Rockodromo de Ibarra.We got down from Fuya Fuya (4,263 m/13,982 ft), an extinct volcano located 17 km south of Otavalo. Our plan (Edgar's and mine) was to spend the afternoon and evening in Ibarra doing some climbing at an artificial climbing wall known as one of the best and biggest climbing walls of the country.
I'm sure there could be better climbing walls anywhere else, but we just got amazed with this one. It was bigger and wider than the one we usually climb in Quito. So we got inside the climbing field and looked for good place to start the climb at.
We just brought with us a couple of harnesses and a short rope, so we found a short route up in order to use the whole length of our rope without running out of it.
Well, as soon as I started climbing we noticed that bolts were in very bad shape, most of them looked rusty and old. Hand holds spun around every time I tried to grip them. So we rather did some bouldering instead of climbing up.
We had fun anyway, climbed for a couple hours and then drove around the city, trying to remember places I used to visit during my 7-high school years I lived in Ibarra. It was a crowded afternoon. Young people take advantage of Ibarra's weekends to hang out and have fun during the night. We drove through and headed back to Otavalo by late night.
Heading up to Imbabura.
We drove north towards Ibarra. Then we drove south again to the village of La Esperanza. Once there we bought some groceries at the local market (tienda) and started heading west by Imbabura's eastern foothills.
We passed Chirihuasi and then got to Cashaloma Trailhead 5 km higher up at 7:30 am. The five of us started hiking up as soon as we got to the trailhead. Hiked beside a few wheat fields and gained altitude by climbing up to a flat ridge soon after.
The view from up there was great. We could see Ibarra to the north and Cayambe volcano ((5,790/18,996 ft) to the south. We could even see a few more peaks far away to the north which seem to be located just at the Ecuadorian-Colombian border.
Imbabura's Ridge and Summit.Edgar and Rommy hiked ahead, and Bernd and I followed them until we couldn't see them anymore. We followed the trail up to the lower ridge. We were hiking up at very low speed but at a constant pace. We stopped for a few minutes and had a huge sandwich for lunch. Then we kept hiking up towards the upper ridge.
Once we got to the upper ridge thick white clouds rolled in and we couldn't see no more than 10 feet around us. We kept hiking and scrambling up for about 45 more minutes until we met with Edgar and Rommy on their way back from the summit.
They gave us a small hug and we continued going up towards the top. It was 12:30 when Bernd and I arrived to Imbabura's north summit (4,530 m/14,859 ft). We saw the true summit far away to the south. It reminded me the last time I climbed it with Andrea years ago and hoped to climb it back in the future.