Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Ecuador Antisana/Illiniza, May 11th - 19th: Dispatch #2
Guide: Henry Moya; Climbers: Nick Jansen and Luke Shedivy.
Monday, May 14, 6:10 am Quito time
Yesterday was had a very nice hike on Pasochoa, the first big hike in this program. The peak is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano which has been inactive since the last ice age. It is located 40 miles south of Quito. Inside the crater there is the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean forest, with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees at an altitude of 8,800 – 13,700 feet.
The route we did on Pasochoa is by the northeastern side. This is the shortest approach to the summit, and it is a good first acclimatization hike. We gained altitude much faster than following the crater route but at a gradual enough pace to be comfortable. We drove for one-and-a-half hours to an altitude of 10,000 feet where we started walking. The hike normally takes four to five hours up to the summit, but for our last team it took 3!! These guys are very fit! The weather was OK but kind of cloudy, and we didn't get distant views, but the hike and the forms of Pascahoa were really interesting. After the hike we returned to Quito for the night. Nick and Luke are doing very well.