Climbing with Mike.
Mike was in Ecuador for 3 days. He started his long trip in Bolivia and did some climbing in Peru, so he was already very well acclimatized. He adjust himself pretty quick to the altitude in Ecuador, climbed Rucu Pichincha 3 days before attempting Cotopaxi and felt great at 17,000 ft.
We got on the truck with Rafael (Ecuadorian guide) and Guillermo (Rafael's client from Panama). We were concerned about Guillermo 'cause he couldn't leave from Illinizas refuge to the summit two days before the trip due to a light mountain sickness.
Anyway, we got to the refuge... We had a great time at the refuge's living room.. laughing and telling jokes for hours. The night arrived and we all went to sleep at the refuge's second floor. It was a clear night; I could see the stars through the window.
We all woke up at 12:00 am, had a light early breakfast, got ready with our gear and filled up the water bottles. One o'clock and we headed out the refuge and started hiking up towards the glacier. Got to the glacier forty minutes later, we roped up together and continued on to the summit.
It was foggy but windless, kept climbing up by “La Rompe Corazones” (heartbreaker slope) and continued on up to the summit. Mike and I were within the first teams to get to the summit (5,897 m/19,347 ft). We shared the summit with Marco Asa (ECU) and his clients who looked extremely tired, Marco had to literally carry one of his clients up to the summit.
It was totally windless up there but a bit cloudy. We couldn't see the crater or the surroundings as in other times, but we felt a deep emotion and happiness in our hearts and minds.
We headed back down to the refuge. Once there we met with Rafael and Guillermo who had turned back to the refuge 'cause Guillermo was feeling tired.
It was great climbing with Mike who met days later with his girlfriend in Quito. They planned to climb Illiniza Norte the following days, and I think they made it.