Cayambe 18,996' with Andes Climbing December 12th, 2016
Hot tea, granola, and yogurt was our 11pm meal before we left the refuge and started up Cayambe. The first two hours of the climb takes place over dirt and rock until you arrive at the foot of the glacier. Crampons get strapped on at this point, and my guide, Jaime Vargas, tied me to the end of his rope line. Safety first, even if I felt a little like a donkey being pulled up the mountain. The night sky was clear and a full moon made our headlights unnecessary. Conditions on the mountain were excellent - hard packed snow and a route well established by recent climbers. I was already acclimated from earlier climbs of Pasachoa, Corazon, and Illiniza Norte. Cayambe was still a significant challenge with inclines that varied between 30 and 45 degrees. Daylight started to appear at 5:30am and the pristine, snow covered peak could be seen above us. A final push and we summited at 7am, seven hours after leaving the refuge. I am 58 years old, in good shape, with moderate hiking and climbing experience. Cayambe is well within reach of fit and determined climbers. Andes Climbing www.andesclimbing.com took care of all the logistics of my adventure and I highly recommend its owner and lead guide, Diego Cumbajin Parra. He is very responsive, detail oriented, experienced, and a good guy. I would definitely climb with him again.