Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition (February 10 - 24) - Dispatch 10

February 20th Dispatch

Climbers: Michael Watson, Glenn and David Booth, Eric Safieh, Eric and Loic Vincent, Susan Mullins, Dean Doyle, James Murray, Tom Fry

Lead Guide:
Jeremy Devine

(From Jeremy)

Hello, again, from Ecuador!

This afternoon we arrived at Posada del Tren in Urbina. We’ve had a few clouds, but it’s very pretty and mild. Folks are out on the porch taking in the views, and some are playing chess.

It’s a low-key afternoon. The wood truck just showed up to deliver firewood. A couple of young puppies are here, playing on the grass. They’re showing us their boundless energy and we’re demonstrating our skills in relaxation.

That’s been the defining quality of the day. We are being sure to develop clear contrasts with our hard workdays – our days of ascent. I don’t think I mentioned it, but today we didn’t meet until 11 am to give team members a relaxing morning. That allowed each person to go about their morning rituals with no rush. “Slow coffee” was the word.

Yesterday’s climb of Corazon was moderate in length and strenuousness, but it started with a very early morning and gave us a great workout at altitude. People were understandably tired and enjoyed having a restful night and easy morning.

We left Quito in the late morning and drove a couple of hours to the provincial capital of Ambato where we had lunch. We chose a Mexican restaurant, which we found to be of super high quality.

After lunch, we drove 45 minutes up onto the flanks of Chimborazo to Urbina. A lot of us got in 45-minute siestas – it will happen, with full bellies and a gently moving vehicle.

We’re going to have dinner at 7:30. The dish of the night is quinoa stew and judging by the aromas already coming from the kitchen, it’s going to be good!

Tomorrow morning, we will move on to Chimborazo and prepare for our ascent on Wednesday or Thursday. The traditional approach doesn’t have enough snow on it for our preference right now, so we’re using an alternative route that avoids the lower slopes that can be subject to rock fall when they aren’t covered well by snow.

We won’t stay at the hut on Chimborazo but will set up a high camp instead. After meeting the other guides who will be joining us for the ascent at around 11 am at the entrance to the park, we’ll drive to the hut for lunch, then hike about two-and-a-half hours to the high camp. We’ll have porters help us by carrying all the tents, stoves, fuel, and food, while we carry our sleeping bags, pads, and all of our personal gear.

Whoa! Now we’re getting a shower of hail! It’s pea-sized. We have an imposing, single cloud passing by, trying to impress us.

OK, that’s the evening news. We’ll give you an update tomorrow after we get to our camp.


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