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Entries By dominic cifelli

Cotopaxi Express: Team Summits Cayambe!

Today was the day! Cayambe summit bid. 

The guides “woke up” at 11pm to check the weather outside and stepped into an uncharacteristically warm and cloudy night. Glimpses of stars came in and out of view with the wind dull and chilled. We decided it was go time and, given the hour we estimated it would take the team to gear up, we put our chips on an improving trend. Clear it did, as we donned our backpacks and set up the rocky, first section of the route.  It takes us about an hour plus to get to the base of the glacier on Cayambe due to the varied, and sometimes involved terrain you navigate to get there.  Our nerves quickly gave way to the necessity of focus on the tricky terrain and that’s when it gets fun! 

After a quick break at the glacier to eat, put our crampons on, and rope up, we were climbing. That warm night gave way to a clear, chilly, moonlit night with views of the surrounding peaks and towns. With perfect conditions and beautiful weather, the team climbed in style for the 4000ft and 7 hours of ascent. 

100% of the team stood on top of Cayambe today. An accolade not often achieved by teams attempting these tall peaks.

Proud of the grit, dedication, and attitude this team has. While it’s a shame the trip is ending, I know I’ll see these climbers back in the mountains soon enough. 

This is the Cayambe Express trip.

Signing out. 

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dominic ,Joes going to want a cold coke, after climb like that !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/5/2022 at 7:52 am

Cotopaxi: Team Prepares for Climb of Cayambe

Your first night at 15,000ft, you almost never sleep well. The team slept like babies last night. We woke up for five minutes, went to sleep for 15 minutes, tossed and turned for another five, until it was time to get up. Today is a training day, we’ll walk up to the glacier to review some glacier travel, rope, and crampon skills prepare us for our climb tomorrow. Time to make our summit bid!

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cotopaxi: Cifelli, Burns & Team Visit Local Market, Travel to Cayambe

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 7:10 pm PT

Today was mostly a travel day. We woke up, ate breakfast, and packed out of the hotel at a leisurely pace and headed to the Otavalo market to enjoy some local wears. This market is bustling on Thursdays and Saturdays, but seeing its Wednesday, we enjoyed a nice, quiet peruse through its pathways. A few food stops and a couple hours of driving later, we're moved into the hut at the base of Cayambe, gearing up to start our climb. Tomorrow we review and practice our glacier travel skills to prepare for our summit bid.

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cayambe Express: Team Acclimates on Fuya Fuya

Today we left the comfort of Quito to start our travels toward the main objective of the trip, Cayambe.

While the trip is originally a Cotopaxi Express the team had to pivot to a new itinerary after Cotopaxi showed too many signs of activity for mountaineering. We're going to trust the scientists on this one and not go take a peek into the crater ourselves.

Today was another day of acclimatization. We climbed the hills outside of Otovalo to summit the second objective of the trip, Fuya Fuya. The weather treated us to cloudy, moody views that kept us the perfect temperature during our climb. While shorter in stature than Rucu Pinchincha it still serves as a great opportunity for acclimatization and sets us up well for Cayambe. Tonight, we enjoy our final night in town.

We ship off to the base of climb tomorrow. Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

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You can hike, but you can’t hide!
You Got This !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/3/2022 at 2:46 pm

Cotopaxi Express: Cifelli & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Today was the real first step of the adventure. We woke up early to catch one of the first rides on the gondola and we’re glad we did. The team enjoyed beautiful views of the surrounding volcanoes, Rucu Pichincha itself, and the cityscape of Quito to start our morning up in the hills. The weather out here in Ecuador is notoriously unpredictable though. Shortly after we set out, we were surrounded by clouds and a breeze that chilled us for the remainder of the climb. Still thankful for no rain, we climbed on and reached the summit in style. The best part of the climb? Well of course it was the coffee and donuts that awaited us at the top of the gondola. The Euro-style café there has sprawling views of Quito and coffee that tastes extra good after a hard day’s work. The team is headed back to Quito for our last night here before we head out to our next peak, Fuya Fuya.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Just do it! Happy trails!

Posted by: Ruby on 11/4/2022 at 1:39 pm

Go Joe Go !!

Posted by: Daryl on 11/2/2022 at 7:36 pm

Cotopaxi Express: Cifelli, Burns and Team Arrive and Explore Quito

Sunday, October 30, 2022 - 7:08 pm PT

The members of the team arrived safely in Quito with all our luggage. Today, we ventured out into Quito for a city tour.  At an elevation of over 9,000 ft, this was the perfect acclimatization activity for Day 1. The first (and generally favorite) stop on the tour was at the Mitad del Mundo museum, which means "middle of the world". This museum is located on the equatorial line and the tour guides show us some cool demonstrations along with some interesting history of the region. We balanced an egg on a nail, got our passports stamped and went off to tour Old-Town Quito to see the historic churches and buildings the city had to offer. Tomorrow we are looking forward to a warm-up hike on Rucu Pichincha!

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hope all is well. Miss my walks with you. Be safe ❤️ Jane Marlana Nicole Gazzy and Calum

Posted by: Gazzy on 11/4/2022 at 1:08 pm

Go Joe Go !!

Posted by: Daryl on 11/2/2022 at 7:37 pm

RMI Guides Update from Manaslu


This year, the monsoon has not been kind to the climbers on Manaslu. Snow, rain, and more snow have prevented most climbers from going higher than Camp 3 (22,000’). Fortunately, we were able to fit our second rotation in between two storm fronts and have some beneficial days on the mountain. Though our plan for rotation 2 was to cache gear at Camp 4 (24,000’) in preparation for our summit push, we were happy and fortunate to reach Camp 3 in good weather. 

Two long nights were spent sleeping at 21,000’. We saw every hour come, and every hour go. Getting a good night's rest becomes more difficult as you go up the mountain, but it’s all part of the process. We have to let our bodies adjust to the new altitudes we’re asking it to rest at, which often involves climbing higher than we sleep at night. Climbing without supplemental oxygen takes more time and patience than climbing with. The body is highly stressed; it needs more time to acclimate and more time to recover. We’re trusting the process and our bodies as we prepare for the summit push. 

We’re back down at basecamp resting, playing cards, Backgammon and seeing how much caffeine the human body can handle. We’re hopeful for a weather window opening up towards the end of September/early October. The summit awaits. Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli,  Dustin Wittmier, and JT Schmitt

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Dustin! I am sending big pressure breaths and thoughts of a good nights sleep!!!
All the BEST to you guys!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 9/30/2022 at 9:41 am

I hope the team is OK and safe at Base Camp and no one was caught in the avalanche.

Posted by: Mitch Green on 9/26/2022 at 7:34 am

RMI Guides Travel to Nepal To Climb Manaslu Without Supplemental Oxygen.

RMI Guides JT Schmitt, Dustin Wittmier and Dominic Cifelli are in Nepal on an expedition with the main objective to climb Manaslu without supplemental oxygen. They departed the United States on September 1st and are able to check in from basecamp:


We arrived at Manaslu basecamp on September 11th after four days of trekking through remote valleys in Nepal. Most days were spent shrouded in a cloudy veil, but we were treated to the occasional view of rugged glaciers clinging to high mountains. Staying in tea houses, we were immersed in Nepalese and Sherpa cultures through conversation and enjoying traditional foods together.

Six days after arriving in basecamp we are well established at 16000’ and have made our first rotation on the mountain. We spent three days moving to as high as Camp 2 at 21,000’, setting up our tent and caching gear. On that rotation we spent two nights at Camp 1, letting our bodies acclimatize to sleeping at 18900’.

Currently we are on our third rest day, waiting out torrential rains; and the report from higher on the mountain is that there is significant snow accumulation. It is beneficial that Wi-Fi is available in basecamp so we can continue to monitor weather forecasts, waiting for a window to make a second rotation.

We are hopeful we will be able to push through some marginal weather tomorrow to take advantage of a small, upcoming window. Our second rotation will hopefully allow us to reach Camp 4 at 24,300’, to cache some gear and set us up for a summit push.

RMI Guides JT Schmitt, Dustin Wittmier & Dominic Cifelli  

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Stay strong team!  Love you Dom.  Uncle artie

Posted by: Art cifelli on 9/21/2022 at 4:30 pm

Hey Dustin!!!
This is So Awesome!! You Are Strong!! You can do this!! After all you pulled my old farmer a$$ to the top of Cotopoxi!!!
All the best for Strength and Stamina Dustin!!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 9/19/2022 at 7:17 am

Mt. Rainier: Five Day Climb Teams Reach Summit!

The Five Day Climb August 20 - 24 reached the summit of Mt. RaInier on Tuesday, August 23rd led by RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli and Joe Hoch.  The teams were able to spend time in the crater enjoying the beautiful morning.  After taking all the photos, the teams started their descent to Camp Muir.  Climbers enjoyed some rest and a final night on the mountain.  They plan to start their descent to Paradise around 9 am.  We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp early this afternoon.

Congratulations team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Congratulations Team, with a special shout out to Alex and Kristina Beuning. Lots of pride and love coming from this Mom

Posted by: Deb Anderson on 8/24/2022 at 8:08 am

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Climb Teams Reach Summit

RMI Guides Casey Grom and Dominic Cifelli led their Four Day Climb teams for August 15 - 18, 2022 to the summit of Mt. Rainier today.  Climbers reached the summit around 5:30 am.  They reported an excellent climb and overall great day.  The teams are heading back to Camp Muir where they will take a quick break before continuing the remaining 4.5 miles to Paradise.  Their program will conclude this afternoon at Rainier BaseCamp.

Congratulations to today's climbers!

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