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Illiniza Sur/Norte,Ecuador VS Similar Peaks in Peru/Bolivia

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Illiniza Sur/Norte,Ecuador VS Similar Peaks in Peru/Bolivia

Postby per160 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:47 pm

I´ll be spending a month in Peru (Cordillera Blanca in June) followed by three weeks in Ecuador (July) and a month in Bolivia (Cordillera Real in August). Apart from Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, I´ve found two peaks I´d like to climb in Ecuador: Illiniza Sur and Norte (around AD+). I´ve read good things about them as Ecuadorian peaks, but fearing the relativism of guidebooks, I´d like to hear if anyone here can compare them to similar peaks in Peru and Bolivia? Should I bother with the Illinizas, or are they only good peaks in the Ecuadorian context? Will I be better off spending an additional week in Peru or Bolivia instead? They do have an amazingly easy access but the weather is supposed to be a lot worse than in Peru and Bolivia. The peaks I´m already planning on doing in Bolivia and Peru are Alpamayo, Quitaraju, Pisco, Cholpicalqui (Peru), Illampu, Illimani, Huyana Potosi, Condoriri, Pequeno Alpamayo (Bolivia) and the alternatives to the Illinizas would be something like Artesonraju, Piramide de Garcilaso, Huascaran Sur/Norte, Huandoy Norte (Peru) , Soral Oeste, Cololo (Bolivia).

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Per Andersson
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Re: Illiniza Sur/Norte,Ecuador VS Similar Peaks in Peru/Boli

Postby rgg » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:33 pm

Last December, I climbed in Ecuador. In normal conditions, Illiniza Norte is an exposed walk with a bit of scrambling involved. Most people don't rope up. However, climbers have fallen off the mountain and died, so for the less experienced or less sure footed, roping up is a good idea. If there is snow on the mountain, the route of course becomes more dangerous, and you may need crampons. I carried them in my backpack, because there was indeed some snow, but didn't use them.

Illiniza Sur is a relatively short climb (from the refugio, that is), but there are some steep pitches. Depending on conditions, it can be pretty tricky. When I climbed it, we had some fresh snow on the mountain, which slowed us down, but also made it safer - even on a steepish slope, it's much easier to stop a fall in soft fresh snow than on hard packed old stuff. I really enjoyed this climb!

If you want to know more, you can read my trip report Obstacles on the Ilinizas.

If you do decide to go to Ecuador, I very much recommend climbing Cotopaxi too, provided that conditions are good. It's pretty close to the Illinizas, and while it's pretty easy, it's still a really fine climb with amazing summit views.

Comparing the technical difficulties of the peaks of Ecuador with Peru (I just got back home from a long trip there) and Bolivia (visited in 2009), I would say that Norte is easier than any of the mountains you mentioned, but Sur is definitely more difficult than the likes of Pisco and Huayna Potosi, and more or less comparable (albeit (much) shorter and not quite as cold) to Huascaran Sur and Norte and Illimani. Chopicalqui I found a little bit more difficult, Illampu a lot more.
Finally, Cotopaxi is quite comparable to Pisco and Huayna Potosi.
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Re: Illiniza Sur/Norte,Ecuador VS Similar Peaks in Peru/Boli

Postby Scott » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:41 pm

The Ilininzas are interesting peaks, but unfortunately a case of food poisoning (picked up at the Houston Airport rather than in Ecuador) kept me in the hut during the climb of Sur (the other members in our party did climb it). If you are already going to Ecuador, they would be really good peaks to try, but they probably wouldn't be quite as impressive as say the peaks in the Blanca or Huayhuash. If you are climbing several peaks in Ecuador anyway, then they would be very good ones.

Cotopaxi is a beautiful peak and Chimborazo is interesting as well. I thought Antisana was the most beautiful peak in the region, but December through March is the normal climbing season for that one. I never did make it down to El Altar, but it's supposed to be the most spectacular mountain in Ecuador, though it has a bad reputation when it comes to weather.
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