Entries from Ecuador
The Ecuador’s Volcanoes January 19th trip reached the summit of Cayambe today at 18,977’, RMI Guide Casey Grom said it was a tough climb and the ascent was 8 hours. The team descended safely back to camp and then packed up their gear and loaded vechicles toward their hacienda for the night. They were looking forward to hot showers and a good night’s rest.
Congratulations to all the climbers for their great effort today.
On The Map
Well done guys. It sounded like a tough climb so I hope you are all feeling good about your achievements so far!
Have fun on the rest of the trip! good luck and stay safe.
Posted by: Peter Williamson on 1/26/2016 at 8:22 am
Congratulations Dave, John & the rest of your team. I was thinking about you when I was in PT yesterday. Glad you are having a good trip. Gambatte!
Posted by: Jean on 1/26/2016 at 4:25 am
Hey everybody, this is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador’s Volcanoes trip to let you know that we had another nice day down here on the equator. We woke up this morning at about 6 and had a quick breakfast and then tried to get out the door as close to 7 as we could. We hiked for about an hour and a half up to where the start of the glacier is here on Cayambe and took a nice break. We spent the next couple hours reviewing some basic climbing techniques and trying to do a few advanced things and just getting ourselves prepared for tonight’s climb. The team is doing great, we just wrapped up dinner not too long ago. We packed our backpacks and everybody’s off bed. If all goes well our plan is to wake up at about 11 p.m. and have another hot breakfast and hopefully be headed up hill about midnight. Currently it’s been pretty icy down here it’s been pretty dry and they haven’t had a lot of snow so I think the route might be a little more circuitous than normal. I am anticipating about a 7 hour ascent so if we are fortunate we might be able to reach the summit around 7 a.m. Then we will take a handful of photos and then we’ll make our way back down. Regardless of how our climb goes tomorrow, our plan is to pack up and get out of here and head down to another hacienda so we will check in sometime tomorrow mid day and let everybody know how we’re doing. All right you guys.
RMI Guide Casey Grom
RMI Guide Casey Grom checks in from the climbers hut on Cayambe.
On The Map
Hey everybody. This is Casey Grom checking in from the Ecuador Volcanoes trip. We have a great day today. We started off with a nice leisurely breakfast at La Casa Sol. We departed there at about 10:30 and made our way, just about 10 minutes down the road, to the big open air market of Otavalo. Otavalo has one of the largest markets in South America. It just so happens that Saturday is the big market there. We spent a little more than an hour doing some shopping, a little bartering and just general sightseeing as we made our way around the the central square in the town of Otavalo. After we had our fill there, we hopped in our van and we go to the town of Cayambe, which sits just at the base of the mountain Cayambe where we had a nice lunch and then we loaded up the vans one more time and had a nice bumpy, but enjoyable, ride up to the hut that is right at the base of the glacier here on Cayambe. We’re currently relaxing up here at about 15,000 feet. In fact it is a little after 8:30 for us here, that’s east coast time, and the team is outside looking up at a beautiful full moon and a fantastic view of Cayambe. Everyone’s doing great. We’re going to head to bed here pretty soon and then hopefully head up to the glacier tomorrow to do a little training in preparation for our climb. Other than that everything is going great for us and we’ll check in again sometime tomorrow. Alright thank you guys.
RMI Guide Casey Grom calls in from Cayambe Climber's Hut.
Thank you, Casey, for these wonderful updates and for this awesome expedition! I loved my phone call from the top of Cayambe.
We are thinking of all of you, and can’t wait to hear the stories and see the photos!
Posted by: Laura Bryson on 1/25/2016 at 6:57 am
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
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
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
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!
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Adam Knoff
January 15, 2016
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
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.
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
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!!
SB & KB.
Posted by: Scott Bush on 1/15/2016 at 2:31 pm
January 14, 2016
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.
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