Entries By mike walter

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Thwarted by Rain & Winds on Cayambe

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 16,300'

We had an alpine start this morning, waking up in the middle of the night for our summit attempt on Cayambe. At midnight the winds were moderate and there was a beautiful, clear, and starry sky above us. We were psyched to see the clear sky, and we hoped that the winds would subside a bit throughout the day.

By the time we left the climbing hut (15,300’) at a little before 1 a.m., a cloud had settled in on us and it was raining lightly. As we ascended, the wind and rain increased in intensity and the temperature kept dropping. After about a thousand feet of climbing, we were soaking wet and the wind speed was strong enough that it made climbing difficult. With another couple thousand feet more to climb, we turned around and headed back to the comfort of our climbing hut. Wet and cold, we drank some hot tea and then crawled in our sleeping bags for a few hours of well deserved sleep.

We are all off of the mountain now and headed for the Hacienda Chilcabamba, located just outside Cotopaxi National Park. We will take a rest day there tomorrow, drying out our clothes and getting ready for our climb up Cotopaxi.

We will be in touch again tomorrow.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI team descending towards the Cayambe Climber's Hut in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Walter & Team Ready for Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

We had a very windy day today amidst the clouds at 15,300’. Despite today’s weather we’re optimistic about our Cayambe summit attempt for tomorrow. Caio for now! 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Cayambe Climber's Hut. Photo: Nick Hunt

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Ecuador: Walter & Team Spend Their First Night at the Cayambe Climber’s Hut

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola from the climber’s hut on Cayambe! We just enjoyed a high-altitude soup and bread dinner at 15,300’. Everyone is doing great up here. We’ll touch base soon.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Approaching the Climber's Hut on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Acclimate on Cerro Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

After a couple of nice days in Quito, our team packed up early this morning and left the city life for more rural flavors. We traveled north a few hours from Quito to the beautiful mountain lakes of Lagunas Monjanda and went for a great acclimatization hike up Fuya Fuya.

The hike consisted of a steep trail through high altitude Andean grassland, or “paramo”, followed by a rock scramble to the summit…with great views of beautiful lakes below us.  Everyone climbed really well as we made short work of the 14,000’-plus peak.

Now we’re resting at the tranquilo Casa Sol, watching Ecuador play Honduras in the World Cup. Buena suerte Ecuador!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Road to Cerro Fuya Fuya, Ecuador. Photo: Jake Beren An RMI Team acclimatizing on Fuya Fuya in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,696'

Hola from Ecuador. We had great weather today as our team went on our first acclimatization hike, summiting Rucu Pichincha, a volcano that forms part of the western perimeter of Quito’s valley. To start our hike, we took a gondola from Quito up to an altitude of around 13,500’. Then a well-maintained trail with stunning views led us out onto a ridge toward Rucu Pichincha. An easy rock scramble later and we were on top, at 15,700’.

Our climbing was very strong today, making quick work of the altitude. We had good views of volcanoes Cotopaxi, the Ilinizas, Pasachoa, and Ruminuai the south, and Cayambe and Cotacachi to the north. We will leave Quito tomorrow morning, heading north towards Cayambe. But, before we get to Cayambe, we’ll take another acclimatization hike tomorrow on Fuya Fuya, and then visit the market in Otavalo the next day. We’ll keep you posted!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Views from the top of Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Ecuador Volcanoes:  Mike Walter & Team Meet in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,000'

Greetings from Ecuador! Our team all arrived in Quito, Ecuador yesterday, and we met for our first official team meal this morning. After introductions and reviewing trip logistics, we departed the hotel and spent the day on a city tour of Old Town Quito. We visited the Basilica, the presidential palace, and various other historically significant locales while learning about the foundation and history of Quito and Ecuador from our very knowledgeable local guide, Jorge.

After lunch we headed north to the Equator, and visited an ethnographic museum where we were able to straddle the Equator, as well as learn about various native cultures of Ecuador. A fun day of sight seeing was just what we needed, as we get used to the altitude of Quito (9,000’) and recover from a long day of travel yesterday.

Tomorrow we will venture out on our first acclimatization hike up the Volcano Rucu Pichincha. We’ll keep you posted with updates along the way.

Hasta luego!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Team Mike Walter at the Equator in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Visiting Quito's Basilica on the Ecuador Volcanoes expedition. Photo: RMI Collection Visiting the government buildings of Quito, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Remain at Base Camp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 31, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

May 31, 2014, 2:11 pm PT

We are still here at Kahiltna Base camp.
We received another foot of new snow overnight and it shows no sign of slowing or stopping.
We are all staying hopeful that the weather will break sometime in the next few days and we can finally get a big meal and that long awaited hot shower!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait for Flying Weather at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 30, 2014 - 6:29 pm PT

Our team is still at Kahiltna Base Camp waiting for the weather to improve so that we can fly back to Talkeetna. This is day 23 of our trip and we’re all getting antsy in anticipation of a hot shower, food, and flush toilets.

We picked up another eight inches of snow over night, and the precipitation has continued pretty much all day. We’re hoping for a break in the weather in the next few days so that planes can get in to Base Camp.

That’s pretty much all the news from this end.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

An RMI team creates an arch at Denali's Kahiltna Basecamp. Photo: Andres Marin

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Socializing and Working on the Runway

Posted by: Mike Walter, Steve Gately, Solveig Waterfall | May 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 29, 2014 - 3:55 pm PT

We awoke again to the faint patter of snow hitting our tents rainfly. Sticking our head out revealed slightly better visibility than when we tucked away in our sleeping bags last night. Looking east you could make out the lower features of Mount Hunter and looking west you could scarcely make out the lower flanks of Foraker. Sometime late morning the clouds began to break ever so slightly and the sun poked its head in through the clouds just enough to cause the many teams waiting here at camp to stir. Over 14” of new snow has fallen since we first arrived and that’s a concern for when our flights are able to pick us up. The accumulated snow makes it difficult for the small bush planes to take off from the glacier. So an effort was organized to gather the folks in camp to strap on there snowshoes and skis and go pack down the take off zone. Shortly after our task was finished the clouds descended and took over the southeast fork of the Kahiltna again. It’s early afternoon now and we’re still patiently waiting for conditions to improve, but with plenty of food and camp becoming busy with teams moving down from the upper mountain our team is biding their time making new friends and reacquainting with teams we shared time with at 14 camp. All is well here from the Kahiltna. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Steve Gately and team

Mt. McKinley's Kahiltna Base. Photo: RMI Collection

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McKinley: Walter & Team Arrive at Basecamp

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Steve Gately | May 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,200'

May 28, 2014 - 10:18am PT
Good morning from Base Camp!

We are listening to the snow fall while we sit in our tents, and although it seems bright and cheery from inside the orange nylon walls, this weather system has settled in and the South East Fork is thick with clouds.
We made quick work of the walk down from 14 yesterday,  stopping in at 11 Camp to dig up our cache and say hello to Brent, Leah, Nick, and their team. 

It’s much warmer down here, but consequently the snow is wet, heavy, and saturating, so we are all enjoying more time sitting “indoors” of sorts. 
Hopefully we get a break in the storm soon and K2 Aviation can get us back to Talkeetna!

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team.

Airstrip on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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