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Ecuador November 2011 Private Expedition Report
with ascents of:
Rucu Pichincha (15,340′) & Antisana (18,875′)
Eli is returning to Quito on Dec. 3rd, 2011 with Alejo and a small group of climbers to attempt a few of the more challenging volcanoes. Our 10 day itinerary will focus on climbs of Rucu Pichincha, Antisana, and Chimborazo.
This itinerary will include hotel, tent, and hut lodging as we tour with Eli and Alejo across the central Andes between the cities of Quito and Banos. Our team’s biggest goal will be an ascent of Chimborazo, the furthest point from the center of the earth and an elusive 20,565′ summit.
We have space for one more climber if you are qualified and interested in this itinerary, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org and check-out the trip information at ClimbingLife Guides. It’s not too late to explore the Andes this year with a competent climbing team and two of the most experienced Ecuadorian guides.
Steve acclimatizing on the east ridge of Rucu Pichincha, accessed from the telepherico which rises from 10,200 to 13,000′ to make an easy approach for this one-day climb.
Rucu Pichincha as viewed from the Bellavista area of Quito. The normal route to the summit traverses the ridge at left then skirts below the summit at right (north) to gain the light colored sandy slopes cascading down from left to right from the rocky summit.
Steve on third class terrain, just 30m below the summit of Rucu.
Rising up the Telepherico from basecamp in our hotel in nearby (15 minutes) downtown Quito.
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Heading up to Antisana basecamp (14,800′) for a week in our fully loaded Toyota Landscruiser.
The view from basecamp of nearby Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet at 19,347′ in elevation.
As the route to the central summit on Antisana had not been climbed in months, Alejo and Eli started moving equipment to high camp immediately upon our arrival and then climbed the peak on our first morning in basecamp to both find the route, assess the crevasse and avalanche risks, and mark the path for our second ascent with Steve.
The Central and South summits (L-R) of Antisana on the morning of our second day in basecamp.
Our route up the mountain roughly followed the moraine crest at right to the snout of the dry glacier, up to near the saddle of the two peaks, and then left to gain the south ridge of the central summit. Alejo and Eli made this climb from basecamp in 5 hrs to the summit while taking time to find the route, mark hazards, enter gps waypoints, and dig-out a high camp above the firn line of the glacier.
Although the route is very climbable from basecamp, we chose to make a higher camp to increase Steve’s acclimatization and potential for summiting, which paid-off with a smooth summit day despite almost white-out conditions causing low visibility.
(R) Alejo leading the way around the ice cliffs and seracs that guard the central summit plateau.
This fourth highest volcano in Ecuador is known for having more avalanche deaths and crevasse risks than the other principal peaks of Ecuador. There was evidence of widespread slab avi activity (30cm deep) from the most recent snowfall in late October. This slope pictured, was clearly unsupported due to the large bergschrund crevasse at its base and with some lee loaded from the prevailing east to west winds at this elevation (17,000+), and a prime suspect with slope angles in the upper 30’s to low 40’s.
Following our trip to Antisana, Joanne Helmuth joined Eli for a quick climb up the 19,347′ active volcano of Cotopaxi where we were treated to excellent climbing and weather conditions for Joanne’s first summit above 15,500′.
A view from the summit of Cotopaxi into the steaming crater. Joanne enjoys some quiet summit time with Chimborazo standing out 40 miles to the south.
We also enjoyed some days of rock climbing and a visit to the Amazon Basin in the first week of November. (L) Eli on the FA of a 6a at Zoologico Vertical outside Banos and (R) on Bongoso (6b) at the Cuyuja Crag nearby Papallacta Hot Springs.
Afternoon sun on the basalt crags of Sigsipampa, just 40 minutes outside of downtown Quito.
This is the best sport climbing destination close to the capitol city and well worth a few visits. Set in a picturesque and quiet valley with easy access (expect to pay $1 entrance fee to the Campesina) and a range of routes from 5.8-5.13, this compact area is steep with mostly solid rock and positive-type holds.
Call with questions or to book your next international expedition, backcountry skiing, avalanche safety, or rock climbing trip:
ClimbingLife Guides is an authorized permittee of Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Denali National Park, and the Boulder Mountain Open Space.
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