Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 30th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

The team is hunkered down at Camp 2 (18,00ft) with some strong winds. Excellent position to move to Camp 3 and then to the summit once the weather clears. Wish the team a Happy New Year and good weather with the arrival of 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 16-30) – Dispatch 4

December 29th Dispatch - Chimborazo Summit

Climbers: Philip Argyres, Sarah MacGregor, Yao-Wen (Wayne) Huang, Yu-Lin (Amanda) Tsao

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Romel called the evening of Wednesday, December 28th, with the following report:  

Hello again!

We are calling to give you the good news that we have summited Chimborazo!  It turned out to be a very good climb.  We left camp at midnight in beautiful, clear weather.  The stars were really out - thousands of them!

It was clear for a good part of the climb, but eventually we moved up into a cloud as we got closer to the 20,703-foot / 6310-meter summit.  By the time we reached a little over 17,000 feet it was really snowing. 

Let's say the weather was not very nice on top, but we were truly pleased to complete the ascent and stand on the summit of this giant mountain!  It was really fun to be up there!  



We had no problem on the descent, and we made good time back to our camp and then back to our vehicle.  We walked back down into clear weather at about the same altitude where we had left it, so that was really good.  We had great views again, once we were just under the very distinct bottom of the cloud layer.

This afternoon we drove out of the mountains and then a little north to the town of Ambato (8521 ft / 2597 m).  The town sits on the floor of the north/south valley that runs between Ecuador's two parallel ranges of volcanoes.  

At Ambato we left the Pan American Highway and descended through the Eastern Sierra by way of a valley system created by glaciers thousands of years ago and carved a little deeper through the modern era by waters of the Rio Pastaza.  

We headed down-river to the beautiful and lush town of Baños.  Here we are enjoying the sight of palm trees in the town square and the active volcano, Tungarahua (16,480 ft / 5023 m), just to our south.  In town we are at 5971 ft / 1820 meters, so in contrast to the atmosphere on Chimborazo, here at an altitude 15,000 feet lower (!), we are really enjoying the warm and delicious oxygen-rich-air!

As you can guess, today was quite a workout, so the team is currently napping in our hotel.  We'll meet for dinner before long and discuss what we want to do on our "rest and recreation day" in Baños tomorrow 





We may do some mountain biking, explore the canyon and waterfalls just downstream, or head down-river towards the Amazon Basin to enjoy more contrasts between the alpine zones we've been in for the last two weeks and the jungle which is so close.  

We'll be heading back to Quito on Friday and will give you a final report in a day or two. That's all the news for now.  Thank you for following along!


2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 29th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

From AAI Climber Nicole Brockmueller...

"Today was the type of day that will keep us coming back to the mountains – Our chefs (guides) spoiled us all day… Pancakes with pears & walnuts for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch, and pasta & cookies for dinner – combine that with great temps, sunshine and glorious Scenery – basically, you have the best “rest day ever”! Though we likely have some “tent days” coming up (higher wind speeds forecasted We are all in good spirits & in a great position to wait the weather out. :) – Nicole"

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 28th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

From AAI Climber David Atkinson...

"Hey everyone watching our progress, we all travelled up to camp 2 yesterday in some beautiful weather arriving around 2pm to stunning views of the Andes. Although a relatively short mountain day was all feeling pretty worked and relieved to have the majority of our tents already up thanks to the hard work of the porters, the guys are super human!! Looks like we may be here for a while with high winds looking to hit the mountain, we remain optimistic:-)"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 27th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

From AAI guide Andy Stephen...

"Hi everyone, today we carried to camp 2. We had great weather all day, which was a relief after a very windy last 24 hrs. We arrived Back at camp around 5pm and ate burritos cooked by Chad. Tomorrow, we plan on moving up to Camp 2 while the weather looks good. We are All having a great time up here and can't wait to get to camp 2!"    - Andy

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 16-30) – Dispatch 3

December 27th Dispatch

Climbers: Philip Argyres, Sarah MacGregor, Yao-Wen (Wayne) Huang, Yu-Lin (Amanda) Tsao


Guide:  Romel Sandoval

The team has been unable to call successfully, but they sent a text saying they had a great time on their attempt on Antisana, but the weather kept them from reaching the summit.  Team members said they learned a lot from the guides in the process of the climb and were pleased to get as far as they did under tough conditions.


Monday, December 26, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 26th at 10pm (Argentinian Time)

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

Woke up to a bit of wind, but clear skies so packed up and made the move to camp 1. Halfway up the weather got a bit rowdy but we had a great time in the wind and snow and the whole team reached camp 1 in good shape! Now we're hunkered down in the (cozy) cook tent eating some pasta and hoping the wind slows tomorrow so we can make a carry to camp 2!

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 25th and 26th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

From 12/25:

Hola! This is Andy from Aconcagua, yesterday we put in a cache of food and gear at camp 1 (4900m) and descended back to basecamp. We hiked through a zone of incredible snow formations called penitentes, and had a really pleasant day. We arrived back at camp around 5pm and ate bacon wrapped steak and sweet potatoes at the grajales restaurant, followed by a little dessert and a small portion of wine.

From 12/26:

Today, we awoke to very stormy and windy weather, and by this afternoon it was snowing, a rarity during this time of year up here. We are all ecstatic to be having a white Christmas in the middle of summer! He storm is continuing into tomorrow morning but we are still hoping to move to camp 1 in the morning. Feliz navidad! -Andy

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 8, 2017)

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Swauger

The team is headed up to Camp 1 to store gear and food they don't need until the upper mountain. They will then return to BaseCamp and stay the night and move the rest of their camp to Camp 1 Christmas Day. This puts the team in excellent position to acclimatize for the summit attempt in a few more days!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 23rd at 2am local time

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Chad Cochran

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

From AAI guide Andy Stephen...

"Hi everyone, this is Andy with AAI Aconcagua Team 1. We had one of the most spectacular days of trekking yesterday with views of the mountain in the distance. We arrived at BaseCamp around 4pm (Argentina time). BaseCamp is very plush and we had dinner. Steak and Mashed potatoes! The weather is fairly warm but windy. This morning Chad and I are cooking pancakes and letting everyone sleep in for the rest of the day after three big trekking days in a row. Spirits are high and everyone is feeling strong and enjoying their time in the Andes so far. That's all for now, we will check back in later."

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 16-30) – Dispatch 2

December 23rd Dispatch

Climbers: Philip Argyres, Sarah MacGregor, Yao-Wen (Wayne) Huang, Yu-Lin (Amanda) Tsao

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

We’re calling to let you know that we successfully summited on Cayambe! One rope team reached the top at 6:30 am and the second a few minutes after 7. It was another great climb. Conditions conditions on the glacier continue to be very good.

Here’s Philip with some words on the climb:

Philip:  I had really wonderful day - just spectacular. It was my first climb on a glacier, and it was just awesome. It was a good work out and when we got down we were all ready for a nap! We’re looking forward to a little touring in the Antisana Reserve before heading up for the Antisana ascent.
Here’s Sarah.

Sarah:  I'm felt really good on the climb. We had beautiful weather and great guides. “Hi Mom” - I know you're probably checking this all the time; we're doing really well. And “Hi” to my wonderful husband!

Romel:  We had another comfortable stay (and great food again) at Hacienda Guachala and are now exploring the Antisana Reserve. We’ll be staying in another hacienda tonight Everyone could benefit from (and enjoy!) a full day of rest today. And it’s our job to eat well and fortify ourselves!

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Antisana base camp. It too will be an easy day, and we’ll have a nice drive across open grasslands with views of two of the other big peaks in the area – Sincholagua (15,988 ft / 4873 m) and Cotopaxi (19,347 ft / 4099 m).

Cotopaxi is still active, expelling ash and steam most of the time, and it is still closed to climbing because of the potential hazards of gasses and further eruption.

We’ll be out of range for communications for a while, but we’ll call Christmas Sunday or on Monday at the latest. Our summit day is Christmas Day.

Wish us good luck!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 21st

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

The team completed the longest part of the expedition. A 9 mile trek to Casa de Pierda (10,665ft). They were able to get a small glimpse of the Polish Glacier on the mountain! The group will be headed to Plaza de Argentina at 14,000ft today, another difficult portion covering 7 miles and over 3,000ft of elevation gain. A well deserved rest day is nearly here!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 Aconcagua Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) from Dec 20th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnik
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller

AAI guides Andy Stephen and Chad Cochran have checked in. The team is on the trail making their way up the Vacas Valley. They will camp tonight at 9,385ft. Only 13,500ft to go!

2017 Aconcagua Expedition Team 1 (Dec 18, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) Dispatch 1 from Dec 19th

Guides:

Chad Cochran
Andy Stephen

Climbers:

Andrew Zuehlke
Arliene Pearson
Brandon Kwasnik
Corin Kwasnki
David Atkinson
Jim Swauger
Nicole Brockmueller


Hello all. Welcome to AAI's Aconcagua Expedition Team 1 dispatches. After a successful meeting and gear check on Sunday the team enjoyed a dinner in Mendoza, Argentina and are making their way to Penitentes today. There the team will finalize all equipment before taking off on the approach to the mountain tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 16-30) – Dispatch 1

December 19th Dispatch

Climbers: Philip Argyres, Sarah MacGregor, Yao-Wen (Wayne) Huang, Yu-Lin (Amanda) Tsao

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Hello!

This is Romel calling from Ecuador. Everything is going well here!

We enjoyed meeting up in Quito, and we had a very enjoyable first day as we did a little easy touring and exploring as each person began their adjustment to the altitude.  The team’s first night was in Quito, of course, and at 9350 feet / 2850 that’s a good place to begin the process.  We always set an easy pace on the first day as drive north to cross (and straddle!) the equator and then continue on to Otavalo, to explore a pretty Ecuadorian town that has a very large and colorful market.

We do a good amount of walking, but all at an easy pace.  We know that if people just beginning their adjustment are too vigorous in the exercises or activity, that can bring on at least a light version of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), so we are careful to avoid that by going easy.

On our second day, Sunday, we hiked up beautiful Pasachoa (13,776 ft / 4199 m).  Going at a easy pace, everyone did fine and made the summit.  It was a gorgeous day – really it was perfect – sunny and warm.  And today we hiked higher and, again, everyone summited Guagua Pichincha (15,670 ft / 4776 m).  We had a little light rain late in the day, but mostly it was sunny.

Everyone is having a good time, and we are all looking forward to climbing Cayambe in a few days.  At 18,996 ft / 5790 m, it is our first major peak.  We are now driving to Hacienda Guachala, one of the oldest haciendas in Ecuador, for a good night's rest and – as I have assured the team – a very, very good dinner!

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

This trip is going really well!  Great, in fact!  We've had nice weather in the mountains, but yesterday after our hike we saw hard rain flooding the streets of Quito. We were thankful to not be out hiking in it!  Our group is having fun, and people are excited for our next climbs.  Does anyone want to say anything else for the dispatch? (A chorus of "Hi's and "hello's" were heard around the car from Philip, Wayne, and Amanda.)

Here's Romel, again:

The climbers are feeling good. They are adjusting well, and have had no altitude issues. Tomorrow we'll be traveling to the hut on Cayambe at 15,250 feet (4648 meters) and we’ll start our training (or review for some climbers) of glacier climbing skills.  On Wednesday we’ll spend a good part of the day doing some more practice climbing, then have an early dinner and an early bedtime to be ready for the Cayambe ascent, which will begin at about 1am! 


We'll call, again, after summiting Cayambe.  Talk to you soon!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 2-16) – Dispatch 3

December 13th Dispatch

Climbers: Mike Schipper, Andrew Ford, Deli Ford, Jacques Proteau, Patricia Alcivar

Guide: Fredy Tipan

Hello again from Ecuador!

This is Fredy and the team calling to let you know that we summited on Antisana (18,874 ft / 5752m)!  We had a spectacular day with perfect weather. 


We traveled back to Quito after the climb and had a wonderful farewell dinner for part of our team that is heading home.  We have had so much fun together on this trip, we are going to miss them.

Here is David with some words for friends and family back home:

Antisana was really an amazing climb, and it was so great to summit together.  This whole trip has really been amazing!  Both Cayambe and Antisana were such good climbs and so beautiful to be up there on those majestic peaks. 


The climbing was perfect – excellent weather and excellent snow conditions.  It was great cramponing.  The climbing was great, the guiding was great, and everybody enjoyed it.  And we really had fun with our final dinner together.

Here's Fredy again:

Yes, as David said, we couldn't have asked for better conditions.  The snowpack on the glaciers was perfect. 

Someone asked in an email if we have been seeing many birds.  I was hoping that we would see some condors around Antisana, but on this climb we didn't.  I was surprised, though, that we saw two black eagles.  Usually they are seen roughly between 5,000 and 11,500 feet, but we saw them just below Antisana.  They are big and they are beautiful with about a 5-foot (1.5 m) wingspan.  That was very special.

OK - so now some of us are continuing to do Chimborazo.  This will take us several days, and I don't know if we will be able to make a connection to give you news until the end, but we will try.  Wish us good luck and continued good weather!



Thursday, December 8, 2016

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

December 8th Dispatch

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

Guide: Fredy Tipan

Hello!

This is Fredy, in Ecuador. We are all very happy after a successful day on Cayambe (18,996 ft / 5790 m).

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the group completed their glacier skills training above the hut on Cayambe. We had good snow and ice conditions on the glacier, and techniques training and the practice climbing went very well.

Today we enjoyed a great climb of Cayambe with beautiful weather – sunny and super clear atmosphere. Five climbers reached the summit! Three chose to not climb all the way to the summit, but everyone is feeling great and had a really good time on this gorgeous mountain.

I will put Galen and Patty on the line:

Galen: Hello! First, thank you to AAI for all of your work in making it possible for me to go on this trip. It has been absolutely lovely! It's also been quite a challenge, but I am looking forward to the next climb, Antisana. There have been no cases of major altitude sickness in our group. Everyone is doing so well!

Patty: Our climb was a total "ass-kicker," today! I am doing the Second Summits Program, so this is my second time on this expedition. We had bad weather, last time, but the weather on this trip has been so clear. Cayambe is a tough climb, but I couldn't believe the views from the top! They were beyond breathtaking. We could see Antisana and Cotopaxi, and I actually broke down and cried. We have top-notch, awesome guides, too. Today was the best, most beautiful climb I've ever had!

Fredy here, again:

We will stay at Hacienda Guachala tonight – not very far – in the foothills of Cayambe, and travel tomorrow to the Antisana Reserve. We'll continue to the Antisana basecamp on Saturday, and climb Antisana on Sunday. I will call, again, after our summit day (18,827ft / 5,740 m).

Now we're looking forward to more great food and a little rest and relaxation at the hacienda. Talk to you again soon!


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:  Fredy Tipan

Hello!

This is Fredy 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 Fredy, 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!



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

2016 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (July 1 - July 10) - Dispatch 1



July 4th Dispatch via Email

Ecuador July 1 - July 10, 2016 Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition

Climbers:

Patricia Alcivar
Norma Vogel
Ricardo Castillo
Juan Castillo
Srdja Zekovic
Anthony Schuchardt
Rodger Gilchrist


Hello friends and family!

This is Fredy Tipan checking in from Ecuador High Altitude Expedition.  On Saturday, July 2nd,  we had a great day traveling to the equator and then a little further north to the town and big market of Otavalo.

Then yesterday, we met at 7 am – after an early breakfast, jumped in our van with day packs, and headed to the trailhead of Cerro Pasochoa, a 13.779-foot extinct volcano that rises amidst beautiful grasslands and which has really nice rock outcrops up high.  Once in the parking lot and before the climb, we prepared delicious sandwiches.

Everyone was psyched to do our first acclimatization hike on a big peak.  This is a very motivated group of individuals, and we all reached the summit by 1:30 pm.  Despite being pretty tired and a bit short breath, everybody celebrated happily, took some awesome pictures, and returned down to our van in very good time.  I think everyone enjoyed the scenery a lot as well as the exercise and the acclimatization that we gained.

Today (the 4th of July) after having a great breakfast at Reina Isabel Hotel, we drove to the Pichincha Teleférico (gondola station) which carried us up to 13.700 feet where we got on a trail and started hiking up to Rucu Pichincha.  Rucu is a 15.420-foot peak, and all the team members did an excellent job climbing up the steep slopes and the rock scrambling sections.  After hiking for about 3 ½ hours, we reached the summit. We took some amazing pictures and had a good lunch on the summit. We hiked back to the gondola, descended to meet our bus, and headed north.

We are now at Guachala, an ancient and cozy hacienda built in the 16th Century.  Here we are – safe and sound, and I am writing this just before heading to dinner.  The hacienda's chef prepares really good meals, and we are all looking forward to ours!

Our next climbing goal is Ecuador's 3rd highest peak, Cayambe.  Tomorrow the 5th we will move up to the hut on Cayambe and take some time to review and improve climbing skills in preparation for the ascent.  Were having a great time and will be back in touch as soon as possible and give you the latest news!




-Fredy Tipan
IFMGA-UIAGM Certified Mountain Guide


Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 12

June 30, 2016

Guides:
Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

After hauling heavy sleds through the night while the lower Kahiltna glacier was frozen, we arrived back at basecamp, were greeted by clear skies, and flew back to Talkeetna around 9am. We had a very successful trip, thank you all for following along! - Andy

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 11

June 28, 2016

Guides:
Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

Team 7 dispatch June 28- we are sitting at camp 3 again, waiting out weather and eating tons of food to Lighten our loads to basecamp. We are planning on heading out to basecamp tonight while the lower glacier is Still frozen. Being the last AAI trip on the mountain, we are taking extra gear down with us that has been Used by previous trips, so it will be a difficult night, but we will be drinking celebratory beer for breakfast at basecamp tomorrow morning while we wait for our flight back to civilization. Cheers! -Andy


Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 12

June 27, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI lead guide Paul Ivaska called us earlier today to let everyone know Team 6 has made their way back down to Base Camp. They were still waiting for flyable weather when they called at 10:30am Alaska time, before K2 Aviation could come pick them up and fly everyone off the mountain. We are hoping to hear of Team 6 safely arriving back in Talkeetna, if they have not already arrived.


2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 10 Summit Day!

June 25, 2016

Guides:
Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

Team 7 dispatch - I am writing this from the top of North America! The weather is the nicest I've ever seen for a summit day, and the team is so excited to be up here. Much love to all of you out there, see you soon - Andy

Saturday, June 25, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 9

June 24, 2016

Guides:
Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

Team 7 had an awesome acclimatization day to 16300 ft, with absolutely beautiful weather, although it got pretty darn hot this afternoon. This evening we ate mondo burritos, and were visited by a successful team 6 on their way back to basecamp. Tomorrow we will move to high camp, hopefully in weather as nice as we had today. That's all til tomorrow! -Andy

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 11 Made the Summit!

June 24, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

Team 6 has made the summit and is on their way back down. Everyone is doing well!



2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 8

June 24, 2016

Guides:
Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

Dispatch June 23, team 7- today the team rested and practiced some skills for the fixed lines. It was a nice day in camp, and we ate lots of food and relaxed in preparation for an acclimatization hike tomorrow to washburns thumb at 16,500 ft. Tonight Jeremy is Cooking up some jambalaya which we are all very excited about. We will check back in tomorrow, goodnight! -Andy

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 10

June 22, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI lead guide Paul Ivaska called this afternoon. Team 6 had moved up to High Camp (17,300 ft) on Monday and were hoping to summit today.

Unfortunately the weather had changed and it was a bit windy (30-50 mph winds at the summit), so the team spent their time building snow walls and fortifying camp. The forecast has the winds dying down and the weather is looking good for a summit attempt hopefully on Thursdsy (6/23/16).

Everyone on the team is doing well and they are all anxious about their summit attempt tomorrow, keeping fingers crossed.

Best of luck to Team 6 tomorrow, we're all looking forward to hearing from them soon!






2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 8

June 21, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black



Team 7 was given a break in the weather and had perfect conditions for their move to camp 3. Even though the loads were heavy and it's one of the harder days of the expedition, the team did excellent and got all moved into a nice camp at 14,000 ft. Everyone is tired and looking forward to a full nights rest, but are excited to be at the luxurious camp 3!

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 7

June 20, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

Andy sent us a text from Camp 2 "We spent one more day at camp 2 today due to continued high winds on windy corner. We went for a walk."

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 10

June 20, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI Jim called to let us know the ascended the fixed lines up to High Camp.  They enjoyed the view over a beautiful sea of clouds. They plan a summit attempt on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 9

June 19, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI guide Angela Henderson called this evening to let us know that all is well and Team 6 is still waiting out this storm at Camp 3.

We are hoping to hear news of good weather arriving so both remaining AAI Denali teams can move up the mountain, soon! And from all of us at AAI, Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!





2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 6

June 19, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen let us know Team 7 was taking another forced rest day at Camp 2. It had been snowing heavily all day, so the team was playing chess and cards and telling stories to keep themselves entertained. Team 7 is doing great and looking forward to moving up to Camp 3 once the weather clears.

From all of us at AAI, Happy Father's Day!




Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 5

June 18, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen let us know Team 7 had a leisurely day at Camp 2. They woke up to strong winds at camp. After a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy, they spent the morning fortifying their camp and then took full advantage of their forced rest day. Tonight they are planning a dinner of pesto pasta and are anticipating spending another day at Camp 2 tomorrow.



Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 4

June 16, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen let us know Team 7 woke up early today and put in their cache at Windy Corner (13,500ft). The wind rolled in today, but the sun to the temperatures on the warmer side.

AAI guide Jeremy Devine was cooking up some chicken curry for dinner and the team was planning to get as much rest as possible this evening. If the weather holds, Team 7 plans to move up to Camp 3 (14,300ft) tomorrow (June 18th).

We're looking forward to hearing from Team 7 again soon.


2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 8

June 17, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI lead guide Paul Ivaska called in this evening from up at Camp 3. Team 6 had an exciting day putting in their cache above the fixed lines before the storm hit. This storm is expected to last through the weekend. Once there is a weather window, Team 6 will attempt to move up to High Camp. But for now, they are waiting out the weather at Camp 3.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 7

June 16, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI lead guide Paul Ivaska called this evening from Camp 3. Team 6 went over the fixed lines today and checked out the Edge of the World.

Their plan for tomorrow (Friday) is to make a cache above the fixed lines at 16,000ft then return to Camp 3 and wait for a weather window to allow them to move up to High Camp and summit. There is en expected weather system moving in for the weekend but we're hoping it doesn't last long.



Everyone is doing really well and we're looking forward to hearing from Team 6 again soon.


2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 3

June 16, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen let us know that Team 7 made it to Camp 2 (about 10,200ft) last night. Today they are resting up and eating good food. The team has been traveling at night, so tonight they are planning to back-carry to pick-up their cache from down at 10,000ft.

The team is excited to be moving quickly through the lower mountain and will be switching to a day schedule for tomorrow. They are hoping to make their cache at Windy Corner (about 13,400ft) tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 6 (June 6 - 26) Dispatch 6

June 15, 2016

Guides:

Paul Ivaska
Jim Mediatore
Angela Henderson

Climbers:

Gerard Hackett
Jeb Burchenal
Michael Henry
Timo Smuts
Cyprian Z
John Carswell
Hideyasu Nishi

AAI lead guide Paul Ivaska called this evening to report on Team 6. As anticipated, Team 6 arrived at Camp 3 (14,300ft) yesterday (Tuesday), June 14th. Today they back-carried to pick-up their cache from Windy Corner (13,450ft).

Tomorrow (Thursday) the team plans to practice using the fixed lines in preparation for making their next cache on the 16,000ft ridge above the fixed lines. Everyone is doing really well and they are currently having great weather - last night was a bit windy, with gusts up to 60mph high on the mountain and around 40mph at Camp 3.

We are hoping the weather continues so Team 6 (and the other teams on Denali) can continue their progress up the mountain. We are looking forward to hearing from Team 6 again soon!



2016 Denali West Buttrss Team 7 (June 13 - July 3) Dispatch 2

June 15, 2016

Guides:

Andy Stephen
Jeremy Devine

Climbers:

Steve Jacobs
Teija Sirko
Alan Millard
Mike Snelling
James Black

AAI Lead Guide Andy Stephen let us know that Team 7 made their cache at about 10,000 ft yesterday. Their weather throughout the day was a bit cold and windy, but overall it was a beautiful day. The team was eating hamburgers and drinking hot chocolate before getting some rest for the night.

Team 7 is planning to make the move up to Camp 2 today (Wednesday).


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2016 Denali West Buttress Team 5 (May 30 - June 19) Dispatch 13 - Final Dispatch

June 14, 2016

Guides:

Andrew Yasso
Zach Lovell
Will Gordon

Climbers:

Rob Parker
Sanni Rannikko
Phil Simonet
Irma Vijn
Tjark de Vries
Stefan Jorritsma
Mark Munsters
Peter
Maaike Braat

Team 5 has officially flown off the mountain and safely arrived in Talkeetna, Alaska as of Tuesday (June 14th) evening. AAI lead guide Andrew Yasso called this evening to confirm the entire team had safely landed back in Talkeetna and everyone was already back at their hotel rooms and getting cleaned up after their successful climb.

Congratulations to Team 5 for completing their Denali climb!