Cotopaxi Express: Nugent & Team Hike Up to Rucu Pichincha

Posted by: Billy Nugent | July 02, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 13,451'

Woke up to clear blue skies (over the city anyway) psyched to get up into the hills and stretch the legs a bit. I met the gang down in the hotel restaurant and wasn’t shocked to find they were also revved up for getting the trip started in earnest. After a quick bite to eat, we linked up with Jaime and jumped in some taxis headed for the Teleferico. This gondola took us up high above the city onto the slopes of Rucu Pichincha, one of two sister peaks on an active volcano. Quito’s sprawl actually starts to climb up the flanks of the mountain and this proximity was bad news for the city in the 90’s when the volcano belched a huge quantity of ash onto the metropolis. Well, with no signs of imminent eruption the team was able to climb from the top of the gondola at just above 13,000’ to the summit at right around 15,400’ in about 2.5 hours! Good stuff! Being able to move well on our first foray is a great indicator of the group’s overall fitness. The climb was largely hiking on decent trail, but the last several hundred feet involved some really fun 4th class rock climbing. Everyone was feeling the elevation but moving and climbing incredibly well. The whole time we climbed we were followed by an awesome dog who even made the rock moves to the summit, my guess is that he was hoping to snag a few more of Jaime’s chicharrones… The team managed a quick and efficient descent, downloaded the gondola, and hopped a van back to the hotel. After hustling around town to shag a few miscellaneous gear items, I took a nice siesta and met up with everyone for another team dinner. Good times.

Tomorrow we head out of Quito and up for another training hike before starting our approach on Cotopaxi, more as it develops…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

The hike to Rucu Pichincha Summit Quito from Rucu Pichincha Summit

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Glad to hear of the good first day of climbing.  We will be following updates daily.  Go get em Kevin.

Posted by: walt thome on 7/3/2012 at 6:08 pm

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