Safely Back in Quito

Posted by: | June 13, 2010
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador

The team is all safely back in Quito now, after returning from or climb of Cayambe. We took advantage of good climbing conditions with an alpine start (midnight) from the climbing hut on Cayambe, and enjoyed a starry night, comfortable climbing temperature, and good cramponing. Everyone climbed very well - the previous week of climbing and hiking at high altitude had obviously paid off; we were all strong and acclimated. The stars turned to clouds as we ascended the Picos Jarrin route on Cayambe, but the climbing conditions remained favorable. We reached an altitude of 18,700’, where a bergshcrund separates the summit ice cap from the glacier below. We searched far to the north and south, trying to find a passage that would allow access to the summit. During this excursion, we explored inside the bergshrund and ascend some steep snow ramps that looked like they would connect to the summit. But, in the end, we were thwarted by the enormous bergshcrund; our high point would be just a couple hundred feet below the true summit - just barely out of our grasp. Our climbing team was still pleased with our strong performance today, and certainly had a very enjoyable climb on Cayambe.

As we descended, the clouds decided not to take mercy on us, and frozen precipitation turned to rain at lower altitudes. We were pretty wet when we arrived back at the climbing hut, but fortunately it was warm and hot drinks awaited us. After a brief rest to dry out and have a bite of food, we hiked 15 minutes down to our van, and continued on to Quito.

Hot showers at the hotel and clean clothes were very welcome. A great meal was enjoyed last night as the group celebrated the past 10 days we spent together enjoying the Ecuadorian culture, people, and mountains, enjoying traveling and adventure, and enjoying spending time with each other.
That’s it for now. Thanks for following our adventures!

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