Friday, November 15, 2019

2019 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills and Chimborazo Expedition (Trip 10: Nov. 2-16, 2019) Dispatch 1

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Guide: Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Richard D., Brad F., Michael M., Linnea B., and Larry F.

November 5, 2019

Hi! This is Romel calling to let you know our two acclimatization hikes went very well. Our team of climbers is steadily and successfully adjusting to the high altitude. We hiked up beautiful Pasachoa (4,199 m/ 13,776 ft) on Monday, and today we climbed Rucu Pichincha (4,697 m/ 15,413 ft). Everyone had a great day, and we were all in high spirits. It was very nice to be feeling good at that altitude. And even the weather was nice for us, with just a little rain at the very tail end of our day.

[Linnea then came on the phone]. We had a great day! It is so beautiful up here. We're having fun together and really enjoying the hiking the views. The trip is going very well and we are looking forward to our climbs. That's all for now.

The team called again on November 11.
Hello again. This is Romel and the team calling to let you know we had success on Cotopaxi (5,897 m/ 19,347 ft). The weather conditions were good and the snowpack on the glacier was excellent for the ascent. We started out from the hut at about midnight, and it was a good night to be out climbing until about 4 am when the wind started to pick up. Then it was kind of cold, but we had enough layers to keep ourselves comfortable. We made good time, had a fun time climbing together, and after all our efforts, we have to say it was wonderful to reach the summit.
We are now looking forward to some good food, a nice rest, and more good food before heading to our final objective, Chimborazo!

November 12
Well, we are calling again to report on our recovery!

Everyone is tired from all the climbing we have done so far, but it felt really good to be down in the central valley last night where there's a lot more oxygen and a lot of excellent food! You know, my cooking is pretty good, but at the hut I don't have a professional chef's cooking set-up!

In summary, we are happy, getting a good rest, eating nicely and in high spirits. We are feeling very motivated for our attempt on the immense Chimborazo. We'll be exploring one of the valley towns this afternoon and then heading up to the huts on Chimborazo tomorrow. We' don't have good connectivity up there, so we will call you after the climb.

November 14 

Romel called from the semi-tropical town of Baños after the ascent.

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be calling you to let you know we had success on Chimborazo (6,310 m/ 20,703 ft). We are calling from beautiful Baños, where is it mild, there are flowers blooming, and there are a few palm trees in the town square. What a contract to the land of rock, snow, and ice where we have been climbing!

We summited this morning and were so happy to have the success. The weather was fair this morning, but once again the wind was up and the windchill made it very cold. very cold. The other members of the climbing team also attempted the summit of Chimborazo but turned around earlier (at about 18,000 ft) due to the cold temperatures and fatigue.

[Larry then came on the phone:]. Hello! It feels great to have made the summit of Chimborazo, and it also feels good to be here in Baños. The wind was actually not that bad today. There were some higher gusts at times, but basically it was manageable. We had plenty of clothes to deal with it, and I didn't mind the cold too much. It hasn't snowed much lately, but it was interesting to find a layer of fresh snow on top of the glacier. The new snow the climb a bit tougher – it's just more work climbing in a layer of soft snow – and it took us longer than it would have otherwise, but in the end we persisted and were extremely happy to step onto the summit of such a high mountain.

We are going to enjoy Baños a lot I think. We are here tonight and all day tomorrow as well, so we're thinking of going on a hike to see some pretty waterfalls and some tropical forests in the area. It's fun to be in an area that's in such contrast to where we've been the last couple of days. So different!

It's been a great trip and we've had a lot of fun together. That's our report!

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