124 Photos - Dec 27, 2012
Photo: Photo: Hailing a cab near our hotel.  We had 3-4 segments of travel to do that day...Photo: "Make Way, People!!!"  Big Backpacks Coming Through!!!  Walking the streets of Machachi got a little tight at times...Photo: We wandered the streets of Machachi for a while, looking for a paint store.  I thought they might have mineral spirits suitable for our stove and occasional recreational use.Photo: Looks of confidence after our nice lunch.  Little did we know the trials that lay ahead!!Photo: Cotopaxi, our first summit, is somewhere in that mass of clouds...Photo: This is at the south entrance to the park after we got turned around by the guards at the national park gate.  They told us we needed to have an Ecuadorian guide to continue on and climb the mountain.  We departed, sullen, but determined to get up this mountain without a guide.Photo: Eventually, we found a guy who would pose as our Ecuadorian climbing guide.  We paid him $25 to get us through the park entrance, then we left us on our own.  Nice!  We were in!!!  This is the drive to the trailhead.Photo: Jeremy packing up at the trailhead in front of a beautiful double rainbow.  It was cold and windy up there at 4500 meters!Photo: Let's get moving guys!  It's cold!!!Photo: Our first view of the mountain and the Jose Rivas Hut!Photo: Photo: We had lots of time to sit around and drink a ton of water.  We ate a lot of Trader Joe products on this trip.  Clif products, too.Photo: Jose Rivas Hut and the valley below...Photo: Cotopaxi in its full glory!Photo: Photo: Hoards of tourists treck up the refugio each day.Photo: Jeremy, below the Dragon's Mouth!!  Look out, Jeremy!!!Photo: The weather changes quickly up there!!!Photo: Practising crevasse resuce systems.  Jeremy hold my fall while Ryan takes his time with the prusik.Photo: A beatitful place to practise with ropes and pulleys!Photo: "Tim sure has been eating a lot of almuerzos...we should use the 9:1 system to pull his fat ass out."Photo: Evening in the Jose Rivas Hut...Photo: Passing time with the hackey sack.  These guys were part of an American Military Vet group climbing the mountain.  One of the guys was blind.  Another had a prosthetic leg.Photo: Getting ready to rope up at the toe of the glacier...it was about 3:00am at this point.Photo: Negotiating our way through the ice fall in the early morning...Photo: With morning light came some glorious views!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: One last break before the summit - we were starting to feel a little pooped...Photo: I was amazed at all the gullies and ravines down in the valley...Photo: Finally one summit now!  This is the crater which lies just south of the summit - reminds me of the Great Sarlac Pit in Star Wars...Photo: Photo: Ryan, on top of Ecuador.  (almost)  The summit of Cotopaxi is about 19,300' above sea level.  I had been at sea level just a few days before this, and my headache was pretty bad.  I really needed another day or two of acclimitisation to do this climb in comfort.Photo: Ryan and Jeremy on the summit.  My head hurt pretty bad, so I didn't take many photos on the summit. It took us about 5.5 hours from the hut to the summit, we spent quite a bit of time waiting for slower parties to make it through the ice maze...Photo: Starting to head down the mountain now...Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Getting further down the mountain - starting to get really hot in the sunshine...Photo: Photo: Best to keep moving quickly under this tipping tower!!!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: It was about 300 veritcal feet of winding through the ice fall.  The formationswere pretty crazy.  Reminded me of ice cream sundaes...Photo: We had to do a lot of waiting in the icefall for the military veterans group...Photo: Slooooooowly making our way throught the icefall.  My headache was terrible.  I really wanted to get down to the hut to lie down but just had to wait...Photo: More waiting.  At least the icefall was cool to check out...Photo: Finally!  We pass the slow group and head on down to the hut.  Amazing how much less time it takes to get down compared to going up!!Photo: We skirted quite a few big crevasses...Photo: We were close to the bottom of the glacier now - it took us about 2 hours to get down from the summit.  Once we got back to the scree, I ran down to the hut as fast as I could so I could relieve my headache with sleep, water and Aleve...Photo: We took a nap once we got to the hut, then walked down the 800 vertical feet down to the trailhead - hopefully our pre-negociated ride would show up!!!  Well, he did show up...and he took us all the way back to Quito.  We were stoked to have already bagged the second-highest peak in Ecuador...Photo: Photo: Gorgeous landscapes on the way to Riobamba...Photo: We oredered a giant pizza in Riobamba at Happy Pizza.  The pizza was about 4 square feet!Photo: Look at the size of that pizza!!!Photo: We polished it off!  It was pretty gross pizza, really!!Photo: With full bellies, we headed to the bus station to find a willing cab driver to lie for us at the Chimborazo entrance gate.  We "legally" needed a guide to climb the mountain.  We dont need no stinking guides!  With our mediocre spanish, we struggled to find a willing driver to lie for us, but we eventually found a guy who spoke some english, and was A BORDO for our deceptive plan!!!Photo: "Hi there!  We want to go to Chimborazo, will you lie for us?"Photo: An adjacent volcano, Tungurahua, was erputing on our drive to park entrance...Photo: Cool soil layers next to the road...Photo: OK - it is "Go Time"!  We approach the park entrance gate!!  What would happen!!!Photo: Turns out the entrance gate was hardly even manned.  Our driver and Jeremy told some little white lies to the guy at the entrance, and we were on our way to the trailhead!!!Photo: Jeremy and our driver head in to tell little white lies...Photo: At the trailhead - it was gloomy - and soon we walked past memorials of fallen climbers.  Not super inspiring, really...Photo: We got to the Whymper Hut to find it under construction - we had to clean the place up a bit - but it was comfortable and we had the place mostly to ourselves!Photo: As usual, right before sunset the mountain shows itself!!!Photo: Tim and Chimborazo!Photo: The Whymper Hut at sunset!Photo: This was one of the best sunsets I had seen in a long time...Photo: Chimborazo in alpenglow!Photo: The sunset attracted a gaggle of climbers who were dazzled!...Photo: An international crowd jokes around.  Not sure why that guy has a helmet on.  Paranoia?Photo: stunning...Photo: The Dragon rears it's head from the cloud layer below...Photo: View of The Dragon through the Whymper Hut window...Photo: Getting ready for bed at 7:00pm...Photo: Whymper was the first bloke to climb Chimborazo...Photo: Heading up to high camp around 8am...Photo: Photo: Trying to move quickly through the deadly traverse section.  Rocks were already starting to move on this slope - scary!Photo: Rocks are perched above us, held up only with some ice and loose, cruddy mud.  Nasty!Photo: Getting close to the ridgeline now...Photo: We arrive at camp about 2.5 hours after we left the Whymper Hut...Photo: Setting up camp...this was around 18,000 feet...Photo: Tim's headache not shown...Photo: Chilling out, melting snow...Photo: I headed back down to the Hut for a few hours since my headache was kiling me.  Here Jeremy stand on the ridge above - perhaps trying to see if I had been hit by one of those precariously perched boulders...Photo: Feeling much better now that I am back down at 16,500 feet...I dedcided to get up around 10:30pm, and re-climb to meet Jeremy and Ryan for a summit attempt...Photo: A less-jumbled, but beautiful sunset on the second night...Photo: The summit of Chimborazo!!  I left the hut (16,200') around 11:30pm, met Ryan and Jeremy at the ridge (18,000') and after making our way up the steep ridge for a few hours, we made it to the true summit (20,560') around 5:30am.  My headach came back around 19,500' and was quite bad...Photo: Two mates on the summit!Photo: Mates on the summit!!!Photo: Checking out Tungurahua eruption from the summit.  The eruption made the newspapers the next day - we were super lucky to be on the summit when the eruption happened...Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Looking back at the Whymper summit from the false summit.  Jeremy makes his way back...Photo: Photo: Jeremy with stokage!Photo: Ryan, chilling (literally) on the summit...Photo: Stoked!Photo: Photo: Photo: The sun felt pretty damn good after walking all through the night!!Photo: It was still cold, even with the sun, so we headed down.  My headache was killing me, so I was happy to head down quickly...Photo: Chimborazo shadow!Photo: Down, down, down, down....Photo: Tungaruahua created a Mordor-like cloud over the vicinity...Photo: We need to go way down there!!!Photo: Negociating the final, trickly, downclimb on the ridge...Photo: On the ridge, right above camp...Photo: Our camp, "El Nido de las Vicunias".Photo: The final slog back to the trailhead - we were hoping to be able to hitch a ride back to Riobamba...Photo: Jeremy tries to get a ride back to Riobamba using his usual methods...Photo: Vicunia and Chimborazo...Photo: Vicuuuuuniaaaaa!!Photo: Our last glimpse of Chimbo!!Photo: Our route up the mountain.  We set up a camp on the flat shoulder about halfway up on the second night.  I didn't sleep there, though.  My head hurt too badly.