I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition. Every member of the A.A.I. team and all independent associates were professional, courteous, and friendly. All planned activities were entertaining and relevant toward expanding my knowledge of Ecuador. The acclimatization process was very effective. Photo opps. were abundant, lodging and meals were outstanding.
Jose Luis has outstanding leadership skills. From our initial acclimatization hike up Rucu Pichincha, He established a professional, conservative approach to mountaineering. For example, ordering gear changes, then backing off the summit attempt due to deteriorating weather. These actions provided a crucial foundation of trust as we negotiated the crevasse fields during our successful summit bid up Antisana. Jose Luis thoroughly reviewed all the fundamentals that were learned during the 3 day Muir climb. He reinforced our knowledge of leave no trace principals and pressure breathing. Later in the expedition, we learned glacier travel for alpine mountaineering, how to make a Prusik harness, and crevasse self arrest and rescue. Jose Luis and all the Ecuador staff were very patient and easy going. In addition to mountain guide, Jose Luis has a encyclopedic knowledge of all things Ecuador.
All interaction that I’ve had with A.A.I. staff has been personable and pleasant. Never had the impression that I was merely a customer, or received an impersonal response to any question. I normally do a lot of research and shopping before making a product or travel purchase, I haven’t found an alpine travel company that can compete with A.A.I. The quality of lodging was first rate. Beginning with our stay at the beautiful Hotel Quito, through our visits to historic and lovely haciendas, I simply couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience.
The camps where we pitched our tents were set in photogenic and remote areas. Manolo Vegas’ cooking made them home. All the equipment was of superior quality, either new or well maintained. The food was fresh and nutritious, presented in a clean manner. Including participation in the 3 day Muir climb, I have purchased nearly all of my own gear in accordance with the gear list. This has made for a simple and streamlined expedition.
My idea of a good time is being in a rough alpine environment, successfully, or very nearly, achieving ones objectives, then returning exhausted to be spoiled in a luxurious place. If you are faced with the choice of compromising this experience or raising prices, raise prices. I’d pay.