Ecuador Volcanoes: Nugent & Team Summit Cayambe!

Posted by: Billy Nugent | January 14, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Ecuador
Elevation: 18,997'

Our preparations for high altitude complete, the team awoke a few minutes after midnight on Monday morning for our summit bid on Cayambe.  The sky was cloudy, but calm- a hopeful sign given the hail and rain the afternoon prior.  The first hour of climbing found us negotiating a long rocky stretch in big mountain boots. We transitioned to snowy slopes and the group moved steadily uphill in high spirits as the clouds gave way to a clear and starry night.  At a break at ~17k, we caught the sunrise, as well as a glimpse of three climbers high up on the mountain. Several of us were amazed at the steepness of the slope they were ascending, only to discover shortly thereafter that that would be our route, as well!  However, our group was more than up to the task, and everyone summitted after 7.5 hours en route. The weather on top was flawless(!), so we lounged around and took hero shots for an hour before heading down.  The steep section was just as exciting on the descent, but the remainder of the route was easily accomplished by our crew. 

After arriving at the refugio, we quickly packed up our gear and hightailed it down the mountain to get to some food! Unfortunately, hightailing it only works so well when you have 36k of rough road and 6000’ to descend!  After eating, everyone was looking forward to seeing our lodging at Chilcabama.  However, the travel gods felt differently, and the expected transit time stretched out longer and longer, as first rain (on our duffels on top of the van), then traffic, the construction, and finally dark, unmarked roads had their way with us.  Finally, we arrived to Chilcabama, where hot showers, freshly-made soup, and fires in our in-room fireplaces awaited us. It was the perfect end to a very long day.

Pictures to come pending wifi access!

RMI Guides Billy Nugent, Katie Bono and Team

The team's spectacular views from the Cayambe summit. Photo: Billy Nugent Descending from Cayambe's summit. Photo: Zeb Blais

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Wow, I can’t even imagine these adventures. Hope all is well. Kendra, I can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Mike, I hope it is all you have dreamed it would be and then some.We cant wait to see pictures! Be safe,Debbie

Posted by: Debbie on 1/16/2013 at 4:24 pm

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