Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018 Ecuador Antisana Skills Expedition (October 5 - 14, 2018) Dispatch 1

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Jim H. and Wade L. 

Romel called with the following reports:

Greetings from Ecuador!

We had an excellent acclimatization hike on Pasachoa (13,776') yesterday, and just now we completed our second acclimatization hike on Rucu Pichincha (15,413'). We had fairly cooperative weather, and despite some clouds, we didn't have any precipitation until we were just finishing our descent.

We are now traveling to the Illiniza area to get in position for our climb of Illiniza Sur. There is an international bike race here on the Pan-American Highway, so we are experiencing delays, but we will get there eventually!

Romel called again with the following update:

Hello again from the Andes!

Yesterday we made an attempt a steep face on Illiniza Sur (17,217'), but conditions were not very cooperative. After we were on the route, the weather got wet and we began finding very hard water ice. So we decide to call it got and instead retreat and climb Illiniza Norte (16,817'). After a little break, we made a quick push for the north summit and reached the top before noon.

Here is one of our team members Wade Lindley who would like to add to our dispatch:"

"Hi – this is Wade. I have the pleasure of reporting that I am feeling great down here in the high mountains! I'm from Mississippi where we are not much above sea level. so the adjustment to the altitude of Quito [9,350'] was very interesting. I haven't had any complications or illness from the altitude. I hear myself breathing differently, but I have been pleasantly surprised not to feel bad at all.

To recap the trip, I loved our time in Quito. It's a beautiful and intriguing city. I really like our hotel there and exploring Quito with Romel on our first full day was awesome. Walking around exploring was also a very good way to begin our acclimatization since Quito is so high!

The acclimatization hikes were more amazing than I expected. I figured they would be nice, but they were really beautiful, with interesting terrain and views on both of them.

I think Romel's climbing instruction has been excellent and his decision making on the Illinizas was great. I learned a lot and enjoyed learning some things about how he made decisions on the mountain.

I found the altitude pretty comfortable on the Illiniza climbs. I think it shows that our acclimatization in Quito and on the two hikes up Pasachoa and Pichincha really helped us a lot. During our ascents on the Illinizas, I felt very comfortable going up, but I could feel it a lot more on the way down. I understand from Romel that it's because we are working so much less on the descent – it's just a lot easier – so we tend to feel like we don't need to breathe as much. So we breathed less and then start feeling the altitude (slightly headache-y ). We have to remind ourselves to breath often and deeply on the way down, even though we aren't working hard. In general, though, I feel fully acclimatized to 17,000 feet,

Today we woke up to perfect views of Pichincha and the IIllinizas. It was a very relaxing morning, and now we are at the market in Saquisilí. It's lively and colorful and a lot of fun to be here. Quite a contrast to the mountains where we've been hiking and climbing this week.

It's great being here. Thanks for reading our update on the trip!"

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