Skip to Content

Ecuador Expedition Fun! February 2015

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

Our February Ecuador expedition has begun! The team arrived in Quito on Saturday and began touring the city on Sunday morning. After visiting “The Magic Bean,” Alpenglow’s favorite breakfast place, they hopped on a bus and went to the Colonial part of Quito. They also began their acclimatization, climbing up to the towers of the “Basilica of the National Vow.” The Basilica is Gothic cathedral and is the only one where tourists can climb stairs and ladders all the way to the towers for a great view of Quito!

{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}[[{“fid”:”5507″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Alpenglow’s February Expedition Team at the Basilica in Quito”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Alpenglow’s February Expedition Team at the Basilica in Quito”},”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Alpenglow’s February Expedition Team at the Basilica in Quito”,”title”:”Alpenglow’s February Expedition Team at the Basilica in Quito”,”class”:”media-element file-default”}}]]

After their Basilica “training,” the team explored the streets of old town of Quito, elected “World Heritage” in 1978 by UNESCO. They visited squares and churches and decided to climb the stairs of “El Panecillo,” which means “little bread roll” or “little loaf bread.” On top of the structure lays the statue of  “La Virgen del Panecillo.” The group was hungry after touring and they went to a restaurant with a great view of Quito – just in time to beat the rain! After delicious Ecuadorian cuisine food, they drove back to the hotel for a gear check and a good nap, and then went to dinner.  Again, they visited a local restaurant where they continued to try Ecuadorian cuisine. The team really loves trying local food, which is great!

{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}[[{“fid”:”5508″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”The members of the Alpenglow Ecuador February 2015 team, with their guide, Jaime Avila”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”The members of the Alpenglow Ecuador February 2015 team, with their guide, Jaime Avila”},”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“alt”:”The members of the Alpenglow Ecuador February 2015 team, with their guide, Jaime Avila”,”title”:”The members of the Alpenglow Ecuador February 2015 team, with their guide, Jaime Avila”,”class”:”media-element file-default”}}]]

Monday, February 9, 2015 – The team woke up to the noise of rain drops on the roof and the patio of “La Casa Sol.” After leaving the hotel for the day, they thought they might escape the clouds by hiking to the top of “Teleferico de Quito.” They put on their rain gear and began to walk towards Rucu-Pichincha. After an hour of walking, they had their first rest and a snack, and their water proof gear kept them dry and warm. After hiking for another hour or so, the rain didn’t let up so they stopped about 100 meters below the summit because the trail was getting muddy and slippery – there was too much water running off the mountain. It was a good try. The team was strong and always looked at the bright side! They are confident tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 – The team is at Tambopaxi, their lodge at the base of Cotopaxi. Topo, local Ecuadorian guide, joined everyone and lead a hike in the morning. After lunch, they worked on rope training and learned how to travel as a rope team on a glacier.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – The crew climbed to the glacier to work on rope skills today. They worked with crampons, an ice axe, and even learned some ice climbing skills. Everyone is doing well and was happy to hear that the wet weather they’ve been having is expected to clear up for the next few days. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015 – Today the team practiced ropes skills, learned how to travel on the glacier as a rope team, and got some great views of Cotopaxi. Everyone is strong and in great shape – they’re all moving really well both individually and as a group. They are going for the summit tonight! We wish them luck and great views from the summit of Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano in the world.

Friday, February 13, 2015 – Summit success! Travis and Quinn climbed with Marcos, one of our Ecuadorian local guides and made great time, arriving at the summit around 6:20 am. As they began to descend, they met up with the rest of the team who was on their way up – so Travis and Quinn went back to the summit to wait for them so they could get a team photo! Great team spirit, we’re so proud of everyone! Jaime reported that the weather was fine and that they had views of the lights of Quito and the stars. The entire crew is back at Tambopaxi enjoying lunch and will be driving to Otavalo this afternoon for sightseeing and a well deserved rest.

Sunday, February 15, 2015 – After their summit on Friday, the team went to Otavalo this weekend and visited South America’s largest street market. The crew bargained well and got plenty of souvenirs. After shopping, touring, and lunch, they went back to their hotel where Dan, Quinn, and Travis stayed another night and headed home the following day. Kat and Martin packed for their climb on Cayambe. Everyone said their good byes and Jaime and half the team continued on for their second climb. We will keep you posted as their next adventure unfolds!

Monday, February 16, 2015 – The team is going for the summit of Cayambe tonight! Both the weather and the route are looking good. The team had a traditional lunch of quesadilla and soup and will rest this afternoon in preparation for their climb to the summit. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 – Due to cold temperatures, the team did not summit Cayambe. They began their climb around midnight and moved steadily towards the summit. About halfway up, they had to turn around because of a cold wind and numb toes. A big hug between Martin and Kat sealed the deal: they plan to come back to “finish business” and summit Cayambe! They’re now back in town and plan to have an afternoon of relaxation and good food before continuing on to Chimborazo, their next mountain.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 – The team is on Chimborazo, the tallest peak in Ecuador! They’re feeling good and just called from Camp at 17, 500 feet. They’re going for the summit tonight! Chimborazo is an incredibly beautiful mountain with an interesting story. In recent years, the peak has become progressively drier and icier, making it much more difficult to climb. Consequently, a group of guides, including Jaime, have figured out a new route that avoids dangerous rock fall. Because of the more technical nature of the new route, Alpenglow is using a 1:1 guide to climber ratio on Chimborazo and Jaime and Topo are guiding Kat and Martin up the mountain. The new route allows our team to stay in tents and not huts, which is where they used to stay when the old route was navigeable. We will keep you posted on the status of the team – stay tuned!

Friday, February 20, 2015 – Chimborazo summit success! Jaime just called and reported that the team is back in camp after a 9 hour round trip summit. Everyone is VERY happy and tired. They are heading back to Quito for a much deserved meal and showers. We’re so proud and happy for them!



Photo credit: Jaime Avila