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Entries By chad gaffigan


Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Reach Cotopaxi Summit!

RMI Guides Casey Grom, Chad Gaffigan and their team made it to the top of Cotopaxi!  As you can see from the photo, weather was less than ideal but eight of nine climbers did summit.

Congratulations to the team!

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Rest Day at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge

Hello again from Ecuador! The team woke up today to a tranquil setting at a beautiful mountain lodge, Chilcabamba Eco Lodge.  A late breakfast was followed by walks around the local area, discovering an albino cow, and a few folks trying their hand at horseback riding.

The team then had a nice discussion on packing for our next objective, Cotopaxi.  This discussion led into an excellent pasta dinner.

Another night of rest and we will be active again the in mountains. 

RMI Guide Chad Gaffigan

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Enjoying Some R&R After Cayambe Summit

We did it!
The whole team managed to stand on the summit of Cayambe today, after a long, cold and windy uphill battle. We had hoped that the weather would remain calm, but unfortunately the wind picked up sometime in the night before we started our climb. The team did a great job of taking care of themselves and everyone dug deep to push through the challenging conditions.
The climb took just over 7 hours to reach the summit after starting out on relatively lower angle slopes that continued to steepen until the final last pitch, which was roughly 50 degrees. Once over this obstacle, it was an easy, but windy stroll to the top of Cayambe which sits at 18,997ft.
We didn’t stick around too long as it was pretty cold and the view was mostly obscured by the clouds blowing by.
We descended all the way back to our hut and took a brief break before heading further down into town for a well earned meal at a local cafe.
We then traveled south to a wonderful and peaceful hacienda tucked up near Cotopaxi where we have just finished another great meal. Now it’s time to enjoy some much deserved sleep after such a long day.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Cayambe summit crew

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Reach Summit of Cayambe!

The December 4th Ecuador Volcanoes Team reached the summit of Cayambe (18,997’) today.  The entire team was able to top out and everyone is back down safely.
We expect to hear more from Casey later today.

Congratulations to the team!

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Visit Otavalo Market and Settle in at the Cayambe Hut

Hello again Everyone
All is well here in Ecuador.
Yesterday we had a nice leisurely start to our day. We packed up for the move up onto the mountain and left the comfortable Lodge around 11am.
We first stopped by the massive market in Otavalo to take in the culture and we did our best at bartering for some local goods.
It was a little intimidating as Saturday is the big market day and it was jam packed with people and their goods. The team snaked our way through never ending streets of goods chatting with locals and then had a nice lunch overlooking the main square.
After lunch, we headed directly to the mountain with help from a few 4x4 vehicles to make it up the very rugged road that goes all the way to the mountain hut at 15,000ft. The team chose to hike the last hour to help with acclimatization, and allowed our vehicles to deliver the gear at the hut. It was extremely windy so we didn’t venture outdoors too much. We finished the evening with a nice warm meal then turned in early for a good night’s rest.

Today the team got up around 6:30am to have breakfast and get ready for our hike up to the glacier that’s about an hour uphill. We spent a few hours refreshing our mountaineering skills on the glacier and taking in the views when the clouds allowed.
Everyone is doing very well and the whole team is in good spirits up here since the weather has mellowed out.
Our plan is to have an early dinner then head to bed as tomorrow we’ll be making our first summit attempt. We’ll shoot for getting up around 11:30pm and hopefully be out the door in an hour’s time. If things go well I expect it will take somewhere around 6-8 hours to reach the summit. Then we’ll descend via the route back to the hut.
Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the mountain crew!

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Great Job on the Summit! We are continuing to follow your progress.

Posted by: Pete Palmgren on 12/11/2018 at 9:20 am

Good luck Jim & Dave!  Hope you summit safely!  We’ll be following you two.  Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Posted by: Kristi Nottingham on 12/10/2018 at 9:53 am


Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Acclimatize on Fuya Fuya

Hola Amigos!

We had an early departure today leaving behind the busy and celebrating city of Quito. The team drove north, passing by the Equator and made our way to another acclimatization hike. Just outside Quito the landscape quickly turned from a giant valley into rolling hills with farms pitched on steep slopes, and small forest of eucalyptus trees as far as the eye could see.

We visited a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we got to stretch our legs on the steepest grassy hillside I’ve ever seen. Thankfully the weather was decent which allowed us to see some amazing views of the surrounding landscape that included a beautiful lake in the background.

We are just on the outskirts of a town call Otavalo, which is known for its massive market and we are currently relaxing at the wonderful Hacienda called “La Casa Sol Lodge”
The team is doing great after hot showers, a wonderful meal, and celebrating an Anniversary of some of our teammates.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to a nice tranquil night.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Ecuadorian crew

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Dave looks like you are carrying Jim, always the mentor. Looks like you all are having a blast. Hope it is 1/2 the fun as it looks. Sure is beautiful. Take lots of pictures but no wooden nickels. Safe travels.

Posted by: Pete Palmgren on 12/10/2018 at 2:26 pm


Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

After a fun filled day touring around Quito yesterday, today was our first acclimatization hike.  Our target Rucu Pichincha, a 15,696’ extinct volcano.  With sun breaks and patchy clouds the hike was a success, getting back to the hotel by 3 in the afternoon. 
There was plenty of time for more exploring and shopping around Quito before the team had a good dinner at a local brewery.

RMI Guide Chad Gaffigan

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Arrive & Explore Quito

Hola from Ecuador!

The team arrived late last night after some very long flights. Today we started our day with a team meeting where we did our usual round of introductions to get to know each other and then discussed the game plan for our upcoming 11 day adventure here in Ecuador.

After the meeting we headed out on the town to explore this beautiful historical city with our local and very knowledgeable tour guide Angel. We first headed north to visit the Equator from which Ecuador gets its name, stopping by a museum that had a pretty interesting collection as well as some unique test that attempt to prove it’s the actual middle of the world.

Then we headed to the southern part of Quito to a big hill called La Panacia that over looks this beautiful city. Normally we get to visit the oldest part of Quito, but today is the Holiday celebrating the founding of Quito and many of the street were closed for the festival. So we opted for a visit to the Basilica, built in gothic style, and managed to climb nearly to the top, via the steepest stairs any of us had ever been on. Pretty cool to say the least!

We wrapped up the day with 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 restaurant where we were enjoyed getting to know each other better.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Ecuador crew

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Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons Team Reaches Summit!

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons July 28 - 2 August, 2017 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning around 7 am.  RMI Guide Andy Bond and the team headed to the White River Camp Ground on Sunday after two days of training at Rainier BaseCamp.  They started on the route on Sunday and ascended to Camp Schurman yesterday.  They made an alpine start this morning and were pleased to report great weather and route conditions and that 100% of their team reached the summit today.  The team will return to camp today for their final night on the mountain.  Following some additional training the team will descend to the trail head and return to Rainier BaseCamp tomorrow.

Congratulations to the Emmons Seminar Team!

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Mt. Rainier: Five Day Summit Climb on Top!

RMI Guide Andy Bond and the Five Day Summit Climb July 20 - 24 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning around 6:30 am.  Andy reported warm temperatures and sunny skies.  The teams will return to Camp Muir and continue their descent to Paradise.

Congratulations to today’s Five Day Summit Climb team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

So glad to see the team reached the summit today.  Special congrats to son Dave Skofstad.  What a way to celebrate your birthday tomorrow! The kids just left and made something for you.

Posted by: Charlotte Skofstad on 7/24/2017 at 4:27 pm

So proud of my big brother Randy DeBoer. I am over 10 years younger and with my back and knees struggle to hike to the mailbox!  You are a stud big brother!

Posted by: Roger DeBoer on 7/24/2017 at 11:19 am

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