Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador: The Seminar Team Arrives and Tours Colonial Quito

Posted by: Adam Knoff, Nick Hunt | January 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

We are officially underway!

Our day began with the first official team breakfast at the hotel. Everybody made it safely to Quito, and almost all of the bags arrived. One team member did need to return to the airport early this morning to attempt to track down his two missing duffels. Last we heard, the bags were still unaccounted for, but the team has high hopes! We had a 100% recovery rate for lost luggage last year, and have no reason to believe the same won’t be true for us again.

After a hearty meal and a round of introductions, we took a quick walk around the block to familiarize ourselves with the area surrounding the hotel, taking time to locate a couple of the shops we can obtain provisions from and to scout a few restaurants for our team dinners the next two nights in Quito. Upon returning to the hotel, we met our local city tour guide for the day, Wilson, who promptly collected us on the bus and started off our day of sightseeing. As an Otavalo native, Wilson was full of information about everything we could ever want to know about Ecuador: politics, economics, art, culture. His good humor kept the atmosphere light and energizing while still providing a highly educational experience.

Our first stop of the day was the Mitad del Mundo, or the Middle of the World. This small (but highly entertaining!) outdoor museum allowed us to observe a number of demonstrations that showed the unique effects of gravity along the equator, as well as the variations between the northern and southern hemispheres. We hopped back on the bus and transferred to Colonial Quito, were we took a walking tour of Independence Square and the surrounding area. One of the more memorable moments of this tour was squeezing our way through an extremely narrow, steep and dark staircase in the back of an ornate cathedral, working our way to the roof for a fantastic view of the area. Clear skies allowed us to catch a few glimpses of Cotopaxi and Cayambe, two of our bigger objectives on this trip.

We were finished with the tour by early afternoon, giving the team plenty of time to relax and get organized for our first acclimatization climb tomorrow up Rucu Pichincha. Our evening tonight will be filled with gear checks, naps, and a team dinner in town.

Until then!
RMI Guides Nick Hunt, Adam Knoff, and the rest of the team

The Ecuador Seminar team at Mitad del Mundo. Photo: Nick Hunt

Sign Up For Ecuador 2015 Email Alerts


Ecuador: Grom & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

100% on the Cotopaxi summit!  Everyone is safe back at the hacienda.  Once we are back in Quito, we’ll check in again.

Congratulations team!

RMI Guide Casey Grom

December 18, 2014 - The RMI team on the Cotopaxi summit! Photo: Casey Grom Cotopaxi summit with the entire RMI team. Photo: Jaime Avila

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

3

Ecuador: Grom & Team at the Base of Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone.

We’ve spent the last two days relaxing in Chilcabamba and are finally ready for our next climb. The team packed up this morning and headed closer to Cotopaxi. Our home for the next few hours is another nice hacienda call Tambopaxi, and sits just a short distance from the base of Cotopaxi and will be our launching point for tonight’s climb. Our plan is to wake up around 10pm, have a quick breakfast and hopefully be out the door close to 11. Then we’ll hop in our bus and drive to the base of the mountain where we’ll begin our climb.

Based on how well this group did on Cayambe, I’m guessing it will take us around seven hours to reach the summit if all goes well.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: Linden Mallory

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

2

Ecuador: Grom & Team Spend a Relaxing Day at the Chilcabamba Eco Lodge

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

Things are great here on the equator. We had a fantastic climb on Cayambe in the most amazing weather I’ve ever had. We started our climb by waking up at 11pm to ensure we had plenty of time for the day ahead. Everyone did a good job of getting ready in our tiny hut that was a little cramped for the 11 of us. Once the team was ready and had plenty of fresh coffee we were out the door at midnight as expected. The weather was clear and calm all night which was perfect, and the team saw dozens of shooting stars and even an amazing lightning storm far off over the Amazon. We made our way steadily up the mountain climbing close together and stopped for short breaks every hour to eat and drink. The sun rose shortly before we climbed the final steep section where we took a little time to snap pictures and put on our sunglasses. We summited just after 6am with the entire team and spent about a half hour enjoying the unbelievable view we had. Not a cloud in the sky and all of the mountains in view, it was spectacular to say the least.

The descent went relatively smooth and before long we were back at the hut tired but very happy. We took a short break then packed up all of our gear and then headed south to the always wonderful food and hospitality of hacienda Chilcabamba. Check it out for yourself.

After some much deserved and needed sleep the team spent the day relaxing around the hacienda. Everyone enjoyed the day watching the endless hummingbirds visit, playing lots of cribbage and a few of us went on a short horseback ride in the countryside.

Everyone is in great spirits and looking forward to another good night of sleep before tomorrow night’s upcoming climb.

Buenos noches from Ecuador!

RMI Guide Casey Grom

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

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

3

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

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,997'

Quick note from RMI Guide Casey Grom on the Cayambe summit:
100% on top! 

Once the team is back to camp, Casey will send photos and a dispatch.

Congratulations to the Team!

12/15/14- RMI Ecuador Team on the Cayambe summit! Photo: Casey Grom Views from the Cayambe (Ecuador) summit. Photo: Billy Nugent

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

4

Ecuador: Grom & Team Ready for Cayambe Summit Bid

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hello again everyone,

All is well here in Ecuador. We had a slight technical issue yesterday which delayed our ability to send a dispatch.

So let me bring everyone up to speed. Yesterday we checked out of our warm and comfortable hacienda and made our way to the famous Otavalo market. It’s the largest market in Ecuador and one of the largest in all of South American. The team spent a few hours negotiating the endless maze of goods for sale and worked on our bartering skills- some did better than others. :)
After everyone satisfied their shopping desires we headed uphill towards Cayambe, our first major climbing objective. The road to Cayambe is long, rough, and an accomplishment in itself. We were amazed that our bus was able to make it so far on what is clearly a 4x4 road. There were several times I was sure the mud was going to win, but somehow Hector, our daring driver was able to make it through. We hiked the final hour to the hut at Cayambe to help with our acclimatizing and spent the remainder of the evening relaxing.

Today the team woke early with a big breakfast and plenty of coffee. We then hiked up to the start of the glacier which is about an hour away, and spent a few hours refreshing our skills for tomorrow’s climb. While out on the glacier we were not only amazed at the beautifully clear day, but also incredibly lucky to see a condor soaring not far away! Once back at the hut we reviewed the plan for the upcoming climb and got everything packed up and ready to go. A special thanks to Leon for whipping up one heck of a nice meal for everyone.

The team is off to bed now as we are waking early for tomorrow’s climb. Wish us luck!!!

And one more thing… Keep your cell phones handy tomorrow morning. One lucky trivia winner will be making a satellite call from the summit if all goes well.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Otavalo Market, Ecuador's largest outdoor market. Photo: RMI Collection Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom Cayambe Climber's Hut. Photo: Nick Hunt

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

4

Ecuador: Grom & Team Arrive in Otavalo

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hola from Ecuador!

Today the team left the busy city of Quito and headed north to the much smaller and far more rural town of Otavalo. We were hoping to do a acclimatization hike on a small mountain called Fuya Fuya, but due to a little rain, thunder and lightning, we opted for a little acclimatization while eating pizza! And based on what happened to all the pizza, it was a huge success.

It was an enjoyable drive along the Pan-American highway through the Ecuadorian countryside. We passed many farms magically perched on hillsides and what seemed to be endless rose plantations. We spent the remainder of the afternoon playing cards, reading, taking naps and a review of all the gear we’ll need for our upcoming climb. We are currently relaxing in the comfort of La Casa Sol.

Everyone is doing great and looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew.

The team having dinner in Otavalo, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

3

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Acclimates in Quito

Posted by: Leon Davis, Casey Grom | December 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

December 11, 2014 - 6:57 pm PT

The team here in Ecuador got their first taste of altitude today, on the hills that surround Quito.  This morning we rode the teleferico to 13,000 feet and began our trek up Pichincha on the rutted trails that wind up to its rocky 15,000 ft summit.  It was a day to pressure our bodies into absorbing the thin atmosphere and experience the weather patterns that commonly occur here.  So the last half hour of our descent was a mixture of rain and hail and by 2:30 the team was drying off in the hotel and relaxing before dinner.  This will be our last evening in Quito and our trip commences north towards Cayambe.

RMI Guides Leon Davis & Casey Grom and Team

The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Rucu Pichincha.  Photo: Casey  Grom The RMI Ecuador team making an acclimatiztion hike on Rucu Pichincha near Quito, Ecuador.  Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

4

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Team Explores Quito

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 9,350'

Hello-
Everyone has safely arrived here in Ecuador and are doing well after the long flights. We started our day with a team meeting where we did a round of introductions and discuss our upcoming program. Shortly after our meeting we headed out to explore this beautiful old city with our tour guide Edison. He took us to visit the basilica and the old part of town dating back to the 1600’s. We made a stop atop a hill that overlooks the city called La Panacea, and took in the view of this long and narrow city of over 2 million.
We then made our way north to visit the equator which gives Ecuador it’s name. There’s a small museum there with a few interactive displays that amused us. But most importantly we stood on the equator itself!
After our brief visit we made our way back to our hotel in downtown Quito where we took a break before heading to dinner. The team opted for a place called the Magic Bean that’s known for its tasty food and fresh juices.
Everyone is doing well and looking forward to getting a little exercise tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The Ecuador Volcanoes December 9th team explores colonial Quito and visits the middle of the world.  Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador Team on hill top above Quito.  Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

8

Cotopaxi Express: Team Reaches Summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Leon Davis | December 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

Late Thursday afternoon we made final preparations to our climbing kit and sat inside the Tambopaxi dining room watching a light rain fall across the plains surrounding Cotopaxi.  We had an early dinner and retired to our bunk rooms at dusk for a few hours of rest before the evening summit departure.
At 10:00 pm we woke and ate a light breakfast in the dark dining room before loading our gear into Victor’s bus and taking it up the rocky road to the base of the Refugio.  We hiked in relative silence through a misty cloud to the glacier, put on our crampons and roped up.  A little new snow had fallen but the climbing route was still visible and we began our climb at 16,300’. 
Hour after hour we climbed the unrelenting steep slopes, pausing for breaks where we could find a relatively flat place.  At 8:00 am we surpassed the final steeps and stood atop the 19,348’ volcano.  It was a taxing climb for the team with many altitude records achieved and much to be proud of. 

Tonight we enjoyed each others company over dinner and drinks at La Cienega and in the morning we will sleep in and explore this beautiful and historic Hosteria before returning to Quito for the anniversary fiesta of its founding.  Good night from a very tired and happy Ecuador team.

RMI Guides Leon Davis & Casey Grom

The RMI November 29th Cotopaxi Express Team on the summit of Cotopaxi (19,348ft) on December 5, 2014.  Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Sign Up For Ecuador 2014 Email Alerts

3

Previous Page More Entries