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Entries from Bolivia

Bolivia Expedition: Illimani Summit Day Recap

Since our last update a lot has happened. As we speak the last of the group is filtering back to our respective starting points or wrapping up they’re time in Bolivia with a bit of personal exploration! But before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s great news to be shared.

The entire team stuck it out for a 6 and a 1/2 hr ascent of Illimani! We were greeted with cold, clear climbing in perfect conditions up past 20,000 ft. Much of the climbing route faces west, so the morning sun was always tantalizingly close as we neared the glowing summit ridge. Our sunrise came as we finally broke off the west side and crested the ridge into the welcoming sun. With one last hour of breaking trail up the beautiful summit ridge the team could taste our hard work paying off. Before we knew it all three rope teams plopped down on the summit of Illimani to take a much needed food and water break and basque in our success.

The top of Illimani is a breathtaking ridge crest amongst the greater expanse of the Illimani Massif. From that point, the highest in the Cordierra Real, we could see all the way past La Paz and track our entire trip from the glimmering Lake Titicaca to the jagged peaks of the Condoriri and the huge perfect flanks of Huayna Potosi. Our team had a brief moment to relive the wonderful past couple weeks before the tight wind was nipping at our heels as we pushed off to begin our 8,000 ft decent back to Base Camp.
Our team’s tired legs mustered one last push into camp and there we were! Happy, tired and feeling accomplished. I couldn’t have asked for a better summit day and a better team to do it with!
At last we’ve got to give a big thanks to everyone who made this trip so successful. Thank you, thank you to everyone who helped us along the way and a special thanks to our amazing climbers who made this trip so special! Until next time over and out!!

RMI Guides Eric Frank & Caleb Ladue

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Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Check in from High Camp on Illimani

June 1, 2017
Hello, this is Eric and Caleb with the team in Bolivia. We were hanging out up at the Condor’s Nest at 18,000 feet, tucking ourselves in for the night. Down below us we can see all of La Paz and El Alto stretched out in the distance and even all the way to Lake Titicaca. Today, we meandered our way up a long ridge from our previous Base Camp. We were about fives hours on the ridge, beautiful views in each direction. The team did great and we are psyched for our summit bid tomorrow. We should check in from the summit in less than 12 hours, no less than 24 hours, yeah we’ll call it that.  Talk to you soon.  Bye.

RMI Guides Eric Frank & Caleb Ladue

The RMI Bolivia Team checks in from 18,000 ft on Illimani.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

I am so very, very happy that you are all off the mountain and that you all summited!  You are amazing!  Thank you to the guides for bringing everyone down safely.  Just don’t think about climbing again anytime soon, okay?  My hair is grey enough the
way it is!  Congrats, Mattie!  We can’t wait to hear all about it!

Posted by: Bird on 6/3/2017 at 4:54 pm

From Maddies crew at work.  Good luck and good climbing.  The blogs have been wonderful and you all are an inspiration to all of us mopes at sea level.

Posted by: Steve on 6/2/2017 at 5:36 am

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team arrive at Illimani Base Camp

When horses eat grass, they shred and tear everything, even the roots. Llamas on the other hand chew to a perfect putting green height. Illimani Base Camp is a massive rolling field, home to dozens and dozens of llamas. So after arriving at base camp this afternoon we found ourselves on one of the largest perfectly manicured fields in Bolivia. And therefore decided that a round of lawn games was required. The only thing we were missing was proper equipment. Nothing a little creativity couldn’t solve…
Two snow pickets, 18 tent stakes, a dozen moderately round rocks, plus our ice axes and Voilà!, a game of mountain croquette was the highlight of the afternoon. Styles varied, rocks broke in half, and every time a shot looked to go straight it would bounce sideways, but after almost two hours of play we had laughed and cheered our way to a winner.

RMI Guide Eric Frank & Team

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Kim & Co. sorry the weather and conditions didn’t exactly cooperate.  Still sounds like an AMAZING trip and I love the impromptu croquet…don’t be too concerned, but Lucky has found a suitor by the name of Hugo the Persian. 
Xoxoxo Lora

Posted by: Lora on 5/31/2017 at 6:48 pm

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Enjoy Sunrise Rather than Summit

May 30, 2017
Our unseasonal snowfall over the past two days set the team up for a wary summit bid in the wee hours of the morning. Leaving High Camp at 17,000 we found ourselves in boot high fresh snow. Yet, after two hours of uphill, we quickly came upon wind deposits well over a meter deep and made the tough but safe call to walk back to our refugio amongst the clouds. However, our morning wasn’t quite over, for as we peeked back down through the cloud ceiling we were just in time to watch the entirety of an absolutely spectacular sunrise. The sun rose behind Huayna’s sister to the east and lit three levels of clouds in hues of pink and gold. One rope team simply stopped in the middle of the boot pack and watched for 45 minutes as the valley below us slowly filled with light. Right as the sun finally crested the peak to our east, the valley clouds rose up around camp and engulfed us in a glowing mist. Despite not getting the chance to climb higher, I’m afraid we would have missed the sunrise being stuck in the high clouds and honestly it was all any of us could have asked for.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sounds like a fabulous experience despite the disappointment of not summiting!  As an aside, a predator fan was arrested at the game in Pittsburgh for throwing a weapon in the ice - a catfish!

Posted by: Jane on 5/31/2017 at 2:43 pm

Incredible! Can’t wait to see photos!!

Posted by: Ally on 5/31/2017 at 8:26 am

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Check in from Huayna Potosi

May 29, 2017
Hello, this is Eric Frank calling from the Casa De Guilles here on Huayna Potosi in Bolivia. The last couple days have been pretty interesting, yesterday a fair amount of snow fell on Huayna Potosi and we weren’t really sure what we would find this morning. When we woke up the weather was good and we were able to climb up to the high Refugio in fairly comfortable conditions. Once again things changed, and it started dumping a bunch of snow so we spent most of the afternoon watching the flakes fall and clearing off the roof of our little shelter. We are just getting tucked into bed now, hopefully things will turn around in the morning. There’s a fair amount of snow on route so wish us luck, we’re going to make conservative decisions and see how far we can go.

Thanks for following along.
RMI Guide Eric Frank

RMI Guide Eric Frank checks in from High Camp on Huayna Potosi, Bolivia

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hi Mattie-
We think about you all day long, hope that the weather is in your favor, and that RMI and the guides do their thing and help you all to achieve your goal…a summit!!!  Hang in there, sweetheart!  We look forward to hearing all about your experiences through the blogs.  Love you! 
Mama, Jesse, Bud, Taira and Adryan

Posted by: Bird on 5/30/2017 at 5:20 pm

Hope things are going well for you and the team.  Just found the blog and will follow the rest of your trip.  Enjoy the view.  Dad

Posted by: David Probst on 5/30/2017 at 11:40 am

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Descend from Condoriri Group and Return to La Paz

May 27, 2017

A well deserved sleep and sluggish morning let the team regain our feet.  Yet, we managed to make the most of it. Our jaunt out of the Condoriri group wasn’t quite complete until half the group had jumped into a snow fed reservoir and scrambled back to dry land as fast as our frozen limbs could manage. For all of us, 14,500ft was the highest we had ever swam.
A brief stint of skipping stones on clear glassy ponds, and passing the time with our new matted canine friend had the group back into the van and on our way to the city. Today happens to be mothers day down here in Bolivia, (Hi Mom!) and we were greeted with street parties, colorful attire, traffic zebras and a box of empanadas once we passed within city limits. To close out the night, we celebrated our first summit success with a feast of unrealistically large and delicious slabs of meat. And now we go to bed early amid the ‘thick’ 12,000ft city air, ready to skip right back into the mountains come sunrise. 
Posted above are a few teaser photos from our ascent of pequeno Alpamayo.

RMI Guides Caleb Ladue, Eric Frank and Team Bolivia

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Congrats on the first Peak Paul. Keep it up.

Send more pics. Awesome mountain range.

Posted by: Dave on 5/29/2017 at 10:33 am

Good work Kim! Sounds awesome! Were you one of the swimmers?

Posted by: Josh Hostetler on 5/28/2017 at 6:19 am

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Check in After Pequeno Alpamayo Summit

Hey everyone out there in blog land, this is Eric checking in from base camp in the Condoriri Group. Most of the team is snuggled into their sleeping bags for an afternoon siesta, because we already put in a full day of work by summiting Pequeño Alpamayo!
After a 3am wake up call, we rolled out of camp in the darkness and made short work of the broad, rolling glacier that occupies the basin above our camp. By 7:30 we were at 17,500ft and the morning alpenglow turned all the peaks around us to a fiery orange. Words can’t describe the immensity of the range. In every direction snow capped peaks roll out. The remainder of the route took us up steep snow ridges, over rocky towers and to a final summit that was smaller then a dinner table. The team crowded onto the small precipice and snapped a few photos before walking over the ridge to start the first lower. We are happy to report that everyone in the group made it.
All for now. We head to La Paz tomorrow for a well deserved shower and respite before heading on to our next objective.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Awesome!! Sounds stunning! Glad to hear you all made the summit! Congrats! Kim you amaze me!

Posted by: Ally on 5/27/2017 at 7:47 pm

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Training Day

We awoke to our first real look at the Condoriri Group and it was absolutely spectacular. Crystal clear skies highlighted a couple climbing groups heading up a rolling glacier on the way toward Pequeno Alpamayo. For our group that path waits for tomorrow, so after a languorous breakfast, the team headed up to 16k to continue our acclimatization and practice the skills for the upcoming day. We managed to refresh everyone’s prior knowledge and even add a technique or two to the group’s toolbox. Our schooling came to a swift close as the afternoon clouds rolled in and forced us back to camp to lounge away the late afternoon and rest up for the long day ahead. Now the team is wrapped up in our tents watching the night sky clear above us!

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hi Kim,Love the informative updates from the RMI guides.Sounds like an amazing trip!The Preds are in the Stanley Cup Finals! First game Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.Stay tuned.Travel safe! GO KIM! Love,Dad

Posted by: SHELDON KRIZELMAN on 5/26/2017 at 5:13 am

Hey Kimmer-sounds like an amazing trip so far! I love the blog entries-so poetic…Sophia’s last day of school is today so it’s summer party time in Atlanta!! Have fun and stay safe!! Xoxoxo Lora

Posted by: Lora on 5/26/2017 at 4:25 am

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Head into the Mountains

Pickled and fresh cut veggies, mouth watering empanadas, chicken thighs that fall off the bone. I think the Bolivia team assumed our days of feasting on this trip were over, but no! Today we ventured into the mountains under cloudy, threatening skies, accompanied by our cook staff. Fortunately we made it into base camp before it started to rain. Once the tents were up, our kitchen team treated us to a three course dinner where we laughed and told stories, dragging the meal out to two full hours. After dinner, we walked outside to find that the clouds had lifted and we could see the Southern Cross stretched across the sky. Life at 15k ain’t so bad!!

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Have fun and stay safe out there boys, wish I was climbing with you again this summer!  Trip looks like a blast!

Posted by: Lowry on 5/25/2017 at 3:40 pm

Hey Mattie and team Eric—-all us slugs back at the office are rooting for you!  Still expect a picture of you wearing a bowler hat!

Posted by: Steve on 5/25/2017 at 1:27 pm

Bolivia Expedition: Frank & Team Tour Isla del Sol

This morning started with a pounding rain through the night that magically let off just as the sun rose across Lake Titicaca. Once the sun peaked out, everything quickly dried up and we had perfect weather for a visit to the Isla del Sol. A beautiful boat ride along the banks of Copacabana and Lake Titicaca took us to the island of the sun; the famous home of the fountain of the youth. This mountainous island is steeped in ancient history dating back long before the Incas unified the Andean Plateau. We found ourselves walking in the same steps and drinking from the same spring as generations of pilgrims before us. I must say the fountain gave the group a special spring in our step as we climbed to the top of the island and took in the gorgeous surroundings of Peru, Bolivia and the massive lake between them. After that, all that was left was to descend to the shore for a lunch of delicious Andean food overlooking the water. We returned back to Copacabana well fed, a little better educated about the history of this amazing area, and for some maybe just a touch younger! 

RMI Guide Caleb Ladue

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hey Eric-
I’m wondering if you have pictures of all the climbers on the summit of the third mountain?  It would be great to see them!  Thank you! 


Posted by: Gloria Thomes on 6/5/2017 at 1:27 pm

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