Ecuador

Chimborazo and the Illinizas

Aug
02

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January 6, 2014

Chimborazo: at 6,268 meters (20,564 feet), Ecuador's tallest mountain and, due to the equatorial bulge, the point farthest from the center of the Earth. Starting from around 4,800 meters (~15,750 feet), it's also quite a long climb.

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The Last Ice Merchant

Aug
02

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January 4, 2014

After a day at Hacienda La Cinega, we started moving towards Chimborazo. On our way, we stayed at the Alta Montana, a retreat run by Rodrigo. Rodrigo is a very interesting Ecuadorian, having spent much of his life in the mountains and traveling. Several years back, he was the producer of a documentary on The Last Ice Merchant of Chimborazo, which has won awards at many international festivals.

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Cotopaxi

Aug
02

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January 2, 2014

What a way to start the New Year. Cotopaxi, the second highest active volcano in the world, is a beautiful cinder cone volcano capped with a majestic glacier. At 5,897 meters (19,342 feet) it is only a couple of meters taller than Kilimanjaro but, despite similar proximity to the Equator, has managed to maintain significant glacier coverage--wet winds from the Amazon basin provide significant moisture to replenish the loss from global-warming-induced melting.

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Feliz Anno Nuevo

Aug
02

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January 1, 2014

New Years is a special time in Ecuador. Remember those effigies I mentioned yesterday? Seems they are "married".

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Cayambe Disappointment Inversion

Aug
02

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December 30, 2013

Today we planned to finally summit the volcano whose glacier we had spent the past week playing on. Sadly, Cayambe had other plans--as our guide Alejo wisely said, there is a reason it's called mountaineering and not summiteering.

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Glacier School

Aug
02

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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.

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Acclimation

Aug
02

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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.

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Quito

Aug
02

This post has been a long time coming. It's taken a while to keep living life while also finding the time to share--I hope you enjoy these photos!

December 21, 2013

This trip started with a few meetings: first Fernando, the one who would drive me from the airport to the Hacienda Rumiloma where I will spend several nights. Then Alex, who will be joining me in all the mountaineering parts of this trip. Also Alejo, our mountaineering guide (there will be a lot of Alex's this trip--deal), and many other nice people (too many to list them all without boring you to death).

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