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