Ecuador 2015.11 Dispatches

Congratulations to our Ecuador Volcanoes team for their successful Whymper Peak Summit today at 6,268 m (20,564 ft)!! Luke, Zack and Estalin have reached the summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak! Chimborazo’s location along the earth’s equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center (aka closest to the sun). This challenging climb with many technical challenges provided spectacular views across the many glaciated peaks in the Andes mountain range. Today on this crystal clear day, we could see Colombia in the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Our team is now back in Quito where they enjoyed their celebration dinner. Estalin, Luke and Zack are enjoying their last couple days in the capital city of Quito, experiencing the rich culture and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.

Thank you Estalin Valladolid for the beautiful photos across Ecuador and great leadership throughout! Cheers team!

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Luke and Zack starting to walk to Base Camp Stubel near Chimborazo.

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Rise and shine! Alpine start on Chimborazo summit day.

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Luke and Zack on their final push to the summit of Chimborazo!

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Last steps to the summit of Chimborazo, in the background you can see Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).

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Whymper summit at 6,268 m (20,564 ft) In the back on the right you can see Cotopaxi!

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Cloud layers rolling in over Luke and Zack.

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Descending from Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).

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Descending from the summit of Whymper peak, the background Ilinizas,  Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Antizana.

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After the summit of Chimborazo, Luke Zack, and Estalin eating rabbit and guinea pig in Quito.

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Today our Ecuador climbing team had a relaxing day on Quilotoa Lake, a water-filled caldera that is also the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The day was filled with gorgeous panoramic views and blue skies as Estalin, Luke and Zack prepare for the ascent of Chimborazo tomorrow! Tonight the team will be organizing gear and preparing for the next day’s climb to our high camp on Chimborazo. On summit day, the team will begin to climb before dawn, and reach the summit of Chimborazo (20,560ft) shortly after sunrise with good weather conditions. The summit of Chimborazo is the closest point to the sun and provides climbers a spectacular mountain top view!

Estalin Suárez Valladolid continues to share his beautiful photographs shown below of this amazing journey through Ecuador! Enjoy 🙂

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Our team waiting for lunch, Luke looks hungry!

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Luke and Zack enjoying the descent!

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Luke and Zack spending time exploring near Quilotoa Lake!

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Luke and Zack taking in the beautiful country side near Chimborazo!

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Team bonding at the lodge!

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Stunning view from Quilotoa Lake, only a day of relaxation before Chimborazo!

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A short walk up to Cerro Chalata near Chimborazo lodge.

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Summit of Cerro Chalata at (4,230 m/13,874 ft)!

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Congratulations to Luke, Zack and Estalin for successfully making it to the Summit of Cayambe Volcano at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Cayambe Volcano is located in the Cordillera Central, a gorgeous range of the Ecuadorian Andes in northern Ecuador. Our climbing team came together as a team and safely pushed through the clouds all the way to the top of this Holocene compound volcano! Prior to this exciting summit push our team was able to relax and enjoy the scenic city of Otavalo surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura 4,630 m (15,190 ft) and Cotacachi 4,995 m (16,388 ft).

Now back in the city of Hacienda Guachala, the team is resting before departing for Estrella del Chimborazo Lodge at 4,000 m (13,125 ft). Estalin, Luke and Zack will organize gear and prepare for the next day’s climb to our high camp. Stay tuned!

Estalin’s photos are shared below, enjoy!

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We stopped at the monument called the Mitad del mundo (middle of the world) that is said to be the “only real” statue located right on the equator!

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The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for weaving textiles, usually made of wool (that is sometimes as black as a raven), which are sold at this famous market in Otavalo city. Luke and Zack were able to find beautiful souvenirs here!

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Luke and Zack enjoying the local cuisine in downtown Otavalo. They needed all the energy they could get before making the summit push to top of Cayambe!

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Our team stayed safe and worked together as a team to make the successful push to the summit!

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Luke, Zack and Estalin posing for a summit shot at 5,790 m (19,000 ft) on top of Cayambe!

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After a good nights rest in the city of Hacienda Guachala, Luke, Zack and Estalin departed toward the mystical cloud forests of the Imbabura Volcano region. The team had a wonderful day exploring this inactive stratovolcano in northern Ecuador and successfully navigated their way to the summit at 4,630 m (15,190 ft). Imbabura Volcano has not erupted for at least 14,000 years and provides explorers a beautiful landscape to acclimatize and view the fields of ash from thousands of years ago. Luke and Zack practiced their glacier skills yesterday on the base of Cayambe and prepared for the summit push today. Stay tuned!

Estalin continues to share beautiful photos of the team’s journey through Ecuador. Enjoy! 🙂

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Luke is very happy upon reaching the summit of Imbabura Volcano!

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Quick photo as the team begins the trek toward the summit! 

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Luke putting his rock climbing skills to use, don’t look down! 

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Zack traversing his way through the rock formations on Imbabura Volcano:

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Luke smiles for the camera as he makes the last few steps to the summit!

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Summit of Imbabura at 4,630 m (15,190 ft):

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Today the Madison Mountaineering team made another acclimatization climb to the summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft)! This was the teams third successful day trek as they continue to adapt to the elevation gain in the Andes. These peaks were visible from the nearby city of Quito where the expedition began. Weather today was partly cloudy with breaks in the clouds throughout the afternoon. The team is now in route to Hacienda Guachala near the town of Cayambe. This colonial town is known as the oldest hacienda (Spanish for estate) in Ecuador, with structures dating all the way back to 1580! Tomorrow the team will be making another day hike to Imbabura and continue this epic journey. Onward!

Interesting Fact about Pichincha Volcano: On May 24, 1822, General Sucre’s southern campaign in the Spanish-America war of independence, came to a climax when patriot forces defeated the Spanish colonial army on the south-east slopes of this volcano. The engagement, known as the Battle of Pichincha, secured the independence of the territories of present day Ecuador.

Beautiful photos from our expedition leader Estalin below! 🙂

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Team starting the trek to Ruku Pichincha:

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Lunch break with a pretty epic view! 

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Traversing rocky terrain:

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Luke resting before the last step to the summit:

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Last push before the summit!

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Summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft):

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Making our descent through the clouds:

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Luke enjoying the moment! 🙂 

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Yesterday our Madison Mountaineering team in Ecuador made it to the summit of Pasochoa!! Pasochoa is an extinct volcano with amazing views and is located in the Ecuadorian Andes. This initial acclimatization hike is the first of many as the team continues to adapt to the high altitude Ecuador volcanoes. At 8:30 am the team started the trek toward the summit of Pasochoa Volcano at 4,200 meters (13,860 feet). The weather was enjoyable with a few clouds throughout the day. Luke and Zack made amazing time on this first hike and trekked up and down of the mountain in four hours and sixteen minutes! The team then made their way back to the hotel for a good nights rest. Tomorrow Luke and Zack will depart the hotel and hike up Pichincha at 4,784 meters ( 15,700 feet).  Stay tuned as the expedition continues, beautiful pictures below!
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Luke and Zack starting the way up in the middle of the Andean grassland:
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Lunch break selfie 🙂

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Luke and Zack viewing the beautiful volcano crater:

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The final push to the summit of Pasochoa Volcano at 4,200 meters:

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Summit of Pasochoa volcano:

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The Madison Mountaineering team is preparing to depart for the highest peaks in Ecuador. At the summit of Chimborazo, we will be at the farthest point from the Earth’s surface! Located in the Andes mountain range this inactive volcano is believed to have erupted around 550AD. The Ecuador volcanoes offer a magnificent climbing on high altitude glaciated peaks. During this expedition we have ample time for technical skills review with the team. During this process our knowledgable guides will be able to share tips and mountain wisdom with the group. The volcanoes the team will be traveling to are located just outside the capital city of Quito. With Quito as our base, we ascend these Ecuadorian giants, and rest between climbs in Hacienda style lodges that provide an outstanding relaxation and dining experience. Our camps on these volcanoes are either European style mountain huts or tent camps. Reaching a altitude of over 20,000ft on Chimborazo, the views from the summit will be nothing short of spectacular! Past trips have explored to nearby Cotopaxi, yet in recent events mother nature has called and this volcano is now active. Needless to say we will be keeping our distance and monitoring the volcanoes activity.

Ecuador Volcanoes