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Ecuador: Billy Nugent &Team Begin with a Tour of Quito’s Old Town and the Equator

Hi everybody back home… We just finished our first official day on our Cotopaxi and Cayambe program. The team met up this morning for a quick breakfast at our hotel in the Mariscal district of Quito before setting out on a tour of the city. At over 9,000’, Quito is the second highest capital city in the world behind only La Paz in Bolivia. Makes for great acclimatizing while still hanging out in town! We visited a bunch colonial churches, homes, and cathedrals in the colonial district of Quito known as the Old Town. Actually a UNESCO world heritage site, Quito’s Old Town has many buildings dating back to the early 1500’s. In the afternoon we lunched at a typical fritada restaurant and then headed out towards the geographical equator. At the “Mitad del Mundo” there’s a small museum where a local guide showed us experiments with Coriolis forces on and near the actual equator in addition to some taxidermy of exotic species from the Amazon. Almost a tiny natural history museum meets Ripley’s Believe It or Not, there were preserved specimens of terrifying spiders, boa constrictors, anacondas, barbed fish that will swim up your urethra (crazy), and a legit human shrunken head! After our city tour and a brief team meeting we capped off the day with the first of many team dinners to come.

Now we’re back at the hotel watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on late night TV. Awesome.

All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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We miss you dad.  Have fun on your climb.
Ken, Alex and Sophia.

Posted by: Veronica on 2/14/2014 at 9:20 pm

Ecuador: Nugent &Team Hike to Top of Rucu Pichincha

Ecuador Adventure - Day 2:

Today the gang got their first taste of real altitude with an acclimatization hike and scramble on slopes just above the western edge of the city. After a quick breakfast we hopped a few taxis over to the Teleférico, Spanish for gondola, and rode it up high out of town. Blue skies and clear views were an uncommon treat for us and the top of the gondola revealed Cayambe in the north, Antisana to the east, and Cotopaxi and Chimborazo to the south. From there we started moving up the slopes of Pichincha, the volcano closest to Quito. We even had a chance to spy a couple of condors gliding below us and then riding thermals high, high above. These are rarely seen birds with wingspans as large as 3 m, quite the treat. Anyway, after a few hours of hiking and a little scrambling here and there we found ourselves on the summit enjoying 360-degree views of Quito and the caldera. The mountain we climbed was called Rucu Pichincha meaning the old part of the volcano, and we were catching views of the Guagua Pichincha, the baby volcano. We snapped some photos from the peak (4,697 m) and then made short work of the descent. Our acclimatization hikes will continue tomorrow but we are gonna hit the road and leave Quito headed north.

More tomorrow!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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Hi Charlie! The view is breathtaking, so glad I get to see it and follow along with your trip. Thinking of you :)

Posted by: Anna on 2/14/2014 at 9:38 pm

Ecuador: Nugent & Team Acclimatize on Cerro Fuya Fuya

After one last night in Babylon (Quito) the gang packed up and hit the road for what will become our journey to Cayambe. We passed through several small towns on our way to the day’s acclimatization hike on Cerro Fuya Fuya. A small hand-cobbled country road led us up into a deep caldera filled with a beautiful lake. From there we began our march upward through tall grass meadows towards Fuya Fuya’s summit on the rim of the crater. A short couple hours of hiking and scrambling brought us to el cumbre at just above 4,100 m. Unfortunately, the views weren’t quite as spectacular as our jaunt on Pichincha because of clouds, but they’d occasionally part and give us glimpses of the green slopes and the lake below. After a quick descent we hustled back to the bus and headed back towards Otavalo where we posted up for the night at the beautiful Casa Sol guest house. We’re enjoying a last night in a real bed before heading for the big hill tomorrow. 


RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

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Fatima, This is another great adventure!!!

Posted by: Debbi LaPrevotte on 2/15/2014 at 5:10 pm

Ecuador: Nugent & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

We woke not so early today (this mountaineering gig is rough) had a nice breakfast from the kind folks at Casa Sol and jumped in the bus for the famous Otavalo open air market. We spent a few hours cruising the stalls with food, jewelry, meats, produce, grains, spices, and of course handicrafts for sale. There’s even a livestock market which is quite a sight (and smell). Clark and Garrett wanted to go looking for a live monkey to bring home but there was no such luck. I wonder what kind of papers a monkey needs to come back to the states. Anyway, we skipped Otavalo and finally headed for Cayambe where we are settling in up at the hut over 15,000’. The air is thin but everyone’s doing great so far. I’ll let y’all know how that notorious first night at really high altitude goes…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

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Ecuador: Nugent & Team Ready for Cayambe’s Summit Bid

Woke up this morning to beautiful blue skies up here at the Cayambe hut with views of the mountain, Antisana in the distance, and a sea of clouds blanketing the lowlands. It was a bit of a rough night being our first evening sleeping at over 15,000’ but everyone took it in steed and felt much better once we were moving around and enjoying a not so rustic breakfast. After downing breakfast burritos and coffee we packed up for a day of training and set out from the hut for the glacier. After about an hour and change of scrambling up a buttress, we hit the glacier and geared up with helmets, harnesses, ice axes, and crampons refreshing up on some of our basic climbing skills. Clouds came in and out, we chilled and boiled… Then headed back to the Refugio to eat dinner and get to bed early for tomorrow’s alpine start. If the weather continues doing what it has been we should be poised for a good crack at the summit.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent and the gang

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So exciting! Good luck Charlie and the team! Can’t wait to hear how it goes :)

Posted by: Anna on 2/16/2014 at 7:16 pm

Go Dad GO.
Love reading about what you are doing.
Ken, Alex and Sophia

Posted by: Veronica on 2/16/2014 at 7:10 pm

Ecuador: Nugent & Team Summit Cayambe!

Hey everybody! It’s Billy here checking in for Garrett, Jaime and the rest of the crew. We are on the summit of Cayambe right now with clear skies and calm winds. Enjoying a perfect day. That’s all to report really. We will be headed down shortly here and wish us luck for us a safe descent. All is well, bye bye.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Guide Billy Nugent calls from the Cayambe summit!

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Way to go Dad!  We love you!
Anne, Sarah, Jake and Abe

Posted by: Jen Blodgett on 2/18/2014 at 11:48 am

Woohoo!  Go team, go!

Posted by: Amy on 2/18/2014 at 8:43 am

Ecuador: Nugent and Team Recap Summit of Cayambe

All smiles on the summit of Cayambe!

Our strong team made short work of Cayambe today and were on the summit in about 6 hours and 45 minutes after leaving the refugio. Conditions were very firm on the glacier and when combined with fair weather and almost no wind it made for a quick trip up. A rope length of steep snow and ice just below the summit required some front pointing and a belay especially because the runout emptied into a giant chasm of a bergschrund. A little ice climbing is always nice to keep you on your toes. The sun came up at some point while we were negotiating this steep pitch and we enjoyed the dawn from the summit. We took pictures and exchanged high fives on top and after a short while began our descent because we wanted to pass over several hollow spots on the glacier before the day heated up. Those firm glacier conditions that made the climbing so nice on the way up made the descent a fair bit more taxing. Despite being tired and a bit worked we were back at the refugio just after 10:30 am. A quick pickup and we were headed down the road to meet Victor and jump on the bus for the long ride to the Chilcabamba eco lodge at the base of Cotopaxi. And after a time warp of a bus ride, here we are chilling and filling up on a hot meal with a rest day ahead.

Time for sleep…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

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Ecuador: Nugent and Team Enjoy Rest Day at Chilcabamba

Hi all… Just checking in on a rest day here at Chilcabamba. Been enjoying the views and the rustic setup of this farmhouse turned lodge and lazing about like monarchs. The famous dogs of Chilcabamba, Pacha and Toa are still around and friendly as ever (anyone who’s been here knows what I’m talking about). These guys might be easier to adopt than the aforementioned monkey but I’m pretty sure the folks here won’t give them up so easily. Not much else to report besides views, wood burning stoves, hundreds of hummingbirds, and ponchos! Enjoying our rest and letting our brains as bodies recoup after yesterday’s challenge, getting ready for the next…

RMI Guides Billy, Garrett & Team

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Hey, it’s Billy here checking in with our crew 100% on top of Cotopaxi. Enjoying another gorgeous day and another summit of an Ecuadorian Volcano! We have been taking probably hundreds of photos here on the top and we are going to gear up shortly and begin our descent. We will check in when again when we are down safe and sound, so wish us luck.

Ciao ciao!

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

Billy Nugent calling from the summit of Cotopaxi.

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Ecuador: Nugent & Team Arrive Back in Quito

Well, we are off the mountain safe and sound back at the hotel in Quito. Our descent went extremely smoothly with the snow conditions making for a much easier time than we had on Cayambe. At our lunch pit stop on the way back to the city we happened to randomly run into another RMI team headed by Casey and Topo that was headed from Illiniza Sur into Cotopaxi. I hope they come across the same great weather and conditions we enjoyed today. Anyway, we are all resting and cleaning up at the hotel before we meet one last time as a team tonight for a celebratory dinner.

Until next year…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent & Team

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