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Early this morning our Ecuador climbers reached the summit of Cayambe at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Located in the Cordillera Central, this glaciated super-volcano runs along the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range. The volcano and most of its slopes are located within the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. Weather conditions looked beautiful on the summit today with epic views from high above the clouds! After a short rest at the high altitude hut, our team packed up their gear and will now drive back down the mountain and toward their next mountain ascent on Chimborazo.

Way to go team!!

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William enjoying the amazing summit views from Cayambe.

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Summit success!

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Route to summit.

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Lower glacier crossing.

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Beautiful views in the Andes as our climbers set off for the Ecuador volcanoes! Our team will spend the first few days acclimating on local peaks close to Quito in preparation for Cayambe at an elevation of 18,996 feet. For a detailed overview of this exciting climb please visit our page here.

To the top!

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William celebrating his first summit of Pasochoa. This extinct volcano is located in the Guayllabamba river basin in the Ecuadorian Andes.

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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!

-Andrew

 

Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney

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Bouldering across a rock field as we make our way up Pichincha.

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Jeff and José Luis climbing up the last few steps of Pichincha!

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Jeff and Andrew at the summit of Pichincha (15,700 feet).

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Beautiful views looking over the city of Quito from Pichincha!

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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!

-Andrew Tierney

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Photos taken using DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and GoPro Hero4. Enjoy!

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Virgin of El Panecillo overlooking the city of Quito

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Church of San Francisco

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One of my favorite shots looking over the city of Quito!

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Basílica del Voto Nacional – Quito

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Rolling layers of fog made for a beautiful picture here from the summit of Pasochoa (13,860′).

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Jeff and I taking our first summit photo! More to come!!

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Our adventure rig for the week!

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Climbing down from Pasochoa over the rolling hills outside of Quito

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Palace in the Plaza Grande

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Church of La Compañía de Jesús

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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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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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With the eruption of Mount Barujari in West Nusa Tenggara settling, the Madison Mountaineering team is preparing for liftoff in Bali. The spread of volcanic ash from the volcano is moving to the south and west of the eruption point. With any luck, our climbing team will be headed to Timika and then board a helicopter to base camp today. While in Bali the team has enjoyed the breathtaking forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. Bali is a part of the Coral Triangle, a famous oceanographic area with some of the highest biodiversity of marine species in the world. The weather has been warm for the most part in the low 80’s, with occasional thunder storms in the area.

Earlier today, the Jakarta Post wrote an article that details the Bali airport gradually reopening and the continued effects of this powerful volcano eruption. The Madison Mountaineering team will receive daily updates as the climbing team progresses toward Carstensz Pyramid. Daily dispatches will be posted here!

For family members and friends, my email is andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. Feel free to email me if you have any questions as this expedition continues. Onward!

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Gear check with Ankur and Sangeeta in Bali:

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Team welcome dinner in Bali! The adventure begins:

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