Monday, December 19, 2016

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (December 16-30) – Dispatch 1

December 19th Dispatch

Guide:  Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Philip A., Sarah M., Yao-Wen (Wayne) H., Yu-Lin (Amanda) T.


This is Romel calling from Ecuador. Everything is going well here!

We enjoyed meeting up in Quito, and we had a very enjoyable first day as we did a little easy touring and exploring as each person began their adjustment to the altitude.  The team’s first night was in Quito, of course, and at 9350 feet / 2850 that’s a good place to begin the process.  We always set an easy pace on the first day as drive north to cross (and straddle!) the equator and then continue on to Otavalo, to explore a pretty Ecuadorian town that has a very large and colorful market.

We do a good amount of walking, but all at an easy pace.  We know that if people just beginning their adjustment are too vigorous in the exercises or activity, that can bring on at least a light version of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), so we are careful to avoid that by going easy.

On our second day, Sunday, we hiked up beautiful Pasachoa (13,776 ft / 4199 m).  Going at a easy pace, everyone did fine and made the summit.  It was a gorgeous day – really it was perfect – sunny and warm.  And today we hiked higher and, again, everyone summited Guagua Pichincha (15,670 ft / 4776 m).  We had a little light rain late in the day, but mostly it was sunny.

Everyone is having a good time, and we are all looking forward to climbing Cayambe in a few days.  At 18,996 ft / 5790 m, it is our first major peak.  We are now driving to Hacienda Guachala, one of the oldest haciendas in Ecuador, for a good night's rest and – as I have assured the team – a very, very good dinner!

Here is Sarah who will add a few words to our report:

This trip is going really well!  Great, in fact!  We've had nice weather in the mountains, but yesterday after our hike we saw hard rain flooding the streets of Quito. We were thankful to not be out hiking in it!  Our group is having fun, and people are excited for our next climbs.  Does anyone want to say anything else for the dispatch? (A chorus of "Hi's and "hello's" were heard around the car from Philip, Wayne, and Amanda.)

Here's Romel, again:

The climbers are feeling good. They are adjusting well, and have had no altitude issues. Tomorrow we'll be traveling to the hut on Cayambe at 15,250 feet (4648 meters) and we’ll start our training (or review for some climbers) of glacier climbing skills.  On Wednesday we’ll spend a good part of the day doing some more practice climbing, then have an early dinner and an early bedtime to be ready for the Cayambe ascent, which will begin at about 1am! 

We'll call, again, after summiting Cayambe.  Talk to you soon!

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