Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition
Guide: Jeremy Devine
Climbers: Mark C., Stephen D., Blaine C., Samuel W., Stephen H., Rod L., Donna K., Brian F., Sean M.
January 22nd Dispatch
Jeremy, from Ecuador, here!
We woke this morning to beautiful weather – blue skies as far as the eye could see.
Today our drive to the trailhead on Pasochoa for our first major acclimatization hike took us through winding cobblestone roads as we climbed past many farms.
We started our hike at 10:30am and enjoyed a comfortable pace passing along a tree lined road and into the paramo, the high grass lands that surround most of Ecuador's peaks. The team maintained a consistent pace and we were able to move for an hour before our first break – great practice for the strategy that we will use on our next objectives.
We saw falcons riding the thermals around Pasochoa. Perhaps they were of the same species as those we saw yesterday at the bird sanctuary near Otavalo. The entire team summited the cumbre máxima (highest summit 13,776 ft / 4199 m) in the early afternoon. We were treated to great views, had fun identifying the high peaks, and enjoyed a cool breeze on the summit before some afternoon clouds rolled in from the Amazon lowlands to our east.
Our descent was quick, and upon returning to the bus we made sandwiches and picnicked in the grass. A great finish to our day. We are looking forward to climbing Rucu Pichincha tomorrow and then moving on to Hacienda Guachala in the Cayembe province for the evening. Looking forward to our next update. Hasta pronto!