Thursday, February 20, 2020

2020 Ecuador Chimborazo Skills Expedition (Trip 4: Feb. 15-24, 2020) Dispatch 1

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Ramiro Garrido

Climbers: Patrick M., Jo M. Natallia Bo., Adam J.

Feb. 17, 2020

Good afternoon:

We're just back from a wonderful acclimatization hike on Pasochoa (13,776 ft / 4200 m). Everybody is acclimatizing well and enjoyed the hike. It was a pretty day, and we got excellent views of both Cayambe and Cotopaxi which we will be climbing soon. Because our team members are acclimatizing well and are in good shape, we made it to the summit today in record time – just three-and-a-half hours! It's usually four hours and sometimes more. But today as always, we went at a pace that everyone was comfortable with. We weren't in a rush, and I was surprised at the good pace up the mountain.

Climbers ascending their first acclimatization hike of the Expedition, Pasochoa, along the narrow trail through Ecuador's expansive páramo grasslands. Ramiro Garrido.

We began our program on Sunday, and after a program orientation and gear check, we had a nice active day of acclimatization in a walking city tour of Quito. Our climbing team had a great time and everyone was quite interested in the history of Quito and of Ecuador. It's fun for me to talk about it!

We started in a modern part of town and made our way to the old town which has a lot of architecture dating from colonial times. We saw some beautiful churches too and then visited the National Museum of Ecuador. Our team especially enjoyed the exhibits on the pre-Columbian history of the country.

It looks like we will be having good weather tomorrow for our acclimatization ascent of Rucu Pichincha (15,413 ft / 4698 m). It's a good forecast and everyone is looking forward to our second big hike and scramble. After that, we will drive north to Hacienda Guachala which is a beautiful place on the gentle slopes on the approach to Cayambe. I think our team is going to really enjoy the scenery and the food there!

The next morning, we will drive up a rough road to the hut on Cayambe and do a little walking at the higher altitude. The next day we will work on glacier climbing skills on the lower glacier, and then that night around midnight will will begin our summit attempt on Cayambe (18,996 ft / 5790 m). This is going to be a lot of fun, and the climbing conditions on the glacier should be quite good.

We'll try to call again in a few days. That's the news for now.

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