Chimborazo


Published by kleopatra , 8 February 2009, 16h44. Text and phots by the participants

Region: World » Ecuador
Date of the hike: 2 January 2009
Hiking grading: T2 - Mountain hike
Mountaineering grading: PD-
Waypoints:
Geo-Tags: EC 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 1510 m 4953 ft.
Height loss: 1510 m 4953 ft.
Access to start point:We took a bus from Quito to Riobamba, where you can chose between a lot of lines. From there, we took a taxi to the parking lot (50.- USD one direction). Fee for the national park: 5.- USD, copy of passport sufficient
Accommodation:Refugio Whymper. 10.- USD per person/night.
Maps:EIGM 3889-IV Chimborazo 1:50.000

This was already our second attempt for Chimborazo as we were not successful 3 days ago and this time, we were on our own (no guide). First we wanted to explore if the snow conditions had changed as 3 days ago, we were taken by our guide in the middle of the night only one hour up the main path to realize that it was too dangerous due to avalanches. At that time, we were really disappointed by these 'findings' as it was known since 10 (!) days that it was not possible to climb due to this situation. So, why did they take us there, if this was cristal clear??? That's why we decided to give it a second try, which meant, that we prepared to beleaguer the mountain for 4 days, wait for the right snow and weather conditions and then give it a try.

Day 1
Once more, we took the bus from Quito to Riobamba from where one of the yellow taxis brought us to Refugio Carell (4800m). From there we carried our very heavy backbags to the Refugio Whymper (5000m), where we installed us in a room just for ourselves. As we heard from a several people that the conditions were excellent, we walked a little upwards the main track to explore the conditions and decided that we will give it a first try this night.

Day 2
Interestingly, we must have slept despite the altitude as we woke up half an hour late and that's why we only started at 23:15. Meanwhile our group had increased by one team member, as we got to know a couple from Austria the evening before and unfortunately one of them was too sick to give it a try, therefore we welcomed M. in our team.

The night presented itself with clear sky, although a bit windy. After approximately 45 minutes we took out our crampons and started crossing to the right under the first impressive ice curtain (be careful not to gain too much in altitude while crossing). Then there was a left turn which led us directly to the 'Castillo', where the wind welcomed us with a strong blow. From that point, the way is always straight up the west ridge in a very homogenous steepness (~ 35° - max. 40°). As we started a bit too fast from the hut, we were now suffering the consequences and I think, that's why this turned out to be the most tiring ascent in my life so far. The consistency of the snow was not of much help, as the steps kept sliding backwards and when I raised my head, there was always the same picture of M. stepping continously on this black ridge into the sky. So we continued stepping upwards always with the hope that our will would be strong enough and after a subjectiv endless time, we finally reached Veintimilla.

The way to the highest point (summit Whymper) did not seem to be very long, but I was hesitating as I had a little pain in my lung. However, as the other two did not hesitate a minute, I joined and after 45 minutes, we were standing at 6310m (the highest point in the space one can get on earth) - total climbing time 8 hours. At our big surprise, M. pulled an Austrian flag out of his backbag and thanks to the strong wind, there was no  need to wave it ;-) However, the joy on the summit was of short duration as we were bombarded with snow cristalls and were soon looking like ice figures.

For the descent, we made it in one run to 4800m, where we rested briefly. Only now we realised how long the ridge was and as we had to rest a couple of more times, we only reached 'Castillo' at 11:00 which was way too late and we had  to jump between rocks spit out by the glacier walls. After having passed this passage, we continued to the hut (4 hours from the summit) and then immediately to the parking lot, where we could join the two Austrian colleagues to Riobamba. From Riobamba we took the bus back to Quito, where we fell very tired at 20:00 into bed.

More information, download of a book about the Andes.


Hike partners: kleopatra, Muellix

Gallery


Slideshow Open in a new window · Open in this window

PD
8 Dec 10
Chimborazo - Roof of Ecuador · andre68
PD I
T4 PD+ I
2 Dec 12
Chimborazo + Cayambe · Vauacht
T5+ PD- II
18 Nov 14
Il segreto del Chimborazo · Sirghigno

Comments (6)


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Sputnik Pro says: Gratauliere Euch !
Sent 8 February 2009, 18h50
Danke für den schönen Bericht und die Infos. Wenn alles nach Plan verläuft habe ich den Chimborazo nächstes Jahr geplant. Gibt es noch bessere Karten den Berges?

Viele Grüsse !

Andi

kleopatra says: RE:Gratauliere Euch !
Sent 8 February 2009, 20h02
Dankeschön! Ja es war wirklich ein tolles Erlebnis. Wenn Du ein Land suchst, in dem Du ohne grossen Aufwand über 6000m kommen willst, dann ist Ecuador sicher ein guter Kandidat, allerdings sollte die Instabilität des Wetters nicht unterschätzt werden. Wir haben in diesem Zuge auch etliche andere Berge in Eduador besucht (Tourenberichte sind alle auf hikr). Zu den Karten, leider wissen wir nichts von besseren Karten. Wir haben diese beim geografischen Institut in Quito gekauft, aber ehrlich gesagt, ist das ein besserer Copyshop auch was die Qualität der Karten betrifft. Solltest Du mehr Infos brauchen, können wir Dir gern ein paar Tips geben.

Schönen Sontag noch!

ju_wi says: it was for money...
Sent 8 February 2009, 22h03
... that they took you up. It's the same everywhere and in poorer or less developed countries it's even worse. They really don't care at all, but try to make most money out of it.
=> That's why they took you up, even if they knew there's no chance to reach the summit. I had similar experiences before.

So it was clever to do it on your own.
Congratulations and nice report!

Best regards, Juergen

kleopatra says: RE:it was for money...
Sent 8 February 2009, 22h13
Dear Jeurgen, thanks for your comment I think your really made the point, we had exactly the feeling you described (and that's also why I wrote the report in English, so that I can share this information with a lot of people around the world). It was only for money they took us there and unfortunately we made a very similar experience also on our trecking in the Altar area. Where did you experience the same? I heard only, that it must be even worse in Peru, but I have not heard of this fact being so present eg. in Nepal or Tibet, so I would be curious where you had the same troubles.

Nice evening! Kleo

ju_wi says: RE:it was for money...
Sent 22 February 2009, 16h44
Hi Kleo,
sorry I did not answer earlier - I read your comment, but had no time then and forgot...
The most obvious time we had this experience was in Cuba:
It was an organized tour in a small group where we visited the country for two weeks and (for me) the highlight was to climb Cuba's highest peak, Pico Turquino. Then when we came into the camp in the Sierra Maestra, we heard, that the passage was not allowed due to a landslide. They did as not having heard before and offered "another walk", but from camp staff we heard, it was the case since two months ago already.

Luckily there we could also solve the problem, by convincing our tour guide to climb the mountain from the south (the beach) - I had read this option in my guide book. Anyway he managed to arrange bus and camp ground and everything and at the end we did the Pico Turquino. But it was the same story and we were just lucky and insisting.

Best regads, Jürgen

kleopatra says: RE:it was for money...
Sent 22 February 2009, 17h29
Hi Jürgen,

thank you very much for your reply. I was really impressed reading it, it sounds exactly as a copy to what has happened to us. Let's hope that at least a lot of people doing the same in the future read about our experiences and can plan the tour accordingly.

Best regards, Eva


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