Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Cotopaxi

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

When I woke up to check the weather at 11 pm I could hear that the wind would not be an issue. I went outside to check the sky; it was perfectly clear and full of stars. I woke our team up immediately and reported the good news. We ate “breakfast” and packed our summit kits and were out the door by 12:15 am. The route on Cotopaxi is in great condition, with a well-worn trail in the snow for most of the climb.

Some clouds moved in and out, but the weather remained good for our summit push. Our team climbed well, and efficiently negotiated the steeper slopes near the summit. We topped out at 6:30 am, snapped a few photos and began our descent. By 9 am we were back at the climbing hut. It was an awesome climb to close out an incredible week of climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes.

Now we’re in back in Quito and it’s time for a shower and a nap before we meet for our team’s final dinner together in Ecuador.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The view of the upper slopes of Cotopaxi this morning. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Enjoy a Rest Day

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 11,400'

After an enjoyable and well-deserved rest day at Hacienda Chilcabamba, we are headed up to the Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi today. We’ve had some good views of Cotopaxi from Chilcabamba, and the weather forecast looks favorable for the next few days. Our plan is to relax in the hut this afternoon, eat an early dinner, and hit the sleeping bags in preparation for an alpine start (likely around midnight) for our summit bid.

We’re excited for the climb, and hopefully our next dispatch will be with news of summit success!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

The Chilcabamba Eco Lodge in Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection Cotopaxi peeking through the clouds in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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2

Best of luck Dad! -Madison

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Posted by: Madison Mason on 7/9/2015 at 8:52 am

Good luck today, Dad and Dennis!

Love,
Linds, Daniel, & Wyatt

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Posted by: Lindsay on 7/9/2015 at 7:34 am


Ecuador Volcanoes: Walter & Team Summit Cayambe!

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18.997'

We had a very long and successful day in Ecuador yesterday. It actually started the night before, with an eleven o’clock wake up call for an alpine start on our summit bid of Cayambe. The weather had improved dramatically, with a starry sky, no wind, and warm temperatures. We set out from the climbers’ hut a bit after midnight and the team topped out on the summit after nearly eight hours of climbing. Challenging climbing conditions were encountered, including steep slopes and large neve penitentes.

Everyone descended safely to the climbers’ hut and soon we were bumping down the four-wheel drive road back to town. Our drive south to our current hacienda, Chilcabamba, was delayed as roads were closed for hours for the entrance of the Pope into Quito. The Pope’s visit to Ecuador is obviously an important event, and heightened security is expected. Unfortunately for us, the timing meant we could not travel from the north of Quito to the south of Quito for hours. Our group of weary climbers finally arrived at our hacienda 22 hours after waking up to go climbing. A hot shower was about all we could muster up before hitting the sack.

After a great (but long) day yesterday, now we’re enjoying a peaceful rest day at the hacienda. Tomorrow we’re off to the Cotopaxi climbers’ hut for another climbing adventure. We’ll be in touch…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Sunrise on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Snow formations on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Meandering crevasse on Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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2

Impressive Chuck!  Tell the Pope hello!

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Posted by: Jeremy Bates on 7/7/2015 at 12:54 pm

Proud of you, Chuck H.!

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Posted by: Jeremy Morton on 7/7/2015 at 12:24 pm


Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Visit the Otavalo Market

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

After a relaxing evening at Casa Sol, this morning finds us in the indigenous center of Otavalo. We’re spending a few hours strolling the streets and exploring the bustling Saturday market. Saturdays here are a sensory overload of sights, smells, and sounds, as the market is loaded with handmade crafts, jewelry, woven goods, art, and more. Delicious aromas from all of the restaurants and food vendors fill the air.

After lunch we’ll head up to the Cayambe Climbers’ Hut, where we’ll spend the next two nights. It will be our first stint at sleeping up high, above 15,000’.

The plan is to go out to the toe of the glacier tomorrow to review climbing techniques, such as cramponing and self arrest with the ice axe. We’ll retire early tomorrow night in preparation for our alpine start and summit attempt of Cayambe, Ecuador’s third highest mountain at nearly 19,000’.

Thanks for following our adventures. We’ll touch base again tomorrow from up at the hut.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

An art vendor at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter A produce stall at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter Locals perusing stalls at the Otavalo Market in Ecuador. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Enjoy the Views Atop Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

We packed our bags and left the hustle and bustle of Quito behind this morning, driving north towards the town of Otavalo for our next acclimatization climb. Along the way we had great views of Cotopaxi and Cayambe, the second and third highest peaks in Ecuador, respectively, and our major climbing objectives on this trip.

As for our objective for today, we climbed the ancient volcano Fuya Fuya. The weather couldn’t have been nicer as we summited the 14,000’ peak in t-shirts. On top we had great views of Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and even the top of the ever elusive Antisana, the fourth highest peak in Ecuador.

Our team did great on the climb today, negotiating steep terrain and a little rock scramble. Now we’re at our hacienda, Casa Sol, for the night where a shower, dinner, and a cerveza are on our to do list. After a good night’s rest tonight we’ll head to the famous Otavalo Market in the morning and then up to the climbers hut in the afternoon.

I’ll check in again mañana.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending Fuya Fuya with Cayambe in the distance. Photo: Mike Walter The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending a 3rd class ridge on Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter Cayambe as seen from the summit of Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Fuya Fuya. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador’s Volcanoes: Walter & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,696'

We had a successful day today, with everyone climbing strong to reach the summit of Rucu Pichincha (~15,700 ft) on our first acclimatization climb in country. We had great weather with perfect temperatures for climbing, and good views throughout the day.

After a quick cab ride from our hotel, we rode the gondola to ~13,500 ft and then began climbing up the flanks of Rucu. The well graded trail eventually gave way to some steeper switchbacks and then some 3rd class scrambling to the summit.

It was a high altitude record for many of our climbers. We hope to keep breaking those records over the next few days once we get onto Cayambe and Cotopaxi.

Tomorrow morning we’ll pack up and leave Quito, heading north for another acclimatization climb up the ancient volcano Fuya Fuya.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll keep you up to date.
RMI Guide Mike Walter

The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team ascending Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter The RMI Ecuador Volcanoes team on the summit of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Volcanoes:  Mike Walter and Team Arrive in Quito

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 01, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Our Ecuador Volcanoes team has all arrived in Ecuador without complications. We started our first morning in country with a team breakfast and then departed on a city tour of the historic, colonial are of Quito and a trip to Mitad del Mundo (literally the middle of the world), or the Equator.

We had good views of our climbing objectives, Cotopaxi and Cayambe, from El Panecillo, a hill in southern Quito that looks out over the city. From there we toured around “old town” Quito, visiting churches, parks, and the presidential palace, all while learning about the rich cultural history of Ecuador.

The last stop on our trip was to the equator, where we visited an ethnographic museum. In addition to information and exhibits about the many different cultures of Ecuador, we stood on the equatorial line, with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern.

We’re headed out for a team dinner before getting some rest in preparation for our first acclimatization hike of the volcano Rucu Pichincha, which sits on the flanks of Quito. We’ll check in tomorrow to let you know how our first venture into very high altitude goes. Thanks for checking in!

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

Mike Walter and Team checking out the Equator. Photo: Mike Walter

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Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Summit Cotopaxi

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

We stood on top of Cotopaxi this morning! Our windy adventures in Ecuador continued yesterday and into this morning. Hiking to the climbing hut we battled 30 mph winds, which continued through the evening. When I woke up to check the weather at 11 pm it was windy but clear. I woke the team up at midnight and we had an alpine start breakfast and prepared to climb. By the time we left, clouds were intermittently blowing in and out. During the first hour of our climb a very humid cloud moved in that dampened our outer layers, which then turned to ice. The wind persisted, so did we. Climbing higher, our clothes began to wear a layer of rime ice as we fought with the wind to maintain good posture and climb efficiently. Clouds would come and go (mostly come) throughout our climb, but the wind would not relent. It made the ascent very difficult and also very cold. Our breaks were shorter due to the weather, but the team climbed strong and toughed it out. We reached the summit around 6:45 am, five hours and fifteen minutes after we set out (which, by the way, is a fast pace for Cotopaxi). The summit views were obscured by clouds so we didn’t spend much time up top. Did I mention it was windy?

The descent was smooth and now we’re all resting at the historic Hosteria La Cienega in Lasso, Ecuador, near the south entrance to Cotopaxi National Park. We’ll enjoy a well earned dinner here tonight, and a good night’s sleep with a leisurely wake up call before heading back to Quito tomorrow.

The summit of Cotopaxi was a heck of a way to end our two week volcano tour on the Ecuador Seminar. We’ll check in again tomorrow from Quito.

Saludos,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

Cotopaxi as seen from the Jose Ribas Refugio. Photo: Mike Walter The RMI Ecuador Seminar team with Cotopaxi in the background. Photo: Mike Walter

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1

Was it windy?

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Posted by: Tiina on 6/27/2015 at 7:23 pm


Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Prepare for Cotopaxi

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,953'

We’re up at the Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi at 15,953 ft. Tomorrow is climb day on Cotopaxi so we’re hitting the sack early tonight in preparation for our alpine start. We’ll check in again tomorrow and let you know how things go.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

The Jose Ribas Refugio on Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Hoping for good weather for you and the team today! Can’t wait to hear from you when you get back down! A-D Hardin

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Posted by: Andy & Donna Hardin on 6/27/2015 at 6:33 am

No more weather issues and you will all successfully summit!!!!! Be safe, trek strong!!!

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Posted by: Kathy Williams on 6/26/2015 at 5:42 pm


Ecuador Seminar: Walter & Team Acclimate on Illiniza Norte

Posted by: Mike Walter | June 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Our climbing team had a great morning climbing to within a few hundred feet (16,500’) of Iliniza Norte’s summit (16,818’), before the wind was too intense and we had to turn around. Climbing up the rocky, exposed ridge from the climbing hut, the clouds would momentarily part, affording us intermittent views of Iliniza Norte’s austere summit, covered in rime ice. The climbing was a very enjoyable 3rd class rock scramble and everyone did great. The wind was literally making it hard to stand up, much less climb a high altitude mountain. So we retreated back to the safety of the climber’s hut. After a bowl of soup and a cup of tea, we descended back down the trail to our vehicles. Now we’re at the beautiful hacienda Chilcabamba, outside of Cotopaxi National Park, where we’re resting before heading out to climb our final objective, Cotopaxi. We’ll keep you in the loop…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Ecuador Seminar enjoys a rainbow seen from Illiniza Norte, Ecuador, acclimating climb. Photo: Mike Walter

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