November 30, 2011
Hello Everyone and welcome to RMI’s Ecuador Expedition 2011.
The entire team safely arrived last night and headed straight to our nice hotel, Hotel Mercure Alameda, to get a little rest after the long flights. We started today with a huge Ecuadorian buffet breakfast full of delicious breads, pastries, fruit, juices and washed it all down with plenty of coffee. After filling our stomachs we sat down for a round of meet and greet that included an orientation and overview of the program ahead.
Just after 10 a.m. we headed out the door on our city tour of Quito, starting off with a visit to the colonial old town. We were lead by our local guide Jorge though the narrow roads with stops at the Basilica, church of La Campania (built in 1605), the monastery of San Francisco (built in 1535) and a visit to Independence Square to see the President’s Place. Next up was a quick stop atop the Panacilla which is a small hill overlooking Quito with a 200’ statue of the Virgin of Quito. The views where wonderful of this 2 million-plus city. We finished the tour by heading a little to the north to stop and visit both hemispheres at the Equator from where Ecuador gets its name. It was fascinating to see the Coriolis effect in both hemispheres with different results in just a few feet. It made believers out of most, but I hear there are still a few skeptics among us.
We headed back to our hotel for a quick gear review and a little shopping before dinner and have now returned to catch a little shut eye before tomorrow’s adventure.
All is well and everyone is excited to be here.
RMI Guide Casey Grom
Have a great time. I’m posting the blog!
Posted by: Debbie Growe on 12/5/2011 at 10:10 am
Spencer, looks like a great group of people. Have fun, be careful and make sure you don’t get too “hangry”.
Posted by: Karen Geiger on 12/2/2011 at 7:59 am
December 2, 2011
Hola from Ecuador. We started our day with another bountiful and colorful breakfast this morning. The main dishes varied from yesterday’s breakfast. Eggs, sausages, and mini breakfast burritos were the main attractions. Rounding out our breakfast of yogurt, papaya, mini pastries and once again fine Ecuadorian coffee. After breakfast we loaded the taxis and shuttled over to the teleferico ( or the gondola ). Which was a short 10 minute drive from our hotel through the bustling streets of Quito.
The hearty breakfast was put to good use today as we had our first day of beginning our acclimatization with some physical activity. We rode the teleferico to about 13,500 ft. We then began our 3.5 hour hike up Rucu Pichincha. The weather and temperature for our hike could not have been more pleasant. We had some clouds in the area which helped to keep the temperature moderate. We all agreed that it felt splendid to stretch our legs and most importantly work our lungs, breathing hard as we hiked to nearly 15,500 ft. Conversation throughout the hike was animated, as we hiked through varied terrain of lush vegetation and some fun rocky terrain. The view of Quito throughout the day gave us an appreciation of how big this city of 2.2 million people is.
We returned to our hotel in the afternoon for a few hours of free time to relax, explore local culture and prepare for our departure from Quito tomorrow morning. Dinner tonight was filled with laughs and great conversation. We are all back at the hotel this evening preparing for a good nights rest feeling satisfied with the day, looking forward to tomorrows adventures.
December 2, 2011
Today we left the busy city and headed north to continue our acclimatization and experience some of Ecuador’s wonderful culture.
Our drive north took us to the small town of Tabacundo were we turned off the highway and drove up a cobbled stone road to the base of our next hike. Our hike for the day was the beautiful Cerro Fuya Fuya, which is large grass covered mountain with a small rocky summit that overlooks a small lake. Although Fuya Fuya is considered a small mountain here in Ecuador it is nearly as tall as Mt. Rainier, but not nearly as tough. Today’s climb took just over 3 hours to reach the summit and make it back to our vehicles and everyone did great. Thankfully we timed it perfectly, because no sooner had we arrived back to the cars then the rain started to fall.
We quickly left the trailhead and headed for our new home for the night at Hacienda Hosteria San Luis. San Luis is nestled in between our first climbing objective, Cayambe and one of South Americas largest markets, Otavalo. Normally we would spend the day exploring the grounds of this working ranch, but the rain is still falling and now we are relaxing, listening to the frogs croak and enjoying the peacefulness and the warmth of the fireplace. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and I’m sure are looking forward to a nice meal and a good night sleep.
RMI Guide Casey Grom
Excellent travail, je suis très heureux pour vous et pour l’équipe!
Gatorade est impressionnant:)
Posted by: Timborazo on 12/5/2011 at 12:51 pm
So Spence, I spent the day raking leaves… not sure it compares to yours. First summit bid tomorrow?
Posted by: Scott Arnold on 12/4/2011 at 4:44 pm
December 5, 2011
Today was a great day. We visited the Otavalo market working on our bargaining skills. Then we returned to the San Luis Hacienda for a great lunch this afternoon. After lunch we drove towards the Cayambe hut in a torrential downpour of rain. Fortunately the rain let up and we were able to make our hike up to the hut on Cayambe (15,300’). Everybody did a wonderful job. The group is super strong and things are going really well. It’s been a great group. That is everything here from Ecuador. We will check in with our adventures from tomorrow. Ciao.
December 5, 2011
Hello everybody back home. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador’s Volcanoes Expedition. Just letting you know that everyone doing quite well up here at the hut at Cayambe. We woke up to a beautifully clear morning and were able to see most of the volcano through the valley here. We had a nice leisurely breakfast then we hiked for just over an hour to access the lower part of the glacier here on Cayambe. We reviewed some of our climbing techniques that we will need for tomorrow’s upcoming summit climb. Everyone seems to be doing great. We made it back to the hut. We just finished up a nice lunch. Folks are taking some naps. Looking forward to an early dinner tonight and getting a most likely midnight start for our summit time tomorrow. We will do our best to call from the summit to let everybody know how things are going. At very least we will call tomorrow when we return from our hopefully successful climb. Once again, everyone is doing great and we will check in tomorrow. Thanks.
RMI Guide Casey Grom
December 5, 2011
RMI Guides Casey Grom & Jason Thompson checked in this morning with the news that their team reached the summit of Cayambe (18,997’) at 7:10 a.m. local time today. The team left the hut on Cayambe (15,330’) just after midnight with a low cloud layer above keeping them warm to about 17,000’. The team climbed well with some steep and challenging conditions on the final approach to the summit. They reported mostly cloudy skies and knee to ankle deep snow in places. Unfortunately, the cloud cover obscured their views from the summit but they did take some time to celebrate their accomplishment before starting the descent. Everyone is back to the Cayambe hut. They are planning to pack up, load the vehicles and make their way down the mountain. They will stop for lunch and then continue to Chilcabamba Eco Lodge where they will stay and rest the next two nights.
Congratulations to the team!
What a great achievement! Congrats to my brother Charlie and the whole team!! IT is awesome to see photos and get these updates.
Posted by: Annmarie Eldering on 12/7/2011 at 7:52 am
Papa - Everyone looks great. Hope your climbs are all they would be. Keep up the great work! We miss you. Michael and Gracie
Posted by: michael and gracie on 12/6/2011 at 6:25 pm
December 7, 2011
Hey, this is the Ecuador trip checking in.
Today we had a much deserved and much needed rest day here at the Chilcabamba Lodge. We woke up this morning to glorious views of Cotopaxi and a magnificent breakfast. We ate wonderful food and drank lots of coffee. We spent the majority of the day resting, relaxing and drying out and organizing our gear for tomorrow’s departure to Cotopaxi. This afternoon we enjoyed more coffee and continued reviews of Cotopaxi and finished the day off with a wonderful dinner this evening.
Everyone is doing well here in Ecuador and we are all looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures. We’ll check in later.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson checks in from Ecuador.
December 7, 2011
This is Craig Herd reporting in for the RMI Team on the Cotopaxi Climb. We are now at the hut on Cotopaxi at 16,000 feet. The weather is a balmy & cold. We just had an enjoyable dinner.
The climbing team has come together very well. We’re looking forward to an early morning start for our summit attempt. Everyone is in good spirits. We look forward to reporting in tomorrow.
RMI Team Member Craig Heard
RMI Team Member Craig Heard Checking In.
Papa, GREAT job! Hope there was a little bit of clear skies so everyone could have a good view. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventure tomorrow. Love, Michael and Gracie
Posted by: michael and gracie on 12/8/2011 at 4:20 pm
Spence - Looks like you and the team are really ready for the big climb. Sounds like all has gone extremely well. Luck to all!
Posted by: M.A. Arnold- on 12/7/2011 at 9:31 pm
December 8, 2011
Hello everybody back home this is Casey Grom checking for RMI’s Ecuador Expedition.
We are currently on the summit of Cotopaxi. We had a great day, pretty tough conditions, lots of new and loose snow. We made it up in just over 6 hours. Everybody did great. We are hanging in some sunshine right now taking a few photos and are going to be heading down in just a little bit.
We will check in again as soon as we get back safely to the hut. We’ll be heading back to Quito tonight.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the team check in from the summit of Cotopaxi!
Well done team! I am looking forward to getting the full report when you visit for Xmas Spence. Feel free to bring what ever amount of snow you can manage to Idaho because we are dying up here.
Posted by: Scott Arnold on 12/9/2011 at 9:54 pm
Nice job bro!
Posted by: JJ on 12/8/2011 at 7:43 pm