MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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February 3, 2011

A Turn for Better Weather in Ecuador


The headwall on Cayambe

All photos by Andrea Hilderbrand

You may have been following our recent trips in Ecuador where our teams have been confronted with some unfavorable weather on the summits of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. La Niña has been making summiting attempts difficult in Ecuador this year, extending the wet season longer than usual. However, a Mountain Madness group of 8 and their two guides, Ossy and Gaspar, summited Cayambe and Cotopaxi this January!

Andrea on the summit of Cayambe with Antisana in the background. 

The trip launched on January 16th with a Glacier Mountaineering Course on the slopes of Cayambe with Gaspar Navarrete and four climbers. To prepare them for the summit climbs, they were instructed in the basics of mountaineering with snow climbing, ice axe positioning, crampon techniques, self arrest techniques, crevasse rescue practice, navigation and rope management.

Feeding the llamas!

Four other climbers joined them on January 19th to begin the summit attempt of Cayambe. They were met with good weather conditions and everyone was healthy and feeling great! All eight climbers and both guides reached the summit on January 25th.

Tambopaxi Hut with Cotopaxi in the distance.

Several days later, the group headed towards Tambopaxi in preparation for their summit push on Cotopaxi. Good weather, strength and health followed the group up to the summit on climber Tim Carey's birthday! What a great way to celebrate! The weather was beautiful and the clear skies gave them great views from the summit. 

Ossy, Andrea, Rudy and Mike at the summit of Cotopaxi! 

These two successful and rewarding summits were enough for two of our climbers, who decided to return to warmer temperatures and relax. The rest of the group started out on Chimborazo a couple days later, but due to a crusty layer over hard ice at 18,600 feet, the group had to turn back. They got back to the Whymper Hut early in the morning and drove back to Quito. On the way, they stopped in Selva Alegre for some delicious guinea pig, one of the most traditional dishes in the Ecuadorian highlands! 

We have one Ecuador trip left for the season, departing on February 25th! If you can't make it with us in February, the South America season reopens in May with climbs and treks all over Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. See you on the mountain!