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December 24, 2013

After our day in Quito, we started acclimating in earnest. First we climbed a small "hill" near Quito, Guagua Pichincha (Baby Pichincha) taking us to about 4800 meters (~15,750 feet) before returning back to Hacienda Rumiloma. The next day was a little more relaxing, with a bit of time in the Otovalo market before a shorter hike around a lake at the base of a mountain in the Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi-Cayapas and a night in Hacienda Pinsaqui.

This put us in a good position to move up to Cayambe--the placed we'd practice mountaineering skills before pushing up the near-6000 meter (just under 20,000 foot) peak. We drove up near the base and hiked up to just under 5000 meters (~16,400 feet) before heading back down to a Hacienda Tupigachi, run by Paulo the mountaineer, staffed by an excellent chef and guarded by Leopaulo the dog. Tomorrow we head back up to the Caymbe hut (~4650 meters, ~15,250 feet) and glacier for a few days before returning to Paulo's hacienda to rest for a night before our first summit push.

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