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Chimborazo Solo

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Chimborazo Solo

Postby CBakwin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:15 pm

OK, I hate to have to ask this question but on the Mountian page for Chimbo, it says "is considered a 4th class climb"[i][/i] Then on the route page it says "front pointing on steep sections with bare ice"[i][/i], so which one is it??? To me, "front pointing on bare ice" does not sound like 4th class. Later under the Gear section it calls for rope, harness and Ice screws, again, placing pro, does not sound like 4th class......
Other sources and trip reports I have read sound like it is a more involved climb that a competent mountaineer can do alone, then some others sound like a challenging "walk up". I am aware that conditions change. This is always the problem with reading many sources of info from many people you don't know, I wish people would just stick to "60 degree ice" or "30 degree glacier travel" and that way each climber could make his own judgement as to what he needs to do to get up something. It is so much better to ask a friend you know what he thought then you can gauge it to his standards and figure it out.
So after that rant, anyone care to enlighten me, can a moderately competant mountaineer climb Chimborazo alone?
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby knighter » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:42 am

I wouldn't try it. I've been to Ecuador and have been on that one. It's grumpy at the best of times, and from what I'm hearing the conditions are fairly dangerous right now.. Rockfall, avalanche and ice conditions seem to be more prominent now than they've ever been.
This mountain isn't so much about how hard the climb is, as it is about objective hazards... Like any big glaciated mountain.

Here's an email I recently recieved from a friend at Jagged Globe in response to my inquiry on Chimbo's condition at the present time.
I honestly don't think I will even give it a go when I'm there in December, and I'm with a guide from SierraNevada. Just not worth risking these unpredictable conditions that we as humans have no control over.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do though.

Chris
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With regards to our Chimborazo Extension this is what we advise ourclients:UPDATE: February 2010: We are not currently offering Chimborazo as anextension to our Ecuador Volcanoes climb, as we consider the rock falldanger too hazardous. Suitably experienced team members who wish to stay on in Ecuador for anextra two days can do so and attempt to climb the country's highestmountain, Chimborazo (6,310m). The standard route is currently guided ata 1:2 ratio and we grade the climb 3B. For this ascent, you need: To have previously attempted routes of Scottish Grade II or Alpine PD+(or equivalent). In recent years, the standard route on Chimborazo has frequently beenout of condition. When there is little snowfall and the route is icy, itis very difficult for the leader to protect team members and a slip onthe hard ice in the wrong place could easily be fatal. When consideringyour climb of Chimborazo, please consider that Jagged Globe's Ecuadorianmountain guides are undoubtedly the most experienced on the mountain.They are not 'trekking guides', but experienced mountaineers, whoseskill and judgement we rely upon to make sound mountaineering decisionson a serious climbing objective such as Chimborazo.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby Scott » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:11 am

I am aware that conditions change.


The problem with Chimborazo is that conditions change extremely quickly, due to the eruptions (resulting in ash on the ice) from Tungurahua. There are so many route variations (especially in recent years) that's it's a hard question to answer accurately.

My information is hardly current, but when I was there (2007) the Whymper Route was prone to icefall and the Castillo route was prone to rockfall. The most reasonable route was to climb the Whymper Route until you are to the steep ice slope (above the big cliffs) and to traverse over to the Castillo Route. At the time, this required crossing some big crevasses (and one short ice pitch-maybe 50 degrees where an ice tool would have been of great use) on the traverse.

See my photo below for the location of the icefall danger on the Whymper and for a look at the traverse:

Image
Caption:

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... _id=263295

If either the Whymper Route or the Castillo Route is in condition (and they weren't when I was there), a good climber could probably solo either without too much danger (or at least no more danger than climbing with a partner) since there are few crevasses. If both routes are in bad condition due to rock and/or icefall and you have to do the traverse route, I wouldn't solo it because of the crevasses. Further, the lower part of the Whymper also had some steep ice that was difficult to descend on the return, so if it hasn't snowed recently, then it is a good idea to rappel that section.

As mentioned though, my infomation is not current and I would have no idea which routes are in condition, nor would I know current conditions on any of the routes.

I hope my post was at least of some use and not too confusing.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby CBakwin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:35 pm

Knighter and Scott, those are good responses, thank you. Perhaps I will try to hook up with somebody competant when I am down there, I do have a connection to a climber in Quito, though that wouldn't help me with ice and rock fall of course, just the cravasse danger. Sounds like a person might rather have ice tools than a mountaineering axe?
It seems the email is refering to February so perhaps things have changed/ will change by Jan of 2011 when I will be there, if not, I guess there are plenty of other mountains, but it is always nice to do the high ones.....
Scott, it is always fun reading Kelsey's discription of these climbs, he did it in '72 and stated he skirted around the cravasses, and summitted in 4 1/2 hours , after climbing 2 3/4 hours to an old refugio the night before, then he descended and hitch hiked back to Quito that afternoon! All solo, the guy was/is a machine!
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby Scott » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:50 pm

Sounds like a person might rather have ice tools than a mountaineering axe?


An ice axe would be preferable for the vast majority of the climb. Taking an ice tool on your back would come in handy for just a very short pitch or two.

Scott, it is always fun reading Kelsey's discription of these climbs, he did it in '72 and stated he skirted around the cravasses, and summitted in 4 1/2 hours , after climbing 2 3/4 hours to an old refugio the night before, then he descended and hitch hiked back to Quito that afternoon! All solo, the guy was/is a machine!


Apparently in the 70's and 80's (and maybe later), Chimborazo used to be easier and safer than Cotopaxi. It's now harder.

Either way, yes Kelsey is fast. He still is.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby tb00957 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:06 pm

I climbed it last Nov. Up the whymper route, and down the castillo. Ice tools not required. Only had to front point one short section of maybe 30 feet. Roped team recommended, since there are crevasses when traversing left above 18k. Wish there was more snow, early season had to get down over many ice covered dirt in my crampons, very tedious.

Linda
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby maxomeara » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:26 pm

I soloed Chimborazo last July and I certainly wouldn't have considered myself a veteran climber. I was 19 and previously soloed Orizaba and Cotopaxi so I had the experience of being self reliant but didn't have the overall experience I should have had. There were no other climbers on Chimbo at the time so looking back on it all, it wasn't a very smart decision to climb but risk managment wasn't my top priority I guess.

I took the Whymper route and left at 10pm but a light snowfall had covered the trail and made route finding difficult so I spent the first 2 hours just trying to find the trail and once I did it wasn't long before I got lost again and never found the trail before eventually making it to the Ventimilla summit and by that time the sun had softened the snow so much that I sunk up to my waist trying to get to the true summit another 30mins away so I turned around at that point.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby CBakwin » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:21 pm

Thanks guys, that is all helpful. I guess I will try to get current info when I am in Quito probably around Jan 2nd or so, and if conditions are OK, perhaps go by there in the middle of the month and see what is what, any way, I could do some exploring on the mountian if the rock and ice fall are to great to climb. When you start in the middle of the night to get the solid snow and avoid the rock/ice fall, then route finding is difficult in the dark, and when route finding is easier, then you can't climb due to soft snow....anyway, I'll figure it out, thaqnks to all.
Max, sounds like you had a reasonable time. Climbing alone always has hazards, and we all know what they are, but if you go aware, I think it can be really the most effecient way since you don't have to dither over decisions, or match your speed to anyone else. Good Job.
Anyone get up there in the next couple months, I'd love an update on Conditions.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby PAROFES » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:23 pm

Well, i was gonna open one thread about the Chimborazo but not any more.
Barkwin, i'm thinking about go for it solo myself, i'll probably get to Quito at jan 2nd or 3rd, 2011.
If you want to, we can hook up. I'm planning to do it solo anyway...
But i don't have much time, have to get on a bus to Merida in just 5 days.
I aclimatize very fast and sometimes i not even try to aclimatize, i just climb. But, i walk slowly looking at the view and doing a lot of shots. No rush at all.
If you wanna do it, PM me.
Cheers!
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby bvbellomo » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:10 pm

I am also planning a Chimborazo trip around the same time. If either of you (or anyone else) is interested in climbing together (Chimborazo or other mountains), let me know.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby CBakwin » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:29 pm

It looks like I will not be going up until after the 16th of January now. I have a couple of other partners who aren't really ready for Chimbo yet so I will climb smaller mountains and hopefully Cotopaxi, with them the first couple weeks of Jan, then be better acclimatized anyway. But would love to share costs and perhaps a rope, if that is needed, with someone experienced after the 16th.....
Maybe in December someone will go up there and report back.
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby andre hangaard » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:37 pm

I'll leave for Ecuador next week and if the conditions permits we will give it a try on both Cotopaxi and Chimbo. At the moment there is quite alot of snow in the area I've been told by our SP man in Quito, Boriss.
El Corridor is most probably much safer from rockfall now with the snowcover. I'll report back!
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby PAROFES » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:45 pm

CBakwin wrote:It looks like I will not be going up until after the 16th of January now. I have a couple of other partners who aren't really ready for Chimbo yet so I will climb smaller mountains and hopefully Cotopaxi, with them the first couple weeks of Jan, then be better acclimatized anyway. But would love to share costs and perhaps a rope, if that is needed, with someone experienced after the 16th.....
Maybe in December someone will go up there and report back.


Hey man!

I'll do something just before Chimbo as well, probably Ilinizas and Pechincha, just to warm up the legs. After that if the weather is okay i'll choose between Cotopaxi and Chimbo.
Well, Chimbo is the highoint but Cotopaxi is a cone shaped volcano with a big crater and i love that way more...
I don't really care about the altitude, i care about the look of the mountain, if it's a volano, better! :)
So i guess we can meet there...keep in touch.
Cheers
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby PAROFES » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:49 am

All right folks.

It's oficial now, i just got my plane ticket. I'll be at Quito by 23h, jan 1st, 2011.
Everyone with a huge hangover and at 2nd jan i'll head to Pechincha to warm up the legs hehehe.

If someone will be there by that time, we could can hook up, i already have gps data ready, loaded. I hear there's an lift to around 4000m for Pechincha so, it should be a fast ascent for me.

See ya!

Paulo
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Re: Chimborazo Solo

Postby Boriss Andean » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:32 pm

The Ecuadorian Andean range is totally cover by new soft snow at the moment. Avalanch danger is very high now, so nobody has been able to summit Cotopaxi and Chimborazo at least in the last couple weeks.

The new snow in Chimborazo got as low as the highway at 4,000 m last week. Too bad for the climbers heading for Chimborazo and Cotopaxi on those past weeks, but good for the new climbers planning future ascents in the next weeks.

I'm very possitive this new snow will compact on the mountains and the weather will inprove soon. It's been snowing daily in the last weeks up in the mountains and they really needed that new snow accumulation to cover some of the main crevasses that were making our climbs a pain in the ass for some of us guiding up there, for clients and independent climbers; as well for slowing down a bit glaciar retreading.

I know you'all guys will have good ice/snow conditions and weather up on these mountains by the time you'all will be here. Enjoy your climbs!

Boriss...
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