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How To Run an International Mountaineering Program during a Pandemic

Logan Talbott leading a team during the Ecuador Climbing School.

These are uncertain times. While we can’t eliminate all the variables, our team has done a lot of legwork to make it possible to travel as responsibly as possible given the current state. Learn more about the modifications we’ve made to our international climbing programs from Logan Talbott, co-owner and chief guide. In the following interview, Logan gives a play-by-play of how we’ve altered operations to make it all work.

 

Q: How has the pandemic affected operations at Alpenglow?

“The pandemic has had significant effects on…

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Ecuador Climbing School is Underway!

Fuya Fuya: “once again, team did great 3h 11min round trip…. now sitting at a local restaurant, trying the local cuisine of Otavalo” – Jamie

We’re Back!

We are beyond excited to welcome climbers back to our international programs for the first time in almost a year. After an 8-month shutdown of our entire international program, we are officially operating again in Ecuador!

The Ecuador Climbing School is running for two weeks and our team is planning to climb Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and then Chimborazo. There’s also a crew of skiers who will be climbing the same peaks…

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COVID-19 Protocols for Expeditions in Ecuador

Following the shut down of our entire international program in March of 2020, Ecuador will be the first country outside of the U.S. that Alpenglow Expeditions will venture back to. Understandably, there are a lot of questions from both our guide team and our clients regarding the unique challenges that COVID-19 poses to an international mountain climbing trip.

In an effort to create the best circumstances for health, safety and success we’ve put together a specific COVID plan for our expeditions in Ecuador. We’ll be creating similar plans for each country that we subsequently travel to as they open.

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Choosing your Ice Axe

 

Part 2: If you grab your crampons, chances are you’ll want an ice axe too.

{Read Part 1:  How to Pick Crampons}

Ice Axes and Crampons often go hand in hand, and similarly to picking the right pair of crampons, choosing the proper ice axe will make your day in the mountains all the more successful. With ice axes, the use of the tool dictates the type of tool you need. A technical ice tool isn’t great for self arrest, and neither is a piolet for climbing steep ice. Below are some of our favorite activities,…

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Sam Kieckhefer’s First Cotopaxi Rapid Ascent™

On November 26 Alpenglow Operations Manager Sam Kieckhefer departed for Quito, Ecuador to join his first Cotopaxi Rapid Ascent™ Expedition. After becoming a member of the Alpenglow staff last spring, Sam has been working on international logistics for nearly a year. Cotopaxi would be Sam’s first opportunity to experience first-hand one of the expeditions that he has been a part of organizing. Furthermore, Sam is an aspiring ski guide, and Cotopaxi would be an elevation highpoint for him.

Sam’s expedition, led by Jaimie Avila, summited Cotopaxi on November 29th at 7am. After he returned from his trip…

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Top 10 Reasons We Love Climbing in Ecuador

Climbing in Ecuador has a lot to offer. We haven’t found the same combination of factors in any other high altitude climbing locations around the world. If you’ve climbed Rainier, Baker, or Shasta in the United States, look no further for your next climbing objective. From world-class climbing guides to unparalleled access to the mountains, and excellent cultural experiences, climbing in Ecuador is hands down our favorite place to test ourselves against high altitude.

 

1. First Love

Ecuador is the first trip our founder and CEO, Adrian Ballinger went to altitude on (1994) and the first high…

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What’s in Adrian’s Closet?

 

“Frostbite is Failure” Interview with Adrian Ballinger: A run-through of every climbing shoe and mountain boot in his arsenal.

Mountain guides may be the most shoe-obsessed people on the planet. From rock shoes to 8,000m boots, every shoe has an ultra-specific purpose. In this interview, Adrian walks us through his favorite La Sportiva footwear for each climbing discipline. Have you ever wanted to take a peek inside Adrian’s closet? This is your chance!

Tahoe Via Ferrata TX4 Approach Shoe

“There are two reasons I really like this shoe for the 

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Family Fun on Cotopaxi – March Expedition

A family that plays together, stays together. At least that’s the way it is for this group of four. David and his three kids are in Ecuador setting their sights on Cotopaxi during this family expedition.

Summit of Rucu Pinchincha with Tikka the dog!

They began like we always do at Alpenglow, with a climb of Rucu Pinchincha rising high above Quito. Lead guide Jaime Avila reported that they all moved super fast, ascending to the 15,696′ summit in 2:10. Even the dogs in Ecuador are pretty darn acclimatized, Jaime’s dog Tikka joined in on the climb and…

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March Ecuador Climbing School Underway

The beautiful Mojanda volcanic lakes in the foothills of Fuya Fuya

School is in Session!

On Tuesday our Ecuador Climbing School arrived in Ortavalo to begin their expedition. This season’s team is led by Ignacio Espinosa, more affectionately known by our team as “Nacho.” A local Ecuadorian, Nacho is an IFMGA guide and has been guiding in the Ecuadorian Andes and the Cordillera Blanca range of the Peruvian Andes for the last 15 years. When he isn’t out in the mountains, Nacho plays in a local punk band.

Topping out Fuya Fuya, our first acclimatization…

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School is in session – Ecuador Climbing School

Class is back in session in beautiful Ecuador! Our entire team arrived 5 days ago and since then everyday has been filled with exploring, acclimatizing and now they are moving on to the meat of the expedition – mountain climbing.

First Day in Ecuador

Our first full day is always spent exploring the sights, sounds and smells of one of the most gorgeous high altitude cities in the world. Quito is known for its vibrant culture and our team was treated to some traditional Ecuadorian music in the streets of the colonial section of town. While this might seem like…

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