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Anybody ever climbed Chimborazo or Cotopaxi??!!

Regional discussion and conditions reports for South America. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the South American Climbing Partners section.
 

haliku

Postby wickedgood » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:36 pm

haliku, woodie, others--, what do you estimate the temps were like at summit of chimborazo and cotopaxi? were you wearing a lot of cold weather gear, i.e double plastic boots, shells, balaclava, mits, several layers? also, i have heard several ideas on what category sunglasses are needed at that altitude, CAT 4 seems to be the consensus, what do you think. also, what degree slope is the steepest section of chimborazo? much of it looks like a grinding climb at a fairly constant degree pitch..?
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Re: haliku

Postby gobriango » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:39 pm

wickedgood wrote:haliku, woodie, others--, what do you estimate the temps were like at summit of chimborazo and cotopaxi? were you wearing a lot of cold weather gear, i.e double plastic boots, shells, balaclava, mits, several layers? also, i have heard several ideas on what category sunglasses are needed at that altitude, CAT 4 seems to be the consensus, what do you think. also, what degree slope is the steepest section of chimborazo? much of it looks like a grinding climb at a fairly constant degree pitch..?


I would say the temp was probably single digits on Cotopaxi summit. I dress light when climbing, probably lighter than most. I like to dress so that if im not moving fast or if I stop for 2 minutes then I start to get cold fast.
I pretty much just wore 2 shirts, a light insulating layer, a light vest and a soft shell up top. Long john bottoms with soft shell pants, liner socks with smart wool mtneering socks, and a simple pair of Salomon boots (basically the lightest boot that will take a crampon)
Hat, helmet, and decent gloves.
I did wear a Patagonia DAS parka when I was on the summit hanging out for about an hour. I did start getting pretty cold after awhile but I think that was more the elevation than the actual tempuratures.

For sunglasses I just wore a pair of my normal cycling glasses with the darkest lens I had and I was fine. It did get pretty bright at the very end of the decent with full sun but still nothing worth noting. Maybe a baseball cap under my helmet would have made a difference.

Just dont over analyze and you should be fine.

Above all else, just put one very warm jacket in your bag so you always have something to fall back on in case it gets real shitty.
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Postby radson » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:46 pm

Image

Tshirts on summit of Cotopaxi :)
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Postby Ario » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:07 pm

wickedgood, you may also want to have a look at my trip reports there are feedbacks as far as some of your topics:
Tirol Uber Ales ! (Cotopaxi 2005)
Whymper or Veintemilla summit ? (Chimborazo 2005)
good luck,
Ario
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another question(s)

Postby wickedgood » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:30 pm

For the Ecuador experience my friends and I are signed up with "High Summits Mountaineering" has anyone heard of this company?
Also, as a package they have us doing a 13,000ft climb, a 15,000ft mountain, a 17,000ft mountain, a 19,000ft mountain (cotopaxi), and then finish with chimborazo. we will do this in 9 days as an acclimatization tour. The company's thought was doing the other one's first prepares us for the last two big climbs. The first few are only 3.5 hour hikes up, not a huge deal. what do you all think of this plan? Is it too much or a good way to acclimatize for the large peaks?
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Re: another question(s)

Postby cp0915 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:48 pm

wickedgood wrote:For the Ecuador experience my friends and I are signed up with "High Summits Mountaineering" has anyone heard of this company?
Also, as a package they have us doing a 13,000ft climb, a 15,000ft mountain, a 17,000ft mountain, a 19,000ft mountain (cotopaxi), and then finish with chimborazo. we will do this in 9 days as an acclimatization tour. The company's thought was doing the other one's first prepares us for the last two big climbs. The first few are only 3.5 hour hikes up, not a huge deal. what do you all think of this plan? Is it too much or a good way to acclimatize for the large peaks?


In my opinion, that's an aggressive and highly optimistic plan.

Rucu is the only one on your list that's 3.5 hours (roughly). Illiniza Norte is the next shortest, and that still has like 4,500 feet (or so) of gain, as I recall.

Envisioning possible intineraries (based on the mountains they said they're taking you up), I came up with the following plan. It requires 10 days, as well as perfect weather and strong, motivated and healthy participants.

-day 0: arrive in Quito;
-day 1: acclimate around Quito;
-day 2: climb Rucu (3-5 hours);
-day 3: transfer to Illiniza Norte, hike up to refugio;
-day 4: summit Norte and return to Quito;
-day 5: rest, then transfer to Cayambe;
-day 6: climb Cayambe, then return to Quito;
-day 7: rest and transfer to Cotopaxi;
-day 8: climb Cotopaxi and head toward Banos;
-day 9: rest and transfer to Chimborazo;
-day 10: climb Chimborazo, return to Quito.

Is this your company's first time in Ecuador?
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Postby Snowslogger » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:05 pm

Norris wrote:Having made two trips to climb volcanoes in Ecuador I would have to say that 7 days is an unrealistic and potentially dangerous plan if you want to climb both Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, never mind all the others (probably logistically impossible). If you plan to rush up these peaks without proper acclimatization, you should take nifedipine (to protect against pulmonary edema) and dexamethasone (for cerebral edema) as well as diamox. My advice is scale back the number of peaks and lengthen the trip a few days, and you'll have a much better time. Don't forget there are worthwhile cultural experiences to be had too. Re volcanoes to try, Illiniza Sur is worth considering as a warm-up to Cotopaxi, it is nearby, shorter, and more technical.


Not to get off-topic, but I don't think dexamethasone and nifedipine are generally used as preventative, more as an emergency treatment, and not sure nifedipine is generally used with altitude issues (have had different takes from different doctors with different specialties). However, I'm not a Dr., don't even play one on TV. Totally agree with all the other advise though.
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crazy

Postby Henning Lege » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:22 pm

Hi wickedgood,

I have done both as well :-)

Going with a group in just 7 days is plain crazy. It is absolutely sure that at least some of the group will run into trouble. I have seen such groups, esp. at Cotopaxi. They did not go very far.
The guides don't mind, they have earned their money. But many people actually DIE in such attempts.

Please also note that altitude sickness typically (at least for me) comes with a delay. So it might be night already when you discover that you should go down immediately :-(

Good luck nonetheless,

Henning
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Postby wickedgood » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:35 pm

Not sure if people responding read the previous explanations, but we are doing 5 peaks in 9 days, not in 7 days. The company actually said that this is an acclimatization tour, and by doing a few shorter peaks first it gives one a better chance to be successful on Chimborazo.
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Postby Haliku » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:55 pm

wickedgood wrote:The company actually said that this is an acclimatization tour, and by doing a few shorter peaks first it gives one a better chance to be successful on Chimborazo.


They can say what they want to get you and your money. From experience most of us have agreed this is an aggressive schedule. That said, good luck. Just be wise enough to turn around or not even start up a mountain if you are feeling worn, tired, AMS, etc. And please let us know how the trip turned out when you return. Cheers!
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Postby astrobassman » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:33 pm

Haliku wrote:
wickedgood wrote:That said, good luck. Just be wise enough to turn around or not even start up a mountain if you are feeling worn, tired, AMS, etc.


Very good advice. Your schedule is aggressive, but it is possible if you know your limits. Have you been above 14k before? You said you are lugging a heavy pack up to 13k every week. Thats the best training you can do. I did the exact same thing once a week for 2 months before Ecuador, and it paid off. When I was there in December, we climbed Chimborazo on day 7. Both my friend and I had been to higher altitudes before, and knew we could acclimate fast on the lower peaks (Pinchincha, Illinazi, Cotopaxi). We felt a bit sluggish on Cotopaxi on Day 4 though. Anyways, just know your limits, and trust the guides. They will turn you around if you get too sick anyways. Good luck! Here is what I wrote up of our trip: http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/4 ... -feet.html
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Postby Ario » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:42 pm

Making a long story short: Living at about 2000m and going regularly above 3500m would make acclimatization in Ecuador way easier than for most of us. So why not, you can make it! Still please pay attention to all the advises posted here (no need to repeat) as there are many parameters you should take into consideration to succeed in such ambitious project.
Good luck to you and your partners !
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vaccinations

Postby wickedgood » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:23 pm

Thanks Ario, we are training a lot for this trip. we are doing some winter camping now in frigid temps, reading up on crevasse rescue, and are having a blast already.

What kind of vaccinations did everyone get before they went? I have heard of many you are "supposed" to have, but most of the shots seem like personal choice of what they got...
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Postby colint » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:17 pm

Whether or not it is the best idea, you will probably climb a few good mountains during that time and have some fun. The company that is guiding you should have fairly detailed and accurate recommendations about gear at that time of year. I have climbed in Ecuador a few times, but only in December, January and February. Will the tour operator be providing all the technical gear? Clothing is pretty easy, even up that high it is not the coldest place in the world. You will need to plan on snow and lots of wind. I have climbed in rain pants and gaiters, a goretex shell, r2 or 3 baselayer, mittens with liner gloves underneath, a balaclava and hat, with wool socks. Ask the guide service to provide a detailed list of things you will need to bring and things they will be providing.

Oh, don't bother with vaccinations unless you are going to the rainforest, or there are new regs since last year. The Paramo and alpine in Ecuador are pretty safe, I don't know anyone who has gotten ill up high, only down on the coast and in the rainforest.
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