Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ecuador 2013 - Cotopaxi

Yesterday Steve, Scott, Marcus and I left our cozy hosteria for the Jose Rivas Refugio located on the side of the Cotopaxi Volcano at 4800m.  Arriving there about 2:00pm we had enough time to relax, eat, and try to sleep as much as possible prior to our planed +/- 12:30am start up Cotopaxi.
This was the most crowded I've seen the refuge and at least speaking for myself sleep was minimal.  Regardless we all somehow crawled out of our warm sleeping bags for some breakfast and preparation to depart.

The weather was nearly perfect.  We all ended up leaving the refuge around 1:00am today.  The climb starts with a 1 hr. approach up scree and rock trails.  Until the point where crampons and ropes are required for the heavily glaciated and crevasses terrain of Cotopaxi.  The major crevasse section lasts for about two hrs. where the hazard isn't eliminated but somewhat reduced.  At least with regards to serac fall and crevasses requiring to be jumped over.  Ending with some steep sections the summit magically appears.  Although being there times before I believe this year is the longest and most challenging route I've seen.  As each year it changes due to glacier movement, snow fall amounts, preference of those placing routes, etc. Taking the difficulty of this years route into consideration it was a great success to have all 4 team members summit.

We all stood together on the summit awed by the massive crater which is a signature of Cotopaxi making it one of the most popular climbs. 
Heading down, which can be worse due to the energy already exerted and heat as the sun is now up shining of the glacier, we arrived safely back at the refuge.  Now back again at our hosteria for a much needed rest day.

With three >5000m climbs now complete the entire team is definitely feeling the effects.  At this point we'll take it day by day.  Ideally we'll stay on the original plan but will remain flexible.
Currently we are scheduled for Cayambe next on Tues.  Updates to follow.

1:00 am start

Scott climbing

Scott again

The amazing crater

Team summit photo

Crevasse area coming down

View of the refugio while leaving

View of Cotopaxi while driving out

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ecuador 2013 - Two days on the Illinizas

It's been a tough but rewarding two days on the Illinizas mountains. 
Yesterday we set out early for an acclimatization scramble of illinizas Norte (5126m).  Unlike last year the weather was perfect.  In fact this was my fourth time to this peak and had never seen such a clear day.  From the early parts we started to see the emerging peaks of Cayambe, Antisana, and Cotopaxi.
From the summit we could see nearly all Volcanoes of Ecuador.  Amazing.
After a nice view from the summit we returned to the refugio for dinner and a few hrs. sleep prior to departure for the South peak.

Illinizas Sur (5276m) is considered one of the most technical mountains in Ecuador.  I first laid eyes on it over 4 years ago and was captivated by it's mass and beauty which is overwhelming when you see it from the North summit. Looking at it from our point of view on the North summit we could immediately see it was going to be steep.  In addition a traverse under potential rock fall hazard wasn't ideal.

We set out around 3:00 am this morning.  arriving to the glacier around a hr. later we started up the 60 degree slopes.  Some of the steepest climbing I've seen here. Definitely not a moderate climb.
the first of us arrived on the summit at 6:00 then the others just before 7:00.  A few quick photos and a brief moment to take in the view was all that most of us wanted.  It was an exhausting climb and the descent was still to come.

A few hrs. down and back to the refugio for re-hydration then back down the long trail to the car.
Also on the way down we caught up with Steve who was coming up to climb the North peak as he just arrive to Ecuador.  Now our team is complete.

For me personally the South summit climb was a 4 yr. goal.  For Marcus and Scott it was also definitely a significant accomplishment well earned. 

tomorrow we rest.  Then on to Cotopaxi.

View of the Illinizas.  Sur on left, Norte on right

 Approach to Illinizas Refugio

Summit of Illinizas Norte with a great view of the Sur summit behind

Summit of Illinizas Sur with a veiw of Antisana and Cotopaxi in background

Descent of Illinizas Sur

Our next climb - Cotopaxi


Monday, April 22, 2013

Ecuador 2013 - First acclimatization hike

A good two days in Quito.  Walked around the city and then took the Teleferico up to 4000m yestarday.

Today we hiked/scrambled Rucu Pinchnincha.   A reasonable 6 hrs. round trip and everyone is feeling good.  Had some heavy rain on the way down.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ecuador 2013 - first day in Quito

Scott and I spent today walking around Quito just acclimatizing to 2800m.  Some shopping and sites, the city is always great.  Markus arrives this evening.  Tomorrow more of the same.  Just making the body feel good at altitude. 

We plan to visit Old Quito and take a trip up the Teleferico/Gondoloa to tag 4000m.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ecuador April 2013 - All set

Less than a week away.  We are all set for this year's trip to Ecuador.

Team will be four strong; Markus from Australia, Scott from Canada, Steve from USA, and me.
Will be a good fit for our trip with a variety of backgrounds and skills.

We have an agressive yet fun schedule ahead.  With a goal of 5 x peaks above 5000m we should be sufficiently challenged.

Main plan is for us to arrive in Quito next weekend.  While Scott and I will arrive on the 19th, Markus on the 20th, Steve will actually be coming on on the 24th.  Luckily he lives at altitude in Colorado.  We'll all catch up with him by the 25th on the Illinizas.

Schedule as is:

20-April-12 Arrival to Quito (Scott/Shawn)
20-April-12 Arrival to Quito (Markus)
21-April-13 Easy day in Quito
22-April-13 Acclimatization hike up Rucu Pinchincha 4784m
23-April-13 Travel to Papagayo (small hacienda hub)
24-April-12 Acclimatization climb of Illinizas N. (5126m) / Steve arrives
25-April-12 Illinizas S. climb (5263m) / Steve on Illinizas N.
26-April-13 Rest day at Papagayo
27-April-13 Travel to Cotopaxi refuge (4800m)
28-April-13 Cotopaxi climb (5897m)
29-April-13 Another rest day at Papagayo
30-Arpil-13 Travel to Oleas – Ruales –Berge  refuge (4600m)
1-May-12 Cayambe climb (5790m)
2-May-13 Rest day in Quito
3-May-13 Travel to Antisana camp site
4-May-13 Antisana climb (5704m)
5-May-13 Reserve day for Antisana


Follow here for updates.  Hopefully we'll have connection a few times a week.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Manaslu 2012 closure

Now home from the Manaslu expedition I have a chance to put a few words and pictures to the blog.
I'll keep it relatively straight forward and short as the trip ultimately had a poor outcome.

To be honest, once again the experience was great.  The culture of Nepal, the approach through the jungle, and the amazing views high on the worlds 8th highest peak. Until a quick turning point.

Despite everything going as well as possible personally (health, condition, motivation) and for our team, on 23-Sept-12 disaster struck the mountain.  An avalanche fell just before 5a.m. devastating everything in it's path.  Most unfortunately camp 3 which was heavily populated with persons.  We were resting at camp 2.  The most impact to us was heavy wind, some debris, and a concussion to one of team member.
That day several persons lost there life.  I can only wish the best to their families and loved ones they left behind.

Our team left the mountain.  This based on a mixture of the event, respect for those impacted, and the questionable mountain conditions up high.

A few teams have since summitted.  I congratulate them on their success. Parts of me wish I was there however that isn't overruled by how thankful I am to be here, safe at home, with those I love.

Thanks once again for everyone's support.
There are many projects still to come. For now I'm looking forward to a winter of ice climbing in Canada and my annual trip to South American in the spring.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shawn's Expedition cancelled and Final Entry

After all that has happened, the IMG team has decided to not continue the expedition. Shawn is very disappointed, but I'm glad that he's coming back home safe and sound. His tent was hit by snow/wind after all and as it bore down on Shawn's and his partner's tent, they pushed against the ceiling with their feet. I'm so proud of Shawn and all he's accomplished, I know God was protecting him and I can't wait to give him a big hug when I see him!!

His wife,