Entries from Ecuador
Yesterday was a big day for all of us up on Chimborazo and thankfully the near perfect weather allowed us to stand on top! All in all our summit day took 13 some hours round trip including a deceptively difficult two-hour walk across the summit plateau from the Veintimilla summit to the barely higher Whymper summit. Riddled with deep trenches and fantastic snow mushrooms, what should have taken no more than an hour was a brutal two hour jaunt back and forth. We were fortunate enough to enjoy perfectly calm winds and clear skies on top, which made it not so bad. We even got to peep some views of Cotopaxi smoking in the distance before gearing up for our descent. We were greeted warmly back at the Estrella de Chimborazo where we ate a celebratory dinner and promptly crashed in their cozy beds. Right now we are on the bus headed back for Quito where we hope to have one last celebratory dinner as a team before at least half of us head for the airport to catch a red-eye flight home. All in all it was a quite an adventure and I’d like to thank the team for rolling with the punches the whole trip and hanging in there til the end. And I’d also like to thank the other guides, Chase, David, and Diego along with Victor, our driver, for all the help along the way.
Until next time…
February 13, 2016
Hey it’s Billy checking in. We are all back safe and sound at our camp on Chimborazo. We’re about to actually hike on down to the bus. We had a safe and successful climb to the summit today. Just about perfect weather most of the day. That’s all I have to report. Long, long day- everyone is super tired but definitely big smiles on our faces. As we were just talking about this, it totally rethinks our whole trip down here. That’s all I have for now. Signing off and we’ll check in again tomorrow evening at the end of the trip.
RMI Guide Billy Nugent checks in post Chimborazo summit.
Congratulations to the team on successfully summiting!!! Go…..Jason!!! How exciting!!!
Posted by: Esther & Dean Chapman on 2/13/2016 at 4:57 pm
February 12, 2016
It’s Billy calling from high Camp on Chimborazo at around 17,500 feet. I’m up here with all the team everyone is doing extremely well, and we’re even enjoying the semi-decent weather. We are in the clouds but the wind is calm and it’s not raining, so compared to what we’ve been dealing with so far this trip we will take it! The team is just resting after our hike up here and pretty soon we’ll be eating some tasty Mountain House freeze dried dinners and getting to bed early so we are in a good position to get up in the middle of the night tonight and take a crack at the summit. Hopefully I’ll be giving you a call next from the top of the mountain, but if not we’ll check in or if you know how it went.
That’s all for now, bye!
RMI Guide Billy Nugent calling in from High Camp on Chimborazo
Go SPS!!! Go Daddy!!! We love you!! Have fun!! Roh?, lalalalalal
Posted by: Team Chapman on 2/13/2016 at 5:56 am
Have a great summit day, guys!
Posted by: Craig Falkenhagen on 2/12/2016 at 6:17 pm
February 11, 2016
The team enjoyed a nice night at the Chuquiragua Lodge where we were able to dry out, get a good night’s sleep, and even practice some anchor equalization and crevasse rescue in the courtyard. Victor, our driver, showed up around noon to join us for lunch and we’ll be heading out soon for a night at Estrella de Chimborazo before starting up on the mountain in earnest tomorrow…
All for now,
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
Billy and Company - Enjoy every minute of your experience down in Ecuador, ran or shine - it’s the journey as much as the destination. Would LOVE to be with you right now! Thanks again for an amazing two weeks up on Aconcagua. I had a fantastic time.
Special greetings to my good friend, Rob Yonaitis.
Best regards, Craig
Posted by: Craig Falkenhagen on 2/11/2016 at 11:09 am
The “improving trend” turned out to be a bunch of baloney and shortly after finishing my dispatch last night the starry sky clouded over and began to steadily pour almost without relent. We woke in the morning and the steady downpour had not begun to show signs of letting up. The team decided over breakfast that with the zero probability of climbing Antisana, that our best move was to pack up and hike out and hopefully dry out at a hacienda. So here we are, some time on the road later hanging up all of our gear to dry yet again at another hacienda this time at a scenic spot at the base of the Illinizas. Despite the tough weather the gang is doing our best to have fun and enjoy the Ecuadorian countryside. All this traveling has been fun but we’re hoping to get in a little more legit climbing before our trip winds down.
February 9, 2016
Your intrepid team woke this morning after a solid night’s sleep to mostly dry gear (although there were some attempts to dry gloves out the window of the bus) and enjoyed a nice breakfast at our hacienda before heading south towards our next objective. Many hours of transit later we’ve made camp in a beautiful alpine meadow on the side of Antisana and are about to enjoy our first night in tents. The weather currently has cleared significantly and the wind has calmed to nearly a standstill but things weren’t looking so good for most of the day today. Rain plagued our spirits for most of the drive from Guachalá to Antisana and while setting up tents in a bit of drizzle we weren’t so sure that we were going to be so lucky. Knock on wood. Hopefully this improving trend will continue and we will get to take an honest shot at the summit. But first tomorrow calls for a day trip up above our camp to the glacier where we hope to practice our crevasse rescue among other technical skills before returning to camp on the eve of our climb. We enjoyed a tasty spaghetti dinner and are now all tucked in in anticipation of tomorrow’s early rise.
All for now!
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
February 8, 2016
Today the gang got a good old-fashioned butt-kicking at the hands of Nevado Cayambe. We woke in the middle of the night to strong winds but clear skies and decided to rig up and take a shot at climbing. The walls of the refugio were rattling in the wind and I remember thinking to myself that we were gonna probably have a pretty tough go out there. Shockingly, as we left the hut and climbed around the rock buttress above we found ourselves moving through the terrain in much more manageable conditions. The wind backed off and we were looking up at a starry night and the city lights below. We made our way up a couple of steeper rock steps and onto the dry glacier in short time and continued up the hill. Chase and I both remember thinking to ourselves, “we just might pull this off…” But alas, the wind was to return as we climbed higher but this time with some serious moisture. The wet came in pulses and we were able to deal with it until we reached a bench in the glacier at just over 17,000’ where we all came into the break and looked each other over. The truth was undeniable, we were all soaked and the conditions were worsening. Sadly, we knew we had to turn around before the summit and weave our way back through a very crevassed and broken glacier. Despite not making the summit we still got to climb through some incredible terrain and glacial formations and everybody agreed that we were getting a full value experience. Some hours later, when we finally stumbled back to the hut, the storm has significantly increased its ferocity and was plastering us with sheets of sideways rain and strong gusts. We napped for a little bit and loaded our soaking gear into 4x4’s and headed back to Babylon. Tonight we’re drying out and enjoying a real bed at Hacienda Guachalá. Built in the late 1500’s, it’s the oldest hacienda in Ecuador with tons of crazy history from famous visitors (including Edward Whymper, the first to climb many of these peaks in the 1700’s) to pre Inca constructions, and even a crypt beneath the chapel. Tomorrow we’re headed for Antisana, praying for good weather, now, I’m headed for dinner!
RMI Guide Billy Nugent
On The Map
February 7, 2016
We woke this morning to a quiet refugio but that didn’t last long… The weekend hordes of locals would soon overwhelm the small refugio and unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t really cooperating for our planned day of training up on the glacier. Despite gusts to 50 mph and sideways drizzle we geared up and tried to make our way up towards the glacier. We didn’t last long. After making our way up some 600 or 700 feet we were getting blasted by even stronger winds and getting wet to boot. We pulled the plug and headed back for cover, ultimately using a rock ridge for some protection. It was barely enough for us to get the training in we’ll need for tonight’s attempt at the Cayambe summit. Luckily, the wind is backing off a bit along with the crowds of day visitors and we are hoping both trends continue and allow us to make an honest crack at the summit.
I’ll check in tomorrow evening and let ya’ll know how it went,
On The Map
Happy Birthday SPS!!! We L and M!!!! Enjoy yourself!!!!
Posted by: Team Chapman on 2/8/2016 at 8:39 am
Happy Birthday Jason!!!! Love, mom and dad
Best wishes to the team for a safe and successful climb!!
Posted by: Esther Chapman on 2/8/2016 at 5:57 am
February 7, 2016
Saturday, February 6, 2016
After a light breakfast at the Casa del Sol we headed down to find a bustling Otavalo Saturday market. We cruised around town shopping for souvenirs, avoiding kids hellbent on silly string annihilation, and finished up our Otavalo experience with a nice lunch in the main square. After that we left town and headed for the hills under the guidance of Victor, our fearless driver. The road to Cayambe isn’t in the best shape these days and despite massive potholes and some pretty steep switchbacks for a bus Victor was able to deposit us about 30 minutes shy of the refugio. After our short walk, we settled into our accommodations in the refugio and enjoyed a hot drink. The evening brought us to dinner (pork chops!) and knot session to lay the foundations for more skill training to come.
Cozy above 15,000’,
On The Map
Hope you art all four pork chops. Meat sweats are a critical component of good acclimatization.
Posted by: Bunny Lebowski on 2/7/2016 at 12:35 pm
Hi Poppy I love you Its Olivia
Posted by: Olivia on 2/7/2016 at 11:19 am
February 5, 2016
Chillin’ at Casa del Sol…
Well, we enjoyed another great day down here in Ecuador with a nice hike, good weather and good company. After meeting our local alpine guide David and an early departure from Quito we made our way to the north towards our acclimatization objective Cerro Fuya Fuya, but also Otavalo, and most notably Cayambe. While the clouds prevented us from peeping Cayambe while on Fuya Fuya, we were still able to enjoy views from the summit of the surrounding volcanic caldera and the large lake below. The whole team moved well and enjoyed the day out and about. We’re now posted up at a beautiful guesthouse up above the city of Otavalo called Casa del Sol, enjoying a beer and waiting for dinner. Tomorrow, however, the real adventure begins as we make our way up towards Cayambe…
More to come!
On The Map
Team Chapman is hoping Jason is having a great time! Enjoy! We love you!
Posted by: Team Chapman on 2/7/2016 at 7:20 am