1999 I visited Ecuador for the second time. Our intention was to climb Cayambe and Chimorazo. After we had climbed several mountains to acclimatise (among others Illiniza Norte and Imbabura) we started to climb Volcán Cayambe. Therefore we had hired a guide in Quito.
In my opinion Volcán Cayambe is one of the most beautiful mountains in Ecuador. It is a challenging climb in wonderful glacial scenery. However, the weather is mostly unpredictable there and one has to have much luck to summit. As we were told afterwards 13 groups of climbers tried to climb Volcán Cayambe before us that year and couldn’t summit because of bad weather. We were the first group in that season reaching the summit.
09.01.1999, Quito - Cayambe - Refugio Cayambe
Nelson, our guide, picked us up at the hotel and together we went to Cayambe in the north of Quito. From here we went through the Paramo up to the Refugio at almost 4700 m.
During the day Cayambe was not visible, but in the evening the clouds broke up and we had a fantastic view on the third highest mountain of Ecuador.
10.01.1999, Volcán Cayambe, 5.790 m – Quito
Shortly before 0am Nelson waked us up. We hadn't slept well. Gabi felt not so good and with big difficulties she choked down her roll.
We started at 1am. In front of the hut we measured a temperature of +1°C. First we climbed a ridge and after good one hour we set foot on the glacier. At approx. 5600 m it became rather steep.
It was calm all the time with a pleasant temperature. Later, in the steep part it became rather cold. Only shortly before the summit we came into the sun where it got agreeable warm.
Exactly at 7:25 we reached the highest point at 5790 meters. Unfortunately we stayed only 20 minutes, and then Nelson urged us to go down.
Nelsons hurry was not groundless; since we had to go down again the same way that we had ascended. Between about 5700 meters and 5600 meters was the rather steep part. I estimated at least 40 degree. Since this part of the way is located on the west side, there was shadow in the morning. But if you climb down too late the fast sun in the wall could make the ice soggy that makes the descent very dangerous or even impossible.
It was already past ten when we arrived at the hut again. We were rather worn out. By car we returned to Quito and reached our hotel in the early evening.
The entire report and more information as well as pictures you will find at http://members.aol.com/UweKraus3/site18_e.htm