Friday, June 22, 2018

2018 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition and Chimborazo Ascent (June 15 - 29, 2018) Dispatch 2

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Max G., Laura K., Michael G., Kathryn S.

Dispatch from Days 5-7:

Romel, the guide for the June 15th Ecuador trip called with the following news:

Hi there,

We are calling in from Hacienda Guachala to let you know we had a good climb today on Cayambe. Conditions were pretty tough, but we made it to about 16,000 feet.

The winds were very strong and limited what we could do, but everyone did a great job both with their gear and their climbing. It's easy to get cold in wind like that, but everyone was well prepared and used their layering systems in a way that kept them comfortable.

I am also very happy to say that no one had any problems with the altitude. Our acclimatization hikes prepared everyone very well for today's high elevation.

We were a funny sight when we returned to the hut because we were all covered with rime ice! Rime ice forms when clouds or fog full of water vapor hit cold objects, like the surface of our parkas, and freezes into ice crystals. We looked like something out of an exaggerated scene in a movie.

Anyway, the climbing was really good. In fact, it was kind of strange to have such inconveniently high winds but have perfect snowpack conditions. The cramponing could not have been better!

We returned to the hut and had some food and a little rest, then packed up and drove back down the mountain to Hacienda Guachala. In ten minutes we are heading to dinner, and we're really looking forward to that. The food here is very, very good, and I think a lot of us have been thinking about the menu this afternoon!

Tomorrow we will have a very easy day. We'll drive to Cotopaxi National Park and stay at Tombopaxi Lodge. It's a very comfortable lodge, and we will have good views of our next goal, 19,348-foot Cotopaxi.

We will have a fun day tomorrow with a lot of good views and time for relaxing, then Saturday we will hike to the hut on Cotopaxi, and Sunday we will make our summit attempt.

Wish us luck! We'll send you news as soon as we can.

Bye for now!

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