Entries By ben liken

Ecuador Seminar: Team Trains on Glacier of Cayambe

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola Amigos!

Sleeping at 15,000’ is not a normal thing, nor is sleeping with 6 other people, but thankfully everyone managed to get a few hours of shuteye last night. 

Today the team woke around 7 am and headed downstairs for breakfast and washed it down with plenty of coffee. We then got packed up and went out for a little training on the glacier that’s about an hour away. Cloudy skies and light snowfall keep things relatively brief as we didn’t want to get too wet before tonight’s climb of Cayambe. Once back at the climbers hut we relaxed with hot drinks and a little additional training, mixed in with a few bad jokes.

Everyone is in good spirits and seems to be ready for tomorrow’s climb. Our plan is to get up at 11 pm and have a quick breakfast and hopefully hit the trail around midnight. If all goes well we should reach the summit around 7 am.

We had a trivia challenge tonight that will allow the winner a sat phone call from the summit. So keep your phones nearby to find out who the winner is.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The climbers hut located at 15,300 ft on Cayambe, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team at the Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hey everybody,

Today was a day of rest, tourism, and a car ride to our 15,000 foot hut on Cayambe.  After a light breakfast we leisurely packed our bags and headed to the famed Otavalo market.  Being a Saturday the place was packed with crafts, fresh fruits, and local people. 

Shortly after lunch we loaded the bus and drove to the cute little town of Cayambe.  At this point the clouds that had been floating around all day started to dump rain, so we changed out the bus for some 4x4 vehicles.  We then drove up the bumpiest road known to man… The Cayambe hut road.  After an hour of mud, rocks, and pot holes we made it to our home for the next few days. 

Everyone is feeling great and ready for a day of glacier training tomorrow.

From the snowiest place on the equator,  we’ll talk to ya later!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and friends

The Otavalo Market, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection Colorful jewelry at the Otavalo Market. Photo: RMI Collection On the road to Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Hike Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

February, 6, 2015 - 6:46 pm PT

Hello again everyone!

Today the team left behind the hustle and bustle of Quito and moved just north of the Equator to the comfortable and quite rural countryside. Once outside the city limits the landscape quickly turned into rolling hills with farms pitched on steep slopes and dozens of small eucalyptus forest.

Our plan was to visit a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we stretched our legs on a nice steep and short acclimatization hike. Thankfully the weather was nice which allowed us to see some amazing views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. 

We are just on the outskirts of a town call Otavalo, which is known for its massive market and we are currently relaxing at a wonderful Hacienda called “La Casa Sol”. The team is doing great and looking forward to a nice quiet night here.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

The RMI Ecuador Seminar Team takes an acclimatization hike on Fuya Fuya.  Photo: Casey Grom The team takes a hike on Fuya Fuya for acclimatization.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,696'

Hey all,

Today was a beautiful day in Quito, with majestic views of Cayambe and Cotopaxi it couldn’t have been better.  We started off with some strong coffee and promptly piled into some taxis to head to the gondola that would take us to 13,000 feet.  From here we hiked to the top of Rucu Pichincha at 15,696 ft, everyone did great managing new altitude and rugged terrain.

Upon our return to the city we did some final gear shopping, resting, and eating.  This will be our last night in Quito before we venture out to the country side for some more adventure.

Stay tuned!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the crew

The Ecuador Seminar at the top of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Casey Grom The February Ecuador Seminar team having dinner in Quito. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Tour Quito and the Equator

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

After some very long flights and a little bit of sleep the team is doing well. We started our day with a team meeting where we did our usual round of introductions and discussed the game plan for our upcoming adventure.

After the meeting we headed out on the town to explore this beautiful historical city with our tour guide Angel. He first took us to the older part of town where we visited several old cathedrals, then to the colonial town square where we met a kind older Canadian who seemed to have lost his group and decided to tag along with us. Next we headed up to a small hill called La Panacia that overlooks this beautiful city before heading north to visit the Equator from which Ecuador gets its name.

We finished the day with a small break and then a quick gear check to make sure everyone has all the gear needed for our climbs. Then it was off to dinner at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant where we enjoyed getting to know each other better.

RMI Guide Casey Grom, crew, and our new friend Lee

Colonial Quito city tour in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at La Panacia. Location overlooking Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The RMI Ecuador team visit the Equator. Photo: Casey Grom

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Celebrate Their Success

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

We successfully made it down from base camp back to Pampa de Lenas. Our celebration asado was an enormous success and went late into the night which may make our final walk to the road a little slower than normal but no one would have it any other way.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes & Team

Asada being cooked by an Arrearo on an RMI Aconcagua Expedition.  Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Back to Basecamp

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We started our downhill progress this morning and it looks like we made it out just in time. We seemed to stay about 30 minutes in front of the clouds, wind, and snow on the descent and quietly enjoyed watching teams move up into the weather as we moved out of it.

While the snow did fall in Basecamp, we stayed warm in our group tent, sitting in chairs around a table while snacks and a delicious dinner were brought to us…it’s the small stuff.

We are all hopeful for a warm valley as we walk out tomorrow.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Descending back to Aconcagua Basecamp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Summit!

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 05, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Update January 5th at 3:30 pm PT
This is the day that all the hard work, both at home and on the mountain, are for and it is always the hardest day of the trip. Thankfully, we made it to the summit and back to camp safely and in great style. With an early dinner in our bellies we will all sleep well tonight.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for our safety.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

[Call from the summit audio transcription]
Hello, this is Walter from the summit of Aconcagua with our team. It’s a beautiful day up here, blue skies, a little breezy- probably about 20 (mph) on the top. We did go through some pretty heavy wind down below, maybe constant 40 to 50 in some of the little saddles, but we made it! We’re happy and it’s sunshiny. Everybody’s tired, so we’re looking forward to the downhill. We’ll call or send a dispatch out when we get there so you know that we arrived safely. Over and out from Aconcagua.

Aconcagua's Canaleta Couloir. Photo: RMI Collection Looking towards Basecamp from near the summit of Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Walter Hailes calls from the Aconcagua summit

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We are incredibly proud of you Colin and team! This is so amazing and you should all be so proud of your accomplishment!  Can’t wait till you are home and… read more

Posted by: Sandy on 1/5/2015 at 5:55 pm

Congrats team!! Dan we are al so proud of you! Safe journey down and we’ll see you soon.-wendy

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Posted by: Wendy kolosar on 1/5/2015 at 4:04 pm


Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Ready for Summit Push

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Hey everybody!

We have made it to our high camp and we are all ready to try for a summit push tomorrow.  If the weather holds, we will be up early for a big climb to the top of South America!

Everyone up here is feeling strong and ready for the challenge.  We got a taste of what’s to come watching today’s teams return- tired, hungry, and satisfied.  Now we are tucked away in our bags trying to get some Zzzzzzs before the big day.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

Views of the Andes while approaching High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Prepping for Summit Day

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken | January 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 18,000'

We had our best rest day yet on Aconcagua. We were away from the bustle of base camp, the wind was calm, the sun was shining, and we spent a lot of the day relaxing outside listening to the melting snowfield surrounded by views of the Central Andes.

We did do a little work in preparation for summit day. Double checking our crampons and discussions of how to stay warm, what and how much to eat, and what to expect as we move toward the summit.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

High Camp beneath the Polish Glacier. Photo: RMI Collection

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