Published by kleopatra , 28 January 2009, 08h32. Text and phots by the participants

Region: World » Ecuador
Date of the hike:26 December 2008
Mountaineering grading: PD-
Geo-Tags: EC 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 1100 m 3608 ft.
Height loss: 1100 m 3608 ft.
Access to start point:We were picked up by Diego Castillo with the company car of Climbing Tours
Accommodation:Tambopaxi (3750m) oder das Refugio Jose F. Ribas am Cotopaxi (4800m).
Maps:EIGM Blatt 3992-III ‚Sincholagua; 3991-IV Cotopaxi; 3892-II Machachi

Day 1
Just back from the Illiniza Norte in El Chaupi, we are picked up by our Guide Diego Castillo to drive us to the Cotopaxi Nationalpark, where we reach the gate short before it closes (official closing is at 15:00). As I was still feeling the bad night sleeping high at Illinizas and a little headache, our guide could arrange a night in Tambopaxi (3750m). Tambopaxi is a very nice place, serves great dishes (Rösti à la Ecuador) and has a hot shower!

Day 2
As one has to start about 1 hour earlier from Tambopaxi to drive the the car parking for Cotopaxi, we had a very short night of 3,5 hours sleep. Diego woke us at 22:15 and after trying to eat a little breakfast in the middle of the night, we hopped on the car and had to go through a fog that thick that you could hardly see the road. From the car park (4600m), we followed the very tiring sand pist to the refugee, where there were already a lot of people preparing for their attempt. A few 100 meters after the refugee the hiking track reaches the glacier. The glacier starts quite smooth, but reaches a very steep passage at 5200m which can be very exhausting if it has the same soft snow that we enjoyed (one step upwards, half a step downwards). We were very happy, when we reached a left turn at 5500 (nice view of the lights of Quito), where the track became a bit better. At that point, we had to take out our fith layer of clothing because the wind blew constantly covering everything with a thin ice layer. The track continued along an impressive crevasse which it crosses at 5600m. Then the track leads relatively flat towards the last steep section (up to 40°) which is crossed to the left side, 5 m up a steep icy gully, which we had to climb using our front tines. After crossing the final crevasse over a snowbridge, we could soon smell the sulfur vapour from the summit crater and suddenly we were at the top (after 7h from the car park). Diego allowed us 15 minutes for relaxing and taking pictures (unfortunately not much to see apart from ourselves due to the clouds) and then we headed down to the refugee in 2 hours, where we could take some nice shots of the 'house' foxes. Then we headed down the sand slope (very nice descent!) to the car park. On the way back to Quito, we took the other exit of the national park directly towards Quito, where we could see some very nice pieces of landscape (a little bit of a rain forest) rumbling over endless cobbled paved roads. A great finish of a great tour!

Due to the heavy snowfall during the whole year 2008 the crevasses on Cotopaxi as well as on Chimborazo were almost all very well covered - so excellent conditions compared to some reports (2004, 2005) indicating difficulties in crossing crevasses or finding the way through the labyrinth.

More information, download of a book about the Andes.

Hike partners: kleopatra, Muellix

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T5 I
25 Dec 08
Illiniza Norte · kleopatra

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