Guide: Ramiro Garrido
Climbers: Patrick Mullen, Jo McKeagg, Natallia Bortkevich, Adam Jackson
Feb. 24, 2020
I am calling to let you know we have had two more successes.
On Cayambe we had two good days of acclimatization, at and above the hut at a little over 15,000 feet. The first day we got to the hut we did some easy skills practice and the next day we did more skills including cramponing on Cayambe’s lower glacier. The conditions were firm on the glacier and really quite good for refining cramponing technique.
We went to bed very early, as always, and got very early, as always, to get the best conditions on the mountain, with the glacier surface nice and frozen. We got up around 11 pm and started climbing at about midnight.
We made very good time. It was quite nice weather on the way up but just before we got to the summit, we climbed into the clouds. Not ideal, but we all did make it to the summit and that was a great feeling for everyone. At 18,997 feet, it’s a very big mountain to climb and it took a lot of concentration and effort to do it. This is a great team, and I am very happy to be climbing with them! We made the summit around 5 am and after a rest on top, we were back to the hut by about 7 am.
After some food at the hut and some packing, we headed back to Hacienda Guachalá for some well-earned rest and recuperation!
The next day we drove to Cotopaxi National Park and to the lodge of Tambopaxi, which gave us excellent views of Cotopaxi across the paramo. It’s such a beautiful spot!
After good rest (and dining!) at the lodge, we drove to the base of Cotopaxi and then hiked up to the José Rivas Hut. Again it was early to bed ad early to rise for a very nice climb!
It was long but interesting, and everyone enjoyed the views on the way up. Unfortunately the weather changed by 6am, and after that the clouds were coming and going. We were worried we would have a white-out on the summit, but the clouds cooperated from time to time, and we ended up getting some good views. I have attached some photos of us on Cotopaxi’s 19,348-foot summit!!