July 19, 2000 : Team Chimbo News #13 - Reflections From Along the Way

 Hello All,

           "Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more
      beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined - how is it
                      that this safe return brings such regret?"
                                                            Peter Matthiessen
                                           
                "Never for me the lowered banner, never the last endeavor."
                                                           Sir Ernest Shackleton

     This is our final issue of Team Chimbo Goes To Ecuador.  Of course,
 there will be other newsletters in our future expeditions.  Please enjoy and
 the check out our website chimbo20k.outdooronline.com for pictures of the
 jungle, the soccer game, the caves, and El Altar.  A slide show has been made
 and will soon be available to be downloaded to your computer.  We will send
 an e-mail.  The following are our own personal thoughts on the summer. 
 Please remember that we have been above 20k, so don't expect anything worthy
 of an award here.  I'd also just like to mention that the volcano, Guagua
 Pichincha, that is very close to Anita's house where we stayed just blew!  A
 five mile plume of ash covered Quito just two days ago.  We were bummed we
 missed it.

                                  James' Thoughts
     Sitting at Jose Oshea's discussing going to Ecuador never made it seem
 like it would be a reality.  I had never really been out of the US, except
 for Baja, CA. (which doesn't totally count), until I went to Ecuador.  I
 didn't really know what to expect.  I knew that I would be able to experience
 another culture and from what I had heard, I would learn from it, but also
 enjoy it.  I was so excited to be able to go on what I knew would be a once
 in a life time experience.
     What an adventure it was!  Matt, Jason, and I will never be the same
 because of our adventures.  Our friendships have grown closer, and our eyes
 have been opened.  We have not only seen the beauty of God in the mountains
 and nature, we have seen His beauty in the people of Ecuador.  Sitting in
 Pancho and Jairo's church, listening to the cute little Ecuadorian kids sing
 praises to God will forever ring in my ears.  Seeing the way that Maria
 served and loved us, as Christ does, from the moment we walked in her door,
 will be forever imprinted in my mind.  There were so many more things that
 taught me about who God is than I can explain.  They have broaden my views
 and challenged me in many ways.
     Looking back I can see how God's hand and protecting angels were with us
 every step of the way.  From Matt's slide down Chimborazo to our crazy bus
 and cab rides, it's a miracle we made it home nearly unscratched.  I believe
 that we have been protected by God, but also used by Him.  I hope that we
 have encouraged many of the people down there to
 pursue God, as much as we have been encouraged by them.  The friendships
 that were formed will never be forgotten.  Although the mountains and climbs
 were amazing, we may someday forget the details.  The friends we made, the
 laughter we shared, and the love we felt, will never be forgotten.  
      I believe our trip was more than a once in a life time thing.  Not many
 people will ever stand on top of an almost 21,000 foot mountain, or hike
 through the jungle in the middle of the night.  I don't know many who have
 ventured 3 miles into a cave.  Only a few have played frisbee with a cute
 little Ecuadorian boy named Christian, in El Carmen.  I feel
 as though I have been blessed in an incredible way.  I have not just been to
 another country, I have experienced another country.  What a privilege it is
 to see how others live and just for a moment, get to join them.  Ecuador has
 changed me and given me much joy.  The people will put a smile on my face for
 a long time to come.  The friendships I have made
 will last a life time.  The memories may fade, but I will never forget about
 all the things I have learned and seen in Ecuador.  What an amazing trip! I
 leave you with a quote.
 "It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that
 matters in the end." - Ursula Le Guin
  
                                  Jason's Thoughts
     A week and a half after returning virtually unscathed, I find myself
 back in the groove of the everyday American life.  Work at 6 a.m., home at 2
 p.m. and off to workout.  Then I try and find some time to eat, and get to
 bed by 11 just to be able to actually pull myself out of bed at 5 to be at
 work again the next morning.  Fun fun!!  I sure enjoyed the simple relaxed
 life in Ecuador.  Anyway, our final assignment is to reflect on the trip, to
 dig deep and retrieve those feelings and experiences that will forever be
 stored away in our hearts and minds.  But, I'm not sure I can actually do
 that without sitting here typing words and then instantly erasing them as
 different thoughts develop.  I would be here for days trying to describe to
 everyone how this wonderful trip changed my life.  If I can I want to attempt
 to sum my thoughts up in a few simple sentences.
         Put aside your fears of change and live your dreams.  Don't let the
 world brainwash you into believing that you are too busy, or that you can't
 take time to enjoy the beauty of life because you can't afford to fall
 behind.  What are you trying to prove?  What are we all trying to get ahead
 for?  To be secure?  Ask yourself what really brings you joy.  Your job? 
 What is holding you back?  The fact you are married to your car and house
 payment.  My point here is that all of these things are irrelevant and a
 waste of precious time here.  Make your life count.  Experience all you can. 
 No one is too busy.  You just have to make the change and the commitment to
 following through with your dreams.  That is what Ecuador taught me.  Don't
 read about it in a book or watch it on television....experience it triumphant
 on your knees in front of it.  I wish you all the best in whatever you are
 passionate about and I pray that you would all achieve the goals you have set
 forth for your lives and together may all our dreams come true.   I leave you
 with a quote.  
 "Time wasted is existence; time used is life."  - Young

                                  Matt's Thoughts 
     Looking back, I think it hit me that the past two months are the
 gateway into much of who I hope to be.  Missions-minded and
 adventure-seeking.  These two things, along with all they entail, are what I
 run on.  They are beauty at the highest level.  The Lord has given us Himself
 to praise and obey.  He has given us others to come along side of, so as to
 point them toward Him.  And God has also given us this handcrafted, vast and
 untamed world to enjoy.  So, in light of these things, sprang the idea for
 our trip, of which you have been informed of in our letters.  I know that I
 am a dreamer, but I believe life can always be as fulfilling to the level
 that this trip was.  Why not? Finding what you love and keeping it the main
 thing should be the way we live.  The problem I face most often is letting
 all the "details" of life get in the way.  I find myself looking back on most
 of my days asking what the heck I did that was really worth anything. 
 Whatever we love, we should do, and we should be glad that it is pleasing
 before the Lord.
     There were so many things that made me glad these past months.  Much of
 it comes from the relationships that I have been given with so many people in
 Ecuador.  I have found people that I know God has given me a love for.  And
 this group of people extends out of Ecuador into many other places I have
 been and hope to be. Somehow we know when we are with the people whom we are
 to touch and be touched by.  God lets our hearts know.  While the poor lack
 much in education, resources and opportunity, they are rich in relationships
 and the freedom of the distractions of the high class. They live simply and
 slowly enough to take in what comes by. The poor are the ones who seemed most
 drawn to Jesus when he walked the earth - maybe because they had so much less
 to turn their heads away from the Truth that stood in front of them.  These
 are the people I want to continue to be friends with. I don't know God's plan
 for each of these relationships, but I trust that He will lead me into His
 will as time goes on.    
     I have been able to learn so much about myself through these trips both
 spiritually and personally.  Gifts and desires are not given haphazardly.  We
 all fall into a plan that we need to engage in.  I am still seeing where the
 Lord would have me use my abilities for Him.  I am learning to be creative
 with the aspects that seem minute.  The glory of the Lord calls for
 everything to point to Him.  I think I sell myself short sometimes. Climbing
 will continue to be an aspect of my life in Him.  Mountains are deep,
 expansive, clear and sharpening - a part of this planet I cannot stray far
 from for long.  I pray the Lord will use this pursuit for His purposes.  
     During this trip the majesty of the Designer was surely evident.  The
 spiritual atmosphere, as is often the case in times of ministry, was raised
 as well. I loved walking with Jesus seemingly so close during the times when
 I was sharing with others of His love or praying for them.  There was no
 deeper contentness to be enjoyed - knowing of no other greater place to be
 except walking by His side.  But I was reminded that the work and the
 struggles that go into our daily relationship with Christ remain - nothing
 magical in the life of ministry ever takes those away.  We will always remain
 humans who must continue to choose to listen and be obedient.  I often forget
 that.   
     My dream is for the three of us to look back someday and realize that
 his trip was just the beginning.  Trips are always trying in areas of
 planning and preparing - but what else do we have to do?  We have already
 listed off a page of possible future trips, but what's next is still to be
 decided.  I know that wherever I am, I will get myself to the next place to
 meet up with the team.
 To leave, I will relay a quote I recently came across.  
     "You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer; drink no tea or
 coffee or other stimulants, in the name of health; go to bed early and stay
 away from the night life; avoid all controversial subjects so as never to
 give offense; mind your own business and avoid involvement in other people's
 problems; spend money only on necessities and save all you can.  You can
 still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right." - Eileen
 Guder  

      Thank you and God Bless!  It has been our pleasure to write you about
 our travels for the past month.  Stay tuned for our next trip!
                                                                  Team Chimbo
July 6, 2000 - Team Chimbo News #12 - Wild Horses Did Drag Me Away
"The Paths feather-lined and steep.  Overhead a sky of mud.  Then all of a
sudden in the air the purest white lily of a tall volcano."
- Henri Michaux

Wild Horses Did Drag Me Away

When we started planning the things we wanted to do and places we wanted to
go during our trip, we wanted to make sure to end our little excursion with a
bang, and that we did.  On Monday afternoon we headed to what many here say
is the most beautiful place in Ecuador, El Altar.  Often hidden by cloud
cover and constant rain, this extinct volcano provided us with some of the
most amazing views of water falls, snow capped peaks and wild horses that we
could have ever imagined existed in one place.  

So, after a few minor detours, due to a nearby active volcano (Tungurahua)
that was spitting ash onto the highway we needed to take to get to Altar, we
arrived at the park entrance of the Sanguay National Park via Riobamba, and
started our 4 hour hike to El Altar.  Before we got 100 yards up the trail we
came across what looked like a hotel/ranch and we stopped in to see about
renting a pack horse (which the guy who drove us to the park entrance told us
about).  Hey, I know you are thinking why are these guys whimpping out and
renting a horse to carry their stuff, right?  Well, after Chimborazo, we made
sure that the rest of our trip was going to be a total vacation, and carrying
a 70 lb. pack 14 km in rubber boots sinking in knee deep mud didn't sound
like a vacation to us!!!  Renting a horse to do the work for 4 bucks up and 4
bucks down sounded much better!  Of course, the ranchers could tell right
away that none of us had been around horses long enough in our lives to even
manage to get on one, so they recommended that we take a guide along to take
care of the horse!  Sure, why not?  So, after checking out this wonderful
hotel and making future plans to bring the wives (future) back, we headed for
the valley where we would camp for the night.  The hike up was pleasant and
the knee deep mud made each step a challenging one!  We finally arrived at
the river valley leading up to the crater at Altar about 3 1/2 hours later,
and were greeted by two other parties who were planning on enjoying the 4th
of July in the comfort of El Altar's living room!  There were about four
cabanas there that we didn't know about, but we wanted to stick to our word
and camp it out one last time.   Also because there were four other tents
sprouted up along the river and we had to join in on the fun.  Of course, we
had to be the closest tent to the beefiness of the crater and snow capped
peaks of Altar, so we hiked up the river about 100 yards and found our home
away from home for the next two days.  

That night we pulled out the wonderful Backpacker food that we bought for
emergency use only during the trip and made a nice little meal consisting of
black bean tomale pie and santa fe chicken and rice.  We wanted to eat in
luxury and the nice thing about the Backpacker food is that it tastes great
when you are 3,500 miles from home and it is virtually maintanance free when
it comes to the dishes...which was music to all three of our ears!  So, I
enjoyed my birthday two years straight away from home, in the most beautiful
place I have ever been or seen, and with two of my best friends.  We also had
the wonderful company of a family of  wild horses running around about 15
feet from our tent!  That was really cool!  We also saved room for some
Backpacker cheesecake for a birthday cake (which was fabulous) and some jello
that we somehow miraculously were able to make by simply adding a little
water!!!  I think we have definitely surprised ourselves with the emergence
of our great cooking capabilities on this trip.  The party had to come to an
end sometime, and while James and Matt enjoyed what they claimed was the best
night of sleep they had both had on any mountain, I was up all night sick as
a dog.  Why this seems to always happen to me in the worst of places, I don't
know, but I'll let your imagination wonder and you can imagine for yourself
how much it sucked.  In fact, it was flat our miserable, and I ended up
making the painful trek up to our guides cabana to sit on the toilet for the
next 3 hours!!!  Sounds like fun, huh!  Hey, sorry to gross you out, but we
aren't holding anything back on these newsletters.  You want the drama, so
you get all of it!  Anyway, I felt a little bit better in the morning, but I
declined to take the 1 1/2 hour hike to the crater for fear that all heck
might break loose on the way up...so while I stayed back at camp to tend to
my sore butt, Matt, the horse guide, and James took off for the crater.  So,
James is going to tell you about that fun time!!!! 

Matt, our donkey care taker, and I departed for the crater at around 8am.  It
was a nice hike first through the valley then up the crater wall.  The
weather was decent, but mostly cloudy.  There was little drama on the hike. 
Although, my body was very tired, so it only took us an hour to get to the
top.  We saw some great waterfalls and a few times, for short instances, a
few of the peaks could be seen out of the clouds.  We got to the top, snapped
some pics and returned back.  Pretty uneventful, but it was beautiful.  If I
return to Ecuador, I will go back to the Crater.

When we arrived back at the tent, Jason had already begun packing up our
stuff.  We finished packing and loaded up the donkey.  The descent was ok. 
Jason and I had a hard time on the way down, because our bodies were just not
at 100%.  Matt and the donkey guy went on ahead.  We covered the 14 km back
to the hacienda in about 2.5 hours.  Matt had called our ride down, so we
didn't have to wait very long.  We got down to Penipe and caught a bus to
Riobamba.  This was probably the most exciting part of our entire El Altar
journey.  The bus was packed full of people.  I mean, not just full,
over-flowing!  Seriously, there wasn't room for a ant, but our bus manager
guys kept letting people on.  I had the opportunity to stand next to the tv. 
Whenever the bus driver pressed too hard on the brakes, my head crashed
against it.  Oh-well, no damage done.  We got to Rio Bamba after about 45
minutes of pain and torment.  We then caught a cab to the bus terminal.  Our
cab driver was great!  He found a bus leaving for Quito and pulled in front
of it.  We made sure there was three available seats and got on.  From there
it was smooth sailing to Quito.  Somewhat smooth...  Our bus driver was
pretty crazy.  If any bus driver in the states drove like this guy, people
would be screaming in terror.  If there was a speed limit, this guy was
exceeding it.  He was also passing people, by swerving into on-comming
traffic (A pretty normal thing here).  Anyways, I didn't get the sleep I
hoped for.  In Quito, we caught a cab back to Anita's and ordered Ch Farina
pizza to be delivered.  It was great!  Matt packed his bags, and we all slept
soundly, for our last night in Ecuador.

Matt left this morning at about 7am.  Jason and I have finished packing up,
and leave tonight at 11:20pm.  It has been such a great trip!  We will have
one last newsletter when we return, including dramatic summaries and closing
thoughts.  Thanks for going on an adventure with us for the last month!  We
hope you have enjoyed it almost as much as we have.

God Bless
Team Chimbo

chimbo20.outdooronline.com

PS: Please continue to check the web site.  We will be posting more pictures
soon.
PPS: Kyle Kelly has written us an email!  Please resume shopping at Platte
Furniture, and discontinue the Kelly Family Haters Club.  There is also no
need to continue throwing rocks at Kyle or sending death threats.  You may
bake cakes or cookies for him if you would like.
July 3, 2000 - Team Chimbo News #11 - Soccer Madness And The Jungle Book
Hello From Us,

     "In the course of a day, the nakedness of the Interior changed to the
luxuriousness of the tropics; . . . we passed through forest trees rising 150
feet high, mast-like, without a branch, laden with parasitic growth."
                         Edward Whymper, 1892   

The Border War In South America
    We had an amazing opportunity waiting for us when we returned from our
triumphant climb on Chimborazo.  Before we left we heard that the national
soccer team here in Ecuador was going to be playing in Quito in a World Cup
qualifying game against border rivals Peru on Thursday after we returned from
Chimborazo.  Matt made this event mandatory for our trip here and James and I
agreed, so, we arranged with the fellas at expertweb (James´ clients and our
new friends)to try and get us tickets to the game when they went on sale
Wednesday while we were beating our bodies to death climbing up Chimbo. 
    Well, while we triumphed over Chimborazo, they managed to beat the line
for this "national event" and got us and themselves tickets to the heavily
publicized game.  The important thing about this game is that each country in
South America plays games against the other South American countries for four
spots in the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.  So, every game counts, and the
entire country of Ecuador is putting its hopes on this current team to make
Ecuador´s first ever trip to the World Cup.  
    So, even though the game didn´t start until 4:00 (which in S.A. means
anywhere from 4 to 8 o´clock), we had to get an early start to the stadium to
wait in line with the other thousands of fans for good seats.  First come
first serve here in Ecuador, and we found out later that the closer seats to
the field are not always the best seats.  More about that later.  After
meeting up with the guys at 11:30 at the office to get our tickets, we
arranged for them to head to the stadium while James, Matt, and I dodged the
psycho bus and taxi drivers and made it across the street to the Marathon
Sports store to buy our official Ecuador national team jerseys!  They ended
up costing us about 16 bucks a piece.  Not bad for the authentic national
team jersey baby!!!  We then half jogged, dodging all of the street vendors
and hundreds of thousands of people that had filled the streets to "pre
party" before the game, to the stadium to find the guys!  It was
complete chaos.  It reminded me of the streets in LoDo following the
Superbowl victories by the Broncos.  I think the entire country of Ecuador
took a sick day from work to attend the game...including the fellas at
expertweb who all four made the executive decision to close shop and enjoy
the game with their girlfriends and their new pals from the states.  So,
after I was stopped by a police officer and forced to pour the water in my
plastic water bottle into a plastic bag (the water bottle was viewed as a
potential lethal weapon towards the opposing team and otherspectators)and
making it through the 5 or 6 full body pat downs by the national police, we
met up with the other guys and were allowed into the stadium to find good
seats for all 15 of us!!  
     We found great seats just on the corner of the field maybe 5 rows up. 
The only thing separating us from the field was a 6 foot wide moat lined by a
barbed wire fence and a running track with 5 national police in full riot
gear lined up on the other side, and a few german shepherd guard dogs to
chase down any drunken spectators that may have made it past the old and
overweight national police.  Matt and I were trying to figure out a way to
make it out to the center circle in the field where there happened to be a 25
foot tall Pilsener beer bottle blown up.  (By the way, the most random thing
just happened to me as I sit here and write you.  I am sitting here in an
internet bar at a Quito mall and a construction worker just fell through the
roof right above me....I kid you not.  The only thing that kept him from
falling on my head and ruining my masterpiece of a newletter was some kind of
metal bar that he grabbed desperately as he fell.  I think this is going to
be a free bee... as long as nothing falls and hits me in the head.  Matt is
laughing at me right now as he tries to figure out how to turn his computer
on.  He is the most computer illiterate person I have ever met).  Anyway,
back to the game.  After Matt and I figured how we would get over the moat
and past the fat police officers, no one in the group would shell out enough
cash for us to try it.  We forgot to take into account the guard dogs that
would have snatched us up before we hit the track.  Nice to know that the
true cops in Quito are german shepherds!!!!  
     Okay, after 4 hours of watching the insane fans from Ecuador battle it
out verbally, and some physically, with the Peru fans (who were guarded by a
wall of police)and watching James and Matt diving for free gifts being thrown
pathetically into the crowd by the Pilsener beer girls, the game finally
started relatively on time...at 4:30.  The game was amazing, soccer at it´s
finest, atleast here in Ecuador. The team from Peru was not really a threat
in the World Cup qualifying, and the Ecuadorianos scored an early goal on a
sweet deflection by Chala, one of their strikers, right past the reach of the
Peruvian goalie.
    Ecuador scored again in the second half on a deflection off a corner kick
as Hurtado, a midfielder for Ecuador, blasted a shot off of the left post
somehow deflecting in for another amazing goal. The crowd was going nuts, and
the guys informed us that there was going to be a party in the streets after
this one. There was a party in the stands too, right then, and we found out
why its not always a good idea to sit so close to the field.  You see, people
can buy oranges and various other weapons at the game, and they attempt to
huck them onto the field at the referees or opposing players.  The
only problem is that after 6 beers, their hand-eye coordination is not what
it is in a sober state, and they fail miserably to hit anything on the field
and often hit the people in the first 10 rows.  So, after being warned of
that hazaard earlier before the game, I of course, was the only victim of the
game and was pelted twice by oranges.  James and Matt managed to get a kick
out of that.  Oh the adventures we have overcome here in Ecuador!!  Well
anyway, Peru didn´t fold, and as Ecuador moved into their prevent style
defense, which never worked for my teams in football, and failed to work for
Ecuador as they played too soft and allowed Peru to score on an easy corner
kick deflection. This started a flying object war between the stadium full of
Ecuadorian fans and the section of Peruvian fans.  Hilarious entertainment
for 3 bucks.  After the Peruvian goal, the crowd was in disbelief, but soon
after began chanting one of their many chants to get the Ecuadorianos pumped
up again  After the longest 2 minutes in the history of Ecuador, the game
ended with Ecuador on top 2 - 1.  The party began!!!  After being moved out
of the stadium like a bunch of helpless cattle, we made it out of the riots
and commotion to the very comforting setting of the TGI Friday´s across the
street from the stadium.  We were hoping to eat a nice American meal, which
we did, and catch the Argentina-Colombia game that was to start at 7.  It
turned out that the game wasn´t starting until 8:30, so we settled for the
Chile-Paraguay game which was a marginal game in comparison to the Argentina
game.  Our stomachs couldn´t wait for 8:30, so we ate and I managed to get a
picture with a very nice young Ecuadorian woman to get some culture into our
slide show back at home!!  The game was a great way to spend the day after
Chimborazo.  We truly experienced Ecuador in a truly exciting way!!  Wish you
could have been there!!!
  
Team Chimbo Goes To The Jungle
   The next day we packed up and jumped in the Landrover with Anita and her
mom to enjoy a relaxing vacation to the jungle.  Our destination was the town
of Misahualli (Me saa waa gee) located on the Rio Napo, which is the largest
river that flows into the Amazon farther south. After passing through some
long ago forsaken roads, we checked into a nice hotel and then ventured out
to enjoy the nightlife of the tiny tourist port town.  An open pool hall
called our names and soon we were enjoying some pool and foosball with some
other tourists from the U.S. and Europe who were our age as well as some
drunknatives and the hall owner.  Jason went over to the pool table to begin
his night of getting whalloped and James and I headed over to the foosball
table to recieve the same punishment.  It shames me to write this, but as
former members of the CCUPFL (Colorado Christian University Professional
Foosball League), we only won two games all night - and that was to two
sloshed local
guys.  We were downed four games in a row to two Swiss girls and at the end
of the night I vowed never again to play foosball with James on my team.  The
games weren´t even close!  Our only comfort was the fact that the table was
probably handmade and the guys all had two metal feet.  
    Well, enough of that sad story!  The next morning we chilled on the shore
playing coke bottle soccer with a local named Galo until our river guide had
gassed up our motorized canoe for the trip.  And what a trip is was!
Venturing through the maze of rivers and islands and braving the rapids was
only half the fun!  Our guide and his brother were both our age and even
loaded up tubes on the canoe for us.  The ride was so relaxing and beautiful.
We stopped at a animal refuge after about an hour to visit.  Here, were kept
injured jungle animals until they could be reintroduced to the rainforest. 
Itdumped on us here something serious, but it was warm.  We enjoyed cayman
crocs, monkeys, boas, and other animals that none of us had seen before. On
our way out we found a rope swing out over the river from the bank. It was
too much to pass up - so we spent a good half and hour playing Tarzan.  We
found out later that the Piranas in the river don´t normally bother people. 
   We, then, continued on a little way to a sandy beach to eat our lunch. 
The sun beaming down, the sound of the river, the breezes which carries all
the sound of the jungle, the feeling of complete laidback calmness - it was
incredible! From the beach Jason, James and I jumped in our tubes for a nice
float down until we got to the foot of an island where we would return up a
different river toward  home.  By now it was nearly three in the afternoon
and we still had a short hike in front of us.  The return trip can only be
descibed as
pure paradise - I think a jungle river guide might be in my future!  After
two hours of this goodness we arrived at the guides home and would hike up to
an overlook and the over the peak to the town of Misahualli.  The guides
brother took the canoe back over to the town while we hiked.
     
Blair Witch 2 - The Jungle of Ecuador
     We prepared for our hike as our guide offered us some kind of milk,
which I declined as did James and Matt. Luckily Anita and her mother tried it
or we would have felt obligated to try it and probably would have been on the
move back to the hostal room and onto the toilet. That is generally what
happens when one of us gets the bright idea to try something as insanely
unsafe to our stomachs as that stuff would have been. Anyway, with machette
in hand, our guide took off into the lush jungle vegetation and the journey
began.  At this point we had no idea what we were in for, especially Anita
and her mom.  The first mistake we made was leaving our headlamps back in our
rooms.  We had no idea how handy they would have been to have later in our
hike  So, as the sun began to fall, we trekked our way through the mud and
around the enormous tree trunks and bushes up to a nice ridge for a great
view of the sunset.  We were informed by our guide at this time (5:30) that
we only had about an hour hike left until we were back in Misawalli and in
our nice rooms where a nice meal would be waiting.  Well, as you might have
anticipated, an hour in South America can mean anything from an hour to 3
hours.  So, as it got virtually impossible to see, we were all slipping and
bailing in the mud as we tried not to think about the fact that we were
actually in the real jungle.  That those noises we were hearing were of real
animals, not some surround sound speakers at at the Denver Zoo.  Our guide
kept reminding us that there were poisonous snakes everywhere, and showing us
different trees that could be cut open and applied to snake bites.
Real reassuring info bro.  
     So, after picking up Anita's mom out of the mud numerous times, we
somehow made it down to a flat trail and felt somewhat safe.  Our pleasant
jungle hike had turned into a dark tunnel of freaky noises and lots of mud. 
The three of us guys were loving it, but I don't think Anita and her mom
enjoyed it quite as much.  They did only have sandals on....ouch.  We were
prepared with our $3 Venus jungle shoes!!!!  These things were retarded
looking as heck, but when it comes to conquering the jungle in the dark,
looks are not important!!!!  We kept saying that whoever had the camera had
to be ready to take a Pulitzer prize photo as we all died so that the folks
back at home could make some kind of appropriate Blair Witch type sequel of
our lives as jungle guides!!!!!  Lukily, after getting over the fear of
mistaking fire flies as puma eyes reflecting off of the moon, we made it to a
road somewhere around 8:00 p.m.  We walked the road for about 35 minutes and
finally arrived in Misauwalli 3 hours after we began our pleasant hike.  I am
actually so glad that we didn´t have headlamps.  Yea, falling in the mud
sucked, but the
fact we conquered the freeking jungle of Ecuador in the dark, without
suffering any major bites or injuries... actually surviving what could have
been a deadly puma attack...as the great Chris Farley and our own Phil
Mildren would say....."Thhhaaatt waaaaaaaaaaaaaas aaaawwesssome!!!!!!"

Team Chimbo Goes Spelunking 
    Well, if our rafting trip wasn´t Huckleberry Finn enough, we decided to
try our luck at caving.  A short drive from Misahualli saw Jason, James and
myself to a rundown water park resort that ran on the water flowing out of 
the cave mouth we would enter.  The entrance was a bit intimidating, but we
strapped on our headlamps and got dirty and wet real quick.  The first part
was lit by the waterparks electricity.  But, we soon found ourselves in water
over our heads and climbing some sweet ledges as we made our way to the end
of the
light circuit about 10 to 15 minutes into the cave.  We then began the
serious caving experience complete with small passgages weaving everywhere,
tight squeezes under walls in the river sections, and of course bats.  They
would  visit us every once and a while with a loud warning.  Most of the time
we were on the sandy banks, rock outcrops or only in shallow water.  Every
now and
again, however, it was necesary to venture into dark unknown waters to
procede. After finding some sweet forks and exploring them we continued up
the main passage until we reached a section that branched off to the right
and climbed up.  This lead to a small hole in the roof that we climbed up
into and followed a very low ceiling (of which my back now has a gash from)
until we were on the second floor of the river section. There were plenty of
holes where we could see down.  The cave rooms had become somewhat massive by
this time and there were tons of crazy little turn offs and holes to explore.
  The stalagtites and stalagmites were a sight too, along with the sections
that were all mud.  We had everything!  After about an hour I realized that
what they say about the caves is true.  Word has it that the end has never
been found.  Expedition teams have gone in for around eight hours and came so
deep they needed supplimental oxygen so they turned around!  Maybe this is a
future treasure to be sought by Team Chimbo.?.!? After a while longer we
arrived at a point on the roof high above the river where we would have to
backtrack a little to safely reach the water.  
      It was time to turn around. Thank goodness for the rivers and stream
this whole time because we could always tell where we were going in the
general sense by following the currents.  During our time in the caves it was
difficult to have any sense of time and we could have easily spent a huge
chunk of time down there.  Our return was without a wrong turn and we stopped
near the mouth of the cave to jump off some ledges into a deep pool before
exiting.  On the way out James caught a bat in mid flight and ate it. We
named it Kyle Kelly because he won´t talk with us anymore.  We felt good
about that. All in all it was a swell time.  We then realized we had been to
two of the scariest places you can go in the course of two days.   

The Return Home Part 6
   For the sake of you all never beleiving our return home stories, I´ll keep
it short.  Since we had been punishing Anita´s Landrover on those brutal
roads, the shocks soon reached their limit.  About two hours into the ride
back to the highlands the left front shock busted.  After some roadside
maintenance in the mud we continued home at the speed of a lame dwarf and
arrived home late that night thoroughly shaken and stirred. We did get to
watch the Italy - France European Cup Final at lunch though!  What a freaking
finish!
     That night, we took Jason out to Spaghetti´s (our fav restaurant) for
his early birthday party since we are going to be at El Altar for his real
one.  We tried to top it off by taking him to see Gladiator, but the movie
clerk said it would come out next week.  Ecuador Cinemas are a little behind
on the current releases.  

     Thank you all for your time and we hope you have enjoyed yourselves.  We
head out today for our journey into the crater of El Altar.  Stay tuned!
                     May the Lord guide your ways,
                                 Team Chimbo
 chimbo20k.outdooronline.com
June 30, 2000 - Team Chimbo News #10 - Team Chimbo lives up to it's name...conquers Chimborazo
Triumphant Greetings from the Equator,

"Senor, we understand perfectly, that in an affair like yours, it is
necessary to dissemble - a little; and you, doubtless, do quite right to say
you intend to ascend Chimborazo - a thing that everyone knows is perfectly
impossible.  We know very well what is your object! You wish to discover the
TREASURES which are buried in Chimborazo. . ."
                  -Edward Whymper, 1892

"In making these trips over the glaciers where I passed over a crevasse
Istepped pretty light.  At such times I don't believe I weighed an ounce."
                  -Tom Lloyd

To summit Chimborazo... the most prized mountain in Ecuador, shooting a
massive 20,700 feet into the heavens, and standing taller than any other peak
to the north of it (not counting the Himalayas)...this was our first and most
desired goal of the trip, and today we succeeded.  Yes, after a grueling 7
hour climb, starting somewhere around 12:15 a.m. this morning and
reaching the summit around 7:00 a.m., we took hold of our most desired
possession.  This mountain is what we have all three been dreaming about and
training for for over a year.  In the next few paragraphs we will attempt to
describe to you the extreme joy and at the same time intense pain that we
encountered during those seven hours.  Unfortunately, the only way to really
understand what it was like is to have experienced it for yourselves, but
obviously that is not happening.  So, we will do our best to relay what
feelings we can.

      We, again, began traveling to our second mountain with German and the
Landcruiser!  Yeah, we all elected to bring German along with us, and looking
at his track record (30 summits of Chimborazo), we figured it couldn't hurt.
Anyway, after the scenic 5 hour drive to the base of Chimborazo, we packed up
for the 40 minute hike to the refuge sitting somewhere near 16, 500 feet. We
were hoping for a nice, clear day to get some good pictures for you guys, but
unfortunately, Chimborazo was under an dense cloud cover that, according to
the natives, is the usual state in which Chimborazo is viewed.  So, we were
somewhat intimidated by the fact we couldn't see the beast that we would
attempt to summit just 12 hours later.  The refuge at Chimbo wasn't
exactly the Marriot that we experienced at Cayambe, but it was nice...lets
just say something like a Holliday Inn (except for the lack of
electicity)...oh the simplicity of Ecuador.  So, after a nice early dinner
at 3:30 p.m. (during which the mountain cleared for Matt to take some of the
prized photos you will see on the website) of spaghetti, which has become our
norm on the mountain, and James' best cooked meal, we tried to get some kind
of sleep before waking at 11:00 p.m. to prepare to leave the refuge as close
to midnight as possible.  For those of you who may not understand why
we've been starting our climbs at the crazy hours we have, it's because the
weather is generally the best in the middle of the night (except for
Cayambe), and most importantly, the snow is hard packed, easier to travel
on, and less prone to avalanches.   It's also extremely important to be
summited and back down early in the morning.  I personally like climbing
through the night because I love not being able to see the entire mountain.
It makes it much easier mentally when I'm not looking at the entire route as
I climb it.  Just taking it one step at a time, breaking the mountain into
sections seems to make it easier on the mental aspect of climbing  (which I
believe is 75% of climbing these big boys).

        James' alarm blared at 11:00 p.m. and we were all up and beginning
the process of preparing for the climb.  This process always seems to be
completely individual.  It reminds me a lot of sitting in the locker room in
high school before a big football game.  Everyone seems to switch into a
serious and focused state of mind.  Each of us has our own process that we
go through to get ready.  For the most part, it includes getting all of our
gear on and equipment ready to use (fresh batteries for the headlamp, last
minute checks on crampons, rope, and ice tools, etc).  I usually try and
spend some time in prayer as I get ready.  It reasures me that as
intimidating and sometimes scary as climbing these high altitude peaks are,
that God is the ultimate creator and He is going to be right there beside us
as we enjoy all that He has to offer.  For some of us, getting ready is a
quick process, and for others (James) it takes longer.  Actually, this is
mostly do to the fact that James is usually busy getting breakfast ready
(which consists of two packets of oatmeal...yummy,  half of a cinnamon roll,
a boiled egg, and warm Tang.  So, he's off the hook.  By the way, I don't
know how James got the cooking job for the trip, but he always seems to end
up in the kitchen getting stuff ready.  Hey ladies, when is the last time you
heard about a guy who was in the kitchen, not finding something to eat and
making a mess, but actually cooking every meal?  Anyone intersted let me
know.  (just don't let him cook you rice!)

          After doing last minute checks on gear, we started up the trail at
12:15 a.m. with the clearest skies we have seen since we've been here.  The
stars were blazing in the sky, and the half moon was partially lighting our
way up the mountain.  For the first hour, the ascent was mixture of rock and
snow with several switchbacks and some serious exposure to crevasses and
falling rock.  After about an hour up, we put on our crampons and roped up
into our teams of two.  The first team consisted of German and Matt, and the
second team consisted of myself and James.  Roping up is necessary and almost
mandatory anytime you are traveling across dangerous terrain and near
crevasses.  That way if one member falls, the other can self arrest to
provide an anchor until the fallen member can either get back up or hoist
themself out of a crevasse.  Luckily, besides a few minor falls, we never
really needed to pull anyone out of any dangerous situations during any of
our climbs.  The next 6 hours of climbing consited of slowly ascending up
steep inclines that sometimes reached 50 degree angles, not to mention having
to take a deep breath at every step to keep our lungs stable as we climbed
towards 20,000 feet.  It is a scientific fact that if a person was flown from
sea level to a peak above 20,000 feet, they would die within a few minutes. 
We avoid such a thing from occurring by a process called acclimatization. 
This basically consists of spending enough time at high altitudes to produce
more red blood cells which in turn carry more hemoglobin and allow for
adequate perfusion of oxygen to continue through our bodies as we ascend into
altitudes where there is relatively little oxygen available.  Usually, if we
are able to sleep in the refuge at 16,500 feet we are confident that  we are
relatively acclimatized.  I will say that all three of us were definitely
feeling the altitude as we began to climb into the 18,000 and 19,000 foot
range.   I developed a slight headache, which can be an initial sign of
altitude sickness, but I tried not to pay attention to the pain in my head
and tried to concentrate more on the releaving the pain in every other part
of my body.  I just kept thinking about the movie Rocky and kept saying to
myself, "No pain, no pain!"  That remaining 6 hours of slow, step by step
climbing was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and
James and Matt would definitely back me up on that.  This climb was
definitely not one we did for pleasure.  The only thing that kept me placing
one foot after the other was the thought of reaching that summit and seeing
the world from 20, 640 feet!!  I continuously caught myself taking breaks and
looking back down at the mountains, which looked like tiny little hills, that
surround the base of Chimborazo.  They were so small that I could have sworn
I was in an airplane looking out the side window.  It felt like we were in
space, looking back at the earth.  As the sun continued to rise and our lungs
cried for air, we crept over the final ridge to the summit.  It was the most
bittersweet feeling I have ever experienced.  I was so tired and in pain from
the lack of oxygen and cramps in both my calves that I struggled to
immediately realize what we had just achieved.  We had summited Chimborazo,
what many said was impossible and for some time was thought to be the highest
mountain in the world, and  the 360 degree view from 20, 640 feet was the
most beautiful thing these two eyes have ever seen.  

After getting several pictures (2 of which were supposed to be group
pictures, but German failed to center the camera and all we got was one
picture of our waists and one of myself and James with part of Matt in the
corner) we started the nice 2 hour descent down the mountain.  Yeah, it took
us 7 hours to ascend and only 2 hours to descend.  Isn't gravity wonderful!! 
The descent went fairly smooth, with the exception of Matt almost falling to
his death.  *(James had the best view of the drama, so he will be describing
this part)  Matt thought it would be a good idea to slide on his rear down
part of the mountain.  He began the quick descent and used his axe to slow
him down.  After a few feet his crampons caught the snow in front of him. 
This tossed him over, so he was now sliding head first.  Unfortunately, he
lost hold of his axe, so he had now way to stop.  I watched in horror as he
slid out-of-control towards a cluster of rocks.  As he approached them he
tried to aim his head away from them.  WHAM, he hit the first and bounced up
in the air!  Matt then hit at least two more rocks before coming to a stop
about 100 yards down from where he started.  I thought for sure he had broken
at least a few bones.  Good thing Jason, our EMT, wasn't too far away.  I
yelled down to Matt, asking if he had broken anything.  He responded with a
thumbs up.  Not sure if this was good, I ran to Matt.  When I got to him I
think he laughed and told me he felt fine.  He checked his body to make sure
all normal limbs were still attached - he only found some crampon holes in
his clothing .  Everything else seemed fine, so we gave thanks to God and the
angels that had protected him, then headed down.  I wanted Matt to do the
whole thing again, so we could get it on video, but he declined.

Yes, we accomplished our most prized goal, and we give God all the glory. 
Without His strength, there is no way in the world we would have made it up
that mountain, but more importantly, He has given us ministry opportunities
in places and with people we never would have thought of.  As our trip winds
down, we just want to let everyone know that we all three came down to
Ecuador with all kinds of expectations about what we would experience here,
and I must say that God has done an amazing work in each of us, and has
revealed Himself in every wild and crazy adventure we have experienced here. 
Thanks so much for all of your prayers, and on behalf of Matt and James,  we
have thoroughly enjoyed trying to relay our experiences and emotions to you,
where ever it is you may be in this great big world.  

So, again, we thank you for your interest in our little adventures and hope
they are a joy to read.  Don't forget to check out the new pictures on the
website and to e-mail or write us on the message board.  In the next
week Team Chimbo is doing the following: Attending the Ecuador vs. Peru
soccer game; Caving near the jungle;  Taking a jungle trip down the Napo
River;  Journeying into the crater of el Altar. 

In His Holy Name,

Team Chimbo
chimbo20k.outdooronline.com

BTW: If you happen to be in the area of Platte Furniture, please pick up a
few rocks and toss them through the windows of the store.  If you see any
members of the Kelly family, do not hesitate to slug or slap them, and let
them know that the prosecution will not end until Kyle corresponds with us. 
We are sorry it has had to come to this, but we take it very personal, when
so called friends pretend they don't know us.  That hurts!
June 29, 2000 - Ministry in the Cloudforest & in Quito
Hello All,
    We are writing to let you know about some incredible times of ministry
and relationships that the Lord has been blessing us with in the last week.
We recently returned from Balsapamba, which is the place that our CCU mission
team visited for the first time this year.  This is where the kids were
introduced to a living relationship with the Lord.  Many accepted
Christ.  Our trip was the first of several follow up times in order to insure
that the seeds that were planted are getting watered.  The first part of this
letter will go to fill you in a bit on the great work that is going on there.
Another adventure!

     "Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing?  Not for pie, he
wouldn't.  He'd call it an adventure - that's what he'd call it;  and he'd
land on that wreck if it was his last act.  And wouldn't he throw style into
it? - wouldn't he spread himself nor nothing?  Why, you'd think it was
Christoper C'lumbus discovering Kingdom Come." 
                       Huckleberry Finn,(Mark Twain)

Three Days in Balsapamba
    Balsapamba is a cloudforest town with one main street running through it.
 A wide, whitewater river cuts out the valley in the junglelike mountains and
draws the border of the town.  The people might resemble
something of a mix between an Irish countryside town and a small southern
town like that of Mayberry.  Everyone knows everyone and everything that is
going on.  That means, that coming in as missionaries, we are not long in
becoming known by all.  Even though I had only been there a week before, it
was like a sort of homecoming and I was greeted all up and down the main
street. Somewhere along the way I obtained the name Don Mateo - which I don't
mind.    The people are very friendly for the most part even through there is
some fervent opposition to any Evangelical work by the Catholic church in the
town.  Poverty is a part of life there, and the drive to get ahead is snuffed
out much like life in the inner city projects.  The kids run around without
seemingly any guidance, and our VBS's seem like an orphanage recess time. 
But this is what Jason, James and I love about this place - the kids
are amazing and vivrant.  It is alot like going down to Open Door or West
Side in downtown Denver.  Anita and Ceci ran the lessons and then took the
girls when we split them up.  Some of the boys (with whom we had the task of
controlling) are shoe shiners and others don't really have parents. They are
the type of boys who you know can either become serious problems or have a
great influence if put in the hands of God.  I feel priveledged to call guys
like that my friends.
    Our house for the week took a bit of route finding and survival skills to
get to.  We had to leave town and cross the river by way of a wooden bridge
before entering a thick forest that surrounds Balsapamba.  The walks back at
night are very interesting to put it lightly.  The path winds up the ridge a
little until you arrive at a very nice three story house.  (It is
owned by one of Ceci's relatives).  We spent a good bit of our time there on
the roof,  throwing corn cobs at a tree full of what looked to be like
vultures.  Great fun.
    Our work for the three days consisted of taking the kids on a hike,
teaching them Bible verses and songs, conducting a lesson on prayer, playing
with them, showing nightly movies, and just entering into life with them. The
understanding of God that they are developing is proof to me that only He
grants wisdom in those things.  Balsapamba is truly one of those places
where you can sit back and know that life is more than what we insist on
making it most of the time.  We have so many oppurtunities.  We were deeply
touched by the love the Lord has for these people.  The pastor there
welcomes us and our work with a smile that says we would be welcome to move
down there to live in a second.  The question of why ministry and everyday
life are seperated seems obsolete there.  The beauty of the area along with
the realness of the people made for a great time of growing.  Of course, we
got to sharpen our soccer skills a bit with a game with the boys.
     The last night we were there made for a spectacle since there were a
couple of things going on.  First of all, we were showing The Cross and the
Switchblade movie at the church which is right across from the small indoor
soccer colliseum.  The other conflicting event was the end of the week party
that would be happening after the championship soccer game in the colliseum.
We knew that despite all the craziness, the Lord would bring who He wanted to
bring.
    Well, just after the movie began, the sound equipment was being moved in
and tested out at some high levels. and shortly after that a couple rancheras
arrived to unload the two teams.  They were met by an uproar from the people
waiting in the street.  It was great to watch the church full of people keep
interest in the powerful film even with all the ruckus.  We know
seed were planted.  After the film we went up to the upper deck of the
church, where the pastor lives, so we could see through the upper wall into
the game.  It was a loud and crazy late night event that ended 4-1. But the
real loudness began after the game when the party started - so loud we could
here it all night at our house across the river.

Ministry In Quito 
The next day, we left Balsapamba after church and enjoyed one of our 
first problem free trips home in who knows when. Along the way we got the 
chance to talk about our ministry opputunities in Quito - (Mainly with our 
freinds Bryan, Fransisco, Jorge, and Enrique). We had been hanging out with 
them off and on since arrived in Quito and quickly were becoming great 
freinds. Talk 
about some fun guys! In the process of showing us various hot spots in the 
city we learned that they 
enjoy the party life to the full. Our burden had become to somehow let them 
see the light that is within us, in their setting, without putting ourselves 
in compromising situations. This can get tricky (especially at dance clubs 
and local bars that you don't know you are going to until you are there), 
and here I was concerned even about appearances of evil. One night, in 
specific, we ended up at one of the most popular dance clubs in Quito with 
the guys. It was crazy to the highest level - dancing, drinking, music and 
girls. This was worldly fun to the max and I wondered why anyone in this 
lifestyle would ever want to give God control and give those things up. 
Standing there, I was thinking and praying what could possibly be glorifying 
about this or how I could possibly be a light in this setting. (Don't get 
too many ideas 
though, I was probally thinking about these things more because I hate to 
dance than anything). 
Well, the Lord provided an opportunity in that nutso setting. Bryan, one 
of our freinds, came up to me and began sharing about what he thought about 
or saw in me. It sort of went back to the first time they took us out and he 
was talking about the poor people of the coast. He had noticed a light in my 
eyes when he talked and then later as I shared a little about my experiences 
there. Bryan is a very intelligent and a very in tune with the world around 
him type of guy. That night at the club, he shared with me about the beauty 
that he finds in life and how not too many people understand it. I heard all 
about his childhood when he would travel into poor areas with his father, who 
built roads. He was touched by these people and thought they had more things 
right about life than most people. He also went on to tell of his love for 
nature and the places he would go and just sit for hours enjoying every 
detail of the place. Bryan shared that he saw that I enjoyed these things 
about life - it was an amazing compliment and a definite open door for 
ministry - later,(of course), when he was sober and the music was a little 
lower. If only he could see the beauty of the design and purpose that is 
behind all creation! 
We'll to make a long story short, we decided that night that it was time 
to begin sharing with these guys. So, on the bus home from Balsapamba and 
the next day we worked out how we would present ourselves to these guys.That 
morning we called and invited them out to dinner to a sweet Italian 
restaurant and spent the rest of that afternoon covering our the night in 
prayer. Another of their friends named Fabrizio and Fransisco's girlfriend, 
Nataly, came as well. We had so much fun just talking and hanging out. As 
everyone began finishing up, we started in on our talk and 
did we ever have their attention. It went so well, as each of us said what 
we are about and where we have been. The guys seemed a little surprised as 
well as impressed at our boldness and also shared with us that they thought 
it was God's plan that we met - because of their strange beginnings doing 
business with Denver Online, where James works. When they first called 
Denver Online, the secretary said that they would like to do business and 
that their Java Systems Manager would be coming to Ecuador in a couple weeks. 
(That would be James and that would be how we met them). They thought that 
was some sort of a sign. We know it 
was. 
After we shared Christ with them, much to our delight, we continued to 
have an even more fun evening. That was a relief, that they could still see 
we were all about having fun and living life to the full. Everything went to 
make our friendship even stronger. I don't think I have ever laughed as 
hard as I did that night while we joked around and took candid digital zoom 
pictures of the girls in the restaurant. We made plans, as we were leaving, 
to go to the Ecuador vs Peru soccer game when we got back from climbing 
Chimborazo. The Lord gave us a great oppurtunity to tell of His glory and He 
guarded our friendships with the guys as well. We were amazed! Nothing like 
trying to take on a large mountain after spreading the word a little. 

Once again thank you all for your prayers for your messages. If anyone 
talks to Brunhilda, the 280 pounder from Germany, tell her we are all taken 
or otherwise we would be glad to go out on a date with her - at least James 
and Jason would. And as always, 
never buy anything from Platt Furniture. They would sooner step on a small 
child's pet hamster than give anyone a good deal on a furniture set. 

Your Fellas, 
Team Chimbo 

chimbo20k.outdooronline.com 
*check out our new pics and read and old newletters you might have missed. 
Don't forget to send us any new addresses.
June 21, 2000 - Weathered by the Storm
Greetings From Cayambe (18,996 ft)!
           Once again, James, Jason, and Matt, are writing to inform you of
another "misadventure", that we are becoming known for.  Alot has happened in
two days since our last update. Our scene is in the amazing part of the Andes
named after it's mountain, Cayambe.  So sit back and enjoy! (Reminder: The
author changes frequently).    

"You can look down in the crevasses for distances stretching from your feet
to Hades ir China. Look down one of them and you will never forget it. . .
most of them appear bottomless.  These are not good things to look at."
                                - Tom Lloyd, 1910

"Whether or not you reach the summit is optional, making it down alive is
mandatory."
                                - Ed Viesters

"The journey, not the arrival, matters."
                                - T.S. Elliot
  
Chapter 1: The Yellow Brick Jeep Path.

     This adventure started at about 11am on June 20th, when German, our
guide, picked Team Chimbo up in some circa 1950s Land Cruiser.  We piled our
gear on top, and jumped in.  A guy from Colombia, named David, joined us. 
Our drive to Cayambe was nice.  It included Turkey sandwiches and talks about
Cayambe and future climbs.  We winded up a little coblestone road from the
town of Cayambe towards the refuge.  The elevation of the refuge is at about
15,500 feet.  The path eventually turned into a lightly snow covered path,
blocked by a locked gate.  We unloaded our packs off the roof and set out for
the trek to the refuge.  About 5 minutes later, we arrived at the refuge,
which seemed like a Hilton hotel, not a refuge.  Inside we found a beautiful
place surrounded by magestic views.  The furniture was great!  Much better
than any you can find at used furniture stores, like Platte Furniture. (Kyle
Kelly, we will continue to publicly defile you, your family, and your
furniture store, until you correspond with us!)  Sorry about that.   Anyways,
we made ourselves at home.  I cooked up some marvelous pasta with bread and
hot yupi (Tang like substance).  The views were so amazing Matt and I went
for a hike to take pictures while Jason took a nap and David setup his tent. 
David figured $11 for the night was too much to pay for the Hilton of
refuges.  Matt and I discovered some crevasses, that when we peered into
them,  seemed to never end.  They were a finely tinted sky blue that faded to
black.  Antisana (Another big volcano in the area) cleared up and were got
some great pictures of it.  After the hike we readied our gear and hit the
hay.  It felt good to go to bed at about 7pm.  Around 10:30 the wind started
really howling.  I couldn't sleep so I went out to look at the stars.  The
skies were beautifully clear.  David came running in at about 11pm.  He said
it was too windy in the tent and he couldn't sleep.  

Chapter 2: Storm Wars: The Andes Strike Back

     Well, 12:15 came along soon enough, and it brought with it some refuge
shaking wind. We didn't have to ask David why he wimped out on the camping. 
Upon reaching the kitchen we were met by Chef James brewing up some hot Tang,
hard boiled eggs, cinnamon rolls and maple and brown sugar oatmeal.  Ahh, the
life of a mountaineeer! With our bellies full, packing up and getting out the
door went smoothly.  Until, that is, we opened the door and met the wind we
had been trying to wreck the place all night long - incredible!  It took all
the Gore-Tex and windstopper fleece we had to fight it off.  So up the first
steep ridge we went, through mixed snow, ice, and rock with blinding
snowflakes pelting us at who knows what mile an hour.  Within the hour it was
time to strap on the crampons - and that's when David decided he had spent
enough time on Nevado Cayambe.  So, freezing and wheezing, he cut the number
of people on the mountain that day to only 4.  Tough way to start Ecuador's
first day of summer!  After crossing the ridge and dropping down onto the
ramp of the glacier, German commented that it would be impossible for anyone
to summit with such bad weather.  But you never know when things are going to
clear up, right?  Right.  So we pushed on, with an enormous crevasse feild to
our right and a guiding rock wall on our left.  Soon we were roped up - James
and Jason on one, following German and I on the other.  Let me just pause
here to explain that at this time we all thought we had been transported
either to the summit of Everest on a bad day, or to Antarctica.  The weather
was the worst any of us had seen - visibility would go in and out due to the
gusting snow or to the passing clouds.  And man, was it cold!  Once, the full
moon peaked through, along with a few stars, giving us a little hope for
improving conditions. But that was short lived.   Soon German's eyes began to
hurt too much from trying to find the path because of the wind and snow and
so I got to lead a while until the route couldn't be read anymore.  At this
time we had been battling the mountain a good 4 hours or more.  All  Gore-Tex
 had lost it's patented breathability due to the layers of ice that had
popsicklized us all.  Frequently we gathered together for meetings on what
our options were.  Everytime we decided our only option was to turn back, but
somehow we kept making wrong turns and continuing toward the summit!  When
the path ran out, it was crucial that we obtained visual contact with a large
rock outcroping that marked the gateway into a crevasse feild that led to the
summit.  It was unsafe to move without knowing it's location since a hidden
crevasse could meet us first.  Unfortunately, visibility was an aspect of
life we were not enjoying at that time.  We decided to wait there until we
got cold to see if it would clear up at all - we waited about 4 minutes.  At
5am, only 1,300 vertical feet from the summit, we were forced to give in to a
higher power and headed for home.  I guess sometimes its more than just man
against mountain.   I had the priveledge of leading the party down.  After a
couple minutes it began to lighten up a bit and white out conditions forced
us carefully onward.  You couldn't see where snow ended and sky began or any
contours or landmarks at all.  Only white! I soon became sick to my stomach
and starting seeing freaky wave-like patterns that took up my whole line of
vision.  Looking at my boots was a marvelous change of scenery!  Jason and
James later insisted I had Lost Hunters Syndrome, but I confessed that no
prancing deer crossed the glacier in front of me.  We made it down to our
Hilton Refuge beaten, bent and abused by El Niño Jr.  The fact that this year
has been Ecuador's most brutal winter was driven home well enough.  Our only
comfort, once inside, was breaking our teeth on the last Snickers Bar one of
us had in our packs.  Then we loaded up for our uneventful, (as always) ,
trip home.              
     

Chapter 3: Sir Taftimus and Mister Shifty (Guest Appearance by Big Honker) 

    Now, if you´ve been even remotely keeping up with our excursions and
adventures here in Ecuador, you have noticed that we somehow always seem to
run into some kind of problem upon our return home.  Welcome to the world of
Team Chimbo, because, boy, do we have another adventure carved into another. 
Obviously you read earlier that we had somewhat of a rough time with the
extreme weather we encountered high on the mountain....well, that weather
managed to make it all the way down to the refuge, and to our 1974 Toyota
Landcruiser that was parked a hefty 50 ft from the refuge.  Yeah, we were
roughing it.  
    So, after a joyous return from the brutality above, we were anticipating,
to say the least, our return to the Landcruiser and our safe and smooth
journey back to Quito, and to dinner at our favorite restaurant here, Crepes
and Waffles with some of the girls here from CCU!!  Well, lets just say, it
looked like a nice winter storm in Colorado out there, and our Landcruiser
was buried in 2-3 feet of snow when we arrived.  No problem, right?  It´s a
Landcruiser for goodness sake, right!!  Well, this Landcruiser was more along
the lines of something you might see cruising down Federal blvd. on Friday
night (those of you who don´t know where that is, just picture Boyz in the
Hood).  Our Landcruiser had some serious potential, but it was hurting.  The
tires resembled those you might find on a formula one race car...bare to the
bone!!!  And to make matter worse, German, our resident guide/friend admitted
that basically his snow driving skills were non existent.  So, Matt
volunteers, and those of you that know Matt know that Matt doesn´t even own a
car, and the last car he did own was not something to drive in the snow,
especially 2 feet!!!  So, I, being a Colorado native and a current mountain
resident with a four wheel drive, volunteered to somehow possibly get us out
of this mess.  So, while German, Matt, and David dug the Landcruiser out,
James tried to hold the gears in place while I attempted to get us moving.  I
failed to mention that this thing was about as hard to steer as my late
grandpa´s 1957 riding lawnmower.  It was brutal.  So, trying to dodge German
as he dug tracks in the snow with his new plastic boots (which we provided),
I somehow navigated the Landcruiser down this impossible jeep trail (with the
help of Matt who was honking the horn before every corner to let everyone in
Ecuador know we were coming down).  After we got out of the 2 feet deep snow,
German took over for fear that I might go joy riding in the beast!!!  Anyway,
we made it down and safely back to Quito, and honestly, that was the most
enjoyable of our return adventures!!  By the way, the names in the chapter 3
title were given to us all by Matt as we tore down that bad boy of a trail! 
Overall, it was a great experience at Cayambe, even though the weather got
the best of us, God provided another needed dose of His wonderful sense of
humor!
June 20, 2000 : Team Chimbo News #7 - Down Time / Cayambe Ahead
Sorry, we tried to get the pictures up, but our internet connection crawles like a snail, so we will do it when we get back.
Greetings From Your Pals In Ecuador!
    Once again we feel we must keep you up to date on our adventures here.
Tomorrow we head out for Cayambe - which could be our most beautiful climb
during our time here.  It lies at a few feet below 19,000 feet and is the
highest point on the Ecuator.  Due to James' knack for falling down we have
elected to take our guide, German, along to help us with some route finding
in the crevasse fields.  We'll put our route up on the website before we
leave.

    "Among glacier ambuscades, a party that has not found unity will fall to
pieces."

Geoffrey Winthrop Young, 1946

    "Never journey without something to eat in your pocket. If only to throw
at dogs when attacked by them."

E.S. Bates
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------
                            Team Green Mountain Meets up with Chimbo

     Just a side note from the States:  We have been made aware that a
group of our mountaineering freinds, Wes and Phil are now planning an
expedition to summit Green Mountain - which is located about a mile south of
Asia Cafe on Alameda Avenue in Lakewood.  Our plan is to meet up with them
at base camp, upon our return to Colorado, and storm the summit which sits
just below 6,000 vertical feet.  I know you
all are thinking that, yes, they have done some high altitude climbing in
the Andes, but are they really ready for this?  Just to calm your nerves, we
feel confident and ready, especially with combining the minds of Team Chimbo
and Team Green Mountain!  We are looking to log the first accent of the
dreaded east ridge of Green Mountain with crampons.  This will be something
to keep track of on our website.

                                                Hot Springs Dreams

     Well, after we recouped from the Illiniza's and our massages, we went
one step further in the recouperation process and headed to the most
relaxing place I have been in years, a soothing hot springs nestled in the
valleys of the highlands.  Now, you might be picturing a place like Glenwood
Springs or something, but believe me, this place makes Glenwood Springs look
like the ghetto, and we got in for 2 bucks each!   We're talking about a
raging river that somehow flows into a hot spring, and then continues to
flow into different pools of steaming hot water, totally natural.  Of
course, we all three skipped the madatory showers and jumped right in.
James and I did because we probably couldn't read the sign.  Matt doesn't
have an excuse since he is fluent in Spanish now.  We were living like
kings, jumping from pool to pool, and finally enjoying a nice breakfast at
the restaurant there.  It was like an oasis, with little grass huts and
really beautiful flowers.  A definite possiblilty for a future honeymoon
spot...or so James says!!  For whatever reason, anytime we leave to go home
after one of our fun adventures, another adventure is created.  This time,
as we were going home from the hot springs, our driver, the wife of Anita's
pastor, is driving erratically (in a minivan), and she wasn't even breaking
a sweat.  I seriously thought we were going to die.  Matt and James were
both trying to ask her to shift down as she was seriously burning up her
breaks.  Then, as we started the major downhill section, she lets us know
that the breaks are not working right.  Are you kidding me...I couldn't
believe it.  I thought for sure that we were going to be in some serious
trouble.  Praise God, somehow she figured out how to shift down and saved
what she could of the breaks.  We have all decided to buy motorcycles with
James credit card, and hopefully that will solve our problem of getting home
after excursions.  Later that night we went out with Miriam (YWAM freind
from Argentina) and Anita to see Hurricane in English with Spanish
subtitles - Isn't life grand?
                                                      High Profile Training

    So, the next day it was time to train and we took a cab to our oasis
running park only to be met with some serious downpour. (Oh, I forgot to
mention that the cab we hailed only got us halfway there because it broke
down - what the heck!)  With plans awry we decided to head to a Marriott
Hotel, (easily to nicest and most expensive in Ecuador), that we had seen
from a restaurant we had eaten at earlier.   This place was incredible and
no one hasseled us about mingling with all the high class because we were
American, or so we looked like.  After getting lost in the lower parking
levels, the dining halls, the grand piano room, the negotiation offices, and
the indoor waterfall and pool room,  - we finally found the state of the art
work
out gym we were looking for.  Helpful attendants showed us in and aided us
in operating the machinery.  Ahhh! The life of a poor Mountaineer!  We
democratically elected to skip out on the erobics class even though Taft
looked like he wanted to go. So, we got our running and weight lifting in,
despite our soured plans.  It only took a little quick thinking.  We got
home safely that night and then went out on the town with Fransisco and our
other freinds here.
                                                           Return To El
Carmen

        The next day began with an early morning journey to the coastal town
of El Carmen, where CCU has been doing alot of mission work for the past
three years.  As we ventured out of Quito we couldn't help but notice the
awesome beauty of God's creation as the lush landscape provided picturesque
shots of waterfalls and beautiful river valleys.  We also realized a little
bit of God's since of humor as we decended from 10,000 ft. of dry air in
Quito to the 1,500 ft. elevation and 110% humidity of El Carmen.  That was a
brutal awakening.  Thank the Lord for deodorant...at least for Matt and
myself...James has comitted to not using deodorant on the trip...go figure.
Anyway, as we arrived in El Carmen, we realized that we had just left what
we called the "petting zoo" of Quito, and had just entered the "big boy zoo"
of El Carmen.  Here is a town with one main street, and all 20,000 residents
were on the main street at the same time, selling whatever they could and
trying to bribe tourists into taxi rides and what not.  What a scene.  We
lucked out and got a cab ride for cheap out to the Casa de Oracion (house of
prayer) where the church is that CCU has worked with.  We had to take a cab
because all the normal transports (rancheras) were on strike.  It is about 4
miles out of El Carmen on a plush piece of land with bamboo constructed huts
and a perfect stretch of grass for a soccer field in the middle.
Immediately we were warmly greeted by Maria and Liner, the live-in help on
the church land.  They are in their mid twenties and have a nice one bedroom
hut with a kitchen and have three beautiful little one's (see pictures).
They are the textbook example of servants and in just the 2 days we were
there stole our hearts with their passion for the Lord and their endless
hospitality.  In the short time that I have been here, I think that the
people we have met like Maria and her family are what has made the trip
worth while.  The climbing has been wonderful, but I think each of us could
easily say that the people we met and minsitered to and with have made the
trip the great experience it has been.
     After James and I slammed down several cups of jello, some pineapple,
and an ice cream bar (of pure milk), we all awaited the arrival of the CCU
girls and the rest of the church crew who had the brilliant idea of going to
Santo Domingo to meet us at the bus station...and obviously, we missed them
in Santo Domingo on our way to El Carmen, and ended up waiting several hours
for everyone to return.  I love the mentality of the people here in Ecuador.
They don't care about the details, they just enjoy life!!!  They didn't care
that they just drove an hour to Santo Domingo in the back of a banana truck
only to miss us and have to drive all the way back.  It was probably the
most entertainment they had in a week.  Anyway, we ended up sleeping that
night in the loft above the kitchen and dining area, and of course Matt got
the bed with the only mosquito net, and James and I were solo on the beds
without nets.  I'm beginning to think that the whole mosquito thing is just
a myth.  Coleman did look kind of funny sleeping in that net.
      In our first night in the 90 degree heat and 200% humidity we somehow
made it through the night without being woken up by the rats that supposedly
use the upstairs loft for their Daytona 500.  I was bummed.  James had the
idea that the boa constrictors could climb stairs and had us going for a
second, but I was more concerned with the mythed Shannon Sharpe size spiders
that were crawling around that place.  I know we are supposed to be tough
guys, but spiders and snakes are not for Team Chimbo.  Anyway, we hung out
with the kids in the morning and went on an excursion to pick mandarinas
from the trees...which are really good right off the tree.  We then safaried
through the high grasses (with machette in hand) down to the river to see if
we could somehow rig up some kind of tree swing that we could build for
everyone to jump into the river from.  We decided that it might be a
possibility to build a zip-line, but after intense conversing, we decided
that this project was more than a day project, and we wanted to partake in
the soccer game later that afternoon, so the zip-line idea will have to be
re-instated next summer!!!  We tried to get into town to call our Dad's for
Father's Day, but none of the places we went in El Carmen could call to the
U.S.  So, we ventured back to the church for the much anticipated soccer
game!

                                                                    The Game

    And so began, what to go down as one of Ecuador's closest and most
intense soccer games ever.  The gathering of people and choosing of teams
seemed to take as long as it ever does down here, but finally we had them.
Jason and I made the same team along with Magno, Ruben, Jimmy and others.
James found himself with Carlos, Liner, Bienvenido, Eddie and others.  The
teams were even as so was the game!  Everyone was playing - even with three
girls on each side (excellent female showing).  Soon Magno enstated that the
nomal boundaries for the feild, (a line of trees with benches on one side
and a gravel driveway with boulders and bushes on the other), were not big
enough.  So this made for some action considering their were already small
cabanas in the feild!  The ball, and even people, were bouncing or jumping
over the benches and bushes or weaving through the benches and tables of the
cabanas - it got out of control.  Several times piles ups occurred and
someone looked like they had breathed their last - but the game went on.
The girls were the ones who looked like they were out for blood the most,
and several of the guys ended up on the ground either having been kicked or
tackled.  The first half ended with us on top three to two with goals from a
variety of people - including Jason!  Halftime meant drinking all the water
your body could take and then back to the feild.  Scoring was hard to come
by  in the second half until James' team broke through to tie it up.  They
were handling us well all over the feild but somehow we slipped in a
go-ahead goal.  This only lasted a while though because soon another flurry
of theirs came and put in two more goals to put us down by one.  It was time
to call in the calvary for support!  Well, they showed up, and soon it was
us that were putting on the clinic.  We had mastered the passes under the
benches and how to use the boulders, trees and bushes as extra defenders and
were putting them on their heels.  The result was two more goals for us and
the narrow victory of six to five!    The end meant a little more hang out
time on the church's front porch before we had to leave.  It was bitter
sweet and we promised to return soon.
    Now, you didn't think we got home without a scatch did you?  You know
the story by now.  We made it to El Carmen central at 7 to find out the bus
came at 7:30, so we had time to eat.  We'll the bus came at 8 and somehow,
despite the fact that only ticket holders can get on the bus, the bus was
overflowing and our seats were buried in people!  It didn't look good for a
4 hour ride through the mountains standing up.  To make matters worse we
stood in the packed isle another half an hour before the driver thought he
should get going. This also meant no air flow in the serious heat.  When we
did get going, our driver kept finding places to stop for no apparent
reasons that got the people on the bus whistling and yelling.  Finally, as
we neared Santo Domingo people began to disperse and we claimed three of the
back row seats next to a Swiss girl and a French girl.  They were busy
talking with a hyper Ecuadorian kid a few rows up about how to say Spanish
words in their languages.  Everyone around was rolling at the questions the
kid would ask and his parents looked a little embarrased. Now that we had
our seats we just joined in the zoo-like culture of the coast and thoroughly
enjoyed our ride.  We found some time for some great spiritual discussions
as well.  So our arrival in Quito turned out to be 1am instead of 11:30, but
hey, its Ecuador right?  A Days Of Thunder cab driver saw us the rest of the
way home from the terminal.  We didn't mind too much that he took no notice
of most of the red lights all the way up the main rode through Quito - we
guess he maybe wanted a tip for efficiency!

    We know it's been another long (and crazy) letter and hope you have
enjoyed yourself despite our ramblings.  Keep us in your prayers and thanks
for keeping our message board interesting to say the least!  Stay tuned for
stories from Nevado Cayambe!
                            In Our Lord,
                                        Team Chimbo
June 13, 2000 : Team Chimbo News # 6 - The Illinizas Summited
 Hello from Ecuador!
     Well, we are home safe from the Illinizas.  It was incredible! The
 following is our story, broken up into five easy to read chapters - you can
 read one chapter at a sitting if you desire.  Please don´t get confused
 by who the author is, because each of us wrote different chapters and it
 changes often.  We pray that we have not embellished the tales in any way and
 have not strayed from the truth. Enjoy!

 Chapter 1: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

 "A traveler. I love this title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His
 profession is the best symbol of our life.  Going from - toward; it is the
 history of everyone of us." -Henry David Thoreau

       It all began on the road outside Anita´s house when James accidentally
 flagged down a school bus instead of a taxi to take us to the bus terminal. 
 (We have been getting used to James´highway heroics since the night before he
 nearly fell in an open manhole while crossing the street.) It all went well
 until we got near the terminal and our driver got pulled
 over for cutting off a cop and not using his turn signal.  We were walking.
 Word has it you go to jail for any traffic offenses here.  On the way to the
 terminal we passed a bus and the driver was yelling "Machachi!" That was
 where we were going I went to use the bathroom after dropping off our bags
 andwhen i came out the bus was leaving.  I caught it running to soon find out
 that this was the craziest driver to ever own a bus.  We were weaving and
 passing cars all the way to town. . . until the flat tire forced us to pull
 over and mount another bus.  In Machachi we finalized a bidding war for who
 wanted to drive us to the base trail to the refuge.  AKA "Jose" loaded us
 onto his pickup truck and we road for an hour on the worst roads to the
 parking lot.  After arranging a time for him to pick us up (for 7 dollars
 now, and 4 when he returned) we started our brutal 4 hour hike with 60 pound
 packs up to the refuge.  The trail up was full of forks and took us through
 coniferous forests and cow infested fields.  Don't ask us how a 600 pound cow
 gets up above 14,000ft.  Makes some of you feel really weak, doesn't it?   
        A lightning storm saw us safely to the refuge, which was full. No one
 seemed to friendly except for the Norweigian team. We found a sweet spot for
 our tent and set up for the night.  And an incredible one at that!  It had
 snowed a little so the clear night lit up the mountains to where you didn´t
 need a light to walk and it was warm and calm. The moon was two thirds
 full and accented the millions of stars we could see. The lightning storm had
 passed but the sky still lit up from time to time with the brilliant flashes.
     So we ate dinner outside in comfort and went to sleep at camp 1: 15,320
 ft. We had truly arrived in the high country!  Words cannot express the
 beautythat this place holds.  Larger than life panoramic!

 Chapter 2 - Adventures on the Norte.
        We slept in until seven the next day and began our ascent of Illiniza
 Norte (16,700ft) by hiking up from camp to the saddle that connects the two
 peaks.  (Please check our website for pictures of the north peak.)  No roping
 up or teachnical equipment was required even though there was mixed snow, ice
 and rock. The route took us up a steep ridge to another that would later lead
 to the summitt run of some third class scambling.  I soon became separated
 from James and Jason by another climbing party (where all but one
 turned around due to fatigue).  The climb was strenuous and took a good bit
 of route finding.  The entire way up the skies were clear and we could see
 the peaks of Cotopaxi, Antisana, Cayambe, Chimborazo, etc., as well as
 Illiniza Sur (the peak we would attempt to summit the next day).  It was the
 most beautiful sight I had enjoyed to date.  We saw a tiny rope team
 descending the Sur glacier -  it looked very tough But we would worry about
 that tomorrow.  For now it was the summit of Norte.  We were glad there were
 just three of us, because that´s all the room the peak had.  
           The descent began well until we had climbed down about 100 feet.
 Then disaster hit Team Chimbo!  While I was attempting to take a sweet
 picture, the digital camera pouch (with a $250 memory card), unattached from
 the camera and fell.  We all watched, speachless, as it took a couple bounces
 and dissapeared into the clouds.  I went down off the route to
 attempt to find it and then meet up with the boys at the next turn of the
 trail.  I climbed down a huge scree slope and saw no sign of the pouch.  We
 decided that James and Jason would return home by way of the route and that I
 would continue following the scree slope down since I was already too far
 down to make it back to the trail without some serious effort.  To make a
 long story short, I found the pouch, by the grace of God, at the huge base of
 the scree 1,000 feet down.  I then began my long trek around the mountain
 back to camp.  Meanwhile, James and Jason were having an adventure of their
 own via the normal route.  Upon reaching the final ridge the fellas decided
 to vear off the trail in  order to do some glisading (sliding down ice using
 an ice axe as a brake).  This fun was cut short due to the fact that the
 morning sun had done some softening work on the snow.  They were forced to
 due some strenuous postholing for close to an hour before reaching a place to
 get back to the base of the trail.  They said the snow came up to mid-thigh! 
              We met back at camp and crashed in the tent for a couple hours
 then went to refuge to find some info on the Sur.  The last party,
 (Canadians), to summit was there and gave us very good info on the route
 condition before taking off down the ridge.   We soon met two new parties
 that had come to the refuge to climb - one team of Texans (2) to climb the
 Norte and one team of Ecuadorians (6) to climb the Sur.  We liked these guys
 alot better than the teams from the night before especially since the weekend
 crowd had left.  The Texans were nice but seriously lacking in the gear
 department.  The Ecuadorians were all long haired hippie-types from Ambato.
 So the eleven of us passed the night together in the refuge playing a sort of
 balance game with the climbing rope - needless to say we all got beat -
 especially James, who got royally abused and tossed across the refuge onto a
 stool.  James sure has a high potential for needless injuries.  
     Before returning to the tent, Jason and I wanted to check out the entry
 ramp that led onto the glacier for the Sur.  After getting directions from
 the Ecuadorians we set out in the fog for close to an hour hiking cross rock
 and snow and never found the ramp due to the low visibilty!  We escaped
 getting lost and returned to set up a departure time with the Ecuadorian team
 to follow them to the ramp in the morning.  Then we slept. Well, "slept" may
 not be the right word to have used - remember we´re at 15,320 ft!

 Chapter 3 - A Day on the Mighty Sur

 "As long as there are mountains, there will be romance in climbing their
 challenging cliffs. . . or in merely looking at their snow capped peaks from
 afar. . . or in just knowing that they belong to you and me." -Carl Skiff

     After having slept for a few hours, we awoke to the buzzing of our alarm
 clock at 2:30am.  Although we had gone to bed pretty early, none of us slept
 well.  It was partly due to the altitude, but mostly due to having to pee and
 not wanting to go out in the cold.  We did have a pee bottle that worked
 well, but Jason refused to use it after Matt and I did.  Unfortunately for
 Jason, he was stuck with the pee bottle because it didn't have a lid.  So, he
 was forced out into the cold to pee and dump out the bottle.  Life on the
 mountain!! We grumbled and then snoozed the alarm.  Luckily the snooze only
 shuts the alarm off for 3 minutes, because just as we had all fallen back
 asleep, the alarm went off again.  This time we got up.
     We finished packing up our packs and headed up to the refuge.  There we
 met up with the Ecuadorians.  Team Chimbo polished off a hardy breakfast of 2
 small and smashed muffins.  At about 3:30am we all left for the summit of el
 Sur (17, 300 feet). We hiked about half a mile through a very dense fog, and
 hard wind, until we had to put on crampons and rope up.  As Jason pulled his
 crampons out the bag they were in was scooped away by the wind.  We watched
 as it flew away and is probably now in Central America.  In a few weeks
 please look for it in Denver.
     With our crampons on and rope line setup, we began the technical part of
 the climb.  Matt led, Jason was in the middle and I pulled up the rear.  We
 were each seperated by about 25 feet of rope and had to keep the
 rope almost taught the entire way up.  This was in case anyone fell, we could
 easily self arrest and stop their fall.  Luckily we did not have to do that. 
 Anyways, it was still very early and dark, so we had to have
 head lamps.  We followed the Ecuadorians since they knew the route.  About an
 hour into the climb, Jason's head lamp went out.  We did not have any extra
 batteries (we forgot to bring them), so Jason hiked in the dark.  About a
 half hour later my head lamp went out too.  Oh-well, good thing Matt still
 had his and the sun would be up soon.  So, Team Chimbo, in a team like fasion
 marched, climbed and even crawled up El Sur.  The route we took was the
 easiest on the mountain.  It was an "S" shaped route that curved between some
 very steep sections.  At one point if someone were to fall (if not roped up),
 they would have fallen 1000 feet or so down the mountain.  It seemed pretty
 scary at first, but since it was night we could not really see just how
 exposed and high up we were.  For about 50% of the time we were traversing
 mild slopes (20 - 30 degrees).  The rest of the time we were front pointing
 up 40 to 55 degree slopes.  Front pointing is where you jab your crampons
 straight into the snow in front of you and step up like a ladder.  With this
 steep of a slope we had to use our axes too.  We would stick them in in front
 of us to keep us from falling backwards and also to help us pull our tired
 bodies up the mountain.  Front pointing is a very tiring ice climbing
 technic.    At about 7am we reached the summit of El Sur, just behind the
 Ecuadorians.  It was still very windy and overcast.  We could not really see
 anything.  I think we all prayed that the skies would clear.  Like most
 miracles, just before we were to head down, the skies cleared up and we had
 beautiful views 360 degrees around us.  We took a bunch of pictures and then
 got cold so we headed down.  The camera had some trouble working because it
 was so cold.  I read later in the manual that it only operates above
 freezing.  I had the pleasure of leading the group on the descent.  The
 descent went well and the weather stayed good almost all the way down.  We
 had time to take some great pictures, which I hope you will look at on our
 web site.  It felt very good to summit El Sur because
 Whymper, despite two attempts, never summitted  Whymper was the person who
 claims most of the first ascents in Ecuador.  He was a pretty serious
 mountaineer, considering he was doing what we are now, over 100 years ago.
     Just as we neared the bottom, the weather got bad.  We went back to our
 tent, grabbed lunch, and went to the refuge to eat.  The Ecuadorians were
 there packing up.  After we had finished lunch, we had the refuge to
 ourselves.  We cleaned it up a bit and then went down to our tent  We packed
 everything up and started down.  Descending with all the gear you need to
 stay 3 days at high altitude is never fun.  We had one hour to cover about 3
 miles.  Our ride down the mountian would be waiting for us at 3pm.  We had to
 hurry.

 Chapter Four - Rain, Hail, Rivers, and Roosters
    We somehow knew, after having such an amazing time climbing Norte and Sur,
 that the trip to the Illiniza's couldn't possibly go this smooth without some
 kind of pothole in the road.  Our adventure after the mountains was somewhat
 more of an adventure than actually climbing the peaks.  As you read in
 chapter one, we paid "Jose" something like 7 bucks, and 4 later, to
 return on Monday to pick us up right were he dropped us off around 3:00 in
 the afternoon.  So, after relaxing in the vacant refuge and packing up camp
 we left the base of the Illinizas en route for our pick up spot to meet
 "Jose".  We only had roughly an hour to come down some 3,500 feet
 to where we were supposed to meet him, so I guess you could say we were
 hauling some major booty.  Not to mention we were being followed overhead by
 a huge thunderhead that was waiting unload on us at any minute.  Of course we
 didn't care, all we could think about was the massages we were going to get,
 the five star meal we were going to eat, and the nice hot shower we were all
 going to take when we got back to Quito.  Our main concern was trying to get
 to the pick up spot as close to 3 as we could so that "Jose" wouldn't leave
 us.  
    Well, we got to the spot around 3:05, which is hauling butt down the
 mountain.  We kind of joked that maybe "Jose" (which is the name I gave him)
 would make us wait until 3:30 or 3:45 just to scare us and make us desperate,
 so that maybe we would pay him more....but as you might have already guessed,
 our buddy "Jose" never showed and it was "no way Jose" for us.  Right at
 4:00, which was our cut off time for waiting for him, it started to hail, and
 boy did it hail!!!  After James and Matt got their packs on, I managed to try
 and cover up our snow pickets, which, for those of you that don't know, are 3
 foot metal posts that are used for anchors in snow, which were mounted to my
 backpack.  I just figured that as bad as it was hailing, and as brutal as
 those clouds looked, we were in for some serious rain and lightning, and I
 was not about to get struck by lighting because I was carrying the teams snow
 pickets.  So, our only hope was to hike the 3 miles to the "hacienda" at the
 beginning of the road, and of course the road was instantly turned into a
 raging river due to the intense rainfall that started!  After navigating
 through the rivers and around the cow poop that seemed to be everywhere we
 wanted to step, we finally made it to the so called "hacienda", where Matt,
 our resident translater somehow ordered a truck to come and pick us up. By
 the way, James and I would probably be dead right now if it weren't for
 Matt's translating.  What I don't understand is that I got a better grade in
 our Spanish class than he did.  Anyway, while we waited in the rain for the
 so called white truck, we were somehow entertained by a clan of roosters and
 chickens that were really interested in our backpacks.  Matt enjoyed using
 them for target practice, and James was too busy hearing noises that he
 thought were the sounds of a truck coming to get us.  We told him to be quiet
 because everytime he got our hopes up that "Jose" might be coming around the
 corner to pick us up, it was just an airplane or a tractor, or more times
 than not, his own imagination.  Finally, the truck showed, and the three of
 us piled into a truck and a 16 year old kid drove us to Machachi to pick up a
 bus back to Quito.
     We finally found the right bus to Quito, and once again, we got the
 psycho driver winding and swerving all over the place.  The highlight of the
 trip was the American music playing on the sound system.  I never thought
 Brittany Spears could sound so good!!!!  Matt even got to hear the beginning
 of a Guns and Roses song, but to his dismay, it came on right as we got off
 the bus in Quito.  Just wait, the adventure is still not over!  Yeah, our
 resident translater Matt found us the worst taxi in Quito to take us home.  I
 had to hold on to my own pack because James and Matt were somehow able to fit
 theirs in this guys trunk.  Anyway, James and I were in the back cracking up
 because some Ecuadorian college student was riding his mountain bike faster
 than we were going in this taxi.  Every time he tried to shift into third
 gear we heard this fierce popping noise, which forced him back into second
 gear.  No wonder we were topping out at 10 mph.  People were honking at us
 and practically running us off the road.  When he finally dropped us off in
 front of Anita's,
 we realized that his headlights didn't work, and that for the past 45 minutes
 this guy was driving around at 8:00 p.m. with no headlights.  All we wanted
 to do was find a pizza place, which we did, and eat as much as we could.  We
 ended up going to some 24 hour pizza place, and oh did it make a long day
 much better.  I guess our adventure home was exactly how it is supposed to
 happen.  We definitely experienced every aspect of Ecuador, and we grew
 closer from the experience.        

 Chapter 5 - Team Chimbo's Perfect Day
     The whole way down we fanticized about our perfect day.  When we got back
 to Quito we were going to first take take our sopping wet clothes off, take
 hot showers, and shave.  Then we would go out for waffles, crepes and
 massages.  When we got home we would watch a slide show of the pictures from
 the past few days, while someone did our laundry for us.  I (James) just
 wanted a steak dinner with Pilsener (Ecuador's most popular brew).  Things
 didn't quite work out as we hoped, but as I write this, one day late, things
 have worked out.  We are all showered and shaved.  The three of us enjoyed
 massages for $10 total.  The waffles and crepes are being digested in our
 stomaches.  We watched the slide show this morning.  Today we found the only
 steak house in Quito.  Tonight we may be going to play fooseball and have a
 Pilsener.  In Ecuador all our dreams may come true.

    Overall, this has been a wild 3 days.  We can only hope to imagine what
 the next 3 weeks will bring us.  All we know is that we are having a great
 time and that God is definitley at work in our lives and working through us
 as we meet and interact with all kinds of different people.  Thanks for
 taking the time to read our "book", and we hope you enjoy our "National
 Geographic" type pictures that we all took!  Be checking the website for the
 new pics from the Illinizas.  

 In Christ, 
      Team Chimborazo 2000

 chimbo20k.outdooronline.com
June 8, 2000 : Team Chimbo News #5
Greetings from Team Chimbo,

Jason, James and I are taking this chance to update you all on our progress before we leave for the Illinizas tomorrow morning. Yesterday we took care of our of the last minute small gear we needed at the mountaineering stores here as well as our food needs. (Note: It only took us one and a half hours to buy our food for three days of climbing at the supermarket.) We are looking to shop even faster next time out. Today is our day to set up simulation anchor and belay situations so as to have it all fresh in our minds. The Illinizas are known as one of the most beautiful and best climbing areas in Ecuador. We have posters of them up her to inspire us - no one can wait to get up there. Training is going better than planned, as far as adjusting to the altitude. We have taken up our training ground in a huge, forested park that is on a mountain that overlooks Quito. It's incredibly beautiful. We run on millions of interlocking single track trails and occasionally come up on a llama or two grazing in the grass.

The past few days have been spent touring the city with various friends we have here. I know people from having been here so long and James has a Java client down here who is our age - so we have been hanging out with him and his friends. Their English is perfect. When you know the locals you quickly find all the sweet places to go for anything (restaurants, stores, vacation spots, movie theater, etc.) As you can tell we have it pretty rough down here right now. Every day we have been loving the warm sun and the amazing views of Cotopaxi, Rucu Pichinncha, Antisana, and the Illinizas.

In the next week or two we are going to stay with my friend, Jairo, who lives in a very poor part of town on the outskirts of Quito. He is sort of a missionary within his own country and has served as a missionary in many countries. He has an amazing faith. Last week, before the guys got here, I was able to visit the church that they planted there with Pancho. Pancho preaches there every Friday night. It was amazing. The community is located high up on a hill with a spectacular overlook. The night we went was very foggy so it was a little freaky driving through the dirt roads and then walking when it got too rough for the 4 wheel drive. The church was like a little spot of light in the dreary neighborhood. It had cement walls with a dirt floor and wooden benches. I was amazed at how open a and accepting the people were - I always feel more at home in the poorer areas for some reason. I guess it's because they value people and family so much more. And how hard it is for them with all of the problems they face! Jairo was telling me of all the crime in the area and even how a couple people within the church had recently been killed. The kids were so awesome and responsive to the worship and the teachings for them. The main task for Jairo, Pancho and the other Pastor is to build up leaders within the church through discipleship and classes. Jairo is the only one that lives in the community so he is much more involved. When we went out to lunch a few days ago he shared his vision for the area and also how difficult it is working through his church. It's so frustrating to see American missionaries come down to Quito and live like kings in the nicest neighborhoods and never make much of an impact with their resources or relationships - and then to see a church giving someone like Jairo a hard time because he is young. We plan to go stay with him for a couple nights and bring him some food and board games - one of his concerns is for the younger kids and teens who go out trying to find something to do in the night and get into trouble. If he can compete with the world a little bit by providing a small party house at his home ha can keep this from happening. It should be an incredible experience.

Well, we will be sure to let you all know how our Illiniza trip went on Sunday. Right now James is doing some computer work downtown for our friend Francisco and his company. Jason is in bed resting (until James gets back) with a bit of a sick stomach - probably the Kentucky Fried Chicken from yesterday. And I am working on tuning and compacting our gear for tomorrow. Thank you all for your e-mails and your posted notes on our web site. It's so great to hear from home and to learn from your witty advice. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as well as the girls, Rachel, Leanna and Charity, who are in El Carmen working with the school. If anyone hears from Nate (the newly wed) please send us word.

In Christ,
Matt - and the rest of Team Chimbo
Update:
It looks like we will now wait until Saturday to leave so as to let Jason get his strength back and to go to a town with a system of hotsprings pools.
June 6, 2000 : Team Chimbo Newsletter #4 - James & Jason Arrive in Ecuador
'A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us' - John Steinbeck

Hi Everybody!!!
Tonight, June 5th, Jason and James arrived in the beautiful city of Quito. The flights went well, although the layover in Houston was a drag. We lucked out though, and got emergency exit row seats for our Houston to Quito leg. It was almost as nice as flying first class. Okay, not even close, but it was better than having our knees ramming against the seats in front of us. Love the leg room! Matt and Anita were at the airport to pick us up once we made it through the lovely process of customs. It was pretty funny watching Matt jumping up and down trying to get our attention in a crowd of hundreds of natives. We are all staying at Anita's house tonight, which is an amazing place with spectacular views of the entire city of Quito. The city is nestled in a valley surrounded by monsterous peaks....four of which we will be climbing while we are here. We will stay here in Quito for a few days to acclimate and figure out our plans and then head for the base of Illiniza Norte and Sur sometime later this week. We have added the first pictures to the web site and will be adding more pictures daily. Please check them out at our official team website:
chimbo20k.outdooronline.com

We are all three totally excited to finally be here together as a team and are really excited to keep you all up to date on our time here. Thanks for all your prayers and support, as you are spread out all over the world. We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are wherever it is you may be!!!

In Christ-
Team Chimborazo 2000
June ??, 2000 : Team Chimbo Newsletter #3
Hello All,
          This is the third official publication of Team Chimbo in our
  preclimbing stages - that is "the running our butts off stages". I am
  writing from Quito while James and Jason are making final preparations to
  join me here in the highlands.  This is my first full day back from doing
  mission work in the lowlands.  Some of you have already recieved some of my
  stories from the past few weeks - if you have not and desire them please
  send a personal request.  In short, the mission work was incredible in both
  El Carmen and Balsapamba (the new town we went to in the beginning stages of
  the mountains).  Many people came to know the Lord and there were many new
  relationships established. At the end of the newsletter I will include a
  couple of stories.
          Details, preparation and gear are all going better than planned. I
  am busy here talking with the people I know figuring out the cheapest ways
  and the best places to go.  We already have a place lined up for us here is
  Quito with a friend of mine named Pancho.  Today I'm going to talk to our
  guide, German, about climbing Cayambe (18,900).  We will most likely climb
  Illiniza Norte (16,500), Cotopaxi (19,300), and Chimborazo (20, 700) without
  him.  We will also be camping and climbing parts, but not all of, Illiniza
  Sur (17,200) and El Altar (17,900) - the most difficult peak in Ecuador.
  Cayambe has alot of crevasse negotiation and we will need his expertise on
  it. For payment we are bringing him two pairs of boots from the States.
          We would all like to thank you for your large response to our
  mailings. Once we are all here (6 days), we will be attaching pictures from
  our adventures with a digital camera.  Right now we are planning a
  beach/islands trip, a jungle trip, a caving trip, a trip to see Tungurahua
  (an exploding volcano), professional soccer games (maybe the most dangerous

  part of our travels), as well as various ministry work.


   Chimbo: (Definition) - used as a slang term in South America for something
  that is cheap or of poor quality.
  I found this out from Anita, who seriously questioned our name.  I think it
  fits.  Team Cheapo.


                      "Team Chimbo Member Nearly Lost At Sea":
      On the day before we were to meet up with Anita, Charity, Ceci, and
  Pancho in Balsapamba we took a beach trip.  The plan was to go in bus with
  just
  the pastors but i made a nice discovery.  The missionary lady there had a
  bus that
  she uses for her school.  We were to go on monday  - it turns out there were
  to be no classes on monday because of elections the day  before.  So we
  rented the bus from her cheap and were able to take everyone who is living
  at the church plus the families of Benvenido and Nelson and a few other
  stragglers. We started out in the morning with the bus completely full -
  a vacation that familes could never afford.  We had fish for lunch on the
  beach and a serious game of beach soccer.  But first, upon arriving at the
  beach at
  Perdenales , Ruben 17 and I decide to test out the water.  These were
  probally the
  largest waves  I've ever been in, so the body surfing looked promising.
  It took some work to get out to where the waves were crashing
  because of the strong currents.  When we got out there we had trouble
  fighting the waves and quickly found ourselves being pulled into the chashes
  by the undertoe.  A wave hit us and knocked us rolling to the bottom.  When
  it let up we pushed up to the surface to find one breath of air then another
  wave chashing down hard.  We were under again trying to find the bottom to
  push up -  at this point we begin to realize we are in a bit of trouble. The
  current wouldn't let us back in.  Each time we surfaced after getting
  slammed, we pushed hard for the shore.  Finally we got to the beach
  completely wiped out but ready shortly thereafter for a little beach soccer.

                  "Team Chimbo Member Nearly Lost In the Mountains":
          While in Balsapamba, the second town where we were conducting the
  VBS's, we took a hike into the mountains.  A girl took us because it was her
  property, another guy from the town also came along.  We were going to see a
  waterfall and swim.  We began near the bottom of the town and headed
  straight into the mountains - in this part of Ecuador the mountains are
  jungle-like because they are not at a high altitude yet.  The path ran
  beside a small river/creek with rapids.  At times we crossed the river,
  wherever the path went.  Soon, however, the vegetation overran the path and
  the machete was in full force working.  Pancho and i had other plans to hike
  up the river itself - not as much vegetation.  We were making far better
  progress than the rest of the party and after a while they followed our
  path.  At times climbing, we made our way far up the mountain by way of the
  river.  The water never went above our thighs and rarely our knees, but it
  was fast moving and steep.  Soon we came to a good sized pool with a forty
  foot water fall - everyone else went swimming but i decided it would be nice
  to go to the top of the waterfall.  It looked difficult but i found a path a
  little ways down that went up switchbacking.  It was all mud and thick
  jungle - just like the movies.  I went up and up and up and soon realized
  that i could hear the waterfall way down below and the path gave no hint as
  though it would cut back over it.  I decided to go a little father, keeping
  a
  watch out for any unwanted creatures.  I found several streams of some sort
  of army ants going across the path which I decided to let be. I then decided
  to turn around at a small creek coming down the mountain, and hiked/slid all
  the way down.  I asked about the path when I got down and they said it goes
  to the top of the ridge and then drops down on the other side and goes back
  into the town.  Since we were somewhat pressed for time they thought it
  would be better to go that way. I told them about the path (how rough it
  was)
  and they elected it over the river travel.  After a while we came to the
  spot where I had
  stopped at the creek - the guides were lost - neither of them had been this
  way - how they thought it would be a good idea to go this way I'll never
  know.  It turns out that as we hiked up the creek a few yards the path
  continued and we quickly came to the top of the ridge. Coming down was long,
  muddy, and slow going but eventually we could hear the river and the street
  that ran through town.  We came out and saw that we had gone up and around
  the entire
  outskirts of town and had to walk back into town on the road.  We were just
  in
  time for lunch.  All in all, it was my idea of heaven.

  Also, please either forward this to or give us any other peoples email 
  addresses that you can think of.  For example, Phil's, Kyle's, Trish, you 
  know all of the great important people out there who might want to know if we 
  survive!!!!

                                                        In Christ,
                                                   Team Chimbo
June ??, 2000 : Team Chimbo Newsletter #2
Howdy!!

  Well, a week from today James and I will be departing for Quito to meet up 
  with Matt...or so we believe.  We haven't heard from Matt for about 2 1/2 
  weeks, and we're both hoping Matt will be there to greet us when we arrive.  
  If not, it will be a hilarious scene watching James and I try and communicate 
  and find our way out of the terminal, seeing how we know enough Spanish to 
  maybe find the bathrooms.  So, Matt better be there.  But other than that 
  concern, we are both extremely excited and it gets more exciting every day it 
  approaches.

  James and I have been continuing to train with the inspiration in mind that 
  we don't want to be the next embarrassed victims of the Powerbar "Bonk" 
  commercials.  If you haven't seen those, then don't worry about trying to 
  figure it out.  Basically, it would be unfortunate if we got 100 ft. from the 
  summit and failed to make it because we weren't in shape.  I have actually 
  enjoyed training for this expedition.  I could probably count on my fingers 
  how many times I actually ran for longer than 20 minutes and farther than 2 
  miles in my entrie lifetime before beginning to train for Ecuador.  Now I am 
  running at 9,000ft. for 30-40 minutes at a time, and easily over 3 miles.  
  James has been swimming and running a lot, and is trying to get over a pain 
  in his chest from running for extended periods of time.  I guess he has 
  encountered the pain for most of his life, but no worries, he is in prime 
  form for the task at hand.  

  James purchased a digital camera with some graduation money, so we'll be 
  taking lots of pictures and sending them to you as much as possible during 
  the trip.  I will also be sending you a more detailed itenerary of our daily 
  excursions and our approximate summit dates once we get to Ecuador and I 
  finalize all of that with Matt and James.  

  Both James and I are super excited to be embarking on such an amazing trip, 
  and we are also very excited to be keeping everyone up to date on our time 
  there.  We thank you so much for your prayers and support along the way, and 
  also during our the duration of our travels.  We have all three done so many 
  amazing things throughout our lives, but so far we believe this experience 
  will top them all.  We hope that this trip is only the beginning of a 
  lifetime of traveling and climbing together througout the world, not only to 
  experience being on top of the world, but to also experience the richness and 
  beauty of this world that God has so graciously given us to explore.

  We hope you are all having a great summer and you'll be hearing from us real 
  soon!  I will be sending you the web address for our team website that James 
  is putting together as soon as it is completed.  So long for now!!!  - Jason  
    2 Corinthians 4:18

  Team Chimborazo 2000
June ??, 2000 : Team Chimbo Newsletter #1
Hi all!

     Well, Matt made it to Ecuador...and how he pulled it off I have no clue.  
  In case you didn't hear, he somehow lost his passport two days before 
  leaving.  My guess is that it has been lost ever since he returned last year, 
  and of course Matt Coleman pulled another one of his heroic acts and flew to 
  Houston 6 hours before the rest of the initial Ecuador Mission team and 
  scrounged up a passport of some kind.  He never ceases to amaze anyone.  
  Anyway, 1/3 of our team is in place in Ecuador, and James and I will be 
  leaving DIA on June 5th for Quito to meet up with Matt.  In the mean time, 
  James and I are slaving away at work trying to pay off James' credit card 
  that is getting both of us to Ecuador.  Don't we all love the plastic!!!  We 
  have most of the gear we are going to need minus some ice pickets and last 
  minute rope checks.  All we need is Weight Watchers and your prayers!!!  
  (just kidding about the weight watchers thing.  Come on, like we would even 
  touch that crap...try Hops 7.00 burgers and Jose O'Shea's late night taco 
  bar!!)

  Training at high altitude is of the utmost importance at this stage.  
  Luckily, I am living at 9,000 ft. so I have a slight advantage, but James has 
  been on a rigorous running routine and we both hope to be in top form for the 
  expedition at hand in less than one month.  Matt will be at sea level for 
  most of May, so he has a lot of work to do in about 6 days at the beginning 
  of June to aclimatize and be ready for our first ascent.  But then again, he 
  is Matt Coleman.  So, I will do my best to keep all of you up to speed on our 
  progress here in May, and we will be sending you emails and digital pictures 
  from our trip hopefully daily if James can get a digital camera together 
  before we leave.  Also, if there is anyone else you can think of that might 
  want to be a part of our mailing list please send us their email addresses 
  and we will add them to the list.  Sorry that we don't have t-shirts or any 
  other cool stuff that other fan clubs get access to, but you will be getting 
  amazing pics and stories along the way that will be much more  enriching for 
  your lives and it will make your summer that much mor exciting!!!!  So, 
  that's all for now.  I hope everyone is having a great summer so far and 
  until next time, adios amigos! - Taft

  Team Chimbo 2000

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