Sunday, April 02, 2006


Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Well, I took a few days and did the climb on Mt. Cotopaxi. The hut is at 4800 meters, and the peak is about 5800 meters. My climbing buddy and I took the option to have an extra day at the hut before starting the climb to get used to the altitude (good move). The morning of the climb starts at midnight, and we and the guides leave the hut and follow the trail to the glacier. From there we start the real ascent with crampons on our boots, tethered together at 6 meter intervals.
On the way up you could see the lights of Quito quite clearly to the
north, and to the south Ambato. We make it to 5400 meters by the time we get the first sign of dawn, and by the first rays of light we're at 5700. At this point the air is really thin compared to the hut below. Now there is enough light to see the
landscape around us, but this only lasted for two hours til the lower clouds came in. The descent only takes two hours compared to the ascent of over 6 hours.

Today I am starting to feel the effect of the climb.


4100 Meters

Well, I got up this morning with the best intention of taking the train
from Riobamba for the "Devil's Nose." I arrived there and waited till the train arrived There was me and some 70 other people waiting for the train. What turned up was what I call a yellow school bus on a track. They call it an Autoferro. Anyway,
the first 25 get on the roof. When there is no more room there the rest squish inside. The whole point of this trip is the ride on top of the train to see
the scenery, not to be a sardine, so I decided to not go. I may try again on Wednesday. So I came down here to Banos, a rather uneventful drive to a very touristy town on the Gringo trail. Well, you get to these places along the way, cannot help these things.

Check out this picture. The barricade says, "Don't run, move slowly as you are at 4100 meters above sea level."

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