Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills and Chimborazo Expedition (Trip 12: Nov. 30 - Dec. 14, 2019) Dispatch 2

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Guide: Jose Salazar

Climbers:
Jeremy B., Ian B., Anthony Q., Samantha D., Matt B., John C., and Christopher A.

December 8, 2019

Christopher called on behalf of the team to report on their climb of Cayambe.

Hello! I am very happy to report we have had a wonderful climb of Cayambe. After having a nice night at Hacienda Guachala after our hike up Rucu Pichincha. We then headed to the hut on Cayambe and had a day-and-a-half to work on glacier climbing skills. Jose did a great job teaching both climbing skills and things like proper roping and crevasse rescue. We all felt like we learned a lot.

On the day of the Cayambe climb we left the hut at midnight. It was fairly good weather and good conditions on the mountain, and we felt like we made good time on the ascent. As we got closer to the top, the visibility decreased. However, after our 6:30 am arrival on the summit, it was still a wonderful place to be.
We’ve all been having an excellent time together. From the culture and history, to the food, and the hiking and climbing, it’s been excellent. This is my fourth trip with AAI, and it keeps getting better! I really like applying the skills I have developed on new kinds of terrain, and of course, in new places. And Ecuador has been a great place to be. It’s a very rich experience.

So the climb was really good, and after a break on the summit, we descended to the hut in about two-and-a-half hours. We’re now at Hacienda Guachala again, and before long we’ll head for another mountain lodge for some rest and good food.

Next comes Cotopaxi and we are all looking forward.

December 9, 2020

Just a quick note from our team - They were able to reach the summit of Cotopaxi this morning! We will hear back from them soon. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills and Chimborazo Expedition (Trip 12: Nov. 30 - Dec. 14, 2019) Dispatch 1

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Guide: Jose Salazar

Climbers: Jeremy B., Ian B., Anthony Q., Samantha D., Matt B., John C., and Christopher A.

December 2, 2019

Jose called today and invited John to give the dispatch for the group. Here are John's comments:

A few things really stand out to me so far about the trip.

First, Jose is clearly very focussed on safety. Both in our orientation and on today's hike, he had a lot of comments pertaining to safety that were very helpful for everyone. I should add, he was equally focussed on making sure we had fun on our hike. It was great.

Second, his communication skills are excellent. His history talk during the city tour was very good, and today he identified many of the different plants we saw on the acclimatization hike.

Finally, though we haven't started climbing yet, I can already tell he is going to be a good mentor. He appears to have a wealth of knowledge, and he has already begun sharing fundamental ideas on climbing as well as some technical aspects. I look forward to learning more through the coming days. 

We hiked Cerro Pasochoa today [4199 m/13,776 ft] as the first acclimatization hike of the trip. We all have been adjusting well to the altitude, and everyone was feeling good on this hike, so after summiting, we also did a second peak nearby which was my favorite part of the day because the vegetation was so different. I would call it a beautiful jungle environment with lots of flowers in bloom. I was really surprised.

So all is going well, and we are all really glad to be here. We will keep you posted!



Friday, November 15, 2019

2019 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills and Chimborazo Expedition (Trip 10: Nov. 2-16, 2019) Dispatch 1


Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Richard D., Brad F., Michael M., Linnea B., and Larry F.

November 5, 2019

Hi! This is Romel calling to let you know our two acclimatization hikes went very well. Our team of climbers is steadily and successfully adjusting to the high altitude. We hiked up beautiful Pasachoa (4,199 m/ 13,776 ft) on Monday, and today we climbed Rucu Pichincha (4,697 m/ 15,413 ft). Everyone had a great day, and we were all in high spirits. It was very nice to be feeling good at that altitude. And even the weather was nice for us, with just a little rain at the very tail end of our day.

[Linnea then came on the phone]. We had a great day! It is so beautiful up here. We're having fun together and really enjoying the hiking the views. The trip is going very well and we are looking forward to our climbs. That's all for now.

The team called again on November 11.
Hello again. This is Romel and the team calling to let you know we had success on Cotopaxi (5,897 m/ 19,347 ft). The weather conditions were good and the snowpack on the glacier was excellent for the ascent. We started out from the hut at about midnight, and it was a good night to be out climbing until about 4 am when the wind started to pick up. Then it was kind of cold, but we had enough layers to keep ourselves comfortable. We made good time, had a fun time climbing together, and after all our efforts, we have to say it was wonderful to reach the summit.
We are now looking forward to some good food, a nice rest, and more good food before heading to our final objective, Chimborazo!

November 12
Well, we are calling again to report on our recovery!

Everyone is tired from all the climbing we have done so far, but it felt really good to be down in the central valley last night where there's a lot more oxygen and a lot of excellent food! You know, my cooking is pretty good, but at the hut I don't have a professional chef's cooking set-up!

In summary, we are happy, getting a good rest, eating nicely and in high spirits. We are feeling very motivated for our attempt on the immense Chimborazo. We'll be exploring one of the valley towns this afternoon and then heading up to the huts on Chimborazo tomorrow. We' don't have good connectivity up there, so we will call you after the climb.

November 14 

Romel called from the semi-tropical town of Baños after the ascent.

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be calling you to let you know we had success on Chimborazo (6,310 m/ 20,703 ft). We are calling from beautiful Baños, where is it mild, there are flowers blooming, and there are a few palm trees in the town square. What a contract to the land of rock, snow, and ice where we have been climbing!

We summited this morning and were so happy to have the success. The weather was fair this morning, but once again the wind was up and the windchill made it very cold. very cold. The other members of the climbing team also attempted the summit of Chimborazo but turned around earlier (at about 18,000 ft) due to the cold temperatures and fatigue.

[Larry then came on the phone:]. Hello! It feels great to have made the summit of Chimborazo, and it also feels good to be here in Baños. The wind was actually not that bad today. There were some higher gusts at times, but basically it was manageable. We had plenty of clothes to deal with it, and I didn't mind the cold too much. It hasn't snowed much lately, but it was interesting to find a layer of fresh snow on top of the glacier. The new snow the climb a bit tougher – it's just more work climbing in a layer of soft snow – and it took us longer than it would have otherwise, but in the end we persisted and were extremely happy to step onto the summit of such a high mountain.

We are going to enjoy Baños a lot I think. We are here tonight and all day tomorrow as well, so we're thinking of going on a hike to see some pretty waterfalls and some tropical forests in the area. It's fun to be in an area that's in such contrast to where we've been the last couple of days. So different!

It's been a great trip and we've had a lot of fun together. That's our report!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

2019 AAI Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 9 - 29) - Dispatch 13

Guides:

Will Gordon
Wyatt Evenson
Sam Fletcher

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Damian Browne
Liza Hunter-Galvan
Danzi Lu
Eric Tutterow
Joshua Schulte
Finn Ghent
Michael Perche

Team 6 has returned to Talkeetna and are starting to make their departures home.  Everyone is doing well and had a great trip! 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 AAI Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 9 - 29) - Dispatch 12

Guides:

Will Gordon
Wyatt Evenson
Sam Fletcher

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Damian Browne
Liza Hunter-Galvan
Danzi Lu
Eric Tutterow
Joshua Schulte
Finn Ghent
Michael Perche

Team 6 payed homage to Summer Solstice in true alpine style...everyone tagged the tip-top of North America. Way to go team 6!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019 AAI Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 9 - 29) - Dispatch 11

Guides:

Will Gordon
Wyatt Evenson
Sam Fletcher

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Damian Browne
Liza Hunter-Galvan
Danzi Lu
Eric Tutterow
Joshua Schulte
Finn Ghent
Michael Perche

Team 6 is at High Camp (17,300ft). They arrived late in the afternoon and a looking forward to a ramen dinner. Weather is looking good for a summit attempt either Friday or Saturday.
 

2019 AAI Denali West Buttress Expedition Team 6 (June 9 - 29) - Dispatch 10

Guides:

Will Gordon
Wyatt Evenson
Sam Fletcher

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Damian Browne
Liza Hunter-Galvan
Danzi Lu
Eric Tutterow
Joshua Schulte
Finn Ghent
Michael Perche

Team 6 is set to make a move up to High Camp today.  They will check in when they are settled in.