Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 Ecuador Cayambe/Antisana Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Extension (June 2 - 16) Dispatch 2

Climber: Alexander Pancoe

Guide: Diego Zurita

Alex called late on Tuesday to report that they didn't summit Antisana because there was so much new snow and some avalanche danger higher up on the mountains. There usually aren't any or many climbers on the mountain when we climb Antisana, but yesterday there were a lot.

Alex said the other climbing teams all began their climb an hour before Diego and he set out, but they were ahead of everyone in less than two hours. Alex said, "I guess we are more fit than we realized." It sounds like they were sprinting up the mountain!

They decided to turn back at a point somewhere over 17,000 feet, and the other groups followed their decision. Alex said, "There was far more snow than we expected. From the precipitation we had the day before, we thought there would be some new snow, but there was a surprisingly big accumulation. Diego says it is totally unusual for this time of year. We were punching through pretty deep."

Before signing off he said the skies were clear and the winds were about 35 mph. They checked the weather report, and it looked like their best window for Chimborazo would be Wednesday.

Alex called again today (Wednesday, June 14) to say they had changed their plans. "We are doing fine, but the weather forecast for Chimborazo is terrible for the summit attempt days, so we decided to change our plan and instead climb Illiniza Norte. The weather at Chimborazo was predicted as rain for a few days, but last night the forecasters changed it to snow. That's good for the glaciers but not for our ascent! The weather around Illiniza Norte is supposed to be better, so we'll see what we find there and make the most of it."

"We spent yesterday in beautiful Baños, enjoying the semi tropical surroundings and visiting a beautiful waterfall. Pretty different from where we have been climbing! We spent the night in Baños last night and have just arrived at the base of Illiniza Norte. We will camp tonight and make the summit attempt tomorrow. We will call you again once we are back in Quito. We're having a great time, and that's the main news for now."

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