Posts for Ecuador

Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Summit Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,891'

Congratulations to our team of climbers on their climb today!

It wasn’t easy, in fact far from it.
We started the day with a 10:30 pm wake up call that no one ever enjoys, but everyone made it to breakfast relatively quickly and seemed excited as the weather looked to be in our favor. We then hoped into our 4 wheeled vehicles and drove about 20 minutes to the start of the climb. The weather continued to improve as we made our way to the the start of the glacier where we put on our crampons and roped up for the rest of the climb. The initial part of the glacier was mostly bare ice which made for rather easy climbing and slowly increased in angle and crevasses. Everyone did a great job of taking care of themselves and stayed calm even though the terrain was challenging.

After several hours of climbing we reached the final headwall that looked to be too much, but with perseverance the team surmounted the last steep slope and made our way to the top of Antisana. All in all it took 9 hard hours to reach the summit where we enjoyed the views and took a few photos. The descent was no easy task either having to reverse the climb, but we all made it back safely in a couple of hours.

Everyone is in good spirits and maybe just a little tired ;)

Special thanks to Sally for the wonderful Sahale mixed nuts that were sent along, we enjoyed them!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy albeit tired crew

Climbing Antisana, Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom RMI Team Climbing on Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom Team on the Summit of Antisana. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Ready for Antisana

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,400'

Hello everyone,

Tonight we are heading for the summit of Antisana!  We arrived this morning to our camp and did a bunch more technical training.  The site is like something out of the Lord of the Rings, with tall grasses, roaming horses, and thatch-roof structures all lit by the glaciers of Antisana.

Wish us luck as you head to bed because we will be waking up at that time to go climbing.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the team

Antisana Basecamp with views of the mountain in the background. Photo: Adam Knoff

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Travels to Antisana

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 10, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

Hello again everyone,

The team is feeling good and well rested especially after a good nights sleep. Our stay in Papallacta was enjoyed by all even though it was short.

We have traveled back into the countryside to very near our next climbing objective Antisana. Originally we had planned on camping tonight, but due to the forecasted thunderstorms we opted to stay at a wonderful hacienda not far from the mountain. After getting so soaked on Cayambe we thought this would help keep us stay dry and set us up for a successful climb. So we spent the afternoon doing a little technical training and reviewing some of the skills we hope to put to use tomorrow on the glacier.

The valley we are staying in is famous for condors and we even managed to see several gliding not far above us. It was amazing to see these beautiful and elusive birds to say the least.

That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Weathered Off of Cayambe

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 10,800'

Hey gang,

Being on the border of the Amazon Rainforest almost always keeps some clouds floating around Cayambe, but last night it brought more than just clouds.  We awoke to a soaking mist that would have drenched the team within minutes of climbing.  So we postponed for an hour and a half until there was a minor let up.  Then we gathered our gear and started walking up hill in what can best be described as a “dry mist”.  For 45 minutes we had optimistic smiles as the moon was poking through the clouds and the team was moving strong.  But at the first break the rains came and didn’t let up. We pushed a bit further to 16,500 feet until the crew was soaked and the decision was clear to head down.  To go higher would mean freezing our wet clothes and pushing the limits of a safe climb.

The descent went well and the whole team is now at Papallacta hot springs, happy and healthy.  Everyone is turning their sights to more training and our next big climb…...Antisana!

Stay tuned

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the Team

Ecuador Mountain Signpost. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Team Trains on Glacier of Cayambe

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hola Amigos!

Sleeping at 15,000’ is not a normal thing, nor is sleeping with 6 other people, but thankfully everyone managed to get a few hours of shuteye last night. 

Today the team woke around 7 am and headed downstairs for breakfast and washed it down with plenty of coffee. We then got packed up and went out for a little training on the glacier that’s about an hour away. Cloudy skies and light snowfall keep things relatively brief as we didn’t want to get too wet before tonight’s climb of Cayambe. Once back at the climbers hut we relaxed with hot drinks and a little additional training, mixed in with a few bad jokes.

Everyone is in good spirits and seems to be ready for tomorrow’s climb. Our plan is to get up at 11 pm and have a quick breakfast and hopefully hit the trail around midnight. If all goes well we should reach the summit around 7 am.

We had a trivia challenge tonight that will allow the winner a sat phone call from the summit. So keep your phones nearby to find out who the winner is.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

The climbers hut located at 15,300 ft on Cayambe, Ecuador.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team at the Cayambe Hut

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,300'

Hey everybody,

Today was a day of rest, tourism, and a car ride to our 15,000 foot hut on Cayambe.  After a light breakfast we leisurely packed our bags and headed to the famed Otavalo market.  Being a Saturday the place was packed with crafts, fresh fruits, and local people. 

Shortly after lunch we loaded the bus and drove to the cute little town of Cayambe.  At this point the clouds that had been floating around all day started to dump rain, so we changed out the bus for some 4x4 vehicles.  We then drove up the bumpiest road known to man… The Cayambe hut road.  After an hour of mud, rocks, and pot holes we made it to our home for the next few days. 

Everyone is feeling great and ready for a day of glacier training tomorrow.

From the snowiest place on the equator,  we’ll talk to ya later!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and friends

The Otavalo Market, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection Colorful jewelry at the Otavalo Market. Photo: RMI Collection On the road to Cayambe, Ecuador. Photo: RMI Collection

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Hike Fuya Fuya

Posted by: Ben Liken, Casey Grom | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,986'

February, 6, 2015 - 6:46 pm PT

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 quite 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 was nice 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 a nice quiet night here.

RMI Guide Casey Grom

The RMI Ecuador Seminar Team takes an acclimatization hike on Fuya Fuya.  Photo: Casey Grom The team takes a hike on Fuya Fuya for acclimatization.  Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Acclimate on Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 15,696'

Hey all,

Today was a beautiful day in Quito, with majestic views of Cayambe and Cotopaxi it couldn’t have been better.  We started off with some strong coffee and promptly piled into some taxis to head to the gondola that would take us to 13,000 feet.  From here we hiked to the top of Rucu Pichincha at 15,696 ft, everyone did great managing new altitude and rugged terrain.

Upon our return to the city we did some final gear shopping, resting, and eating.  This will be our last night in Quito before we venture out to the country side for some more adventure.

Stay tuned!

RMI Guide Ben Liken and the crew

The Ecuador Seminar at the top of Rucu Pichincha. Photo: Casey Grom The February Ecuador Seminar team having dinner in Quito. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador Seminar: Grom & Team Tour Quito and the Equator

Posted by: Casey Grom, Ben Liken | February 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

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. He first took us to the older part of town where we visited several old cathedrals, then to the colonial town square where we met a kind older Canadian who seemed to have lost his group and decided to tag along with us. Next we headed up to a small hill called La Panacia that overlooks this beautiful 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. Then it was off to dinner at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant where we enjoyed getting to know each other better.

RMI Guide Casey Grom, crew, and our new friend Lee

Colonial Quito city tour in Ecuador. Photo: Casey Grom The Ecuador team at La Panacia. Location overlooking Quito. Photo: Casey Grom The RMI Ecuador team visit the Equator. Photo: Casey Grom

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Ecuador: Grom & Team Summit Cotopaxi

Posted by: Casey Grom, Nick Hunt | January 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 19,348'

We made it today, despite the cold, wind, and snow!

RMI Guide Casey Grom & Team

The RMI Team on the Summit of Cotopaxi January 29, 2015 Photo: Casey Grom

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