Entries from Ecuador
Hello again everyone.
The team is finally back safe and sound in Quito after a very wet two days. Unfortunately we didn’t make the summit, but as Lou Whittaker used to say, “Sometimes you eat the mountain and sometimes the mountain eats you” and today the mountain was tougher.
Yesterday we hiked up to the Refugio on Cotopaxi in some of the windiest and wettest conditions I’ve seen here. We settled into the climber’s hut and discussed our game plan for the climb with hopes that the weather would dissipate, then enjoyed a nice warm meal before heading to bed early.
We woke up at 11pm and got dressed and all of our gear ready before a very quick breakfast and then headed out to give it our best. The team climbed for about two hours in a sideways rain before it turned to ice and encased us in our waterproof clothes. To be honest it was pretty miserable, but the team kept a positive attitude as we battled the weather. It didn’t take long for us to realize that climbing in these conditions was far less than ideal. So just short of 18,000ft we called it good. Then quickly descended back to the hut to escape the maelstrom.
The team is currently relaxing in our comfortable hotel and looking forward to another nice meal before catching our flights back home early tomorrow morning.
Thanks for following!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the soggy but happy crew
We had a nice relaxing day here in the beautiful Highlands of Ecuador. Some of the team took naps while others explored the local town of Machachi. Everyone enjoyed our down day here and and are excited to head to Cotopaxi tomorrow for a little climbing.
The staff here at Chilcabamba has been keeping us well fed with plenty of home cooked food, and very warm with fires in our rooms.
One last night of good sleep to recharge us for our next adventure.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
All is well here in Ecuador.
Today we had a very early start to try our luck climbing Illiniza Norte. We left our hacienda just after 3am and after a short ride to the trailhead, the team was hiking uphill just before 4am. We hiked for about three hrs to reach the Refugio or climbers hut that sits in the saddle between the two mountains where we ducked inside for a little hot tea and coffee.
Unfortunately the weather made a turn for the worse while we were relaxing inside. However, we suited up in our climbing gear and made a valiant effort to see if we could push through anyway. But today the mountain won as the snow falling only thickened as we made our way uphill. We reached about 16,000’ before calling it good.
The team quickly descended back to our hacienda were we packed up and headed for a nice warm lunch.
We are currently relaxing in another wonderful hacienda close to Cotopaxi called Chilcabamba.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
Good luck crew getting to the summit. Sending you blessings and a safe return journey. Go conquer it Thaddius.
Posted by: Kristen Hutton on 6/12/2019 at 5:00 pm
We had a nice relaxing morning here in Ecuador today, leaving the hotel just after 10am. After loading all of our duffels on our bus we slowly made our way through the traffic of Quito and headed south along the Pan-American highway.
Our goal for the day was to reach the base of the Illiniza’s, two extinct volcanoes not too far from Cotopaxi. We stopped along the way for a really nice lunch at “Cafe de la Vaca” cafe of the cows, where most of us had hamburgers and fresh juices that they are known for. We continued driving just a little further to reach our quaint little hacienda tucked in the hills not too far from the mountain. We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring around the hacienda and discussing tomorrow’s game plan for climbing Illiniza Norte.
Everyone is doing well and excited about stretching our legs again early in the morning.
Casey and crew
Hello again everyone
Today we had a very beautiful hike to help with our acclimatization on a nearby peak called Pichincha. It is one of the many local peaks that is situated above Quito and is used by many climbers to help adjust to the higher altitude here in Ecuador. We made use of the gondolas to help us gain access to around 13,000’ then hiked the additional 2,500’ to the summit. It took our team roughly three hours to gain the top after a little scrambling up the final bit to reach our high point thus far. It was a personal high point for a few of us, and the entire team did a fantastic job. After spending a bit of time on the summit and getting some photos we descended all the way back to our hotel for a brief nap before dinner.
Along the way we ran into an old friend Carla Perez! A real mountain superwoman, as she is 1 of only 7 women to have summitted Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew.
Hola from Ecuador!
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 10 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 to the southern part of Quito to a big hill called La Panacia that over looks this beautiful city, then continued on foot exploring the historic district.
We then 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 tests that attempt to prove it’s the actual middle of the world.
We wrapped up the evening with dinner at a nice restaurant where we enjoyed getting to know each other better.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the Ecuador crew
January 31, 2019
Well up until yesterday morning the debate was still on: Cotopaxi or the Beach? Despite the obvious draw of bagging climbing for surfing, we decided that the steep moody glaciated peak out our dining room window was a worthy endeavor, so we packed up and headed for the Refugio José Ribas. It was a brief restfull afternoon and dinner (of course with Sopa and Ahi, our two favorite parts of every meal here) before we were off to bed, feeling oddly comfortable at 16,000 feet by now. We awoke around 1 am to find our legendary streak of good weather had not been broken. Launching in calm winds under the stars with only clouds to our north, we climbed the first thousand feet on red volcanic rock before donning spikes and venturing into the glacier with a few inches of consolidated fresh snow to provide traction. The entire crew felt strong, even stronger than on Cayambe after so much time at altitude, and before we knew it we were all on top of Cotopaxi with a clear view and a steaming crater. The route and views were all time, perfect to wrap up our time in a great country. By the time we arrived back at the hut there was another first for the crew of firsts: a hut to summit to hut record was in the bag, not far over 6 hours I believe.
We are now in Quito celebrating our 400% success this trip (100% success on 4 peaks), and will soon depart for home. What a great group we have had! Fun, positive, strong, interesting, and encouraging are all words that come to mind. We’ll call this trip a great one in the books and hope to climb with all these cats again!
Thanks also to our amazing local guides, Jaime, David, Nacho, and Christian. Also a big thanks to our driver - the Ecuadorian GPS - Victor.
RMI Guides Chris Ebeling and Adam Knoff
Congratulations to the entire team and to you! What an amazing experience with amazing people! Thank you so much for leading them to the top of these massive peaks with such style and expertise!
There are truly no better people to climb with in the guides of RMI!
Posted by: Susan Matthews on 1/31/2019 at 2:07 pm
Our team had a great morning relaxing, drinking coffee and socializing with our four new Swiss German friends. Since yesterday we have all shared stories and cervezas speaking English but having a great cultural exchange with folks from another country.
This morning after breakfast we continued that connection by putting ropes on the hacienda climbing routes, getting all our Swiss friends hanging on a rope for the first time!
Now we are all packed up and ready to head to Cotopaxi. The weather looks promising and route reports have remained good for the upper mountain.
We will call in tomorrow with results of the climb.
Everyone is excited for our upcoming ascent but looking forward to cleaning up and coming home. As much fun as we’re having we do miss our families.
Best of luck on the last big climb
Posted by: Jane on 1/30/2019 at 6:38 pm
Yesterday our team earned a big Ecuadorian summit towering 18,990 feet above sea level which also happens to be the only place on the planet where the equator itself is snow covered. These big mountains are not highly technical climbs requiring fixed ropes or advanced ice climbing skills but they are long sustained endeavors taking upwards of 8 to 10 hours to complete and literally pull the energy from your body one step at a time. Within our group we have a number of climbers who are very technology savvy and wear one of those super watches that short of turning you into James Bond, gives you critical info on how your body is performing. After the climb one person reportedly burned over 7,000 calories on the climb alone. Not only did we earn the top, we earned the 3,000 calorie hamburger we ate for lunch when we returned to town.
After lunch our half asleep, food comaed bodies crawled onto the waiting bus and began our 3.5 hour drive back down the “avenue of the volcanoes” toward our country side hacienda located ten miles from the sleeping giant, Cotopaxi.
Standing at 19,385 feet, Cotopaxi is considered the world’s highest active volcano and the most beautiful mountain in Ecuador. We couldn’t see the mountain when we arrived but exited the bus like a group of stiff, smelly walking dead looking only for beer and showers. Definitely a good theme for America’s next horrible zombie film.
Despite our showers being cold, the beer and Bourbon sufficed so after dinner we agin congratulated our climb and then quickly turned from alive to dead, collapsing around 9:30 and not moving until 8am this morning. When we finally did pull ourselves out of bed, we were greeted with stunning views of the mountain and a scene straight out of an Ecuador tourism book. Llamas grazed in the pastures and clouds drifted like dreams in front of the peak which confirms why people are so impressed with its beauty.
Throughout the day rest has been the objective. Shortly after 10 it began to rain so our time has been passed napping, sitting by the fire and prepping gear for tomorrow’s big climb. Not a bad way to recharge.
Stay tuned for the outcome of tomorrow’s attempt.
January 28, 2019
RMI Guide Adam Knoff called at 7:45 am PT to report the entire team had reached the summit of Cayambe this morning and were safely back to the climbers’ hut. The team enjoyed a great training day yesterday and awoke this morning to clear skies and beautiful weather. They are leaving the hut soon and will stop for lunch before continuing to Chilcabamba where they will stay the night.
Adam will send photos and a complete report later today.
Congratulations to the team!
Congratulations to the entire team! It sounds like and looks like you’re having the time of your lives!
Rest up, eat some good food, sleep well, & continue with this fabulous journey!
Chris and Adam, thank you for taking such good care of this fabulous team !
Love you Paul!
Posted by: Susan Matthews on 1/28/2019 at 2:53 pm