Entries By ben liken
February 5, 2017
February 5, 2017
After a very snowy and windy period here at Base Camp the sky’s finally broke and the sun started shining. So we got a load of gear together and carried it up to 16,200 ft. It was a perfect day for climbing, not to hot and not to cold. We are now back a base resting after a hard days work. I think I smell some chicken dinner coming from the cook tent, can’t wait!
February 4, 2017
After three days of approach we have arrived at Plaza de Argentina, our Base Camp. The day began with an icy creek crossing on mule back just as the sun came up over the mountains. Then we were off on a 6 hour jaunt up valley in pleasant overcast conditions. But by the time we arrived at camp winds were howling and snow was falling. The rest of the day felt like full on winter. Tomorrow is a rest day that will be met with lots of eating and some prep for the next day. Spirits are high!
On The Map
February 2, 2017
Our team has made it one step closer to Aconcagua by moving further up the Vacas valley to Casa de Piedra, our second camp. The awesome views continued but we did encounter our first dose of wind. By the fourth stretch we were pressing into a 25-30 mph headwind! Just before camp we got a view of our objective, it was covered in clouds from 18,000’ up but still impressive. Tonight we will have another grill out, before we head to base camp tomorrow. The team is doing excellent!
On The Map
Dr Folsom. The surgery team is keeping track of your progress. Stay safe and have a great trip!
Posted by: Ed Sutton on 2/2/2017 at 8:45 pm
February 1, 2017
Hey there followers,
Our entire team has made it to our first camp at 9500 ft here in Argentina. After a sturdy breakfast and some quick repacking we were off on a five-hour walk to the Andean high country. Between the steep rock walls on each side of the valley we saw lizards, the raging Vacas River, and a bunch of mules carrying our gear. When we got to camp we settled in and enjoyed a traditional Argentinian asado of steak, chicken, potatoes, and peppers. Now we are headed to bed under the southern sky excited to do it again tomorrow.
January 31, 2017
Hola friends and family,
Well, it seems like we’re actually doing it! We bid a hasty farewell to Mendoza this morning, and after a necessary empanada stop found ourselves in dry, barren, windy Penitentes. The afternoon was spent answering the question “to mule duffel or not to mule duffel,” and as of now our gear is locked, loaded, and ready to lug uphill. Everyone is looking forward to throwing a pack on and starting the walk in to Aconcagua Base Camp tomorrow.
Ciao for now,
Shannon, you got this. Just be your usual mighty self… Love you Good luck to everyone on the team… Godspeed.
Posted by: Linda on 2/2/2017 at 8:59 am
Kiss some serious mountain ass Shannon! I’ll be cheering you from home.
Safe travels to the whole team!
Posted by: Kathie on 2/1/2017 at 8:44 am
Our entire team has arrived in Mendoza and excited to get moving toward the mountain. But we can’t go to Aconcagua before our inaugural steak and Malbec dinner, so we hit the town and took care of business. Now with stuffed stomachs we are ready to get a full night’s rest after a long journey to South America. Tomorrow we will head into the Andes!
RMI Guide Ben Liken
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
RMI Guides Ben Liken and Adam Knoff along with their team of climbers reached the summit of Cayambe (18,997’) today. The team will descend to Hacienda Guachala where they will spend the night. Tomorrow they will set out toward Chimborazo and their next objective.
Congratulations to the team!
On The Map
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“Josh, I hope you’re having a great day! I hope you don’t fall down! ”
- Evan (3 1/2)
Hi Josh! It looks like you are in your element and having a blast! We can’t wait to hear about your adventures! - Lee & Lauren
Posted by: Evan "mountain polar bear" Hickmott on 1/24/2017 at 6:22 am
Hola From Otavalo, Ecuador,
This morning our team of intrepid climbers met our one man team and intrepid driver, Orgel, and headed into the not so subtle Quito morning rush hour. Climbers heading off to a big mountain are always ready to leave the grips of the city in search for greater adventures but today Quito had a way of making sure we didn’t rush off and lose sight of where we were. Wall to wall cars made the first five miles take as long as the final 50 but rain was falling so we didn’t feel rushed either way.
Our destination today was a volcano called Fuya Fuya, which rises to 14,700 feet, higher than Mt. Rainier, but in Ecuador is relatively low in comparison to others. We come here in January because it is supposed to be the “dry” season, but today this high, tropical landscaped proved otherwise. Light rain fell in the morning leaving Quito, but north of the city and higher up the clouds thickened and the rain turned real. In Seattle there are over a hundred ways to describe rain. I’m pretty sure today we only needed one. Let’s just call it, solid. With a “solid” rain falling, we solved riddles in the trailhead shelter, ran quick sprints along the lake shore before sprinting back and did pull ups on the beams to pretend we were getting our heart rate up. All-in-all the acclimating process was short lived and we were headed down having never walked a foot uphill.
The rain continued to pour as we ate lunch in town and killed time before arriving at the hacienda for the evening. La Casa Sol sits high on a steep hill overlooking town and it was here that we had the day’s most exciting event. With a we cobble stone street, our driver gunned it up the hill trying to get momentum before spinning out on the wet surface. It took two more goes to pull the van into the tiny parking spot and unload the bags. Ben and I had to put rocks behind the van’s tires at one point to keep him from sliding backwards into the ditch.
As we say before a day of ice climbing in Bozeman, the adventure starts the second you get in the car. Tomorrow’s road promises to be even more thrilling! The road to the mountain….
Wish us luck on our way to Cayambe.
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Ben Liken and Team