016

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall & Team Ready to Tackle Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Dik Dik Hotel. The team is all assembled for dinner and we are packed and ready to go to Kilimanjaro tomorrow.
Everyone arrived late last night and after a few hours of sleep we met up for our first meeting and then a session on packing our gear for the next week on the mountain.
We spent the afternoon napping and finalizing the preparations. Tomorrow we will get up at 6 AM and depart at 7:00. We have a five-hour hike to get to camp so it’s nice to get an early start.
The weather reports from the mountain have been good for the past three days so we are hoping for that to continue.
I’ll check in again in about 24 hours.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall


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

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