This is an amazing mountain, we were lucky enough to get to attempt it the second time we went to the park this month. We were in clouds on the summit and lots of newer snow, but 100% worth it!
I´m starting to see a pattern emerging here, apparently this mountain simply takes three attempts to climb it. Maybe a note for the guidebooks?
After two earlier failed attempts, I finally made it. North route, solo.
This was my third time on the mountain. In 2005 our guided climb was aborted due to bad weather forecast and in February 2010 I made a bivy in the icecave at 5.300 due to an even worse storm with very strong winds during my solo attempt.
My third attempt was finally succesfull. Although there were some obstacles on the way here too.
In the night before, all climbers came back with out summiting very early in the morning. It turned out that the snowbridge over the Big Crevasse up at 5.500m had collpased the day before. After receiving some info the next day we were told to pass the Big Crevasse to the left. Still great confusion occured around the collapsed snow bridge in the middle of the night and a couple of parties decided to turn around as people seemed to fumbling around in all directions in the dark. It was rather cold queuing around on the steep slopes.
Eventually we did find some tracks to the left and it turned out that it was no problem at all crossing the crevasse. Johan Dahlström and I summited at 07:10 and had the entire summit for ourselves.
Finally I managed to scale this fantastic mountain. The route was great, taking us zig-zaging through the amazing world of snow and ice. I loved every second of it.
This one got away.
I climbed with Boriss. A few days before, a big thunderstorm had dropped a new load of snow on Cotopaxi (the same one that caught us on Sincholagua).
On the night of the climb it was warm, just below freezing. Boriss carefully investigated the snow layers several times, and at a steep section just below 5400 m he saw that the top 30 cm or so of snow was just waiting for a trigger to set off a massive slab avelanche, so we returned. Of course I was disappointed not to summit, but it was the only possible decision, and I´ve learned a bit more about how to gage avalanche risk. To continue would be nothing but a gamble with our lives, and I don´t like those odds.
Not to bad. Nice ice finish
Near total whiteout for the last 300 or 400 meters. Pretty sure I was on the summit because I could see a portion of what looked like a crater and some people in our group had cameras out. Not sure what they were taking pictures of, but then again I was also a little hypoxic. Beautiful mountain and nice hut at the base.
Andrea (CAN) and I closed our trip in a spectacular way after a week of camping, hiking and hitch hiking through the Andes by climbing Cotopaxi (5,897 m / 19,347 ft) in just 5 hours from our camping site.
Nobody summited Cotopaxi in the last two days and we made it!!. We left our tent 10 minutes before 2 am, and passed all the climbing teams on our way up. We got to see the crater for a while.
Got back to the refuge in 1 hour 20 minutes..wow! I really enjoy this climb!! :).
Climbed with Anna (RUS). We left from the refuge at 1:20 am, an hour after all of the other parties left. Very bad weather on our way up, very windy and extremelly cold.
But we enjoyed climbing up by the new route, which is completely different from the other routes I've climbed in Cotopaxi. It features very deep beautiful crevasses and huge seracs towering at both sides of the new route.
Got to the summit (5,897 m / 19,347 ft) at 7:20 am, stayed just 5 minutes at the top and rushed ourselves down before getting blown off the mountain :)
Got back to Quito by night.
First higher altitude climb. Made it despite shivering for the last 1000 ft or so.
Perfect weather! A relief especially because we had not even seen the peak in the 5 days we had been there.
Climbed with Christine (FRA): We started at 1:30 am from the refuge. It was a warm night and the new fresh snow didn't get compacted enought. Crossed the thin large bridge crevasses before they collapse.
Got a radio call just 50 meters below the summit. I needed to leave Christine with Fausto (EC Guide) and go down to Yanasacha again (5,600 m) in order to guide Bernard up (FRA) to the summit (his guide wasn't feeling good).
Felt like climbing Cotopaxi twice. Bernard (68) and I joined the rest of the french team up at the summit (5,897 m / 19,347 ft). We were the only team that summited that morning.
Got back from the summit with Bernard and Michele. Bernard slipped down near the traverse below the summit. Michele and I got him.. uff!.
Once in Yanasacha platform Rafael(EC) roped up with Bernard and I did the same with Michele. It was already 11:30 am and the snow conditions were awful!.
We all had a hard time crossing the deep crevasses above 5,500 m. The ice bridges were weak and pierced by the other teams on the way down.
Crevasse crossing picture
Rafael and I fixed lines and crossed our clients to the other side of the crevasses. As I was the last to cross the bridges, I broke them in two, the last ladder felt down to the void. but it was attached by a fix rope to the lip of the crevasse.
Five minutes later we triggered an avalanch. Rafael felt a couple meters down but he self arrested on time.
The day couldn't be complete without a heavy thunderstorm. Thunder stroke a few kms away... kind of scary at times.
Got back to the refuge at 1:30 pm. What a relief.
Got a late start but had great weather
This was my second time on Cotopaxi. Last time was in May 2005. This time I spent four days around the mountain. Day 1 I hiked up to the Refugio Jose Rivas and scouted the route up to the beginning of the glacier. This was a new route since 2005. Day 2 I scouted the route up to 5.500m. I was trying to find a good place to put up my tent as my plan was to make a high camp up the mountain. Not too many good camping sites to be found though.
Day 3 I started off with 25kg gear and found a spot up at 5.300m.
Unfortunatly one of my poles broke so I could not errect my tent. The wind was starting to get really bad. Fortunately I found an ice cave just around 100m from where I was. The cave provided my with an excellent and windproof shelter. I spent the night up there at 5.300m. However, the weather deteriorated and the wind kept growing in strenght. My summit push had to be aborted early the following morning. Next time I think I will go in the traditional way. Light gear and one push! :-)
Climbed with Darren (ENG) and Alex (ENG). It took us exactly 7 and a half hours to get to the summit (5,897 m/19,347 ft).
Great weather but I was getting cold due to our extremelly slow progress.
Ice bridges over the crevasses are getting weaker.
Nobody had reached the summit the past two days because of bad weather. When we left the refugio at 1am the weather was perfect. Reached the glacier after 1,5 hour where we put on crampons and roped up. Reached the top with my guide Nicolas in five hours from the refugio, right on time for sunrise. Only stayed 15 minutes at the top, good views of the crater but verycold, and no real views of surrounding volcanoes. Very windy in some parts. Got down in 2 hours. Climbed Pasochoa some days earlier to acclimatise. One of my favorite climbs so far.
Climbed with Dustin and Ammon and lets not forget Pablo!!....
Climbed with K'Ashem girls from Guatemala (Deysi and Valesca).
Very strong girls. We got to the summit at 6:15 am. Six hours 15 minutes after leaving the refuge. The last snow fall covered completely the trail above the glacier. I started breaking trail on fresh snow.
Saw other mountains from the summit (5,897 / 19,347 ft) as well as the crater. A fun climb!
Made it up in 5:30 in great conditions. Blue skies above the low lying clouds. The crater was awesome, and the crevasses continued to blow my mind. An amazing climb for sure.
Climbed with Gary (AUS) and Mary (AUS). We have a foot of new fresh snow on the mountain. I broke trail for the first couple hours. Weather was perfect.
Got to the summit (5,897 m/19,347 ft) at 5:30 am, right before sunrise. We could see all of the surrounding ecuadorian mountains, including Sangay erupting.
My last climb of Cotopaxi of 2009.