Climbers: John V., Max V., Christine G., Paul K., Courtney S., and Ben H.
Dispatch from Days 1-6:
John Vlasto called and spoke with us this morning with great news about Cayambe:
This is John. We’re calling to say we hope everyone up north is doing well and to let you know all of us down here are doing very well and to let you know we have some exciting news. Together we all climbed to the summit of Cayambe yesterday. It was not an easy climb and not a fast one because of the winds, but the weather was otherwise very good and every team member was incredibly persistent.
A few team members had some doubts about continuing when we were pretty high up on the mountain, but their drive combined with a lot of encouragement from their guides and teammates made it all happen.
We started early to get the lowest temperatures possible and good snow conditions on the glacier. We got up around 11:30 pm Tuesday night and started our approach to the glacier at 12:40 am yesterday morning.
It was a slow climb because of the wind. It was quite tiring. I think we took about nine-and-a-half hours for the ascent and three-and-a-half hours for the descent, and our excellent guide Franklin said that may have been a record slow speed! But we all had a laugh, and he added that our team was among the few that he had ever guided under such challenging conditions where every single team member made the summit. He said he believes the mutual support and encouragement made all the difference.
When we got back to the hut, people we extremely tired, so we had some food and rest before heading back down to beautiful Hacienda Guachala. Today would be our normal summit day according to our itinerary, but we moved it up a day because the weather report indicated there could be snowfall today.
So we have a day of rest and good food here at Guachala, and tomorrow we will have an easy day, driving south to Cotopaxi National Park, and then morning up into the mountains where we will stay at Tambopaxi Lodge.
We plan to make our attempt on Cotopaxi on Saturday, so we’ll call you Saturday night or sometime on Sunday. Talk to you soon!”