December 13, 2012
Hello everyone. After a day of long flights, our team arrived in Quito last night and moved into the Hotel Mercure Alameda to rest and recover.
This morning the team indulged in a great breakfast including various local fruits and dishes. After a quick orientation meeting, we headed out for a city tour and visit to the Equator. Warm weather and a sunny day made our time walking around the city enjoyable. We were able to visit Independence Plaza, the Jesuit church La Compania, and the Virgin of Quito - a 100+ foot statue with gorgeous views overlooking the city.
Seated at 9,350 feet, the air in Quito is thin, especially for those of us coming from sea level. The city tour, in addition to exposing us to some of the best sights in Quito, gave us a chance to stretch our legs and aid in the acclimatization process. The time that we spend here is building the base to increase our chances of success later in the trip.
We spent the afternoon exploring the Equatorial line and phenomenon associated with it. We watched basins of water, only a dozen feet apart, swirl opposite directions on each side of the line and learned when the indigenous people first discovered their location.
After taking a few hour siesta, the team met for our first dinner to round out the day. The conversation and laughter at our table made it feel like a group of old friends, who will only grow closer in the coming days.
December 13, 2012
Hola from Quito!
We started the day with another wonderful breakfast here at the hotel full of fruits, eggs, fresh baked breads and plenty of coffee. We then took a short cab ride to the Teleferico and rode the gondola up to around 13,500’. From here we hiked for about 3 hours to the top of Rucu Pichincha (15,696’). It was mostly cloudy on our acclimatization hike until we nearly reached the summit. The clouds broke up a bit and allowed us a few views of the surrounding valley. The team did great on the hike and a few team members reached new altitude records. We spent the rest of the day doing a little shopping, sightseeing and a few of us took siestas.
All is well here in Ecuador and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
On The Map
December 14, 2012
Things are winding down for the night here at the beautiful Hacienda San Luis -
The team had a big day. By 8am we had eaten breakfast and loaded our duffels into the bus transporting us for the day. A two hour bus ride brought us north of Quito to our second acclimatization climb on Cerro Negro, 13,976 feet. Despite being lower then our previous days climb, the team found the terrain quite challenging. The trail led us up some slippery, nearly vertical sections of grass and short bits of rock climbing before the summit cone. On top we were treated with clear skies and stunning views of a nearby lake. We all felt that we had put in a hard days work by the time we returned to the bus 3.5 hours later.
After stopping for some roadside refreshments, we arrived at Hacienda San Luis, a working Ecuadorian ranch that also boasts modern amenities. We spent the afternoon relaxing, getting gear in order and catching up with the outside world.
We hope all is well and appreciate everyone who is following along on our adventure.
RMI Guide Eric Frank and the Ecuador Team.
On The Map
December 15, 2012
Posted by: Casey Grom
Hello again from Ecuador. Today we are greeted with a beautifully, clear sky and amazing views of Cayambe looming far above us. We packed up all of our climbing gear, and loaded up the vehicles and headed into the town of Otavalo. Otavalo is home to one of the largest open-air markets in all of South America. The team spent about 2 hours shopping and trying out our bargaining skills with the locals. From the sounds of it, some of us did better than others. After town we started our two-hour drive through the beautiful countryside of Cayambe. The road slowly climbs up the ridge line that allows us access to this massive mountain. Due to the tough conditions of the road, we hiked the last little bit, which helped out with our acclimatization process. We are currently relaxing in the Cayambe’s climbers hut at about 15,300’ that overlooks a lot of the many glaciers here. The team is doing great and everyone’s ready to go to bed after an enjoyable dinner of pasta, vegetables and chicken. To top it all off, we were treated to an amazing sunset tonight that reminded me of the sunsets in central Oregon. Buenes noches and we look forward to checking in with you guys tomorrow. Have a good night.
Casey Grom checks in the Cayambe Hut.
On The Map
December 16, 2012
Hello, this is Eric Frank and the Ecuador crew checking in from climber’s hut here on Cayambe at 15,300’. The sun’s just gone down and we had a pretty restful day. We slept late this morning, had a big breakfast, and then climbed for about an hour and a half to get up to the toe of the glacier. We trained for a couple hours, talked about the climb and then came back to have a big dinner. We’re hoping to be in bed in the next thirty minutes. And we’ll be getting up in the middle of the night to make our attempt to climb Cayambe. So check back tomorrow, hopefully will be giving a call down sometime in the mid morning to early afternoon to let everyone know how things are going. Have a great night.
RMI Guide Eric Frank checks in from Cayambe.
Looks like Kristen and Chris made it. It looks beautiful. Glad to see everyone is OK. Love to all and stay safe.
Posted by: SaSa on 12/17/2012 at 8:30 pm
Hi Scott & Kelly,
looks like you have a great team and leader to take on the summit. I am so glad the weather has been good. Excited to see the pics from the summit. Keep on treking…
Posted by: Keith Kite on 12/17/2012 at 6:37 am
December 17, 2012
Hello everybody back home. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador expedition. Just wanted to let everyone know that we are standing on the summit of Cayambe right now! Beautiful day, a little chilly though. There’s a slight breeze. We had a total of 10 climbers reach the summit… One climber and one guide turned around at about 18,200’, just short of the summit. It’s been a really long day. The route is in good shape, but it’s just a really long route. Took us six and 1/2 hours for the first group and about 7 hours and 45 minutes for the second wave of climbers to reach the summit. Everyone’s been doing great, pushing real hard and are pretty tired. We’re going to take a few minutes get something to eat and drink and start making our way back down…....... We look forward to talking with you soon.
Casey Grom calls from the Cayambe summit!
On The Map
Hello, this is the Ecuador crew checking in. We had a great rest day. We are at the Hacienda Chilcabamba here at the base of Cotopaxi. Most of us took a nap in the afternoon, just getting ready for our next big push. So tomorrow morning we’ll head up to the Jose Ribas Refugio and get ready to climb. Things are beautiful down here. Hope everyone is doing well back home in the states.
RMI Guide Eric Frank checks in from Chilcabamba Eco Lodge.
On The Map
Way to go Mike, Scott & Kelly! How’s the air on the peaks? You look as though you’re breathing as well up there as you do at sea level - or is that just an act? Good luck and keep safe!
Posted by: Bill Proctor on 12/19/2012 at 12:24 pm
December 19, 2012
Hello everybody back home. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador’s Expedition. I just wanted to check in to let everyone know that all’s going well. We had a nice leisurely day today at Chilcabamba. Got up this morning, got things packed up and had about just over an hour drive up to the parking lot to the Cotopaxi Hut. We got out of the car little bit of cloud and took us about 40 minutes to hike up a nice easy trail to get up here to the hut. It sits at about, oh just shy of 16,000’...(transmission lost)
RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from Cotopaxi's Hut.
On The Map
December 20, 2012
Summit on Cotopaxi!
Casey Grom and Team phoned in from the summit of Cotopaxi early this morning. It was windy and cold, but the team did great.
Casey and Team Calling from Summit of Cotopaxi
Wow, this is amazing! Gail
Posted by: Gail Reams on 12/21/2012 at 6:51 am
Congratulations Team! We’re proud of you Mike, Scott and Kelly. Vero Beach is watching! - Pam
Posted by: Pam Proctor on 12/21/2012 at 4:44 am