Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ecuador High Altitude Expedition: Dispatch 12

Ecuador High Altitude Expedition: November 26–Dec 10, 2010

Lead Guide: Pepe Landazuri

Climbers: Diane Evans, Robert Krueger, Timothy Pattee, John Stephenson, Scott Curtis.

Pepe called Tuesday, December 7th at 10:32pm (Ecuador and US Eastern time) with the following message:

HELLO AGAIN!  We are calling you from the lower hut on Chimborazo, at about 4800 meters.  

This morning at Urbina we again had beautiful views of Chimborazo.  We woke up from a very good sleep, had a delicious Urbina breakfast, and then after enjoying our views with coffee we headed for the mountain.   We set an easy pace today and didn't head out until about 10:00am.  It was a very nice morning on the skirt of Chimborazo.

We got here around noon and had llunch by about 1pm.  Then we did some walking and taking in the sights of massive Chimborazo.  In the afternoon the mountain was pretty active.  The warming sun set off a number of small avalanches.  So observing that, Tim and Sebastian decided not to climb the mountain tomorrow.  Though they could start very early, they were worried that they wouldn't get down in time to miss the afternoon activity.  It was very clear today, so we had great views.

There's been a lot of new snow up here.  A week ago you couldn't even drive a Jeep to the lower refuge - there so much snow on the track.  Now it has melted out totally but there's still a lot of snow on the mountain high up.

So tomorrow we will all go back to Cotopaxi and give it another try by the new route.  That will be very good.  We plan to leave here after breakfast at 8:30am and the drive through Cotoipaxi National Park should get us to end of the road at about ll:30 or noon.  Then we'll hike to the hut 45 minutes or so, have luch, and then do some easy walking or just rest for the afternoon.  

Again we will make an early start for the climb of Cotopaxi, probably getting up at 10pm and leaving at 11pm.

Oh yes, and today we met a group of Germans who had just come from Baños.  They said that the city had been reopened because Tungarajua had calmed a little and the prevailing winds were blowing the ash away from the town.  So after the Cotopaxi climb it looks like we'll be about to go to the hot springs of Baños after all.  It's a beautiful town on one of the routes to the Amazon and it has a very lush feeling to it.  That will be a very enjoyable contrast to the alpine zone.

OK, we'll give you an update tomorrow.  That's the news for now."

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