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.
Climbed with Cynthia (FRA) and Gunter (AUS). We left the refuge at 1:00 am. It snowed a bit the first 3 hours. Snow/ice conditions were perfect.
Got to the summit (5,897 m/19,347 ft) at 6:15 am. There's a new huge and deep crevasse a few meters before reaching the summit. We took an alternative route and summited.
We could see the crater and other volcanoes to the north, south and west as well as a sea of clouds below us.
it was windy and cold. A bit disappointed that I can't see the crater because we were in the clouds.
Guided Canadians Paul and Brian, (49 years old both). Left the refuge at 1:10 am.
We got to the summit at 6:15 am... beautiful sunrise and a perfect view of the mountains. We looked Sangay erupting far in the distance.
Got back to te refuge in just 1:15 hours. Great weather and ice/snow conditions.
My first trip to Ecuador was one year ago and I didn't have time to acclimatize or climb Cotopaxi. That trip inspired me to quit my job and sell everything so that now I can travel and climb all the time! Finally I got to the top, by leaving the refuge at 12:30, I got to the top at 5:30, in time for the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen!
Guided Jean Claude (FRA) and Cristel (FRA). We had great weather, startlit and windless. Left the refuge at 1:30 am and got to the summit (5,897 m / 19,347 ft) at 6:00 am. Five and a half hours of climbing.
Crevasses are getting bigger and snowbridges thinner. We waited one hour at the summit, enjoying of the views and the sunrise. Rafael and Ivan (Ecuadorian guides) joined us later along with their four french clients.
The sun melted the snow on our way down, it made our descent harder. There was a huge avalanche by the time we reached the glacier line.
My wishes came true. I thick layer of new fresh snow covered the whole volcano and its lowlands. We all got back to the parking lot in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm.
Climbed with Andreea (ROM) and Mehmet (TUR). Left the refuge at 1:00 am. Very enjoyable climb. Ice bridges on the crevasses were very stable and compacted even though the night was warm and windless.
Got to the summit at 7:30 am along with my two completely exhausted climbing partners. The fog difted away for a while and we could see the crater and a few peaks of the western cordillera. Got back to the refuge at 10:30 am.
- Some information:
Actually this is the very first route climbed back in the day by the first climbers. This route was climbable until January 2000 when huge deep crevasses featured on the way up, stopping climbers to reach the summit.
A new route was opened soon after, we called it “La Rompe Corazones” (heartbreaker).. I wonder why? :) It usually used to take up to 3 hours of constant activity to reach the 5,500 m by an almost 50 degree slope. We climbed and guided by this route for 9 years.
- Good and bad news:
The good new is, this route (Yanasacha) was recently opened again (May 2009). A very scenic route with many resting spots and boredless. It has many nice features, huge deep crevasses, ice bridges and the view of Yanasacha (black wall) from below. A very enjoyable climb!
The bad new is, new crevasses are showing up lately, cutting our way up and forcing us to search for alternative routes. Hope the mountain will get enough snow accumulation the following years in order to keep climbing by this impressive scenic route.
Climbed with Boriss (ECU) and Mehmet (TUR). Long climb, we got to the summit (5,897 m / 19,347 ft) at 7.30 am. Got sick at the summit and returning was a nightmare.
Good weather, no wind all the way up to the summit. A bit foggy at the summit but we got to see the crater, Illinizas and Ruminahui from time to time.
I got amazed to see the whole route up climbed by us before dawn... very long and crevassed, most of them very deep and large. A beautiful mountain and I'm so happy I reached the summit!.