Entries By adam knoff
January 2, 2018
Hello from Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador.
Today we finally packed our duffels, checked out of our nice hotel and headed for the mountains. It may sound a bit confusing that we stood in ankle-deep snow yesterday at 15,200 feet but weren’t actually “in the mountains”. Strangely enough, yesterday’s mountain took ten minutes by taxi to get to followed by two hours of hiking. Not exactly the adventure one thinks of when breaking the 15,000-foot barrier.
Today was a different story. By 8:00am, we were packed and ready to load all 22 duffel bags into Victor’s magic bus, point that thing north and drive for three hours toward a large concentration of volcanoes which includes the 19,000-foot Cayambe, famous for being the only location on the actual equator to hold year-round snow. Things started smoothly, picking our way slowly through heavy Quito morning traffic. By 11am we had reached our turn off in the renowned market town of Otavalo. From the main road our plan was to turn off and head up a large extinct volcano to a beautiful crater lake and then hike 2,000’ to the sharp summit of Fuya Fuya.
Two miles up the road we ran head on into a sign that read Detour! We quickly asked another driver what the road was like and he responded by saying no big buses could make it to the lake. With some quick phone calls, a bit of luck and some willing participants, we hired two 4x4 trucks, loaded them full of 12 climbers and powered upward. Thirty minutes later we arrived at Laguna Mojando. From the lake, two hours of strenuous hiking brought us to our first Ecuadorian summit. We had light rain and distant thunder but overall very pleasant hiking conditions.
The team did great sticking together reaching the summit in very good style. Although this summit was only 14,000’, we still felt the strain and know it will play an important role in preparation for our bigger objective starting tomorrow.
After the hike our trucks returned and carted us back to town where Victor and all of our things were waiting.
Once regrouped, we drove directly to the “House of Sun” or Casa Sol, where we enjoyed learning knots by the fire and had a fabulous traditional Ecuadorian dinner.
Reports keep coming in from the higher mountains of deep snow and abnormally bad road conditions. We have plans around these challenges but it should keep things interesting. Stay tuned for what’s to come…...
Everyone sends their best to loved ones back home.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff
Sign Up For Ecuador 2018 Emails
This morning we awoke to steady rain in Quito. Despite the conditions and the midnight fireworks disrupting slumber, the team rallied in the lobby of Hotel Mercure excited for our first acclimatization trek up Rucu Pinchincha (15,700ft). As we loaded up on coffee and croissants the rain began to taper to a drizzle and we embarked on a short taxi ride to the Teleferico, a gondola that carried us high above the city to 13,000 feet. We began our trek towards the summit with a light rain and snow mix and good visibility. We may not have had bluebird skies but we did get the unique experience of undercast clouds wafting in out of the peaks around Quito. The team cruised the rolling alpine meadow ridge that makes up the first half of the climb, showing their prowess at the high elevation by chatting the whole way. We stopped to take a break just before the route changes character and shifts to steeper, rockier traversing leading around the spiny pinnacle to a saddle just before the final ridge scramble. As we entered this more challenging terrain we encountered snow that had managed to accumulate, a rare occurrence on Pinchincha. As we continued the snow deepened to about 6”, increasing the challenge of the already demanding terrain. The team took these obstacles in stride and made it to the saddle just shy of 15,300’ in style. We decided to make this our high point having accomplished our goal of acclimatization and not wanting to risk the decreased friction on the third-class scramble to the summit. The wet snow and muddy ground demanded our attention on the descent, but we made it back to the Teleferico in good time with only a few muddy hands and backsides. After some much deserved rest we’re off to explore the local cuisine of Quito. Tomorrow will take us up Cerro Fuya Fuya for another round of acclimatization then our first big one, Cayambe!
Sign Up For Ecuador 2018 Emails
December 31, 2017
Happy New Year from Quito, Ecuador. I am happy to report the entire Expedition Skills Seminar team has arrived safely and is ready for a fun evening enjoying local culture and spirits. Our fiesta will come on the heels of a great day which involved a number of interesting and fun activities.
To begin our first official day together we met after breakfast going through a quick team introduction and itinerary overview. At 9 am the streets outside were already filling with eager New Year’s enthusiasts, some dressing in drag and some wearing colorful wigs, but we passed on joining them and loaded onto our tour bus bound for the middle of the world. Once at the equator, we observed fun physical anomalies only present on the actual equatorial line. Much of our group earned their “Egg Master” awards, balancing an egg on a nail, while others tried to shut their eyes and walk the line without tipping over. Why an egg will balance on a nail but a human can’t balance with their eyes closed is beyond me but proves to be the case.
Outside of the museum, the team encountered a group of locals partaking in the local custom of burning large dolls supposedly filled with the year’s bad energy. As it burns you are supposed to make a wish for better things to come, then leap over the burning pile to make that wish come true. Stephanie showed no fear in giving her wish the best chance.
From the equator we traveled south into the old town of Quito where we gained beautiful vistas of this 40 mile long city atop a hill called El Panacillo. Unfortunately, there were no views of our snow capped peaks but we know they are out there. After this we descended into the old town where we toured some traditional shops and streets then finished in the main square of Quito directly across from the presidential palace.
Despite most of the team feeling a bit tired from traveling and jumping straight to 9000’, we left time to have a late lunch at a great little micro-brewery trying it’s best to replicated those in the states. Although the IPA needs a bit more hoppiness, the stout proved our favorite.
Tomorrow we gear up for our first acclimation hike. Stay tuned to see if a few in the group break their previous altitude high points. Late night or not, I have high hopes…..
Happy New Year once more. Salud.
RMI Guide Adam Knoff
Sign Up For Ecuador 2017 Emails
that certainly sounds like my Stephanie! Happy climbing and be SAFE! Love Mom xxxooo
Posted by: Karen Norris on 1/1/2018 at 11:33 pm
June 14, 2017
Posted by: Adam Knoff
The Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Adam Knoff reached 13,200’ on Mt. Rainier today. The team reported blowing snow and strong winds from the west as they climbed into a cap. With the deteriorating conditions and slow climbing, the team made the decision to turn before the summit.
Congratulations to today’s team!
Thanks, Sid! Nick and I will post our pictures when we get to wifi later today or tomorrow.
What an awesome trip with the team!
Posted by: Natasha on 6/15/2017 at 2:24 pm
June 9, 2017
RMI Guides Adam Knoff and Mike King led their Four Day Summit Climb June 6 - 9 Teams to the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. The teams ascended to Camp Muir yesterday in wet conditions so we were glad to hear that the weather had improved for their summit day. After enjoying some time in the crater the teams will return to Camp Muir and then continue their descent to Paradise.
We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp later this afternoon.
Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!
I was part of the team that past you yesterday on the snowfield in the rain storm. Felt so bad for you guys. I was soaked. But to see that you made it gives me great joy. Congrats!! I am so happy for you!!
Posted by: Joe Seguin on 6/9/2017 at 9:06 pm
Congratulations to our friend we met at the Missoula gas station.
Posted by: Dorothy M Hammons on 6/9/2017 at 1:46 pm
June 6, 2017
The June 3-6 Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Gloria Roe and Lydia Johnson reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. Adam reported cold and windy conditions but overall good climbing. The team enjoyed some time on top before starting their return to Camp Muir. We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp later today.
Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb Team!
Adam, Gloria and Lydia: Thank you for a great climb and a wonderful life experience. You taught us all so much! The camaraderie of the group was fun. Sophie and I enjoyed the deep breaths, rest stepping and the dark ascent into the wonderland!
Posted by: Keefe on 6/9/2017 at 8:43 pm
So proud of you guys!! Enjoy the rest of your trip! You deserve it!! Here’s another one for the books!
Posted by: Lisa on 6/6/2017 at 10:48 am
May 31, 2017
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir May 28 - 2 June, 2017 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today! RMI Guides Adam Knoff and Paul Rachele led their teams to Camp Muir on Monday and have been working on mountaineering skills. Due to the weather forecast they opted to make their summit attempt today but they will remain at Camp Muir until Friday where they will continue to train.
Congratulations to today’s Seminar Teams!
Great Job Team!! Amazing accomplishments!!
Posted by: Jimmy Hoadrea on 6/1/2017 at 5:29 pm
Congratulations guys! Great job, now get off that mountain and get home!
Posted by: Carrie on 6/1/2017 at 12:46 pm
Hola From Quito,
What a change from 24 hours ago. As I write this the horns from Quito’s busy streets blare below our window and the team is preparing with hot showers and clean clothes for a dinner on the town.
This wasn’t the case last night. Twenty-four hours ago we were camped at 17,500 feet on a small perch located on Ecuador’s highest peak. For weeks now Chimborazo has thwarted climbers attempting a summit push with unusually bad weather and deep snow. I am sorry to say things haven’t changed.
After a solid meal of freeze dried chicken and rice we hit the tents for a few hours and tossed and turned until the alarm went off at 11:30, pm that is. From here we ate a hasty breakfast and geared up. The sky was clear so hopes were high. The first two stretches of climbing were going well until we hit the end of the trail made by climbers the previous night.
We took a break at 19,000’ and had a long discussion about what was happening with the snow conditions and how that played into an ever-steepening route. In the end we could not justify continuing up into the unknown with a team of 13 climbers. All the other teams on the mountain had already turned around but we held onto hope for just a bit longer. Finally we had to make the call to turn around. Chimborazo has not seen a successful ascent yet in 2017 and for now it will stay that way.
Even though the team did not summit we gave it a serious shot which our bodies will confirm. So after dinner I’m sure we will toast a great journey and then crash hard for a restful 12-hour snooze. We are all looking forward to coming home to see our families.
Thanks for following along.
Hast Pronto- or until next time.
Team Ecuador saying adios.
January 24, 2017
What a gorgeous last three days we have had! They have been by far the nicest weather I’ve seen on my trips to Ecuador. As we left Guachalá, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, we started our eight-hour drive to Chimborazo. Capitalizing on the beautiful weather, we took lots of great photos of all the mountains that were visible as we drove. Along the way, we stopped for burritos and margaritas before making our way to Estrella de Chimborazo, the lodge at the base of Chimborazo.
Our plan is to begin our ascent tomorrow with a summit bid that night or the next. We’ll see what the weather brings. We may be out of contact the next two to three nights as we embark on our next climbing objective. We will check in as soon as we can.
Wish us luck!
Great pics. Looks like an amazing trip so far. Have fun. Be safe.
Posted by: Jeff Williams on 1/25/2017 at 4:16 pm
Thanks for your latest post and gorgeous photo. I’m sending Owen and the team all the best possible climbing vibes. Good luck and enjoy the endeavor!
Posted by: Catherine Leon on 1/24/2017 at 10:35 pm
Over the past few days our team has been very busy down here on the equator. On Saturday, we departed the comforts of civilization and made our way to the Cayambe Hut at a little over 15,000’. The road to this mountain lodge is riddled with boulders, pot holes, mud pits, and the occasional farm animal, making it mandatory to use a 4x4 vehicle.
Once we were settled in and spent a night in the thin air we moved further uphill to do some basic training on the toe of the glacier. The team remembered mostly everything from their previous experience and were ready for a summit attempt. So we packed our gear, ate some dinner, and went to bed for a few hours.
At about 11 pm we awoke to clear skies and were able to start uphill by midnight. With perfect climbing conditions and a strong team we found ourselves on top of Cayambe for a 6:30 am sunrise over the equator. After descending the upper steep slopes we cruised back to the hut and packed up. A quick 4x4 ride brought us to our hacienda were we will start to recover from the climb.
Everyone is doing well and excited with the success we had!
RMI Guide Ben Liken
Yay for the team! Good work guys! Now on to the bigger beast!
Posted by: Susan Brashear on 1/24/2017 at 9:02 am