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Entries from Ecuador

Cotopaxi Express: Team Summits Cayambe!

Today was the day! Cayambe summit bid. 

The guides “woke up” at 11pm to check the weather outside and stepped into an uncharacteristically warm and cloudy night. Glimpses of stars came in and out of view with the wind dull and chilled. We decided it was go time and, given the hour we estimated it would take the team to gear up, we put our chips on an improving trend. Clear it did, as we donned our backpacks and set up the rocky, first section of the route.  It takes us about an hour plus to get to the base of the glacier on Cayambe due to the varied, and sometimes involved terrain you navigate to get there.  Our nerves quickly gave way to the necessity of focus on the tricky terrain and that’s when it gets fun! 

After a quick break at the glacier to eat, put our crampons on, and rope up, we were climbing. That warm night gave way to a clear, chilly, moonlit night with views of the surrounding peaks and towns. With perfect conditions and beautiful weather, the team climbed in style for the 4000ft and 7 hours of ascent. 

100% of the team stood on top of Cayambe today. An accolade not often achieved by teams attempting these tall peaks.

Proud of the grit, dedication, and attitude this team has. While it’s a shame the trip is ending, I know I’ll see these climbers back in the mountains soon enough. 

This is the Cayambe Express trip.

Signing out. 

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dominic ,Joes going to want a cold coke, after climb like that !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/5/2022 at 7:52 am

Cotopaxi: Team Prepares for Climb of Cayambe

Your first night at 15,000ft, you almost never sleep well. The team slept like babies last night. We woke up for five minutes, went to sleep for 15 minutes, tossed and turned for another five, until it was time to get up. Today is a training day, we’ll walk up to the glacier to review some glacier travel, rope, and crampon skills prepare us for our climb tomorrow. Time to make our summit bid!

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cotopaxi: Cifelli, Burns & Team Visit Local Market, Travel to Cayambe

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 7:10 pm PT

Today was mostly a travel day. We woke up, ate breakfast, and packed out of the hotel at a leisurely pace and headed to the Otavalo market to enjoy some local wears. This market is bustling on Thursdays and Saturdays, but seeing its Wednesday, we enjoyed a nice, quiet peruse through its pathways. A few food stops and a couple hours of driving later, we're moved into the hut at the base of Cayambe, gearing up to start our climb. Tomorrow we review and practice our glacier travel skills to prepare for our summit bid.

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cayambe Express: Team Acclimates on Fuya Fuya

Today we left the comfort of Quito to start our travels toward the main objective of the trip, Cayambe.

While the trip is originally a Cotopaxi Express the team had to pivot to a new itinerary after Cotopaxi showed too many signs of activity for mountaineering. We're going to trust the scientists on this one and not go take a peek into the crater ourselves.

Today was another day of acclimatization. We climbed the hills outside of Otovalo to summit the second objective of the trip, Fuya Fuya. The weather treated us to cloudy, moody views that kept us the perfect temperature during our climb. While shorter in stature than Rucu Pinchincha it still serves as a great opportunity for acclimatization and sets us up well for Cayambe. Tonight, we enjoy our final night in town.

We ship off to the base of climb tomorrow. Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

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You can hike, but you can’t hide!
You Got This !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/3/2022 at 2:46 pm

Cotopaxi Express: Cifelli & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Today was the real first step of the adventure. We woke up early to catch one of the first rides on the gondola and we’re glad we did. The team enjoyed beautiful views of the surrounding volcanoes, Rucu Pichincha itself, and the cityscape of Quito to start our morning up in the hills. The weather out here in Ecuador is notoriously unpredictable though. Shortly after we set out, we were surrounded by clouds and a breeze that chilled us for the remainder of the climb. Still thankful for no rain, we climbed on and reached the summit in style. The best part of the climb? Well of course it was the coffee and donuts that awaited us at the top of the gondola. The Euro-style café there has sprawling views of Quito and coffee that tastes extra good after a hard day’s work. The team is headed back to Quito for our last night here before we head out to our next peak, Fuya Fuya.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Just do it! Happy trails!

Posted by: Ruby on 11/4/2022 at 1:39 pm

Go Joe Go !!

Posted by: Daryl on 11/2/2022 at 7:36 pm

Cotopaxi Express: Cifelli, Burns and Team Arrive and Explore Quito

Sunday, October 30, 2022 - 7:08 pm PT

The members of the team arrived safely in Quito with all our luggage. Today, we ventured out into Quito for a city tour.  At an elevation of over 9,000 ft, this was the perfect acclimatization activity for Day 1. The first (and generally favorite) stop on the tour was at the Mitad del Mundo museum, which means "middle of the world". This museum is located on the equatorial line and the tour guides show us some cool demonstrations along with some interesting history of the region. We balanced an egg on a nail, got our passports stamped and went off to tour Old-Town Quito to see the historic churches and buildings the city had to offer. Tomorrow we are looking forward to a warm-up hike on Rucu Pichincha!

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hope all is well. Miss my walks with you. Be safe ❤️ Jane Marlana Nicole Gazzy and Calum

Posted by: Gazzy on 11/4/2022 at 1:08 pm

Go Joe Go !!

Posted by: Daryl on 11/2/2022 at 7:37 pm

Cotopaxi Express: Hahn & Team Summit Cotopaxi

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 6:39 pm PT

This day won’t be forgotten soon by our team.  It was longer than most, to begin with.  We were drinking coffee at 10:30 PM and loading the buses at 11.  The rough road took us plenty high, but then we were out and trudging uphill by headlight for hours. It was cold and a little breezy, but we were looking at stars… and Jupiter and Neptune.  We stopped in a hut long enough to put on helmets and harnesses and then marched up to the snow, where we donned crampons and ropes.  The walking got easier on the snow, except it was all getting to the kind of heights that are just plain hard to climb and breathe in.  We transitioned onto a glacier, still in pitch darkness.  By daybreak the team had reached above 18,000 ft.  All of the magnificent volcanoes of Ecuador were lined up for our viewing pleasure.  There were plenty of clouds at different levels but it was evident that we were going to get lucky.  Things steepened for the final 800 ft to make the team dig down deep for energy.  But by 8:40 the gang was on the summit of Cotopaxi at 19,347 ft.  13 of our 18 climbers made the top, along with 6 of our excellent Ecuadorian guiding staff.  The team was back at the lodge by midday and packing for departure.  By 2 PM we were in our buses and headed for the jets.  Now -at 6:30 PM- we’re high over Cuba, pointed toward Miami and a celebration on the water.  A big day indeed, much of our team shattered personal altitude records and found inner strength they hadn’t imagined. 

Best Regards

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Cotopaxi Express: Hahn and Team Get a Few Blinks of Sleep Before Alpine Start

Today was nice and easy… a chance to sip coffee and stare at the big volcano out the window.  It changed every few minutes, with clouds and light increasing, decreasing and doing just what clouds and light always do.

We took it easy to enhance our acclimatization and to prepare for tonight’s climb.  There was a small and easy training and gear session out in the grass.  But that was balanced by naps and meals. 

We’re ready!  Awake in just a few hours for our Alpine start. 

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Cotopaxi Express: Hahn & Team Scramble to Summit of Illiniza Norte

Sunday, May 29, 2022 - 6:33 pm PT

Today we climbed Iliniza Norte to it’s quite pointy summit at 18,818 ft.  The entire group made the top in a mere two and a half hours from the hut.  We began at 6:30 AM in partly cloudy conditions.  It was a little cold and windy at first, on icy and slippery rock and dirt, but things improved.  We got amazing views of Cotopaxi and Iliniza Sur, but the rugged rock scrambling required to get up Iliniza Norte kept us well focused on the task at hand.  We hit the top at 9 AM and spent 30 minutes before beginning a careful descent.  The team moved well, with excellent help from our local guide staff, and we were at the base of the mountain by midday. 

We enjoyed a celebratory steak lunch at a restaurant on the way to Cotopaxi National Park and then made our way uphill and into the park to the Tambopoxi Lodge.  Clouds cleared from the mountain at sunset and we had amazing views of our big objective of the next few days. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Cotopaxi Express: Hahn and Team set sights on Iliniza Norte

May 28 5:15pm PT

Checking in from Nuevos Hortizantes Refugio!

The entire team, 20 of us plus 5 local guides, are in place for a summit attempt on Iliniza Norte. This is an important part of our preparation for Cotopaxi. Today we climbed three hours and 2700 ft under cloudy skies to reach the hut. We'll set out at 6 AM to go toward the 16,818' summit. Hoping for clear skies and grand views. Perhaps we'll get some good exercise.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn and Team

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