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Entries from Ecuador

January 22, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Enjoy the Scenery from Fuya Fuya

Hello again everyone!

Today the team left behind the hustle and bustle of Quito and moved just north of the Equator to the comfortable and quiet rural countryside. Once outside the city limits the landscape quickly turned into rolling hills with farms pitched on steep slopes and dozens of small eucalyptus forest.

Our plan was to visit a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we stretched our legs on a nice steep and short acclimatization hike. Thankfully the weather wasn’t too bad which allowed us to see some amazing views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. 

We are just on the outskirts of a town call Otavalo, which is known for its massive market and we are currently relaxing at a wonderful Hacienda called “La Casa Sol”. The team is doing great and looking forward to nice quiet night here.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Howard and Bill—-you guys look great!!!!!—continue being SAFE CAREFUL CAUTIOUS and enjoy this awesome experience. Best of luck to the whole team.  (Love you Howard —neehi :-). )

Posted by: Anita on 1/23/2016 at 5:58 am

January 21, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Acclimatize on Rucu Pichincha

Hello again everyone.
Today we had a very nice 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 13,000ft then hiked the additional 2,500ft 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 our photos we descended all the back to our hotel for a brief nap before dinner.
Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

January 20, 2016

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Chimborazo and Cayambe

Ecuador Volcanoes: Grom & Team Explore Historical Quito

Hola from Ecuador!

After some very long flights and a little bit of sleep the team is doing well. We started our day with a team meeting where we did our usual round of introductions and discussed the game plan for our upcoming adventure.

After the meeting we headed out on the town to explore this beautiful historical city with our tour guide Angel. We first headed north to visit the Equator from which Ecuador gets its name, then headed to the older part of town where visited several old cathedrals, and the colonial town square. Next we headed up to a small hill called La Panacia that over looks this beautiful city before returning to the hotel for a little break.

We wrapped up the day with a quick gear check to make sure everyone has all the gear needed for our climbs. Then it was off to dinner at a nice restaurant where we were enjoyed getting to know each other better.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

This is for John Newland. Climb your butt off you can do it. Show those kids you can be on Medicare and still climb.

Posted by: Doug on 1/22/2016 at 10:18 am

Excited you have such a great team! Good luck honey. :)

Posted by: Sydney on 1/20/2016 at 9:16 pm

January 16, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Summit Day on Chimborazo

Summit day on Chimborazo. Not only were our bodies still recovering from the two previous big climbs of Cayambe and Antisana, we saved the trickiest and tallest climb for last. Towering over the surrounding landscape at 20,700ft, Chimborazo was our final objective. And boy, did it deliver!

Even in the best conditions, this peak isn’t an easy target. But coupled with uncharacteristically dry season this year, this climb proved to be the most physically and mentally demanding of the trip.

We hiked up yesterday to our High Camp at around 17,500’, made some dinner, and hit the sack. Our climb this morning began with our 11pm alarms waking us from our sleep. After tidying up camp, slamming some calories, and chugging some coffee, we pointed our tired feet uphill towards the summit.

The climb began with about an hour and a half of walking on trail, exposed ridges, and a couple of 5th class climbing moves. As the trail steepened, we cramponed up and prepared to hit the glacier.

Because of the dry spell Ecuador has been experiencing, the glacier was a challenging beast! Steep, firm, icy, exposed. Perfect footwork was required for the entire ascent, but our team delivered! From challenging cramponing to sections of pitched-out steep ice, this team persevered and tackled everything that crossed their paths. After a grueling 7.5 hours, we reached the Veintemilla summit at 20,561’, 30 minutes later we had turned tail and began the descent.

The steep ice and exposure made the descent as difficult as the ascent, but the team kept their heads in the game and we made it safely back to high camp by 2pm. Our porters had already packed up camp for us, making it easy for us to continue on our final descent back to the bus.

The (thoroughly exhausted yet happy) team is now back at Estrella de Chimborazo, enjoying some much earned beverages, and reminiscing about these crazy last two weeks. It’s hard to believe we’re heading back to the big city tomorrow and flying home!

We will have one more update for you guys tomorrow, but we’ll all be home to tell you more stories firsthand before you know it!

Until tomorrow,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Adam Knoff

January 15, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Check in from 17,500’ on Chimborazo

Hey Everyone,

We woke this morning and had a great breakfast.  After we were well nourished we decided to brush up on our crevasse rescue skills.  This afternoon we packed up and headed for the Chimborazo Reserve, from there it was a three hour hike to 17,500’ where camp was set up for us. The team is doing great we had a great dinner and now it’s off to bed, for an alpine start awaits us.  The summit of Chimborazo beckons…Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Adam Knoff & Team

Based on Justin’s SPOT - I see you on the summit of CHIMBORAZO - seems you all have had a fantastic trip with considerable time high in ice and snow (wish I were there)!  Congrats all!!  Greetings especially to Justin and Larry - be safe!

Posted by: Tim on 1/16/2016 at 5:33 am

So your aim is to reach the highest point on earth from the earth’s center!  Now that’s a story to tell.  Sending you hope for good conditions that will permit you to attain your goal.  Regardless… You already have great stories to tell and incredible memories for years to come.  Excited to hear them:-)

Posted by: Sharon Halls on 1/15/2016 at 8:24 pm

January 15, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Recharging at La Estrella de Chimborazo

Today we awoke with the same tired bodies we experienced after climbing Cayambe but this time there was no packing up bags preparing for a walk to the bus.  Here at Guaytala they prepared us a great breakfast, had hot showers and gave us free range over the espresso machine which helped shake out the cob webs more than anything.  At 10:30 Victor arrived and we loaded our luggage once again into the magic bus for our final migration to Ecuador’s tallest mountain, Chimborazo

Six hours after leaving the foot hills of Antisana, we arrived at La Estrella De Chimborazo, “the star of Chimborazo”.  Here we definitely saved the best for last.  It was agreed that no other hotel or hacienda has displayed such forethought in its layout, architecture and decorating.  This place is made for climbers.  With pictures of Chimborazo on almost every wall and a literal museum of climbing photos and old equipment hanging from every rafter, we can’t help but to be inspired to push ourselves one last time into the high alpine in an attempt to make history of our own. 

We are all feeling tired from two big climbs but ready for one final go.  The weather had been great and most other things have gone as planned.  Wish us luck as we move to high camp tomorrow.  Adios for now. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

if I look close enough I can almost see you on the map!
Good luck J-man

Posted by: Paul Shepherd on 1/15/2016 at 3:27 pm

Mike R.
Good News, The Grand Jury has chosen not to return an indictment, so it is safe to come home.
Good Luck to Everyone on your Ascent!!
Be safe!
SB & KB.

Posted by: Scott Bush on 1/15/2016 at 2:31 pm

January 14, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Abort Antisana Summit Bid at 18,000’

Post Antisana.  Hmmmm?  It is hard to put into words how a body feels after running full speed ahead for 36 hours without sleep.  I take that back, we did close our eyes from 7 to 10 pm last night but if you asked anyone to tell you about their dreams they will half heatedly recount how their tent partner and the thought of eating instant oatmeal at 10:30 pm was more of a nightmare.  So sleep was hard to come by. 

Once “awake”, we forced down what calories we could and loaded our climbing kits into the jeeps.  From base camp it was a 20-minute 4x4 trail to the starting point.  Like all the other mountains down here the first hour starts with a dirt trail before gaining the toe of the glacier.  We all did so about 1am and despite this being our second big climb in a row, everyone showed good spirit and stamina. 

For the next three hours we crossed spectacular crevasse bridges, cramponed up steep pitches and weaved through giant ice features. 

At 18,000 feet, we took a break to search out the final piece of the route finding puzzle which ended at the summit ridge.  Once the ridge is gained it is a straight forward climb to the top.  Unfortunately there was nothing straight forward about the terrain from our position to the ridge.  With a mandatory 55-degree slope exposed to a crevasse below and having very tricky snow conditions, the risk of taking our team into that terrain was just too high.  So it was here I decided to turn the climb around.  The good news was, up to that point everybody climbed really well and said unanimously that Antisana was one of the coolest mountains they have ever been on. 

After a safe descent we rested at camp for a couple hours then took the magic bus to a hacienda for some much needed food, beer and rest. 

Tomorrow we are off to our final and most challenging mountain, Chimborazo
Stay tuned for the next chapter. 
Adam and team wishing all of our loved ones back home big hugs.  We can’t wait to come home and see you.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Antisana sounds like a heart pumping adventure!  It really is a day to day puzzle, isn’t it!  I can’t wait to hear Justin describe this trip from a medical point of view.
Sending the team the best of wishes for another exhilarating and safe climb.  Thanks for sharing!!!

Sharon and Tim Halls

Posted by: Sharon Halls on 1/15/2016 at 8:54 am

January 12, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Ready to Tackle Antisana

If you asked the team yesterday if they were ready to climb another 18,000-foot mountain tonight, I’m sure the answer would’ve been a chorus of “No!”, but after a good night’s sleep at Hacienda Gualchalá, everyone woke up with a spring in their step, a smile on their face, and determination to get back out there and tackle another peak. It’s hard to understate the value of a relaxing evening and a lazy morning, but its effect on us is clear: our sore muscles and tired minds are a thing of the past!

After a delicious breakfast out in the morning sun, we began the now familiar process of repacking the bus with all of our climbing gear, and we hit the road towards Antisana, our next objective. En route we stopped at a mall for some last minute grocery shopping and Kentucky Fried Chicken (seriously!) before heading up the long bumpy roads towards base camp.

Upon arriving at camp just after 4pm today, we set about pitching tents and making dinner. This was done in short order and the team is now “in bed”, resting for tonight’s climb. (The ironic air quotes here are a nod towards the difficulty of getting any real sleep when you need to get up in five hours and the sun still hasn’t even set.) The climb is a bit more challenging than Cayambe, but everyone is ready to give it a shot.

The bags are packed and we’re ready to go! Stay tuned for an update when we return from our climb!

RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Adam Knoff

Looking forward to seeing more photos soon. Hoping it was a fabulous climb for all. Love to Ranger Lorenzo too!

Trying to leave this comment again. Not sure why an error message appears after selecting submit your comment two times now? Maybe can’t use autofill?

Posted by: Debbie Worden on 1/14/2016 at 9:20 am

Enjoy every moment, experience the thrill, and take pride in the accomplishment.  We’ll be following you up to the summit as you lift your head towards the sun.  Have fun Eileen!  Be safe!!  We’re so proud and very excited for you!!

Posted by: Mary Segesta on 1/13/2016 at 8:24 am

January 11, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Cayambe

Hi everyone! This is RMI Guide Adam Knoff checking in from Ecuador. We reached the summit of Cayambe this morning on what turned out to be a beautiful day. Last night at dinner we were nervous about the climb; it was pouring rain outside. Would it clear for our climb? Would we even be able to leave the hut?

My alarm went off at 11:00 p.m. and when I went outside to check the weather I saw stars in the sky. Our climbing window was open! It turned out to be a great climb. The rain last night didn’t hamper our efforts. We had a great route with great local guides. The team did an awesome job. On the summit we had views of Antisana and smoky Cotopaxi.

Now we are back down and waiting for our bus to take us Guachala, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador. Our bus is delayed by rain, the same rain that made us nervous at dinner last night is now delaying our pick-up. Delays are part of the game so we take them in stride but I must say that this delay is definitely increasing our appetite for a juicy hamburger…hopefully soon we will be able to satiate our appetites.

Until next time,
RMI Guides Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt, and team

On The Map

Mountaineering experience enhances with good quality equipment. To get more insight about Mountaineering expedition and mountaineering please visit our website www.mountaineering.asia

Posted by: Tripti on 1/12/2016 at 1:44 am

Congrats on reaching the summit! The photo looks gorgeous. Great job everyone! Glad to see Justin Halls’ bad jokes aren’t weighing you guys down. ;)

Enjoy your adventures!

Posted by: Aimee Gilchrist on 1/11/2016 at 10:16 am

January 10, 2016

Expedition Skills Seminar Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana

Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Prepared for Cayambe Summit Bid

I can’t remember the last time I woke up in a room of ten other people and everyone felt hungover.  Come to think of it, it was probably the last time I was here.  I hope all of you in the blogosphere don’t think I am telling all the climbers on my team that chugging beer is a good idea before spending our first night above 15,000 feet.  Quite the contrary actually but no matter how many preventative measures we take, the first night sleeping this high always produces hangover-like symptoms the next morning. 
Fortunately these symptoms are more easily combated and by 8:30 a.m. the team was feeling much better. 
Out hut sits at 15,300 feet on a beautiful rocky ridge.  We were blessed this morning with glorious views of Antisana, our next major objective and Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s most famous mountain.  Sadly she is suffering from a bit of indigestion and burps up large amounts of lava and ash.  Not good for climbers wanting to look into her crater. 
Anyway, Cayambe is in great shape so making good use of our expedition’s best morning, we pack our things and hiked a solid hour to the glacier.  Here we reviewed basic skills then got into a fun crevasse rescue scenario.  Our high point for today was almost 16,500’, a new altitude record for many on the team.  We knew time was getting close to head down, not when the dark clouds began to threaten rain but when a large local family arrived on the glacier next to us in tennis shoes and began taking their clothes off.  At one point I was trying to review how to tie a friction hitch when a large man began screaming for a photo while doing jumping jacks in a speedo.  Most likely the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen on a glacier.
Once down we all rested and then packed for our big night tonight.  We plan to “wake up” at 11:00 p.m. to begin our climb. 
Wish us luck!  It is raining now so think dry thoughts as well. 

Hasta Manana,
RMI Guide Adam Knoff and team

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