Entries By casey grom

Ecuador: Grom & Team Visit the Otavalo Market and Ready for Cayambe

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola from Ecuador!

All is well here on the equator. Saturday we spent a few hour at the massive Otavalo outdoor market where the team practiced their bartering skills with the locals. Buy the number of bags people had in their arms, they must have done a good job.

We then headed up to the hut on Cayambe to drop off our gear and add a little to our acclimatization. Normally we like to spend the night at the hut, but due to a hut remodel and new park management, we opted on staying in the town of Cayambe at a wonderful Hacienda call San Luis. Everyone enjoyed the day and the warmth of the fires that were awaiting us in our rooms.

Today the team headed back up to the hut and went on a short hike, then returned to the hut for a little training. We have had our dinner and discussed the climb here on Cayambe and everything seems in order. Hopefully the weather will hold and we’ll have a good climb tomorrow.

That’s all for now. We’ll check in tomorrow post-climb

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom Lots to see at the Otavalo Market. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Hike Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone!

Today the team left behind the hustle and bustle of Quito and headed just north of the Equator to the comfortable and quite rural countryside. Once outside the city the landscape quickly turns into rolling farm land with farms pitched on steep slopes and isolated eucalyptus forest.  Along the way we stopped by a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we stretched our legs on a acclimatization hike. Normally we like to reach the top of this mountain but cloudy skies and the occasional rain kept us off the steep and slippery upper slopes.

We are just on the outskirts of a town call Otavalo, which is known for its massive market and we are 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 and crew

RMI Ecuador Volcanoes January 20th Team on a acclimatization hike on Fuya Fuya.  Photo: Casey Grom RMI Ecuador Volcanoes January 20th team having dinner at La Casa Sol, Otavalo, Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Casey Grom & Team Stretch Their Legs on Rucu Pinchincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We stretched our legs today with the first acclimatization hike of our Ecuador’s Volcanoes program. Despite a slow start due to weather, we were able to successfully summit Rucu Pinchincha, a 15,400’ volcano in Quito’s backyard. The day started off with a short taxi ride from our hotel to the base of the Teleférico, a gondola that brought the team to just above 13,000’. Upon arriving, we ducked into the upper station to wait out the clouds and moisture that seemed to be hanging in the air. We drank coffee, told stories, and used the time to get to know each other a little bit better.

Soon our waiting was rewarded with a break in the rain. Grabbing our packs, we headed out into the clouds. The views were obscured, but at least we remained dry. A three hour hike and a bit of scrambling brought us to the top, where we grabbed a couple of summit shots and prepared for our descent; we didn’t stay long because the rain seemed eager to return!

Moving as a team, we made it back to the gondola in about half the time it took to go up, but not soon enough to outrun the rain. We had to shoulder our rain jackets for the last leg of our descent; thankfully the team was strong and spirits were high.

Now, back at the hotel, we’re packing our duffels in preparation of our move out of Quito tomorrow morning.

Hasta mañana,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Casey Grom, and the rest of Team Ecuador

The Ecuador team hiking towards the summit of Rucu Pinchincha. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at the Rucu Pichincha summit. Photo: Casey Grom After an acclimating hike of Rucu Pichincha, the Ecuador team enjoys a nice dinner. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Casey Grom & Team Meet in Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello Everyone:

All is well here in Ecuador! After some 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 took us to the older part of town where we visited many old churches and the president’s palace that sit on the old town square. Next we headed to a small hill that overlooks the 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. We then went to dinner at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant where we were joined by some good friends from back home who were here visiting on their own.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Volcanoes team visits the equator. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team sightseeing around Colonial Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at an overlook of Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team meeting for dinner in Quito. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

100% on the Cotopaxi summit!  Everyone is safe back at the hacienda.  Once we are back in Quito, we’ll check in again.

Congratulations team!

RMI Guide Casey Grom

December 18, 2014 - The RMI team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom Cotopaxi summit with the entire RMI team. Photo: Jaime Avila

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Ecuador: Grom & Team at the Base of Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone.

We’ve spent the last two days relaxing in Chilcabamba and are finally ready for our next climb. The team packed up this morning and headed closer to Cotopaxi. Our home for the next few hours is another nice hacienda call Tambopaxi, and sits just a short distance from the base of Cotopaxi and will be our launching point for tonight’s climb. Our plan is to wake up around 10pm, have a quick breakfast and hopefully be out the door close to 11. Then we’ll hop in our bus and drive to the base of the mountain where we’ll begin our climb.

Based on how well this group did on Cayambe, I’m guessing it will take us around seven hours to reach the summit if all goes well.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Spend a Relaxing Day at the Chilcabamba Eco Lodge

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

Things are great here on the equator. We had a fantastic climb on Cayambe in the most amazing weather I’ve ever had. We started our climb by waking up at 11pm to ensure we had plenty of time for the day ahead. Everyone did a good job of getting ready in our tiny hut that was a little cramped for the 11 of us. Once the team was ready and had plenty of fresh coffee we were out the door at midnight as expected. The weather was clear and calm all night which was perfect, and the team saw dozens of shooting stars and even an amazing lightning storm far off over the Amazon. We made our way steadily up the mountain climbing close together and stopped for short breaks every hour to eat and drink. The sun rose shortly before we climbed the final steep section where we took a little time to snap pictures and put on our sunglasses. We summited just after 6am with the entire team and spent about a half hour enjoying the unbelievable view we had. Not a cloud in the sky and all of the mountains in view, it was spectacular to say the least.

The descent went relatively smooth and before long we were back at the hut tired but very happy. We took a short break then packed up all of our gear and then headed south to the always wonderful food and hospitality of hacienda Chilcabamba. Check it out for yourself.

After some much deserved and needed sleep the team spent the day relaxing around the hacienda. Everyone enjoyed the day watching the endless hummingbirds visit, playing lots of cribbage and a few of us went on a short horseback ride in the countryside.

Everyone is in great spirits and looking forward to another good night of sleep before tomorrow night’s upcoming climb.

Buenos noches from Ecuador!

RMI Guide Casey Grom

The RMI team enjoys a relaxing stay at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Grom & Team 100% on the Cayambe summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,997'

Quick note from RMI Guide Casey Grom on the Cayambe summit:
100% on top! 

Once the team is back to camp, Casey will send photos and a dispatch.

Congratulations to the Team!

12/15/14- RMI Ecuador Team on the Cayambe summit! Photo: Casey Grom Views from the Cayambe (Ecuador) summit. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Ready for Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hello again everyone,

All is well here in Ecuador. We had a slight technical issue yesterday which delayed our ability to send a dispatch.

So let me bring everyone up to speed. Yesterday we checked out of our warm and comfortable hacienda and made our way to the famous Otavalo market. It’s the largest market in Ecuador and one of the largest in all of South American. The team spent a few hours negotiating the endless maze of goods for sale and worked on our bartering skills- some did better than others. :)
After everyone satisfied their shopping desires we headed uphill towards Cayambe, our first major climbing objective. The road to Cayambe is long, rough, and an accomplishment in itself. We were amazed that our bus was able to make it so far on what is clearly a 4x4 road. There were several times I was sure the mud was going to win, but somehow Hector, our daring driver was able to make it through. We hiked the final hour to the hut at Cayambe to help with our acclimatizing and spent the remainder of the evening relaxing.

Today the team woke early with a big breakfast and plenty of coffee. We then hiked up to the start of the glacier which is about an hour away, and spent a few hours refreshing our skills for tomorrow’s climb. While out on the glacier we were not only amazed at the beautifully clear day, but also incredibly lucky to see a condor soaring not far away! Once back at the hut we reviewed the plan for the upcoming climb and got everything packed up and ready to go. A special thanks to Leon for whipping up one heck of a nice meal for everyone.

The team is off to bed now as we are waking early for tomorrow’s climb. Wish us luck!!!

And one more thing… Keep your cell phones handy tomorrow morning. One lucky trivia winner will be making a satellite call from the summit if all goes well.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Otavalo Market, Ecuador's largest outdoor market. Photo: RMI Collection Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom Cayambe Climber's Hut. Photo: Nick Hunt

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Arrive in Otavalo

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

Today the team left the busy city of Quito and headed north to the much smaller and far more rural town of Otavalo. We were hoping to do a acclimatization hike on a small mountain called Fuya Fuya, but due to a little rain, thunder and lightning, we opted for a little acclimatization while eating pizza! And based on what happened to all the pizza, it was a huge success.

It was an enjoyable drive along the Pan-American highway through the Ecuadorian countryside. We passed many farms magically perched on hillsides and what seemed to be endless rose plantations. We spent the remainder of the afternoon playing cards, reading, taking naps and a review of all the gear we’ll need for our upcoming climb. We are currently relaxing in the comfort of La Casa Sol.

Everyone is doing great and looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew.

The team having dinner in Otavalo, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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