Friday, February 28, 2020

2020 Ecuador Chimborazo Skills Expedition (Trip 4: Feb. 15-29, 2020) Dispatch 4

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Guide: Ramiro Garrido

Climbers: Patrick Mullen, Jo McKeagg, Natallia Bortkevich, Adam Jackson

Feb. 28, 2020

Ramiro called today with a report on the final climb of the trip.

Hello from Ecuador,

After very snowy times on Chimborazo, we arrived in sunny and warm Baños in time for a much anticipated lunch, and we have spent the afternoon doing short hikes to beautiful waterfalls. It's fun to be so warm after being in cool and cold temperatures for our climbs.

We are a happy crew, but unfortunately, we were not able to climb Chimborazo due to weather conditions. To start off, there was a huge snow storm the night of our first scheduled summit attempt. It started snowing in the morning and continued all through the night. In the end, I measured 18 cm [7 inches] of new snow, which a lot more than is usual in this region, especially at this time of year.

The next day was windy, sunny, and cold – resulting in a very wind-packed crust on top of a lot of new, unstable fresh snow from the day before. These conditions are not safe for climbing, so we decided early this morning to end the expeditionary portion of our itinerary and head to a lower elevation for some fun and a different kind of exploring.

After lunch our very nice lunch, we did some hiking as I mentioned, and some in the group experienced the "Swing at the End of the World", which overhangs a steep slope, giving the person swinging an exhilarating experience of flying above the rainforest. Crazy!

Tonight we will be in a very comfortable hotel in Baños and tomorrow, and tomorrow after an easy morning, we will have a few hours drive back north to Quito via the Pan American Highway where folks will rest, repack, and prepare for journeys home before heading out to a final dinner together.

It's be an excellent trip. We had a really good time together and had very nice successes on Pasachoa, Guagua Pichincha, Cayambe, and Cotopaxi. We saw a wide variety of landscapes and pretty scenery and really enjoyed the challenges of climbing at altitude on those four beautiful peaks. We also had some good laughs and enjoyed each other's company throughout our journey through Ecuador.

That's our news for now. Hello to everyone at home!

The group enjoying a warm day in Baños. Photo by Nataliia Bortkevich. 

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