Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador: Grom & Team Ready for Their Cotpaxi Summit Bid

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola Amigos!

Things are good here in Ecuador and the team is well rested after two nights at the wonderful Chilcabamba Lodge. Everyone is excited for tonight’s climb on Cotopaxi.

Today we bumped up to another Lodge that is nestled in right below Cotopaxi itself. Normally we stay at the Refugio on the mountain, but it is currently under renovation so we’ll be climbing from here. We have done this on the last few climbs and it has worked out well for the past teams and I expect the same for us.

Tonight our plan is to have dinner around 4:30 then head right to bed. We’ll wake at 10pm and have a sit down breakfast and then hit the road around 11pm. We’ll drive our bus to the base of the mountain and start our climb close to midnight. Based on how well everyone did on Cayambe, I’m guessing it’s going to take us somewhere around six to eight hours to reach the summit.

The weather has been improving each day and we have our fingers crossed it will continue for one more day. We’ll check back in tomorrow hopefully with good news.

Wish us luck!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

View of Cotopaxi, Ecuador 19,348'. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Catch Up on Some R&R at the Chilcabamba Eco Lodge

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Rest day at the beautiful Chilcabamba Eco Lodge! Our team enjoyed the opportunity to sleep in and relax, and prepare for Cotopaxi, our next objective for this trip.

After a delightful breakfast, we were able to catch a few glimpses of the mountain in the distance and talked about the route. Based on the team’s performance on Cayambe, we’ll have no problem with this next climb!

We spent the day reading books and sharing stories, and wrapped the evening up with a technical skills session. We learned a variety of knots, talked about climbing anchors, and finished with a full-blown crevasse rescue scenario in the lawn.

Spirits are high and we are ready to go! Tomorrow we move on to the Tambopaxi Lodge in preparation for our summit bid on Cotopaxi.

Until then,
RMI Guide Nick Hunt and the Ecuador team

The RMI team enjoys a relaxing stay at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Grom & Team 100% on the Cayambe summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,997'

RMI Guide Casey Grom sent us some photos of their Cayambe summit.  100% of the team reached the top!!!  The team is currently on their descent and will celebrate at the Chilcabamba Eco Lodge this evening.  Stay tuned to hear from Casey as he recounts their summit day.

The Ecuador team ascending Cayambe in the shadows from the sun. Photo: Casey Grom January 26, 2015 - The RMI Ecuador team on the Cayambe summit! Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Visit the Otavalo Market and Ready for Cayambe

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola from Ecuador!

All is well here on the equator. Saturday we spent a few hour at the massive Otavalo outdoor market where the team practiced their bartering skills with the locals. Buy the number of bags people had in their arms, they must have done a good job.

We then headed up to the hut on Cayambe to drop off our gear and add a little to our acclimatization. Normally we like to spend the night at the hut, but due to a hut remodel and new park management, we opted on staying in the town of Cayambe at a wonderful Hacienda call San Luis. Everyone enjoyed the day and the warmth of the fires that were awaiting us in our rooms.

Today the team headed back up to the hut and went on a short hike, then returned to the hut for a little training. We have had our dinner and discussed the climb here on Cayambe and everything seems in order. Hopefully the weather will hold and we’ll have a good climb tomorrow.

That’s all for now. We’ll check in tomorrow post-climb

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom Lots to see at the Otavalo Market. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Hike Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone!

Today the team left behind the hustle and bustle of Quito and headed just north of the Equator to the comfortable and quite rural countryside. Once outside the city the landscape quickly turns into rolling farm land with farms pitched on steep slopes and isolated eucalyptus forest.  Along the way we stopped by a smaller mountain called Fuya Fuya where we stretched our legs on a acclimatization hike. Normally we like to reach the top of this mountain but cloudy skies and the occasional rain kept us off the steep and slippery upper slopes.

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

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

RMI Ecuador Volcanoes January 20th Team on a acclimatization hike on Fuya Fuya.  Photo: Casey Grom RMI Ecuador Volcanoes January 20th team having dinner at La Casa Sol, Otavalo, Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Casey Grom & Team Stretch Their Legs on Rucu Pinchincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We stretched our legs today with the first acclimatization hike of our Ecuador’s Volcanoes program. Despite a slow start due to weather, we were able to successfully summit Rucu Pinchincha, a 15,400’ volcano in Quito’s backyard. The day started off with a short taxi ride from our hotel to the base of the Teleférico, a gondola that brought the team to just above 13,000’. Upon arriving, we ducked into the upper station to wait out the clouds and moisture that seemed to be hanging in the air. We drank coffee, told stories, and used the time to get to know each other a little bit better.

Soon our waiting was rewarded with a break in the rain. Grabbing our packs, we headed out into the clouds. The views were obscured, but at least we remained dry. A three hour hike and a bit of scrambling brought us to the top, where we grabbed a couple of summit shots and prepared for our descent; we didn’t stay long because the rain seemed eager to return!

Moving as a team, we made it back to the gondola in about half the time it took to go up, but not soon enough to outrun the rain. We had to shoulder our rain jackets for the last leg of our descent; thankfully the team was strong and spirits were high.

Now, back at the hotel, we’re packing our duffels in preparation of our move out of Quito tomorrow morning.

Hasta mañana,
RMI Guides Nick Hunt and Casey Grom, and the rest of Team Ecuador

The Ecuador team hiking towards the summit of Rucu Pinchincha. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at the Rucu Pichincha summit. Photo: Casey Grom After an acclimating hike of Rucu Pichincha, the Ecuador team enjoys a nice dinner. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Casey Grom & Team Meet in Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello Everyone:

All is well here in Ecuador! After some 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. He took us to the older part of town where we visited many old churches and the president’s palace that sit on the old town square. Next we headed to a small hill that overlooks the city before heading north to visit the Equator from which Ecuador gets its name.

We finished the day with a small break and then a quick gear check to make sure everyone has all the gear needed for our climbs. We then went to dinner at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant where we were joined by some good friends from back home who were here visiting on their own.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Volcanoes team visits the equator. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team sightseeing around Colonial Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at an overlook of Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team meeting for dinner in Quito. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Reaches Summit of Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 17, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

We are thrilled to report that today’s challenging climb of Cotopaxi, elevation 19,348 feet, was a complete success!  Things started off a bit shifty when more than twenty climbers and guides all prepared to begin climbing the glacier at the same time.  The opening three hours of this climb are extremely steep and without any relief.  Our team’s strong and steady pace uphill proved their readiness both with skill and acclimatization.  Despite some lessening of the slope angle, I would say this mountain takes the cake for difficulty.  After an hour or so the crowds spread out and all we had to do was climb.  The weather changed two or three times from steady snow fall to cold and windy to picture perfect.  We could not have asked for a better day! This was truly ending on a good note. 
We then packed up at Tambopaxi, ate a great lunch at an amazing road side pizza place and are now rushing for the showers at the Ancient and haunted Hosteria of La Cienega.  We need to get some sleep because there is a big day of football ahead when we head back to Quito. 

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

The RMI Ecuador Seminar January 6th Team on the summit of Cotopaxi on January 17th.  Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Settle in at Tambopaxi

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 16, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Greetings from the beautiful Eco Lodge of Tambopaxi, located inside of Cotopaxi National Park.  We are all resting nicely despite our elevation being well above 12,000 feet.  In the ten days we have been in Ecuador, eight of them have been spent living or climbing above 14,000 feet so despite this lodge being higher than any staffed tourist joint in the US, we are all feeling dandy.  It is amazing how after three days away from civilization the internet can trump even a shower.  But now that we all got our fix, 19,400-foot Cotopaxi is taking center stage in our heads and out the window.

It is quite a quick transition from mountain to mountain but the team’s successful summit of Antisana, the first by any RMI team, is proving a strong motivator to push our tired legs upward one more time.  Our legs won’t be the only tired things because with the famous Cotopaxi hut closed for the time being, Tambopaxi sits a short 45 minutes away from the trail head, which in turn sits a short 45-minute hike from the mountain’s normal starting point so our wake up call will casually be at 9:30pm.  We expect a long night and day so resting now is crucial.  We will be taking dinner in an hour then getting ready for our final mountain climb.  We will report tomorrow with the outcome.

Wishing all of our families and friends the best.  We miss you all and look forward to coming home soon.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

The Ecuador Seminar team having dinner at Tambopaxi. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff & Team Summit Antisana!

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,891'

Summit of Antisana! Adam Knoff and team called in to let us know they were at Antisana’s Basecamp after a successful summit. They had great route conditions clear skies, stars and a beautiful moonrise. The climb was engaging with steep headwalls and crevasse crossings.  The team did a fantastic job. At about 17,000ft the winds picked up and temperatures dropped enveloping the summit in a cloud layer.  As the team started their descent, they broke out of the clouds.  They are breaking down camp and will be taking a short walk back to the bus, which will take them to Chilcabamba Eco Lodge where the team will have well-deserved rest for the night.

RMI Guide Adam Knoff

Antisana in the morning alpenglow. Photo: Adam Knoff

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