Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ecuador High Altitude Expedition #1 – The Hermann Family – Dispatch 6

Hermann Family Expedition 

December 23, 2011 to January 3, 2012

Guides:  Pepe Landazuri and Freddy Tipan

Climbers:  Mark, Wendy, Mackenzie, Chelsea, and Gavin Hermann and Dave Garrabrant

“Hello again from Cayambe,

As planned, we did more glacier climbing skills today and some ice climbing too.  We also worked on self-rescue using prusiks.  We got a lot in! 

We’re going to bed now because we plan to get up at 11pm and leave at midnight – an hour earlier than I normally start groups.  We talked to the AAI Australian-American Expedition that came down from the mountain after their summit attempt this morning, and they told us that they were blocked near the top by a large crevasse.

So we are going to start an hour earlier so that when we get to that crevasse, we can scout a new route around it fist to the north and then if necessary to the south.  There is no guarantee that there is any way around it, but if there is one there, we intend to find it.

OK.  Here’s Mark.”

“Hello to everyone back home. 

The weather was nice today and we had a lot of fun.  It’s a beautiful mountain to be on.

Everyone did very well and Wendy really took to the vertical ice – she has now found things in climbing that work for her, and it appears that it’s steep ice!  She really enjoyed it and did a great job.

I have a message from me to Bobby, Wes. and Nick:  the feet are hanging in there!

And Dave has one for his parents:  ‘I love you guys.  I’m having a great time.  Hey, I love coffee now.  And I had trout tonight!   I absolutely love the mountains and climbing and everything to do with it.’

For those of you who don’t know Dave, his parents are going to be impressed.  He did not eat fish in the past.  Clearly there’s a small revolution or renaissance going on here!

Back to mountain issues, we were disappointed for other group that they were unable to summit.  They said they had a really good climb, but it would have been great for them to get to the very top.  We’re hoping to find a way obviously.  We see what we can find.

Everyone is a little nervous – but excited – to begin the ascent.  Everyone has done an excellent job getting their gear ready for the climb.  Each person has a good sense of what they need and how to pack it.  They’re very organized."

[ At this point we read Mark the two new messages from Barb Garrabrant and from Sarah and Jeff.  He had us read them twice so he could accurately convey them to the crew when he went back inside the hut. ]

"Thanks for the messages.  They are very fun to get, and everybody is enjoying your words of encouragement.  And the crew enjoys knowing that you are following us along our trail.

Oh yes, since Sarah brought up the subject of the 'awesome food' we are eating,  I have to report on dinner.  It was another excellent achievement by our chef.   Appetizer:  fresh pineapple from the Amazon Basin (just down the road).   Entrée:  fresh trout almandine (from a lake in the central valley) with mashed potatoes flavored delicately – and with Amazonian avocados as a side dish.  Dessert:  peaches.

I have to say, the fruit is knocking people over.  It’s sooooo good!

Dave and Gavin are becoming quite the buddies.  Dave is already talking about going out to ice climb with Gavin when he is at Western State in Gunnison, Colorado, next year.  Clearly he is hooked on climbing!

OK, we need to head to bed, but I want to say to family and friends, we each appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.  We’ll do our best on the mountain tonight.  It is very exciting to meet this challenge together.  Thanks for your support as we give it our best.”


Monte G. said...

Dear Hermannteers - We're thinking of you as it approaches midnight knowing you're big climb is about to commence. We look forward to hearing how you made out and if you were able to overcome the crevice. Most of all, we wish you a safe climb!

Cheers from the low country!

Brooks Powell said...

It sounds like you guys are having an amazing time! We have enjoyed following your blog. I think Brooks wants Gavin to teach him about climbing!
Be safe and have fun!

-Brookie, Kate, Brooks and Louise