Dispatches - Ecuador 2011

December 10, 2011

In November/December 2011, Adventure Consultants guided a small team of American friends as they climbed three Ecuador Volcanoes. These were Cayambe 5,790m/18,996ft, Cotopaxi 5,911m/19,393ft and Chimborazo 6,310m/20,702m. Guided by Rene Flores from Ecuador.

Adventure Consultants Ecuador Volcanoes 2011 Expedition Dispatches

27 November 2011 - Rucu Pichincha summit (15,413ft/4,685m)
The team arrived last night and this morning we picked everyone up at 9.30am to go in the cable car up to Rucu Pichincha where they could take in the views of Quito and its surroundings as well as getting used to the altitude. All felt good and we had dinner at a nice Ecuadorean restaurant in Quito.

28 November 2011 - Guagua Pichincha summit (15,728ft/4,794m)
Good day everyone!! We hit the road in our 4-wheel drive vehicle, which took us to the base of the mountain as well as to the parking area located at about 13,200ft from where we started our first acclimatization ascent. Our steady pace helped us to reach the summit of this active volcano in three hours. During the ascent, our guide Rene showed us some of the plants of the Andean grasslands. Among them the Chuquiragua, with orange flowers, this flower has been an emblem adopted by Ecuadorian mountaineers as their official symbol.

The name of the mountain comes from two indigenous languages; Guagua is a Quechua word that means "baby" and Pichincha comes from Tsachila meaning "the good that cries". It is still an active volcano.

29 November 2011 - Otavalo market
Today we visited the colourful Otavalo market on a a really great, sunny day. Becky loved the market!! This was our first contact with the culture of the northern part of Ecuador. We drove to San Pablo located at the base of the Imbabura mountain and we are spending the night at Hacienda Guachala. A nice relaxing evening before our Glacier School on Cayambe for 3 days. We are ready to go up Cayambe!! More to come, soon...

Scott, Becky, Dan, Paul and John


30 November – 2 December 2011 - Cayambe glacier school
We hiked on Cayambe up to an elevation of about 16,00ft where we reviewed cramponing skills and self-rescue and then roped up and marched up the glacier and capped the day with some ice climbing. Now we are resting up for our summit climb at midnight.

Unfortunately, the day of our summit it snowed and rained. After seeing the weather conditions and deciding there was no way we could climb today, we returned to bed and the next morning resumed glacier school. This was not expected as the weather was pretty nice the previous day. Thanks Rene we learned a lot! We returned to Hacienda Guachala for a good night’s rest.

3 December 2011 - Hacienda La Cienega
Today we will head to Hacienda La Cienega near Cotopaxi National Park. Hopefully the weather improves for our attempt on Cotopaxi. La Cienega’s first guest was Sir Alexander von Humboldt, who stayed there whilst carrying out a series of investigations in 1802.

Scott, Becky, Dan, Paul and John


4 December 2011
Today we had to change the itinerary due to bad weather conditions. We went to Iliniza North 5120m/16,700ft. The hike took us around 4 hours to the summit with loose rock and snow/icy conditions. Rene and Gustavo roped us together so that we could descend quickly as the clouds were coming in and we ended up hiking out in the dark using head lamps. Usually this hike and climb is quite visible and not too technical in normal conditions but the rain and snow made it a more technical climb. Finally, we got back to Hacienda La Cienega where were welcomed with wine and thick steaks!

5 December 2011
We went from Hacienda La Cienega to Tambopaxi, which is a great hostel located in the Cotopaxi National Park. We had a great rest day and can’t wait to summit Cotopaxi! We are staying here tomorrow night as well, our guides will drive us to the car park at the base of Cotopaxi and we will go for the summit from there. By the way Cotopaxi’s altitude is 5,897m/19,400ft and in Quichua means “the moon`s neck”!!

Scott, Becky, Dan, Paul and John


6 – 7 December 2011
Today the group left around 9pm, driving to the Cotopaxi hut parking lot at 4,800m. From there they started the hike up to the hut and continued to the summit. Dan and Peter got to the summit of Cotopaxi (5,897m/19,400ft) and the rest of the group went up to 18,000ft. The conditions on the mountain with lots of snow made it more technical and more physically demanding. A great climb and all are now back at Hacienda La Cienega for a great night's sleep!

8 December 2011
Today we traveled to Baños for a relaxing afternoon! Baños is the gateway to the jungle with spectacular steep road drop offs and it's also famous for its hot springs, which come from the base of the active volcano of Tungurahua. Tomorrow we will hike around the Chimborazo area but we will unfortunately not be able to climb it due to ash from Tungurahua. Oh well!

Scott, Becky, Dan, Paul and John

9 December 2011
Today we hiked on Chimborazo. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and we couldn’t see the mountain but we hiked around there for an enjoyable day. We arrived in Quito and finally tried our roasted guinea pig!! Good flavour!

10 December 2011
Our guide took us this morning to the Mitad del Mundo Monument in Quito and we also visited the Inti Nan Museum where we saw all different effects of being on the Equator, then we walked through the old colonial part of Quito.

Paul and John have spent a few hours relaxing beside the pool at the hotel and then we are all off to dinner for our last night in Quito.

Thank you all for a good time!


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