Glacier School

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December 29, 2013

Glaciers are a special beast. Formed from snow piling up over many years, compacted by the weight of that snow and slowly drifting across and shaping the terrain, glaciers have a special beauty that hides many of the dangers contained within. Safely navigating and climbing glaciers requires special gear, knowledge and practice, something I hoped to gain on this trip.

Our playground for this practice was the glacier on Cayambe, the only glacier crossing the Equator. Learning and adapting skills for safe glacier travel was the focus of our next few days.

Efficient crampon use, ice axe functionality, crevasse traversal and rescue, glacier rope teams and more were demonstrated by our guide Alejo. Because Alex and I already had significant other climbing experience, we were able to quickly grasp the essential, leaving plenty of time for practice and advanced techniques. Our last day (when our final climb participant Paul joined us) even included a bit of vertical ice climbing on the glacier, with noticeable difference from the waterfall ice I'd climbed before.

Lots of fun, great learning opportunities and an amazingly beautiful mountain glacier combined for an excellent few days. Now we're back at Hacienda Tupigachi to rest up before our summit push on Cayambe--should be fun!

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