Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ecuador High Altitude Expedition #6: Dipatch 3

[NOTE TO READERS:  We accidentally erased and lost this dispatch, including your comments, on the afternoon of February 23.  We recreated it from our notes, but we hesitate to try to recreate your comments.  Would you please do us the favor by entering them again so we can read them verbatim the next time we tallk to the group.  Thank you and sorry for the trouble!]

Ecuador High Altitude Expedition

February 18 to March 4, 2011

Climbers: Sam Kisson, Robert Gay, Tom O’Connell, Dennis Uhlir, Matt Donnelly
Lead Guide: Benno Schlauri
Assistant Guide: Ramiro Garrido
February 22, 2011

Benno called at noon Ecuador and US Eastern time with this message:

"Hello again.

Yesterday I told you it was foggy on Guagaua Pichincha. We went up to the gondola, put on our rain ponchos, and kept going despite the weather.  As we ascended, it even started snowing. We had maybe 5 cm of fresh snow!  The last 15 minutes as we were scrambling to the summit were pretty interesting because of all the new snow on the rock.  We called it mixed climbing!  

Everyone reached 15,400-foot summit of Gua Gua Panchincha.  We got about 30 minutes of sunshine on the way down, and even caught a glimpse of Quito, which was quite beautiful.  It is one more successful day of acclimatization for us, which is very good. One person had some minor altitude issues, but that was a very temporary thing.

We are now hiking above the hut on Cayambe.  We had some sun and some good views and that was very nice.  Now it is foggy, but that is often a sign of coming clearing, so we are optimistic.

Everyone is doing very well and looking forward to some practice climbing tomorrow and our first major ascent later in the week.

Everyone sends a warm hello to family and friends back home."

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