Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November/December 2015, Ecuador - Chimborazo, Dispatch 2

Guide:

Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Jason Muise
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Evening update from Jeremy

Baños de Agua Santa 5:00pm local time

"We made our summit attempt on Chimborazo last night. We woke at 10:00pm and had a quick breakfast and were out the door at 11:00pm. The Refugio was in a thick cloud layer and we hiked the first hour in without being able to see the stars, finally broke through and could see the entirety of the mountain and night's sky. We put on crampons and started to ascend the snow and frozen sand slopes of the normal route. As we gained elevation the wind increased to the point of knocking us off balance slightly, you had to lean into the wind in order to stay stable.

My rope team gained the upper ridge at 5400 meters/ 17,000 feet in intense wind, we hunkered down in an alcove for around 40 minutes waiting for the team behind us to arrive. Upon arrival of the second rope team, we all agreed that continuing in the high winds was a bad idea. From the alcove on the ridge we
 started our descent back to the Refugio arriving around 6:30am, safe and sound.

Although unsuccessful at attaining the summit, we all felt we made good decisions and stayed safe. Over some hot drinks and food we decided as a team that we would not make another attempt on Chimborazo. Factors leading to that decision included the amount of energy expended on this attempt, the good chance for high winds to continue, and the desire to enjoy our last couple days in Ecuador relaxing together as a team.

We left the Refugio at 11:00am and arrived in Baños de Agua Santos "Baños" in the early afternoon. The city is very friendly, and appears to have many activities such as rafting, horseback riding, hiking, etc. Some folks are planning on trying to take advantage of these activities tomorrow. We're having dinner together tonight at 7:00pm. Friday morning we head back to Quito. I'll send in another update tomorrow about our day in Baños.

Take care to everyone following our trip."
Cheers,
Jeremy

November/December 2015, Ecuador - Chimborazo, Dispatch 1

Guide:

Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Jason Muise
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

AAI Guide Jeremy Devine called in this morning with an update of the Chimborazo climb.

"Hey this is Jeremy Devine in Ecuador. It is 7AM on December 2nd, 2015.

Just giving everyone a quick update of our climb.

Everyone made it down safely from Chimborazo. Unfortunately, we were not successful. We got turned back due to some very high winds on the upper mountain. We turned around at about 5,400m (approximately 17,700ft).

Yeah, estimated about 50MPH winds which were making it impossible to ascend any higher so we made the safe decision to turn around.

Everyone is doing very well and is in high spirits. We will call again soon and give you another update. Thanks. Bye."


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 6

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

AAI Ecuador Expedition Team enjoying their rest day split
between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Recieved November 30, 2015

"Yesterday was anexcellent travel and rest day, we had a relaxing afternoon and another brilliant dinner.

This morning some folks went for horseback rides and others went to go see the endangered Andean Condors in the Antisana Reserve. This afternoon we loaded up on food and suplies and headed to our basecamp for Antisana.

The hike in today was about ~1.5 hour to get into our camp, with light packs.
There was a threatening thunderstorm to the west, but it never quite made it here to Antisana, so we stayed dry.

We just had a delicious dinner at our Antisana base camp, everyone is about to turn in and get some sleep before our 11 pm wake up time.

It is currently a bit cloudy but seems to be clearing. Hopfully it will be nice and clear for our midnight climb time. Thinking it will be a 12hr round trip climbing day, similar to our ascent of Cayambe.

Everyone is in good spirits and we are all looking forward to tackling another Andean peak. We’ll update you guys when we get down from Antisana."

Jeremy Devine



November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 5

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Recieved on November 26, 2015


Negotiating some rock scrambling on our
approachto Glacier Hermoso (Beautiful Glacier)
"I'm excited to be making this dispatch once again from Hacienda Guachala after a very long summit day on Cayambe. We had an early dinner at 5:30pm last night so we could get to bed for a few hours before our wake up time of 11pm. There were a few other teams preparing for their climb as well so the Refugio was bustling. Some hot drinks and breakfast food fueled our team as they finished last minute tasks. We struck out at midnight sharp to a spectacularly clear sky.

We could not have had better weather for our summit day. But it wasn't just the good weather that made the day special, it was all the amazing things we got to see on the way.

There was an electrical storm far to the west that lit up with flashes of lightning. The full moon was also brilliantly bright, almost making our headlamps unnecessary. We could see some of the brightest stars including the Big Dipper, Orion, and Southern Cross constellations. But the most brilliant star wasn't a star at all. Around 5am Venus rose above the summit. The planet was so bright many of us thought it was a climber's headlamp that had reached the summit early.
AAI Climbers Graham and Jason 
Approaching the Summit

Teams arrived at the summit between 7 and 8am with brilliant 360 degree views. The volcanoes of Ecuador are not surrounded by mountains but lower rolling hills. This gives a greater sense and appreciation for just how high we climbed.

Our teams descended quickly and arrived back at the Refugio between 11:30am and 12:30pm. It was a very big day and we're all excited for a good nights sleep. This climb certainly goes down as one of the best glacier climbs I've ever done. A beautiful day on a beautiful route.

Tomorrow we visit the Equator and travel to Hacienda Guetala close to Antisana for the evening. I'll send an update from our travel day tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone following us from the US!"

Jeremy Devine

Ecuadorean IFMGA Guide Freddy Tipan and his team of Cathie and Richard reaching Cayambe' Summit





Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 4

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Received on November 26, 2015
"It's evening here again and we are about to turn in for the night as soon as we finish dinner. We had a great day of skills practice on the glaciers near the refugio today learning and practicing how to self arrest, cramponing techniques, and rope team travel.

Toward the end of our skills practice we got a little bit of precipitation, it has since ceased but is still somewhat cloudy. After our session on the glacier we returned to the refugio for a lunch of hot soup and sandwiches. The afternoon was spent organizing our gear and resting up for tomorrows summit climb. Everyone is still going great and feeling good.

The plan for later tonight/tomorrow is to have an alpine start getting up at 11pm, so that we can be climbing by 12pm round trip; we are aiming for a 10hr climbing day. Despite the precip earlier today it is colder than the past few days at this time, with calm to light winds; should make for good firm climbing conditions tomorrow.

We'll check in when we return from our climb, night!'

Jeremy Devine



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 3

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Received on November 24, 2015

"It's 6pm or so here, we are at the Cayambe Refugio (15,092 ft / 4600 m). This morning we woke up at the Guachala Hacienda and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and morning. We left the hacienda about 9:30 am by bus to head to Cayambe.

A few kilometers before the Cayambe Refugio the road became too bad to continue in the bus. We transferred our equipment to a 4x4 truck, and enjoyed a mellow walk the remaining few kilometers arriving at the refuge a bit after noon. At the refugio we enjoyed a lunch of hot potato soup and sandwiches before going for another acclimatization hike. 
Everyone did great on the hike going up to about 15,900 ft / 4846 m, the highest so far. No headaches from the altitude, and everyone is feeling good. 

Back at the refugio we organized and prepped our climbing equipment, for the skills practice we have planned for tomorrow. We are planning an early start and and early finish to tomorrow allow for enough sleep before the alpine start on summit day.

The weather is still fairly cloudy but we did get some views of the expansive glaciers on our hike. Those of us from the Pacific North West feel right at home in the silence of the clouds. The forecast looks to be on the upswing so I am hopeful for clearer weather in the coming days.

Dinner is almost ready and we are looking forward to it; quinoa soup with vegetables, and pork for those of us that eat meat.

Talk to you in a few days!"

Jeremy Devine


November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 2

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Received on November 24, 2015

Breakfast in the cobbled courtyard at the historical Hacienda Guachala est. 1580 
"We had a wonderful, relaxing evening at Hacienda Guachala after our climb of Gua Gua Pichincha. Dinner was exceptional with local specialties, including a dish of Trout with shrimp sauce. Our walk back to our rooms was on cobblestones passing horses allowed to roam freely around the property. Our rooms were converted from the original horse stables and heated by open fireplaces. All in all a very restful evening before our ascent to the Cayambe Refugio today. Here's a photo from this morning."

Jeremy Devine


Monday, November 23, 2015

November 2015 Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition, Ecuador – Dispatch 1

Cayambe – Antisana Skills Expedition

November 20 - 29, 2015

Lead Guides:
Jeremy Devine
Romel Sandoval

Climbers:
Catherine Hibberd
Graham Keene
Richard Long
Melissa Lopez-Worm
Hernando Madronero
Jason Muise
Thomas Worm
Hallie Zolynski
Andrew Zuehlke

Received on November 23, 2015

"Over the past two days we went to the Otovalo market, and hiked Cerro Pasochoa (13,776 ft / 4199 m) to acclimatize. On November 21, on our way to the Otovalo market we saw many people walking on pilgrimage celebrating the feast day of the Lady of Quinche (Nuestra Señora de la Quinche). The Lady of Quinche is revered for providing protection against encounters with the Andean bears.

Everyone is doing great, we just came down from our acclimatization hike on Gua Gua Pinchincha (15,696 ft / 4784 m). There was some rain on the way down but we were able to see Antisana (18,827 ft / 5740 m). We are headed to the Hacienda Guachala for the night. Tomorrow we are headed to Cayambe (1896 ft / 5790 m) and expect to have better weather."

Jeremy Devine


Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Dispatch 4

Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Sichuan, China

October 20 - November 2, 2015


Guide:
Chad Cochran


Climbers: 
Jose Recio
Jean Dominique Perret
Mitchell Dow Williams



Email received November 1, 2015

Good evening,

Late last night I arrived back in Chengdu. As I mentioned before in my last correspondence we had to abort from our original objective due to the hazards of the approach (a large Boulder field where the movement skills of the group were not up to traversing the mike of exposure safely). I also recently got word that the approach coulier has a significant rock fall hazard and is more of a dodging game. We put multiple other options on he table for the rest of the trip including climbing some of the stunning alpine ridges that adjoin the valley base camp is in, trekking to a remote monetary at the base of gongs Shan, glacier and climbing skills, or going to Tagong a nearby Tibetan sanctuary that contains high alpine prairies.


Jose caught a cold when we moved up to our camp 1 and needed to rest a day or two. We spent the first day traversing one of the scenic alpine ridges above camp reaching a new high of the trip 4900 meters. The next day his cold took a turn for the worse and we rested in camp going over crevasse rescue and ascending a rope on a near by boulder. Our last day below Lamoshe we spent exploring a neighboring valley we could hike to from base camp. We hoped to reach a glacier that we could see from our previous venture but were turned around by time and a impending snow shower that dusted camp through the afternoon and evening. The following morning, October 31st we broke base camp and headed to a local Tibetan hostel that sported a glass room facing the mountains. The evening was spent with new friends enjoying traditional yak meat, various root vegetables, and yak butter tea. November 1st we parted ways and I headed back with the escort and interpreter to Chengdu.


Although we did not reach the summit we have experienced a remote and amazing section of Asia only wetting our taste buds for further adventures around these ancient lands.

I look forward to seeing you all on my return

Chad


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Dispatch 3

Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Sichuan, China

October 20 - November 2, 2015


Guide:
Chad Cochran


Climbers: 
Jose Recio
Jean Dominique Perret
Mitchell Dow Williams

The town of Kangding lies in the deep gorges where the Tibetan Plateau drops off into the Sichuan Basin. This lively town straddles the cultural border of China and Tibet with influences from both cultures. Aidan Loehr


Oct 24 (received via phone 5:35pm PST patchy connection)
Calling from Lamoche Base Camp in beautiful weather. Climbed to 15K' and placed a cache .


Oct 26th (8:07PST email from Chad)

Hi everyone,

We're taking a rest day in Kangding. We had to retreat from our main objective on Lamoshe due to the inclement conditions on the approach and lack of good acclimatization. Weather moved in last night with light rain and snow further solidifying our decision. Our interpreter and escort/cook have been great giving lots of encouragement and information about the area and locals. Fred Becky has frequented the area many times and is known well here. He was part of the first ascent team but was not part of the team that summited.


We are looking for appropriate objectives near by and enjoying the mix of Chinese and Tibetan culture found here. I'll keep you updated with our plans for the rest of the week. I hope things are going well back in Washington. The guys send much love to their friends and family at home.

Best
Chad



Learn more about our Lamoche, China Skills Expdition


Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Dispatch 2

Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Sichuan, China

October 20 - November 2, 2015


Guide:
Chad Cochran


Climbers: 
Jose Recio
Jean Dominique Perret
Mitchell Dow Williams





The traditional Tibetan town of Tagong is a short drive from Kangding.

Photo by Colin Overy



Email from Chad received 10/22/2015


Good afternoon

Today we woke up to slightly cloudy skies above Kangding illuminating the fall colors in the mountains here. We enjoyed a small breakfast at our hotel before setting out to travel around town exploring the mix of Chinese and Tibetan culture found in western Sichuan. There are several Buddhist monasteries in town and in the surrounding hill sides. Before we enjoyed some local Tibetan food we visited one of the monasteries right up the street from our hotel. The buildings were brightly painted in a vibrant rainbow of color adorned with gold flashing. This brought life to the otherwise solemn tempo found with in the walls of the place of worship. After lunch we hiked up the hill side above town to gather some amazing views of the river valley below and help with our acclimatization. By this time most of the clouds had cleared and we were able to see some of the larger snow capped peaks and ridges that Kangding lays gateway to.


In the evening we were lead by our escort to a small family restaurant serving traditional Sichuan food. Over our last meal in civilization we were able to discuss our plans for the days to come.


Tomorrow we leave for the Lamoshe, only a 25 km drive from town. The road is a newly winding path that will take us to our base camp near a lake fed by the glaciers on Lamoshe. We will spend several days there ferrying gear and acclimatizing further for our ascent.

Until next time

Chad



Learn more about our Lamoche, China Skills Expdition



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Dispatch 1

Lamoshe Skills Expedition - Sichuan, China

October 20 - November 2, 2015


Guide:
Chad Cochran


Climbers: 
Jose Recio
Jean Dominique Perret
Mitchell Dow Williams

Lamoshe, on the right, means 'Goddess Peak' and is the highest objective in this sub-range of the Daxue Shan range. 
Photo by Andy Bourne


Email from Chad received 10/21/2015

Good Morning,

Today is day one of our China expedition to Lamoshe. Everyone arrived safely last night to Chengdu. We depart today for Kangding - a village town at the turn off for the road to base camp. It will take us about 8 hours navigating the rural roads of China to reach the mountains. We plan to spend several nights there acclimatizing and taking in some of the sights. We'll be in touch when we reach Kangding. I will also be sending updates via the delorme in reach device.

Best
Chad Cochran


Learn more about our Lamoche, China Skills Expdition


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015 Bolivia Part III - Final Dispatch and Photos

Guides:
Richard Riquelme

Climbers:

Greg Castle
Tim Watson



From Richard:

" Here are some pics from our last 3rd part in Bolivia. This time illimani did not allow us to get to the summit. Weather has got very wintery here all the sudden.

White out with high winds, snow, hail, rain, & thunder storms are some of the reasons to turn around from high camp to basecamp.

Everyone is safe & sound & happy to have the experience, but happier to be back in La Paz as well since a great storm hit the area big time today & night.

Today Sunday is my last day in La Paz and I'll be cleaning & preping gear for next year season. I'll be flying back home on Monday early morning.

Thank you very much to everyone for following our adventures around this beatiful country big in contrast that is Bolivia while making new friends & climbing mountains.

Until next time.

Over & out."




































Friday, September 4, 2015

2015 Bolivia Part II -September 4th, Dispatch #9

Guides:
Richard Riquelme

Climbers:

Greg Castle
Tim Watson

Richard called in from basecamp (4500m) this afternoon with an update of the past few days.

Yesterday morning the team moved up to High Camp (5500m) to make a summit attempt on Illimani. Throughout the day and evening Richard checked on the forecast for an optimal weather window to head out,  but the blizzard like conditions did not let up long enough to safely make the bid for the summit. This morning the team made the decision to move back down to basecamp.

Upon arrival, Hildago was waiting for the team with warm food and beverages and everyone was happy to return to the mild temperatures at the lower elevation.  They are all now resting and exploring the areas around camp.

On Saturday the arrieros will come with the llama team and everyone will pack up and head back to van to be taken back to La Paz.

Everyone is feeling great and enjoying their last few days in Bolivia!



Follow the climbers here: AAI Bolivia Expedition

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 Bolivia Part II -September 2nd, Album #2


Email from Richard:

"We start in Tiwanaku Arqueological site which include Puma Punku then our base camp in the Condoriri Group area in where we climb Austria Peak, Tarija, & Pequeño Alpamayo, & then we hike to a little hill over the valley to the south for great views of Huayna Potosi to then travel and climb it (Huayna Potosi)


Benito is our local mountain guide & sous-chef
Hidalgo is our local Chef & chief driver
Diego has been the assistant driver"