Entries from Ecuador
January 23, 2022
Following a restless night of not sleeping at 17,400’, our team stood on top of Chimborazo this morning. It was a clear morning with calm winds and the route is in excellent condition.
Interestingly, the summit of Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the earth, due to it’s position near the equator. It is the only 6000 meter peak in Ecuador and it was an honor to visit the summit with this team.
That is AWESOME!!! Congratulations to Everyone!! Your wish came true with the Sunshine!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/24/2022 at 3:13 am
January 22, 2022
Yesterday we traveled south through the town of Ambato, where we learned what a 50cm burrito looks like. Despite an exact measurement it’s still hard to imagine. Following a comical lunch we drove through the park, Reserva Producción de Fauna Chimborazo, and continued to La Estrella de Chimborazo where we had a quiet night with delicious food and beautiful views of Chimborazo’s grand south face.
We awoke to a foggy morning and continued to relax in preparation for a difficult 24 hours. Some members of the team practiced crevasse rescue on the porch while other’s just chilled out, enjoying the views and some local wildlife.
In the afternoon we made the two hour trek to high camp and are settled in at our highest sleeping altitude - 17,400’. Tonight we will get an alpine start and hope for good weather on our summit attempt!
RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier
Best of luck for a successful climb and cooperative weather!
Posted by: Karie Seubert on 1/23/2022 at 10:11 am
Climb Strong Team!!! Sending Prayers for Strong Lungs and Legs!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/23/2022 at 3:03 am
January 20, 2022
Last night we lied in bed awaiting an 11pm wakeup for a Cotopaxi summit attempt. But the winds picked up and the roof could be heard shaking and whistling all night. At the sound of my first alarm, myself and the other guides went outside to find high winds and a sideways drizzle. We then went on shifts checking every 30 minutes and hoping for improvement, but to no avail. By 3am we decided to call it and everyone was able to sleep in. The crew was certainly disappointed but still in good spirits. What helped was seeing all the people who did attempt last night return soaked and covered in a layer of half inch ice, having failed to make it to the summit. It was truly a sight to see.
After departing the hut we made the short drive out of the park and are enjoying a wonderful evening at La Cienega, one of the finest haciendas in Ecuador. We took advantage of a sunny afternoon to learn some rope skills and are looking forward to the rest of the evening in this beautiful and historic hacienda.
Thats a bummer the mountain did not give you good weather. But what ever weather you get is always a cool experience!! All the best on your Big mountain Dustin and Kevin!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/21/2022 at 3:38 am
January 18, 2022
Following a leisurely breakfast in the courtyard at Guachala, we made our way south towards Cotopaxi. We are staying in the Tambopaxi Lodge who's playground served as an excellent location for learning crevasse rescue techniques against the backdrop of multiple volcanoes: Sincholagua, Ruminahui and most importantly, Cotopaxi. It was an excellent day to give the body some rest while also learning some mountain skills. Seeing the mountain got us all psyched for the next couple of days, especially because you can clearly see the hut and the route from Tambopaxi. One member of the team even snapped a great night photo of Cotopaxi, that's not a stock photo!
RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier & Team
Jason - the girls and I miss you but are so proud of you! Hope you and the rest of the group are enjoying every minute!!!
Posted by: Mende on 1/19/2022 at 5:46 pm
Hey Dustin and Kevin!! Wishing you light winds and cloudless skies for your Summit of Cotopaxi!!!
I would love to see the crater on the summit!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/19/2022 at 4:39 am
January 17, 2022
Monday, January 17, 2022 - 6:21 am PT
The last few members of the team are arriving back at the refugio after a successful summit of Cayambe! It was a clear morning, but quite windy above 17,000’. We will descend to Guachala today for some much needed rest before moving south towards Cotopaxi tomorrow.
Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 9:18 pm PT
On Sunday, we had an excellent day reviewing basic mountaineering skills on the glacier plus starting some advanced skills in the hut. Currently we are 20 minutes into the climb and it is a clear, calm night. Let’s hope it stays that way!
January 15, 2022
Following a rainy day on Fuya Fuya yesterday, we were able to dry out and take hot showers at La Casa Sol. We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed a quiet stay. Today we spent a couple hours at the Otavalo Market, the largest outdoor craft market in South America. It was a fun and slow way to start our day which included a bus ride and long 4x4 ride to the Cayambe climber’s hut. The team is settled in for the night and we will train on the glacier tomorrow, reviewing basic climbing skills and learning how to build snow anchors. Thanks for staying tuned and cross your fingers for good weather the next two days!
Best wishes for Sunshine!!! :)
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/16/2022 at 2:59 am
January 13, 2022
In an effort to maximize the suffering and thus achieve the greatest level of mental training, we hiked Rucu Pichincha during the rainiest, snowiest portion of the day. Alright, that was not the intention but mission accomplished! Here on the equator, weather forecasts can only tell you so much. If you ask a local about it, they typically look at the sky and tell you what is currently happening. It was basically cloudy, raining or snowing all day but we did get some glimpses of Quito beneath the clouds. On the way back down the trail we also dried off a bit in the warmth of the afternoon so everyone was in good spirits back on the bus. Tonight we are headed to a local favorite restaurant to fuel up on baba ganoush before heading north towards Cayambe.
You all earned a great meal climbing in the snow and rain! Best of Luck Dustin and Kevin and Team!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/14/2022 at 4:27 am
January 12, 2022
The remainder of the group arrived yesterday, on time and COVID free. This morning we all met and headed out for a tour of Quito and La Mitad del Mundo. We learned quite a bit of Ecuadorian history and had a chance to get our bearings in the second largest city in Ecuador. More importantly, one member of the team was able to balance a raw egg on the head of a nail. There is now a shiny certificate that comes with this achievement as compared to when it just came with lifelong bragging rights.
With our first day at altitude under our belt we are headed to Rucu Pichincha tomorrow for another day of acclimatization. Everyone is looking forward to getting the legs and lungs working!
All the Best to you and your team Dustin!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/13/2022 at 3:40 am
December 9, 2021
Posted by: Dustin Wittmier
Today the weather redeemed itself with perfect conditions on Cotopaxi. 100% of the team reached the summit in calm conditions just after sunrise. It could not have been a nicer day. We now can all go home having summited a big mountain and with a story to tell from Cayambe.
A huge shoutout to this team for embracing the team aspect of climbing. All members supported another member at some point during both of the climbs. It was impressive to see the group show genuine care towards people who were strangers just days earlier. On numerous occasions we spent two hours or more at a meal sharing stories, laughing and learning about each other.
Also a shoutout to our Ecuadorian guides who continue to show their professionalism in the mountains, this expedition would not be possible without their local knowledge and high level of skill.
Finally, thanks to friends and family who have been following along with this trip. It’s encouraging to know you’re out there supporting us and we always enjoy getting a comment from Farmer Dave!
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Congrats to You Dustin and all the Team!!! I love the pictures from a sunny summit!! Now I know what it looks like without snow and ice fog!! :) I agree it is so cool how complete strangers become best of friends in a day or so when in the mountains!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 12/11/2021 at 3:13 am
I am a gringo who lives in Ecuador… I am looking just for a guide for Chimborazo the weekend of Jan 22-23… Any recommendations on a good local?
Posted by: Spencer Chiaro on 12/10/2021 at 1:32 pm
Yesterday we made a valiant effort on Cayambe. The team stuck together and supported each other along the way. We sat down for a break at 18200' anticipating one more hour to the summit. However, Mother Nature had a different plan, and we were privy to a surprise lightning show that was a touch too close for comfort. After packing up at the hut we made the trek south to Chilcabamba Eco Lodge where we are letting the bodies rest and reset. The team went for a neighborhood walk this morning and were delighted to have the neighborhood dogs join, although it seems the dogs had the ulterior motive of getting into mischief. Currently we are taking in stunning views of Cotopaxi and setting our sights towards our next high altitude adventure.
RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier and Team
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Sending Perfect weather thoughts for Cotopaxi!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 12/8/2021 at 7:28 am