Our climbing team is having a cloudy and rainy week across Ecuador so far and we all hope that conditions will get better shortly. Starting in Guachala earlier this week the team moved up towards the hut on Cayambe. Despite a smooth start to our team’s summit attempt last night on Cayambe, the weather very quickly turned shortly after roping up and starting up the glacier. Two hours into the climb up the glaciated slopes of Cayambe the clouds appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to dump wet snow on our team. Not long after, the sky was filled with lightning and thunder. At this point our team quickly descended back to the hut. The weather turned on our climbers when they reached around 5,000 meters. It dumped snow most of the night causing Jared and Andrew to be a bit delayed on the departure trying to wait for the hazardous road conditions to improve. Our team is now assessing options for Chimborazo given the weather and our maximum acclimatization height to date.
Mother Nature always gets the final say.
Thank-you Jared for the update and pictures!
Our climbing team in Ecuador continued their acclimatization climbs outside of Quito with a successful summit of Rucu Pinchincha this afternoon. Jared and Andrew were able to beat the change in weather and are now settled in Papallacta. Our team had just started to descend in the cable car when it started to rain. Jared reports that Cayambe was clear this morning before getting clouded in, and Antisana and Cotopaxi had lenticular clouds over them. Currently low clouds are reported in the surrounding hills while raining on and off at Papallacta.
Yesterday Jared and Andrew had an easy day at Papallacta. Completing a short hike in the park up to one of the lakes in the morning. Our team is healthy and doing well. Onward!
Thank you Jared for the awesome pics!!
Jeff, José, and I have made a safe and successful ascent of Cayambe volcano! After we finished our acclimatization hikes near Quito we departed for Cayambe hut at an elevation of 15,250 feet. After a hour of driving from Hacienda Guachala we took our expedition vehicle across rocky and steep terrain toward Cayambe. The hut was beautifully located and provided spectacular views of the mountain. After three days of glacier training we prepared our gear and left at 11pm for the summit. After 7 hours of climbing we made it over the last crevasse and to the top on a crystal clear day just as the sun came up over the horizon. We were the first climbing team to reach the summit 🙂 We had an amazing adventure and thank our guide José Luis for his expert guidance and support! I will be posting additional photos from our expedition to the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page!
Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney using a GoPro Hero 4 Black and iPhone 6. Enjoy! 🙂
Dinner at Hacienda Guachala. The Hacienda Guachalá is known as the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, and the most important hacienda until the middle of the 20th century. The oldest buildings date from the year 1580!
Breakfast with a view at Hacienda Guachala.
Middle of the World!
Happy Birthday Jeff! 🙂 Mountain Birthday’s are the best!
Jeff with Cayambe in the background!
Glacier training on Cayambe.
Ladder training in preparation for Jeff’s upcoming Everest ascent!
Andrew enjoying the fixed ropes and ladders on Cayambe!
Jeff preparing to cross the ladder.
Andrew on the summit of Cayambe!
Jeff on the summit of Cayambe! Rise & Shine!
Spectacular sunrise across Ecuador!
Last sunset before we made our ascent!
Yesterday Jeff, José, and I summited Pichincha in record time and enjoyed panoramic views of Cayambe, Cotopaxi (active), and many other notorious mountains across Ecuador. Once we reached the summit at 15,700 feet we had lunch and continued to acclimate as we prepare for the journey to Cayambe hut today. After our climb we checked out of our hotel in Quito and drove a short distance to Hacienda Guachala, a famous establishment that dates back to 1580! As we fell asleep we enjoyed a warm fire in our room and woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee on our patio. Today we will journey to the Cayambe hut and begin to review the technical skills that we will need for the climb. Service will become harder to find but I will try and update the blog as soon as I am able. Onward!
Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney
Bouldering across a rock field as we make our way up Pichincha.
Jeff and José Luis climbing up the last few steps of Pichincha!
Jeff and Andrew at the summit of Pichincha (15,700 feet).
Beautiful views looking over the city of Quito from Pichincha!
Today Jeff Glasbrenner and I explored the rolling country side and completed acclimatization hikes near Quito. We cruised to the top of Pasochoa at 13,860 ft and bagged another nearby summit as well. After a day of hiking we explored the beautiful city of Quito where we saw the historic sites and had an authentic Ecuadorian dinner in town. Tomorrow we will continue to acclimate to the altitude with our amazing guide, José Luis, and climb Pinchincha at 15,700 ft. The weather is beautiful and our team is very excited to begin our journey to Cayambe in the days to come.
To the top!
Photos taken using DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and GoPro Hero4. Enjoy!
Virgin of El Panecillo overlooking the city of Quito
Church of San Francisco
One of my favorite shots looking over the city of Quito!
Basílica del Voto Nacional – Quito
Rolling layers of fog made for a beautiful picture here from the summit of Pasochoa (13,860′).
Jeff and I taking our first summit photo! More to come!!
Our adventure rig for the week!
Climbing down from Pasochoa over the rolling hills outside of Quito
Palace in the Plaza Grande
Church of La Compañía de Jesús
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!
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!
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!
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!
Our team stayed safe and worked together as a team to make the successful push to the summit!
Luke, Zack and Estalin posing for a summit shot at 5,790 m (19,000 ft) on top of Cayambe!