Entries By mike walter

Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter and Team at Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

We are up at the Cayambe climbers hut at around 15,300 ft. The weather is quite windy with alternating rain and snow showers. We’re comfortable inside the hut.  We have been going over knots and crevasse rescue systems. Hopefully the weather improves so we can head out on our summit bid with an early alpine start tonight. For now we’re staying dry and warm inside the hut. We’ll touch base again tomorrow to let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

After a relaxing evening last night at the Hacienda Casa Sol, we are currently enjoying the world famous market in Otavalo. Otavalo is an indigenous kichwa town in the Andes highlands north of Quito. The Otavalos are known for their woolen woven goods, art, jewelry, and music. The market here is a sight to behold, with both native Otavalos and tourists shopping side by side.
We’re enjoying the morning roaming the streets and exploring the market. After lunch we’ll drive up to the climbing hut on the volcano Cayambe. The hut sits above 15,000’ at the toe of the crevassed glaciers of Cayambe. It will be our home for the next two nights as we train and prepare for our ascent of Cayambe.
Cayambe is the third highest peak in Ecuador at nearly 19,000’, and the highest point on earth through which the equator passes. The mountain is situated in the eastern ridge of the Andes and, as such, is influenced by weather rising up from the rainforest of Ecuador and the headwaters of the Amazon. Over millenia the snowfall on Cayambe has formed a massive network of glaciers that we hope to climb.
We’ll have our work cut out for us over the next few days on Cayambe. But for now we’re enjoying the colorful culture of Ecuador.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Otavalo Market in Ecuador famous for its woolen goods, jewelry, and art. Photo: Mike Walter Colorful spices available at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Acclimate on Cerro Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

We packed up our gear, loaded up the van, and left Quito, heading north towards the town of Otavalo this morning. On tap was another acclimatization hike up the extinct volcano Fuya Fuya. The hike started at Lake Mojanda, high up in the Andes. The trail wove through the high Andean grassland, with increasing steepness with every step. A short rock scramble culminated in a 14,000’ summit with great views and not a breath of wind. A quick descent followed. We are now at our hacienda for the night, Casa Sol, where we are looking forward to a hot shower and a nourishing meal…I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Ecuador team on the banks of Lake Mojanda. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador team hiking to the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador team on the Fuya Fuya summit. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Reach the Top of Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 18, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,700'

We had a great climb today, with everyone climbing strong and reaching the summit of Rucu Pichincha. At a height of nearly 15,700’, many of our team set new personal altitude records today. We were working hard and breathing deeply in the thin air of Rucu, which rises abruptly out of the city of Quito. We accessed the upper ridge of Rucu via a gondola ride to over 13,000’.
The weather cooperated with us today, although on the summit the views were obscured by clouds. Lower on the climb we were afforded impressive views down into the Quito valley below.

We’re psyched for a little down time this afternoon. We head up north tomorrow to climb Fuya Fuya. We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Ecuador Seminar reaches the top of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter The Ecuador Seminar team descending Rucu Pichincha. Quito in the background. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Sightseeing in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 18, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

Wednesday, June 17th

Our Ecuador Seminar trip is officially under way. We met this morning for breakfast and group introductions, and then hit the ground running. First on our to-do list was head out to the Panecillo, a statue and view point overlooking Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. Surrounded by mountains and sitting at nearly 9,000’, the views were beautiful, including a glimpse at tomorrow’s objective, Volcano Rucu Pichincha.
Next up, we toured the streets of colonial Quito. Here we got history lessons from our local guide and visited churches, the presidential palace, independence plaza, and more.
Finally we were off to the Equator to simultaneously place a foot in both the northern and southern hemisphere. At the Equator we visited an ethnographic museum and learned about the various cultures of this diverse country. We also saw some simulations explaining the Coriolis Effect and the significance of being at mitad del mundo …literally at the middle of the world.
The evening ended with a team dinner with traditional Ecuadorian food. One bold team member ordered the local delicacy, cuy, or guinea pig.
With day one in the books, we’re eagerly awaiting our first acclimatization hike tomorrow. We’re headed to the Volcano Rucu Pichincha, one of the major volcanoes forming a geographical boundary of Quito. We’ll be in touch tomorrow!

Ciao,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

Ecuador Seminar team standing on both sides of the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter Beautiful Panecillo statue overlooking the city of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Descend to 14K Camp, Airstrip by Morning

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 31, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Sunday, May 31st 1:54pm PDT

Mike Walter called from 14K Camp on Mt. McKinley. Both his team and RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer team will be heading down to 11,000’ Camp or 7800’ Camp tonight. Their plan is to be at the airstrip in the morning. If the weather cooperates, they will be in Talkeetna by tomorrow afternoon. 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Views of Mt. McKinley's 14,000' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team on Summit!

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Update Saturday, May 30th 8:30 pm PDT

Mike Walter & team were safely back at camp by 6 pm PDT. They will begin their descent to Basecamp tomorrow.

Saturday, May 30th 2:40 pm PDT

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team are standing on the summit of Mt. McKinley! Mike reported a strong team and and short-sleeve weather on top. The team will begin making their descent shortly and will send a dispatch when they are back at camp.

Way to go team!

The view of the Alaska Range from the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection

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Way to go team! So excited to hear this news.  Eric - we look so forward to hearing about your experience and seeing your photos.
Big hugs all around!read more

Posted by: Sally Maca on 5/30/2015 at 2:07 pm


Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Begin Their Summit Push

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Friday, May 29th 7:00 pm PDT

We woke early to perfect weather, packed up camp and headed to 17K. We have a good forecast and hope to summit tomorrow. We’ll be in touch as our summit bid progresses.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Climbers on the ridge to 17,200' Denali Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Plan to Move Up to High Camp Tomorrow

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 28, 2015 - 10:12 pm PT

The weather played out as forecasted today, with strong winds blowing plumes of snow off of Denali’s summit and West Buttress. We were happy to be down here at the 14,200’ camp where the winds were much more manageable. We enjoyed a leisurely brunch of bacon, eggs, and bagels while the winds howled outside. Much of the rest of the day was spent reading and napping in our tents.
The weather forecast looks good for us. We plan to rise early tomorrow (Friday) and make the strenuous climb to high camp at 17,200’. If all goes well, we’ll shoot for the summit on Saturday. This is by far the best weather forecast that we’ve had all trip and we plan to take full advantage of it. We’re well rested and acclimated, and eager to climb. We’ll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter & team

Looking through camp walls at Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Remain at 14,000’

Posted by: Billy Haas, Solveig Waterfall, Mike Walter | May 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 27, 2015 - 10:38 pm PT

We woke early this morning, ate, took down our tents and packed our backpacks. We even had our harnesses on. The weather was perfect. But after checking multiple weather resources, our decision was clear. Weather models were in agreement, forecasting gale force winds in excess of 65mph tomorrow at high camp. It would not have been prudent to risk going up high today and deal with potential tent-crushing winds tomorrow. So we unpacked and set up our tents anew.
Throughout the emotional swings of this morning, our team has remained resolute. Safety is our number one priority up here in the mountains, and we will try for our summit push after tomorrow’s winds abate. In fact, the forecast looks quite good for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re optimistic that we’ll have good shot to move up to high camp on Friday.
In the mean time today, we’re enjoying the best weather day of our whole trip. It’s sunny, calm, and warm here at 14,200’.
Pete Van Deventer’s expedition is up high on the ridge today, caching supplies for their stint at high camp (which will likely coincide with ours). Adam Knoff’s expedition rolled into camp today also, and they’re busy setting up their camp. It’s good to see a lot of friendly RMI climber faces here at camp.
We’ll keep you posted any news from our end.

Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

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