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RMI Expeditions Blog


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Head Into the Tarangire National Park

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


Ecuador Volcanoes: Ben Liken & Team Arrive in Quito

Howdy folks,

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!

RMI Guide Ben Liken


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Settling in at Camp 2

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.

More tomorrow!

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


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Explore the Ngorongoro Crater

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


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Enjoy Rest Day at Camp 1

Today our team enjoyed a day of rest and recovery at Camp 1 on Aconcagua. Some team members read, others listened to music, others cat napped. As a group we took a light stroll in the afternoon to keep ourselves breathing well and acclimating. We were fortunate enough to enjoy beautiful weather the whole day, and made sure to heckle groups heading up and down the mountain as we lounged by our outdoor kitchen. Everyone is excited to move up to Camp 2 tomorrow, and keep our momentum going.

Hasta manana ~

RMI Guides Mark Tucker & Pepper Dee

On The Map


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Visit Lake Manyara on Safari

Safari time!

Today was the first day of safari for us and we headed east to visit Lake Manyara, which is known for its tree climbing lions, flamingos, and more than 400 different species of birds. We didn’t manage to see any of those famous lions, but we had a very close encounter with a few elephants within just minutes of entering the park. Nothing dangerous, but they passed close enough that we could have almost touched them.
It was a pretty hot day here in Africa, so I’m sure that kept many of the animals hiding in the shade. We did manage to see wildebeest, zebras, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippos, baboons, impalas and so many birds I lost count. It was a pretty nice introduction to the incredible bio-diversity that Africa has, and everyone enjoyed the day riding around in our safari vehicles.
We finished the day spending a few hours relaxing and exploring the grounds of our amazing lodge. Check it out for yourself.
www.plantation-lodge.com

We also celebrated another birthday here in Africa. This time it was for Sean McCroskey.
So a big happy 22nd birthday to him!

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

Congrats all!! Maine says send more pictures :)

Posted by: Shannon on 1/18/2017 at 6:58 am


Aconcagua: Tucker & Team Carry to Camp 2 and Enjoy the Views

Today our team carried food and personal equipment from our current camp at 16,500 feet to our Camp 2, which sits at right around 18,000 feet. Our climb took us up to the saddle, or “Col,” which separates Aconcagua from her sister peak Ameghino, and then wrapped around to the north side of the mountain. We spent the second half of the climb marveling at the newly visible high Andes stretching away to the north, and pulled in to camp 2 in fine form. Gear cached, descent styled, our team is looking forward to a well earned rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guides Mark Tucker & Pepper Dee

On The Map

Rest well Team! We’re rooting for you. I love following your progress and seeing the photos. It must be beautiful. (Love you Papa!)

Posted by: Lindsay M on 1/17/2017 at 2:17 pm


Kilimanjaro: Grom & Team Finish Climb and Return to Arusha

Jambo everyone!

Yesterday we had a wonderful albeit long day climbing to the top of Africa.
We started shortly after midnight beneath a sky full of stars and climbed for a few hours before the moon came out to help light our way. As per usual we climbed in hour increments with 10-15 breaks in between. The weather was very calm allowing us to take our time and not feel too cold which we are thankful for. The climb took about 7 1/2 hrs to reach the crater rim, where we were greeted with a moderate cold wind, but also the warmth of the sun to keep it tolerable. Then came our final stretch over to the top of Kilimanjaro also called Uhuru peak. Once there, we had the place mostly to ourselves and we hugged each other, enjoyed the view and took plenty of pictures.
It was a true test of endurance for most of the crew, and I’m really proud of everyone. We descended back to high camp, had a quick lunch, repacked and continued further down the mountain to our final camp on the mountain, where we had dinner and then headed to bed for some well deserved sleep.
Today we woke at 7am feeling good, had breakfast, then enjoyed a goodbye song and dance from our gracious crew of posters, cooks, and local guides numbering 46. We finished the little celebration by handing out their well deserved tips and then hit the trail one last time.
It took a little over three hours to reach the park gate where the team had lunch then hopped aboard our awaiting bus for the ride back to the lodge.
Finally we are all safe and sound, and a little less odorous, after an amazing seven day journey up and down Kilimanjaro.
The team is currently relaxing and looking forward to Safari which starts tomorrow!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy Kilimanjaro crew

Great blog Casey! Sure enjoyed the updates - - Thanks so much!  The smiles in the photo speak volumes.  2 thumbs up for RMI !

Posted by: Janet Rutter on 1/17/2017 at 5:36 pm

Thank you for the blog Casey. It’s been awesome to be able to take the journey with all of you day by day. Congratulations!! Enjoy the second leg of your incredible journey Catherine! Looking forward to seeing you soon! Xo

Posted by: Deborah Nicholson on 1/16/2017 at 6:03 pm


Aconcagua: Nugent & Team Secure Permits and Get Ready for Trail

January 16, 2017

Assuming there won’t be a satellite signal this evening (Pampa de Leñas is in a tight valley) I’m writing to let everyone know we enjoyed our last night and morning in civilization. We are hitting the trail without a hitch this morning and are looking forward to a safe and successful expedition… we’ll check in again from Casa de Piedra in a couple days!

Ciao!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent


January 15, 2017
Whew… a hectic day today. An early rise helped us get ahead of the curve on a slightly convoluted permit process that we couldn´t have navigated so efficiently without the assistance of our friend Nico and outfitter at Grajales Expeditions. We spent the rest of the morning tying up loose ends, checked out of the hotel, and loaded up into the van for our transfer out to Penitentes. The four hour drive went by quickly and we were treated to amazing views of the Andes along the way. We unloaded at the Grajales packing facility and checked in to our hotel for what will be our last night in a real bed for quite a while. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent getting our personal and group loads ready for the mule team that will carry all of our heavy gear into Aconcagua Basecamp. We´re excited to leave the tedious details of packing behind and hit the trail tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed for good weather on the trail and a smooth trek into Basecamp…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

I hope the stars at Lenas deliver. Enjoy the big skies.

Posted by: Maude Lebowski on 1/17/2017 at 6:07 pm


Ecuador Seminar: Recap of Chimborazo Climb and Trip Finale

Hola from Banos Ecuador.

I am sorry to announce we did not summit Chimborazo today.  Here’s why.
This morning the team woke up at high camp and we couldn’t tell if we were in Ecuador or Alaska.  As I mentioned in the previous dispatch, the snow level on this mountain is as low as Ive ever seen it.  Normally the precipitation falls during the later hours in the day as the clouds build.  By midnight those clouds usually dissipate leaving clear skies and good climbing conditions. 
Of course this didn’t happen the day we attempted to climb.  When I got out to the tent at 11:30pm, we could barley see our neighbors, let alone the mountain.  Light snow was falling and the wind didn’t seem overly oppressive but the clouds were as thick as pea soup and air was cold.  By the time we geared up and put in a solid hour of climbing, the skies actually began to clear enough to see what lay ahead.  Everyone was climbing really strong and the conditions, despite the new snow were the best I’ve seen that high up. 
By the time we reached 18,900 feet, the mountain had had enough of playing Mr. Nice Guy.  The clouds built, the wind began to blow a solid 25 and the snow began to fall quite hard.  With all of these things happening at once, the safety margin in which we felt comfortable climbing in disappeared.  The avalanche hazard became to high and the only reasonable option was to turn around. 
This was a hard blow to the team but everyone handled it well.  Chimborazo dealt us a hand we couldn’t beat.  So goes the tough game of mountain climbing.  You win some and you lose some.  Fortunately, even the loses create experiences, memories and adventures we won’t soon forget. 
So after the climb, the team descended to the hut, packed up all our gear and headed down to a jungle town called Banos, translated, meaning baths.  There are many naturally heated hot springs here as well as good restaurants and pubs.  We even found one that serves IPA and Stout.  A well deserved treat after two hard weeks of climbing.  Add on top of the beer a good beat down by a local group of teenagers on the basketball court next to the hotel and I would say our day ended better than it began. 
Now we return to Quito for our farewell dinner and travels home.  We hope you’ve enjoyed following along. 
Thanks for the support. 

RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt and team saying adios and muchas gracias.

Jim, Really bummed at your disappointment, but I know with you, there will be another day!  Here’s hoping all is well and safe travels home.  Richard

Posted by: Richard Aspinall on 1/17/2017 at 6:07 am

Tough news Jimmy but turning around was the right call…dang

Posted by: Tom Garner on 1/16/2017 at 6:55 pm

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