MM Collection
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Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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July 10, 2017

Ecuador Mountaineering School Summits Cayambe, Iliniza North, and Chimborazo

The latest Ecuador Mountaineering School started with a city tour in Quito, visiting churches and walking around the town as climbers got accustomed to the altitude of the Andes. The first acclimitization climb was Ruco Pichincha, aka "Raccoon Pikachu," where the team kept their fingers crossed for the weather to hold out during the five-hour trip. It did - that day. The acclimatization hike to the entrance of the glacier at Cayambe, however, was not so lucky. Lead guide Alejandro describes the very wet day as "soaked to my underwear," and the team climbed up on a bad blizzard. All was not struggle, though; after the climb the team went to Tupigachi to dry at a fireplace and enjoy warm food.

Climbing "Raccoon Pikachu."  Francisco Arroba photo

The first day of the glacier school was an intense one, as the team learned cramponing skills and ice axe basics at the Glaciar Hermoso. After returning to the hut, they practiced knots and roping up as a team. The next three days followed the same pace, with the team practicing self-arrest, snow anchors, pulley systems, and auto rescue.

Francisco Arroba photo

The poor weather broke in time for Cayambe, turning absolutely beautiful. Taking advantage of this fortune, all members of the team summited; one client and guide even doing it in a speedy eight hours round-trip.

Francisco Arroba photo

Iliniza North provided a bit more challenging weather. As the team arrived to the hut, hail fell in on the mountain for a couple of hours. The amount of ice delayed the start but allowed time for a nice, relaxed breakfast. The climbing was complicated by verglas, and the team members who made the summit only stayed for a few brief moments due to high wind.

Francisco Arroba photo

Another switch in the weather offered a very nice day for Chimborazo; almost no wind and good snow conditions allowed two of the three team members to reach their third summit.

Francisco Arroba photo