July 4th Dispatch via Email
Hello friends and family!
This is Fredy Tipan checking in from Ecuador High Altitude Expedition. On Saturday, July 2nd, we had a great day traveling to the equator and then a little further north to the town and big market of Otavalo.
Then yesterday, we met at 7 am – after an early breakfast, jumped in our van with day packs, and headed to the trailhead of Cerro Pasochoa, a 13.779-foot extinct volcano that rises amidst beautiful grasslands and which has really nice rock outcrops up high. Once in the parking lot and before the climb, we prepared delicious sandwiches.
Everyone was psyched to do our first acclimatization hike on a big peak. This is a very motivated group of individuals, and we all reached the summit by 1:30 pm. Despite being pretty tired and a bit short breath, everybody celebrated happily, took some awesome pictures, and returned down to our van in very good time. I think everyone enjoyed the scenery a lot as well as the exercise and the acclimatization that we gained.
Today (the 4th of July) after having a great breakfast at Reina Isabel Hotel, we drove to the Pichincha Teleférico (gondola station) which carried us up to 13.700 feet where we got on a trail and started hiking up to Rucu Pichincha. Rucu is a 15.420-foot peak, and all the team members did an excellent job climbing up the steep slopes and the rock scrambling sections. After hiking for about 3 ½ hours, we reached the summit. We took some amazing pictures and had a good lunch on the summit. We hiked back to the gondola, descended to meet our bus, and headed north.
We are now at Guachala, an ancient and cozy hacienda built in the 16th Century. Here we are – safe and sound, and I am writing this just before heading to dinner. The hacienda's chef prepares really good meals, and we are all looking forward to ours!
Our next climbing goal is Ecuador's 3rd highest peak, Cayambe. Tomorrow the 5th we will move up to the hut on Cayambe and take some time to review and improve climbing skills in preparation for the ascent. Were having a great time and will be back in touch as soon as possible and give you the latest news!
IFMGA-UIAGM Certified Mountain Guide