Entries By adam knoff

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Settle in at Tambopaxi

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 16, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Greetings from the beautiful Eco Lodge of Tambopaxi, located inside of Cotopaxi National Park.  We are all resting nicely despite our elevation being well above 12,000 feet.  In the ten days we have been in Ecuador, eight of them have been spent living or climbing above 14,000 feet so despite this lodge being higher than any staffed tourist joint in the US, we are all feeling dandy.  It is amazing how after three days away from civilization the internet can trump even a shower.  But now that we all got our fix, 19,400-foot Cotopaxi is taking center stage in our heads and out the window.

It is quite a quick transition from mountain to mountain but the team’s successful summit of Antisana, the first by any RMI team, is proving a strong motivator to push our tired legs upward one more time.  Our legs won’t be the only tired things because with the famous Cotopaxi hut closed for the time being, Tambopaxi sits a short 45 minutes away from the trail head, which in turn sits a short 45-minute hike from the mountain’s normal starting point so our wake up call will casually be at 9:30pm.  We expect a long night and day so resting now is crucial.  We will be taking dinner in an hour then getting ready for our final mountain climb.  We will report tomorrow with the outcome.

Wishing all of our families and friends the best.  We miss you all and look forward to coming home soon.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

The Ecuador Seminar team having dinner at Tambopaxi. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Antisana!

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,891'

Summit of Antisana! Adam Knoff and team called in to let us know they were at Antisana’s Basecamp after a successful summit. They had great route conditions clear skies, stars and a beautiful moonrise. The climb was engaging with steep headwalls and crevasse crossings.  The team did a fantastic job. At about 17,000ft the winds picked up and temperatures dropped enveloping the summit in a cloud layer.  As the team started their descent, they broke out of the clouds.  They are breaking down camp and will be taking a short walk back to the bus, which will take them to Chilcabamba Eco Lodge where the team will have well-deserved rest for the night.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Antisana in the morning alpenglow. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Train and Ice Climb at the Antisana Basecamp

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,400'

Good evening, this is Adam Knoff at the Antisana Basecamp. It is 6:30 our time, which is the same as east coast time. Every one is tucked into bed after a long day of training on the glacier at the base of Antisana. The training was spectacular with crevasses and ice walls and many people ice climbed for the first time. We are now headed to bed with a wake up call roughly four hours from now at 10:30 PM. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow and we anticipate an exciting climb. We’ve had views of the mountain all day and looks spectacular and we’re very excited for the day to come and the climb to come tomorrow. We will keep you informed on how the climb goes and touch base tomorrow. Have a good evening. Bye.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff

RMI Guide Adam Knoff calls in from Antisana Basecamp.

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team arrive at Base Camp of Antisana

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 14.400'

Hola from Antisana Base Camp,

Here at base camp, elevation 14,400 feet, the view of the mountain, stars and surrounding landscape, as declared by the entire team is purely worth the price of admission. The team is feeling great and excited to be spending our first night in tents. The team was also psyched to break in our new base camp tent. An 8 person mini hotel perfect for dinner on cold evenings.  We will be training tomorrow. 

Adios for now!

RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

 Base Camp on Antisana. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Weather Keeps the Team from the Cayambe Summit

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Early this morning we made our summit attempt on Cayambe. Although we were unable to make it to the top, we gained some invaluable mountain experience and made many new personal high points. Spending the time at altitude will also help us be better acclimatized for our next two targets, Antisana and Cotopaxi. Just after leaving our break at 17,000 ft on Cayambe, we were faced with exceptionally high winds and freezing rain, conditions that just don’t allow us to continue moving uphill safely. The decision was made to turn the entire team around descend back to the refugio (our mountain hut).

After making it back to our camp, we went right in to packing our gear and preparing for our descent. No rest for the weary! We made the short hike downhill to our waiting bus and started our journey to Termas Papallacta, a natural hot-spring resort that we called home for the evening. A nice, long soak in the hot springs does wonders for sore legs! The rest of our evening will be spent organizing and packing our gear, preparing for our move to Antisana in the morning.

Until next time,
RMI Guide Nick Hunt and team

RMI Climbers descending from the Cayambe Hut. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Ecuador: The Seminar Ready For Their Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hi there. This is Adam Knoff calling from the Cayambe Hut at 15,300 feet. We had an unexpected bad weather day today. We had hoped to climb to the glacier and do some training, but we were bouted by high winds, blowing raining and cold temperatures. We did manage to squeeze in a good amount of training around the hut here and the team is feeling psyched that now, this evening, the clouds departed and we have a clear view of the mountain. We are getting up in about four hours to start our climb of Cayambe at around midnight. Things are looking much better than they were earlier in the day so we are optimistic that we have a good shot at making the top. We will call tomorrow with a progress report until then, buenes noches.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Cayambe Climber's Hut in Ecuador. Photo: Nick Hunt

RMI Guide Adam Knoff calls in from the Cayambe Hut.

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Ecuador: The Seminar Overnights at the Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 10, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola from 15,300 feet at the Cayambe hut.  I will be keeping this dispatch short today because it is getting late and the wind outside chills one to the bone.  Now that we are out of internet range, we must connect our modem doo-hicky to the SAT phone thingamabobber and send our report that way.  It can be time consuming and cold to say the least. 

Today we woke up- The End.  JK.  After breakfast we went to Ecuador’s largest indigenous market in the beautiful town of Otavalo.  Here we bought gifts for all blog followers and a few others we might like.  At noon we finished shopping, ate lunch, piled into the bus and set sail.  All was going well until five miles from the hut our driver said, “No mas!”  The road did resemble the easy parts of a motocross track but we couldn’t walk that far so I said, “Yes mas,” and made him drive further.  This happened two more times until we could go no further.  We loaded the remaining bags into Henry’s jeep and walked the remaining hour to the Refugio.  Once there we drank tea, tied knots, untied knots, ate Nick and Adam’s famous mountain lasagna, took deep breaths and went to bed.  The team is doing great adjusting to these new heights.  We are excited to go to the glacier for some training tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

A day at the Otovalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff and Team Acclimate on Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Today team Ecuador departed from this countries capital.  As stimulating and convenient as things are out the door of our hotel, it was time to say adios to the blaring horns, thick bus exhaust and raucous night life, which we never saw. So this morning we checked out and loaded some 30 giant duffle bags into the mini bus transporting us to our next acclimating climb.  I figured if we were to stack everyone’s bags on top of each other we could claim the world’s tallest pile of mountain climbing stuff.  Instead we just put a deep sag into the bus’s rear tires. 
Ecuador is a beautiful country with growing oil wealth which is obvious in many new infrastructure projects throughout the country.  They still have a long way to go though so the 100 miles we drove today took almost three hours.  Our stopping point was high above the beautiful town of Otovalo, where tomorrow we will buy all blog followers nice gifts at Ecuador’s most famous market.  We eventually reached Laguna de Mojanda, a beautiful high mountain lake, once a giant crater, and began our climb toward the summit of Fuya Fuya.  The trail up led us through gorgeous grasses and flowers to a steep final section before reaching the 14,000 foot summit.  Blessed again by fairly clear skies, we had great vistas of Quito in the distance and lush green mountain sides closer to us.  The team got goofy for our summit photo so we chose to rename the mountain Fuya Kung Fuya.  Seems to fit… 
After returning to the bus we refreshed ourselves by washing up in the lake (no one took the skinny dip challenge) and headed to our house of sun or Casa Sol where we enjoyed cold beers and a delicious dinner.  As of yet, no one is going hungry.  Nick and I start cooking for the group tomorrow night so that could change. 
But for now all is well.  We look forward to putting our bargaining skills to use tomorrow and then heading up to our first BIG mountain. 
Buenas Noches from Casa Sol. 
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt and Team Ecuador

The Ecuador Seminar team pose on Fuya Fuya. Photo: Nick Hunt

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Ecuador: Knoff & Team Hike Pinchincha Ruccu

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,400'

Hola amigos y familia,   

Today team Ecuador finally got some needed exercise.  Yes I will admit, curling cervesas and walking around Quito does count as calorie burning activities but after a long travel day and substantial city tour, we were ready to go up!  And up we went. 
After breakfast today we met one of our local guides here at the hotel, his name is Henry.  Henry owns a beautiful old Toyota Land Cruiser which unfortunately fits only four team members.  This space deficiency created a need for two taxis to shuttle the rest of us to the starting point of the day’s hike.  I had luck working on my side it seems when myself and three others loaded into one yellow cab and Nick and his team piled into the second.  Why were we lucky you might ask,  because we made it to point B from point A without an accident.  Nick’s cabby thought “all street signs, traffic lights and street lines were merely suggestions”.  Three close calls and a fender bender with another cab later, we were all together.  I always say let the adventures start as soon as possible. 

From our gathering point, the next mode of transport was a cable car or gondola starting at 10,000 feet which swooshed us without even breaking a sweat to 13,000 feet.  Luckily no accidents on this stretch.  Those might be less forgiving.  From the top of the gondola, the 15,400 foot summit of Pinchincha Rucu, which was the day’s objective, looked sunny and inviting.  A rare case in my experience.  With a bit of heavy breathing and 60 minutes walk time, 6 of our team’s 10 climbers had reached a new personal altitude record.  With a bit more breathing, two more hours walk time and all of our warm cloths on, the entire team reached the summit.  It was a glorious start to what should be one grande adventure.  Barring the vans and jeeps keep between the lines. 

We are now preparing for a well deserved dinner and otra cervesa.  Follow along tomorrow to hear about mountain number two. 

Adios de Quito,
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt and Team

The RMI team acclimating hike on Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador. Photo: Nick Hunt Ecuador Seminar team on the Rucu Pichincha summit. Photo: Nick Hunt The view of Quito, Ecuador from the summit of Pinchincha Ruccu. RMI Photo Collection

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Ecuador: The Seminar Team Arrives and Tours Colonial Quito

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We are officially underway!

Our day began with the first official team breakfast at the hotel. Everybody made it safely to Quito, and almost all of the bags arrived. One team member did need to return to the airport early this morning to attempt to track down his two missing duffels. Last we heard, the bags were still unaccounted for, but the team has high hopes! We had a 100% recovery rate for lost luggage last year, and have no reason to believe the same won’t be true for us again.

After a hearty meal and a round of introductions, we took a quick walk around the block to familiarize ourselves with the area surrounding the hotel, taking time to locate a couple of the shops we can obtain provisions from and to scout a few restaurants for our team dinners the next two nights in Quito. Upon returning to the hotel, we met our local city tour guide for the day, Wilson, who promptly collected us on the bus and started off our day of sightseeing. As an Otavalo native, Wilson was full of information about everything we could ever want to know about Ecuador: politics, economics, art, culture. His good humor kept the atmosphere light and energizing while still providing a highly educational experience.

Our first stop of the day was the Mitad del Mundo, or the Middle of the World. This small (but highly entertaining!) outdoor museum allowed us to observe a number of demonstrations that showed the unique effects of gravity along the equator, as well as the variations between the northern and southern hemispheres. We hopped back on the bus and transferred to Colonial Quito, were we took a walking tour of Independence Square and the surrounding area. One of the more memorable moments of this tour was squeezing our way through an extremely narrow, steep and dark staircase in the back of an ornate cathedral, working our way to the roof for a fantastic view of the area. Clear skies allowed us to catch a few glimpses of Cotopaxi and Cayambe, two of our bigger objectives on this trip.

We were finished with the tour by early afternoon, giving the team plenty of time to relax and get organized for our first acclimatization climb tomorrow up Rucu Pichincha. Our evening tonight will be filled with gear checks, naps, and a team dinner in town.

Until then!
RMI Guides Nick Hunt, Adam Knoff, and the rest of the team

The Ecuador Seminar team at Mitad del Mundo. Photo: Nick Hunt

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