Ecuador: Nugent & Team Summit Cotopaxi!

Posted by: Billy Nugent | June 29, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: Summit

Success!

The gang went to bed with another deceptively improving weather trend only to wake up (for the third time this trip) in the middle of the night to more stormy weather. We decided that since this was our last chance we’d give a hail Mary attempt. After a quick breakfast and some tinkering with gear and backpacks the time came for us to push out. Surprisingly, the winds had started calming down, which heartened the guides at least a little bit. As it turned out, that abatement was indeed only temporary…

We climbed to the edge of the glacier and roped/cramponed up, and after only an hour or two in the elements we were starting to ice up. Somehow everybody kept it together and we continued upwards into worsening winds, winding our way through a jumble of a glacier and then skirting around the massive rock face of Yanasacha. Weather was bad most of the day but after reaching the upper slopes of the mountain we were fully exposed. When we reached the summit (half of us crawling) we were elated but couldn’t stay long because of the blastingly continuous 50 mph wind and the fact that were covered with over and inch (yes an inch!) of ice from being in a freezing lenticular cloud all day. The guys were a little beat but pulled it together to descend like champs all the way back down to the refugio. All in all we were out in the storm for a little over 10 hours, managing to bag the summit and safely descend.

We were greeted back at the refugio by Victor, our driver, who had hiked up from the parking lot to hang out. Knowing our ride was waiting down the hill, we celebrated with a quick beer and crammed all of our crap into our packs. A short walk down a scree field brought us to the van which brought us back to civilization in Quito!

The team showered up and hit the town for a fabulous multi-course meal complete with wine and pisco to celebrate properly. Hopefully folks weren’t too ragged making their early a.m. flights.

I’d like to thank a great group of guys for making this such a fun and memorable trip (pako’s ipa, triple cheeseburgers, two left crampons, pansies, sock boiling, knee taking, etc.) and thank Jaime and Diego for being awesome guides and a pleasure to work with. Thanks again everybody!

Signing off, for now…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Summit Break on Cotopaxi Photo: Billy Nugent Hand Shake on Cotopaxi Photo: Billy Nugent Celebration Dinner Photo: Billy Nugent

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Comments

Hell of week for cotopaxi huh?

Posted by: Nate on 7/3/2012 at 9:45 pm

Wow!I’m impressed and awestruck. You guys still have all of your toes?? :-)

Posted by: Paula on 6/30/2012 at 3:18 pm

You’ve gotta love a challenge!  Nice work guys. 

Posted by: Brian Yost on 6/30/2012 at 7:29 am

Good Lord. That looks fearsome. Congrats.

Posted by: Bill Horn on 6/29/2012 at 8:46 pm

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