Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Climb Number 1

Got into Quito just fine last night! We landed a little late after having to change course to avoid storms over the Caribean, but it all worked out fine. I got to my hostel with no issue and immediatly got to practicing my Spanish. Met a group of climbers from the states and got some great beta. Woke up today feeling like a million bucks, altitude doesn't seem to be an issue yet. Journeyed through New Town trying to find the South American Explorers club, which took way too long (that is a story within itself... lets just say I'm an idiot). Joined up with the club and having been getting crucial beta on Quito and climbing in the area. Lunch was at an Indian resturant with super yummy veggie curry. But on to the important stuff!

Tomorrow I will do the first summit attempt. I will start by taking the teleferiQo from Quito to 4100m on Rucu Pinchincha. From there, it is a 2 - 3 hour hike to the summit at 4627m. There is a traverse route from the summit that takes an addional 4 - 5 hours to the refuge on Guagua Pinchincha. Depending on conditions and time, I will attempt to summit that afternoon (4675m). It will likely be getting late, so I may sleep at the refuge at the base of the summit for Guagua before hiking back out the next morning. This may be an overly ambitious ascent plan, but I'm feeling great and up for it! Expect photos on Friday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Days in the U.S.A

I leave tomorrow afternoon for Ecuador, and I still have a lot of training to do if I want to achieve my ambitious plans. I had a nice, long run this morning, doing sets of 50 push ups, sit-ups, squats, and mountaineers at various points. It felt great!

I also finished packing my bags with my equipment and was shocked to see how much equipment I will be wearing when I summit: base layer and fleece layer tops and bottoms, a second fleece top, hard-shell bottoms, down jacket, climbing harness, double plastic boots, ice axe, crampons, trekking pole, polar-fleece hat, balaclava, glacier glasses, liner socks, expedition wool socks, gaiters, glove liners x 2, arctic-grade gloves, helmet, and headlamp.

Together this equipment costs over $1750, and that's just what I'd be wearing at that moment!

In another development, I have looked into South American Explorers club and will be considering interning there this summer. A very interesting group, check them out if you do any traveling in Latin America (especially Peru, Argentina, or Ecuador). Finally, I have also confirmed my reservation for The Magic Bean, which should be a real treat!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Adventures

After a hiatus, the adventures begin again. I will be traveling to Ecuador for 24 days, traveling on my own and with a climbing expedition from Earth Treks. This trip will build upon my mountaineering skills developed with Mountain Maddness' Glaciar Mountaineering Course, a six day program I took part in this summer. The other climbers and I were taught the basics of alpine mountaineering and glaciar travel, and I look forward to applying those and my climbing skills to a new arena. Earth Treks' The Road workout was an key instrument in getting me in shape for this summer, but for this trip I have had to rely on some backpacking around MD and FL and a harsh training regime in Quito.
My current plans will provide me a week of acclimatization in and around Quito before I attempt my first ascent on Volcan Corazon (4788m) on January 3rd. I will then take a rest day before ascending Ilinza Norte (5126m) on the 5th. Finally I transfer my base of operations closer to Cotopaxi, climbing Ruminahui (4712m) on the 7th. Then it's back to Quito on the 8th for a rest day before I meet the Earth Treks expedition team.
Once I've met up with the team, we allow the rest of the team a little bit of acclimatization time. We do our first team ascent on January 10th, hiking Pasochoa (4200m). The next day we do the more difficult ventana de morte ascent of Pichincha (4794m). Our final planed ascent will be Cotopaxi (5897m), starting out of base camp at midnight on the 15th. We arrive back in Quito that night after a hard climb. The ET team departs the next morning, leaving me alone to face Cayambe (5790m) or maybe Chimborazo (6310m), both very formidable peeks!
To stay in contact, I expect to post here as the ascents begin, hopefully with pictures too! Facebook and email are always stable platforms to contact me as well.

As Greg Mallory replied when asked why climb Everest:
"Because it's there... [A mountain's] existence is a challenge. The answer is instinctive, a part, I suppose, of man’s desire to conquer the universe.”