Thursday, January 6, 2011

Succesful Rucu Pichincha Climb

On Tuesday, though I was still a little tired from Corazon, I awoke and made my way to the teleferico at the base of Rucu. While getting tickets for the ride to 3850m, I met two German climbers, Juergen and Peter. Juergen is a engineer taking some time to study business administration and travel while Peter is a electrician traveling and climbing. After meeting at the teleferico, we agreed to climb together.

The trek out went well, we made great time from the teleferico to the base of the summit pyramid. We traversed across without difficulty and ascended the scree. However, at the top of the scree, as we began our traverse along the ridge, the clouds really closed in. As we got past the two false summits, it actually began to hail! The hail was larger than last time, reaching the size of marbles and really hurt. I used my bag to create a shelter for myself, but still could only cover my head and chest; my arms and legs took a little bit of a beating. Thankfully the hail cleared up after about 5 - 10 minutes. As we continued, we bumped into Jim Spark (makes the second time I've bumped into him on Rucu!). He gave some critical beta for the summit push, helping us identify an awesome section of rock scramble marked by rock carrins and one white painted marker. After a fun section of scramble, we reached the summit at 4627m and enjoyed the view! We got a few good glimpses of Quito and the surrounding area as the clouds lifted at times. We didn't stay too long though, as we were concerned about the weather. Time from teleferico to summit, 3850m to 4627m: 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Notes on Rucu: Equipment was sufficient; had to climb in sneakers as boots were still soaked from Corazon. No noticed altitude effects. Consumed about 1 L of H20. Trail is clear till you reach traverse. Follow upper trails as they are drier. Follow trail farthest to the right of the scree fields up to ridge, and then follow trail below ridge line past the two false summits. Pass to the left of the false summits, as right side is very exposed to large falls. Descend through scree fields.

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