Monday, December 5, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 2-16) - Dispatch 1

December 5th Dispatch

Climbers:  Mike SchipperAndrew Ford, Deli Ford, Jacques Proteau, David Field, Patricia Alcivar, Galen Pickard, Jeffrey Sperling

Guide:  Freddy Tipan

Hello!

This is Freddy calling from Ecuador.  We’ve just finished our third day of the trip, and everything is going great!  This is a really nice and motivated group of people, and we've been having a lot of fun together.


Most folks arrived on Friday, and Saturday morning we had a nice breakfast together at the hotel and did a program orientation.  After that we headed north to the equator and then continued to the town of Otavalo where we went to the huge market.  

The market was a really fun cultural experience. It was super busy with locals.  Most of the people shopping there are from surrounding villages.  They come in to town once a week and they dress in traditional clothing, so their shopping and their traditional clothes are very interesting for our team to see as our climbers did their own shopping.   And we had a delicious Ecuadorian lunch!  Everyone seems to like the food here!

So that was Saturday, and the last two days we have used for acclimatization hikes.  Yesterday we climbed Pasochoa (13,776 ft / 4199 m), and today we climbed GuaguaPichincha (15,670 ft / 4776 m).  The group summited both peaks without any problem.  Everybody is acclimatizing really well on our schedule, and we haven't had any altitude illness issues.  Judging by each person's adjustment so far, I think they will all do very well on the major climbs!

Here is Jeffrey who will add a few words to our report:

Everything is going really well. I’m from Chicago, which essentially has no elevation, so this trip has been intense for me, but good. I’m nervous about our next climbs, but also looking forward to them.  The guides are fantastic and so are the team members.  In addition to the climbs, we’ve been enjoying the Ecuadorian culture.  The landscape is absolutely breathtaking!  We’ve had good weather, overall.  A light rain seems common in the afternoons here, and we had just a drizzle, today.

Here’s Freddy, again:

Tonight we will head to Hacienda Guachala, below Cayambe, which will be our first big climb.  The hacienda has a very nice, countryside atmosphere, and the food is terrific.

More news tomorrow if we can make the connection.  We’ll be traveling to the hut on Cayambe at 15,250 feet (4648 meters) and starting our glacier skills training.  Wednesday we’ll do more training to make sure everyone is prepared, and Thursday we’ll climb Cayambe!  We'll call each afternoon if we can make the connection.


Bye for now!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatch 7

November 16th Dispatch

Climbers:
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Hello!

Mikko, Rasmus, and I are now resting at the hotel in Banos, on the edge of the Amazon Basin. We summited Chimborazo, today, reaching the top of the 20,703 ft peak at 6:00am. It truly was an incredible climb, featuring ice ramps, snow bridges, sections of icefall, and amazing views.

Today was quite a work out – Chimborazo is a very big mountain (!!), so tomorrow is a rest / recreation day for our small team.  Mikko and Rasmus are both doing well and they are very happy about our success together.  They will decide tonight what they'd like to do tomorrow.  They may want to do some white-water rafting or some mountain biking (especially if it is downhill!).

I'll put Rasmus on to say a few words: "We had a fantastic climb, today, on Chimborazo, and especially enjoyed the amazing sunrise. It was a little windy, but absolutely beautiful. Now we are resting at the hotel. There is a spectacular flower garden, here, and tomorrow I look forward to taking pictures of all the hummingbirds."


We will plan to call, again, on Friday.


Monday, November 14, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatch 6

November 14th Dispatch


Climbers:
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Hello, again!

Mikko, Rasmus, and I are at the Urbina Lodge. We had a 5-hour drive from Quito, including a stop for a delicious lunch on the beautiful Ecuadorian Altiplano.  The team is now resting here at the lodge.

Tomorrow's journey takes us to the Chimborazo Basecamp.  We'll drive to the western side of the volcano to begin our climb.  During our drive the group will enjoy great views of the Chimborazo massif, the surrounding rolling terrain, and probably some wild vicuñas and llamas.

Around noon we will reach the Carrel Hut (15,700 ft / 4800 m) for lunch.  We'll use the afternoon to complete a moderately-paced, two-hour hike to Stubel Camp (16,100 ft / 4907 m).In preparation for our alpine start around midnight, we will have an early dinner.  Despite the building excitement for the next day’s summit climb we will go to bed early, with hopes for a great climb in the morning. 

We will plan to call, again, on Wednesday, after our summit attempt on Chimborazo!


2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatch 5

November 13th Dispatch

Climbers:
Randy Rainey
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Hello, all!

Romel, here, calling with another update on our Ecuador expedition.  We tried to call on Friday, but there was no signal in the Antisana foothills. 

Yesterday we continued to the Antisana base camp.  We made a beautiful drive through old hacienda lands, and enjoyed excellent views of both Sincholagua (15,988 ft / 4873 m) and Cotopaxi (19,347 ft / 4099 m).  We spent the night at the Antisana base camp (13,488 ft / 4100 m), enjoying the nearly full moon / super moon.
Today we climbed Antisana (18,827 ft / 5740 m) ! !  We reached the summit at 7:00am, and enjoyed perfect weather conditions, both last night and all day today.   Everyone on this trip is doing well, and in excellent shape!


We're now returning to Quito for the night.  We'll say "farewell" to Randy, and tomorrow Rasmus and Mikko will continue with me on the Chimborazo climb.  We'll drive through the "Valley of the Volcanoes," then spend the night at Urbina Lodge in the grassy plains below Chimborazo at 13,200 ft.


Friday, November 11, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatch 4

November 10th Dispatch

Climbers:
Randy Rainey
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Hello, all!

This is Romel, calling with an update after our summit of Cayambe, today. We had perfect weather with excellent views all the way to the top! Our group reached the summit at 6:00am.

It is now late in the day, and climbers are enjoying some well-deserved rest. Randy, Mikko, and Rasmus are quite tired, but thrilled to have enjoyed such nice climbing, already. They have all turned-in for the night, but hopefully one of them will be available for our next dispatch.

Tomorrow our journey takes us to the Antisana foothills. We'll rest and recover from our Cayambe climb as we drive south through the Andean village of Pintag and into the beautiful wilderness area of the Antisana Reserve. We'll spend the night in a local hacienda before continuing onto the Antisana Base Camp.


Monday, November 7, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatch 3

November 7th Dispatch
Climbers:
Randy Rainey
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen
Guide: Romel Sandoval


Hello Again!

We’re calling to let you know we had another perfect day. Today we hiked to the top of Gua Gua Pichincha. It’s 15,696 feet high (4784 meters), and everyone did really well with this next step to higher altitude.

Once again the weather was perfect, and we had excellent views of the whole central valley and most of the big peaks here in Ecuador. It was a little colder today and windy again, but everybody had the right clothing and could adjust and keep plenty warm. We spent three hours hiking up and two hours hiking down. Like yesterday we went at an easy pace, which is really helpful during this early stage of acclimatization. Mikko, Randy, and Rasmus are all in good shape but we aren’t rushing ourselves.

Mikko is going to add a comment:

This trip has been excellent. We are so lucky with the great weather, and today is was nice to see the big peaks we will be climbing. We are having a good time! Here’s Romel again:

Now we are heading for a Hacienda Guachala below Cayambe which will be our first big climb. We so we are looking forward to being out in the countryside on the lower slopes of Cayambe. The hacienda is a very comfortable place to stay – it’s nice atmosphere – and the food there is terrific.

More news tomorrow if we can make the connection. We’ll be traveling to the hut on Cayambe at 15,250 feet (4648 meters). It will be an interesting day, as we’ll be going through some little villages that are typical of the settlements in the foothills of the northern Andes.



2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (November 4-18) - Dispatches 1 & 2


November 5th and 6th Dispatches
Climbers:
Randy Rainey
Mikko Lautala
Rasmus Mikkel Munter Lassen

Guide: Romel Sandoval



November 5th Dispatch

Hello Everyone!

This is Romel calling to let you know that we just completed our first day of activity in the program, spending most of the day in and near Otavalo to the north of Quito. We got up early for breakfast and an orientation on Ecuador and the climbing here, then headed north out of Quito, crossed the Equator, and continued north to the big market in the town of Otavalo.

The market was fun. It is very big and very colorful, and everyone took a lot of photos. Otavalo is the biggest town in the region, so locals come in from a lot of different outlying smaller towns and settlements for the market. Most dress in the traditional styles, so besides so many different things for sale which I think everybody finds interesting, there is also a cultural aspect to the market that is very strong. After exploring the market, we had a great Ecuadorian lunch. I think everyone is liking the food.

Randy is going to add some comments now:

I'd sum it up by saying we had a great day. The market was outstanding, the weather was wonderful, and we’re all having a great time

Anything else guys – – No - that's it. It’s two-thumbs up all around!



November 6th Dispatch

Hello!

This is Romel and the team calling again. It's about 4:20 pm and we just returned to the hotel in Quito from our climb of Pasochoa.

Conditions were good again today, and it was good to be up in the mountains, In the morning in sunny morning afternoon windy, but everything was good and we made it to the top without any problem.

Our team is acclimatizing well. From our day of arrival through this morning, we spent all our time between 8400 and 9500 feet (2575 and 2895 meters), so everyone was ready to make an easy-paced climb of Cerro Pasochoa, which is 13,776 feet (4200 meters). Yes, everyone did really well with the altitude.

Now we are resting and looking forward to tomorrow and going a little higher on Pichincha.

Here is Rasmus who will add a few words to our report:

We’ve had a fantastic day with Romel. We had truly fantastic views. And I would call the winds refreshing. It was a good temperature for climbing. OH yes, and we had very nice sandwiches!

We all did great with the altitude, and now looking forward to keenly and going to a higher altitude.

We'll try to talk to you tomorrow and let you know how it goes!