Guide: Diego Zurita
Climbers: Marina K., Dale W., Micaleila D., Nicholas W., Renn S.
Dispatch from Days 1-8:
Our team has been doing well with acclimatization and felt good on the Cayambe ascent.
After our initial day and two nights in Quito at about 9400 feet, we had good acclimatization hikes on Pasachoa (13,776 ft / 4199 m) and then on Monday climbing Rucu Pichincha (15,413 ft / 4697 m). It's been a weird week for weather. It's usually nice at this time of year, but we had rain and even some snow on the summit of Pichincha! Very unusual.
Today (May 10) we have just returned to the Ruales Berg Orleas Hut on Cayambe after a great attempt on the summit. The past three days have been very snowy, so the glacier was covered with fresh snow. Four of our five climbing team members wanted to make the attempt, and under challenging conditions, I am happy to report that we made it all the way to 18,740 feet on this 18,996-foot mountain. The final section is pretty steep and would have taken at least an additional hour, and with the winds picking up, we decided it would be better to choose that as our high point and head down.
With wind and snow it was a challenging climb, and I was very impressed with how everyone did. They stayed warm, worked hard, and were very determined. I think everyone is very pleased with what they achieved, and they should be!
The weather forecast is for clearing starting Friday, so we are pretty confident that we will have good conditions on Cotopaxi, our next big goal. We'll keep you posted.
We are now looking forward to a great meal and a big sleep at beautiful Hacienda Guachala and then an easy day on Friday as we move south to Cotopaxi National Park. Bye for now!