Entries By casey grom

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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3

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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4

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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4

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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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Acclimates in Quito

Posted by: Leon Davis, Casey Grom | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

December 11, 2014 - 6:57 pm PT

The team here in Ecuador got their first taste of altitude today, on the hills that surround Quito.  This morning we rode the teleferico to 13,000 feet and began our trek up Pichincha on the rutted trails that wind up to its rocky 15,000 ft summit.  It was a day to pressure our bodies into absorbing the thin atmosphere and experience the weather patterns that commonly occur here.  So the last half hour of our descent was a mixture of rain and hail and by 2:30 the team was drying off in the hotel and relaxing before dinner.  This will be our last evening in Quito and our trip commences north towards Cayambe.

RMI Guides Leon Davis & Casey Grom and Team

The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Rucu Pichincha.  Photo: Casey  Grom The RMI Ecuador team making an acclimatiztion hike on Rucu Pichincha near Quito, Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Explores Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

Hello-
Everyone has safely arrived here in Ecuador and are doing well after the long flights. We started our day with a team meeting where we did a round of introductions and discuss our upcoming program. Shortly after our meeting we headed out to explore this beautiful old city with our tour guide Edison. He took us to visit the basilica and the old part of town dating back to the 1600’s. We made a stop atop a hill that overlooks the city called La Panacea, and took in the view of this long and narrow city of over 2 million.
We then made our way north to visit the equator which gives Ecuador it’s name. There’s a small museum there with a few interactive displays that amused us. But most importantly we stood on the equator itself!
After our brief visit we made our way back to our hotel in downtown Quito where we took a break before heading to dinner. The team opted for a place called the Magic Bean that’s known for its tasty food and fresh juices.
Everyone is doing well and looking forward to getting a little exercise tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Volcanoes December 9th team explores colonial Quito and visits the middle of the world.  Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador Team on hill top above Quito.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Cotopaxi Express: Team Reaches Summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Late Thursday afternoon we made final preparations to our climbing kit and sat inside the Tambopaxi dining room watching a light rain fall across the plains surrounding Cotopaxi.  We had an early dinner and retired to our bunk rooms at dusk for a few hours of rest before the evening summit departure.
At 10:00 pm we woke and ate a light breakfast in the dark dining room before loading our gear into Victor’s bus and taking it up the rocky road to the base of the Refugio.  We hiked in relative silence through a misty cloud to the glacier, put on our crampons and roped up.  A little new snow had fallen but the climbing route was still visible and we began our climb at 16,300’. 
Hour after hour we climbed the unrelenting steep slopes, pausing for breaks where we could find a relatively flat place.  At 8:00 am we surpassed the final steeps and stood atop the 19,348’ volcano.  It was a taxing climb for the team with many altitude records achieved and much to be proud of. 

Tonight we enjoyed each others company over dinner and drinks at La Cienega and in the morning we will sleep in and explore this beautiful and historic Hosteria before returning to Quito for the anniversary fiesta of its founding.  Good night from a very tired and happy Ecuador team.

RMI Guides Leon Davis & Casey Grom

The RMI November 29th Cotopaxi Express Team on the summit of Cotopaxi (19,348ft) on December 5, 2014.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Cotopaxi Express: Davis, Grom, and Team Prepare for Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Thursday, December 4, 2014 3:25 pm PST

Buenos tardes (good evening) everyone!

Today the team spent the day resting in preparation for tonight’s climb. The day was mostly filled with reading, waiting on the wifi, exploring the grounds near the hacienda, and a world championship of cribbage, where Leon and Topo were crowned. We also took a ride to visit a ancient pre-Incan ruin, and a beautiful hidden spring.

We spent the afternoon discussing our plan for tonight’s climb and have everything squared away. The team is very excited and looking forward to tomorrow, or perhaps I should say tonight, as we’ll be getting up very early.

On another note, we had a trivia challenge today and the winner will receive a free one minute satellite phone call from the summit if all goes well. So for those of you out there following our blog, keep your phones handy tomorrow morning! 

Wish us luck!
RMI Guides Casey Grom, Leon Davis, and crew

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Cotopaxi Express: Davis, Grom & Team Settle into Tambopaxi Lodge

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,,000'

Today we inched our way closer to the base of Cotopaxi with a short drive to Tambopaxi and then up the primitive roads to the lower flanks of the mountain.  Our mission today was to get onto the lower glacier for some basic skills review and a little more acclimatization.  Under some very atypical clear skies we hiked the scree fields to the new Refugio at 16,000’ and then a little further to the glacier.  We were joined by our Ecuadorian guides Topo and Joaquin for a brief climbing school and a glimpse of the lower route.  By early afternoon we were relaxing in the Tambopaxi Lodge for some Cribbage and another great team dinner.  Things are going very well for us here and the team is enjoying every minute in a most spectacular mountain arena.  Looking forward to every day here on the Equator!

RMI Guide Leon Davis

The RMI team ascending to Tambopaxi Lodge. Photo: Casey Grom The team on the lower flanks of Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom RMI Guide Leon Davis leads the team in glacier training. Photo: Casey Grom Team dinner at Tambopaxi Lodge on Cotopaxi. Photo: Casey Grom

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Cotopaxi Express:  Team Reaches Saddle of Illiniza’s on Acclimatization Hike

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,000'

December 2, 2014 - 6:08 pm
Today the team said goodbye to the hustle and bustle of Quito and headed south early in the morning. Once outside the city we made our way through the rural countryside and headed for our next acclimatizing hike on the Illiniza’s. They are the remnants of an old volcano that erupted long ago and left two nearly twin peaks. Our goal was not to climb them, but reach the saddle that separates the two beautiful mountains. The team made good time up to the saddle where we took a short break in the climbers hut and had some well deserved hot tea. After our short break we made our way back down the mountain to our waiting bus and quickly headed to the wonderful Chilcabamba hacienda. The team made good use of the hot showers and enjoyed sporting around in the ponchos provided by the hacienda. We wrapped up the evening with a wonderful meal, plenty of good stories, and one amazing view of Cotopaxi.
Everyone is doing great and enjoying the Ecuadorean hospitality.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Chilcabamba Eco Lodge located just outside of Cotopaxi National Park.  Photo: RMI Collection

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