Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition (Feb. 9 - 18, 2018 ) Dispatch 1

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Natalia V., Shawn V., Kwie-Hoa S., Issac K.

Dispatch from Day 4:

Romel called with the following report on the Ecuador program.

"We're had a lot of fun together so far on the trip. After our orientation and equipment check on Saturday, we had a walking tour of the city, and I think everyone enjoyed it. There's a lot of variety in Quito: traditional culture, colonial history, interesting architecture, and fun shops and people.

We've now completed our two acclimatization hikes and scrambles on Pasachoa (4,199m / 13,776​ ​ft) and on Rucu Pichincha (4,697m/15,413​ ​ft).

Everyone has been acclimatizing very well - we are going about this very gradually! The weather was really nice on the climbs, and I know people had fun becuase they were feeling very healthy and strong. No one seems to be greatly affected by the altitude. Our acclimatization schedule works so well!

Here's Natalia for some news:

"Hi – I've been having a great time on the trip. I loved the city tour and the first two hikes were wonderful. The views were incredible, skies were perfectly clear on both days. I'm glad to report I am feeling strong and staying healthy! And I am very excited about the skills day we will have the day after tomorrow on the glacier on Cayambe. I'm looking forward to working on my skills and to the climb that will follow. That's my news!"

Romel continued: "Well, after our big hike today, we are now driving north to the lower slopes of Cayambe where we will stay at beautiful Hacienda Guachala. I think we can count on having a great dinner there and then getting a very good night's sleep. Tomorrow we will make the drive further up the mountain to the hut on Cayambe, and in the afternoon we'll do a hike, probably up to the glacier for a look around. Then on Wednesday the day after, we will work on skills and get ready for our ascent which we'll begin around midnight Thursday morning.

We'll call in a couple of days to let you know how it is going. For now I'll just tell you we are having a heck of a good time! Bye for now."

Thursday, February 1, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition (Jan. 19 - 28, 2018 ) Dispatch 3

Guide: Fredy Tipan

Climbers: Sharlin G., Terry B., James H., Christine K., Aaron T., Marwan A.

Dispatch from Day 10:

Hi – this Fredy checking in again from the Ecuador High Altitude Trip. Today we climbed Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world (19,348 ft)!

We summited after an excellent climb – everyone did a great job! To take advantage of frozen conditions in the snowpack for easy cramponing, we got up a little before midnight, ate and finished organizing our gear, and then began our climb by 1 am – right on time for our planned schedule.

As we had hoped, the snow conditions were excellent – we enjoyed very secure footing, and we had very comfortable and enjoyable climbing. All of our team climbed very strongly and were very motivated, and we reached the summit in good time, at approximately 6:20am.

The weather totally cooperated, and we had a fantastic view from the top of all the other volcanoes and the spectacular Cotopaxi crater!

All around it was a fantastic climb.

Now three of our climbers are heading home, and we are sorry to see them go, but glad to have shared such a successful trip! Now, the other three climbers, myself and another guide are heading to climb the highest peak in the country: Chimborazo!

We will get back in touch after the climb. Wish us luck!

Here's a photo of Terry and Fredy on the summit of Cotopaxi with the great crater in the background. Photo from Terry Beckwith