Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Illiniza Sur in memory of Liz Daley

Our friend Laszlo sends us a message and phtos from his Ecuador climb of Illiniza Sur... 

Buenos Dias my English speaking friends. The first picture says it perfectly, 
All you need is Equador! 

This was taken the morning of our Illiniza Sur hiking day. It had just snowed in Quito two days in a row. Today’s program was an easy one we drove up to the Iliniza parking lot, (4200 m), but before that we stopped to have a great lunch in a village restaurant. The choice was trout or chicken, I choose chicken, as my guide, Abraham said, trout will be in the refugio. (Sorry, but I had to make one personalized sentence. Everytime I say “refugio”, Paul’s smiley face pops up in my mind!)

After lunch we needed it to put the wheels into 4X4, due the very rough road that takes us through pampas, haciendas, and highlands. We were almost ready to put on our backpacks, when the afternoon scheduled rain started to pour down. O.K. one hour rest in the jeep. At 3PM we started our "easy" 4km (app. 3 miles hike.) The trail was very interesting, sometime in the past the Illiniza volcano shot enough rocks and ashes so that even today we can experience it, it’s just like hiking in ocean sands. The altitude isn't on our side either, 4200m up to the refugio at 4700m. The trouts are already on the roaster. If at that altitude I have an appetite, I should be ok.

After dinner, I went straight to my sleeping bag. Unfortunately from 8PM until 1AM, I had a very bad headache. Let's just say it was due to the altitude. The wake up call was set for 3AM. Breakfast! Who can have breakfast that early? Ya, me, when I fly cross the continent, and wake up at 3AM.

The two guides and three of us get up to the Iliniza Sur. Even to Ecuadorean hikers the south is a very challenging hike. It has almost everything: rock, snow, ice, steep wall, rock slides, ice caves, crevasses. According Abraham we could be up in 4hrs, and down in 2, so we should be back before the sun's heat melts the only glue, ICE and the rock slides starts. 

On the way up the 50-degree wall, I need it to change my walking position, that is when I remembered Liz and all she taught me; she was my first guide to summit Mt. Baker. May she rest in peace.

We did the climb in 3 1/2 hours, everything went as we planned. I was cheerful up at the summit 5200m. After we came down, we had a better breakfast and kept continue to the parking lot. Now we are resting in a beautiful hacienda until tomorrow. 
                                                                    -- Laszlo Papa Bóna

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