Hi everyone! We are very happy to announce that all team members made it to the main summit of Chimborazo in beautiful weather! Big congrats to Julie, Ayelet and Vladimir!!! Nicely done!!! What a great way to finish the AAI Winter Climbing Season in Ecuador! Please, find below a brief description of the climb written by Julie. Our best to you all “We started the hike in to Stubel camp with our awesome porters who beat us to camp and had tents set up by the time we arrived. The cook made us a delicious three coarse meal of quinoa soup with fresh cheese and avocado, pasta primavera, and cookies. We caught a few hours of sleep (not easy to do at 16,500’!) and then started our ascent at midnight. Chimborazo was the most challenging of our climbs due to both altitude and the steady incline, but with the help of our guides we all made it together. Since we climbed up the Stubel glacier rather than the normal route, we saw only a handful of climbers the entire day and once again had the summit to ourselves. It was a perfect day to be stand on the furthest point from the center of the earth.”
Success on Cotopaxi for team “Salsa Secreta”! Breakfast at 10 pm was our earliest alpine start yet. We fueled up on our lucky mixed juice before heading up to the parking area to start the summit attempt just before midnight. Switchbacking our way up the volcanic slopes, we took our first break at the Jose Rivas hut. As we climbed higher, the moon light reflected gently off the tops of the clouds covering the valley below. The glacier’s stunning features and dramatic crevasses took shape in the light of our headlamps. We worked our way up the slopes as the sun rose and illuminated a sea of clouds punctuated by the tops of Cayambe and Antisana. When the altitude set in and we were close enough to smell the volcano; Jose, Santiago, and Nico kept us motivated up the last 700’ to reach the stunning volcano crater. We had the summit all to ourselves on an unusually clear day. A few hours later, we were relaxing with a delicious lunch in the magical Tambopaxi lodge surrounded by llamas and wild horses.
Hello family and friends! The team attempted Cayambe and had to endure strong winds. They pushed through and got to 5,401 m/17,720 ft. Then most climbers decided to be conservative and save their strenght for Cotopaxi. Vladimir together with one of the Alpine Ascents guides braved the weather and went all the way to the summit (5,789 m/18,993 ft.). This is Vladimir comment about the climb: “It was incredible to have the whole mountain to just our team. The weather was a bit challenging but after all it made the climb more interesting. Good sunny days don’t always happen in the mountains. The ice wall close to the summit looked incredible” Big congrats to the team for the great effort and for staying safe! It is worth mentioning that it was a new personal altitude record for all of them. They are currently at the base of Cotopaxi ready to do their summit attempt on the second highest mountain in Ecuador. Wish them luck with the weather. They are all feeling strong and well acclimated. They send their best to their loved ones. More soon!
Hello again! It’s been 48 hours since our last update. Since then, the team has begrudgingly left the hot springs, and has started to “rough it” (though there’s still be real beds and electricity). The team left the hot springs Wednesday morning and enjoyed a short hike up Antenas Peak, at 14.4k ft. We then started the drive to Cayambe, with a detour to the center of the world — the true equator line! We then finished the drive up to Yanacocha Lodge at 12k ft on the side of Cayambe. Our driver Patricio impressed everyone driving our bus on a less than stellar road in incredibly muddy conditions. We did some knots and ropes review before dinner. Today, everyone on the team reached a new personal high point, hiking up to the glacier on Cayambe for some glacier travel practice at just over 16k ft! The team then faced their biggest challenge: choosing a team name. It would be bad luck attempting to summit Cayambe without one. The theme of the trip has been eating delicious food, usually with the local hot sauce. Thus, we present, La Salsa Secreta (the secret sauce). And now, we rest before the climb! Wish us good weather.
Hello from Ecuador! The weather today was clear and allowed us nice views of the cloud forest, the Andean grasslands and Antisana volcano again! We hiked among a beautiful group of Andean lakes. Today’s goal was to reach Parcacocha Lake (4,069 m/13,350 ft.) so we did. Pictures attached to proof this
Everyone is doing well and looking forward to moving to Cayambe tomorrow. This mountain is going to be our first big volcano climb in Ecuador.
We will keep you updated!
All the best from the Andes!
PS.- It is going to be difficult to leave the hot springs resort though.
Great program. The expedition was well organized and leadership was outstanding…AAI has the logistics dialed in on this one. No hitches in logistics. Lots of moving around from hotels to huts to climbing. Everything went as smoothly as one could possibly expect.