After passing through the boulder strewn desert slopes, Chimborazos huge snow plastered face above the Whymper hut was a refreshing change. Despite vertigo sleeping on the top bunk of the huge four story sleeping quarters, left at an unearthly but necessary midnight for the climb. Many parties left but one by one they seemed to turn around and on the upper slopes we were mostly alone. The conditions were perfect but mightily cold and hacking up a small ice slope you could certainly feel the cold. Being on a rope you have to go at other peoples pace rather than your own which adds to your knackeredness.
Eventually we popped up on the first summit and unroped, walked in bright sunshine to the summit proper. It was fantastic and a tear or two came to my eye as we looked down on all of Ecuador. The descent was quick but by this time the snow had began to slushify and small crevasses could be seen opening up. Great relief to be back at the hut and consume that elixor of life - a really good cup of tea!
After having spent two weeks in Ecuador, visiting, hiking, and slogging up Iliniza Norte and Cotopaxi we headed for Chimborazo. Our first attempt, we left the Whymper Hut at 11 pm and made our way over the scree/moraines on the "Normal" route up and towards the left towards the steepish rock/ice step. The temperature was very warm and we were reminded by this fact when a boulder the size of a small car went...thump... THUMP..THUMP!...then whistled over our heads as we ran for cover. I had bad feelings before we began and was very happy to head back to the hut and make another attempt the following evening, after we could find a better, safer line. The next evening we went straight up the tongue of the Thielman ( I think) Glacier in between both areas of bigger rockfall (and seracs) and easily wound our way through the not too severe icefall and across to the "Normal" route. We arrived on the Ventimilla summit around 7 am and continued on in bright sun and clear skies to the higher summit. Descent was ugly (no visibility and poor snow) and I was very happy for the wands we placed on the way up. Made it back to the hut and found a taxi and before long were sipping cool beverages (forget the name of that better Ecuadorian beer) on the edge of the Amazon.
Did not reach the summit, turned around due to avalanche danger at almost 20,000ft.... very enjoyable climb and intend on returning to complete summit. Loved Ecuador and highly recomend it.
3 french peoples :
Eric , Christophe and I (didier) reach the summit at 10 am. departure at 1am.
Not technical climb but long with a very cold weather and important elevation (1300m)
Did not summit. Got AMS at aprox 20,000 foot.