Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 5, 2008
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

Plans and changes

It's sliding! Hold on tight guys!.. Those were the only words that came out of my mouth when 4WD vehicle we were riding on started to slide down by the muddy road, some 20 meters into the water canal.

The truck couldn't reach the top of the steep road, its brakes locked in the mud, there was nothing we could do, just staring at each other’s faces wondering how it'll end up.

It was a bright sunny morning, and there we were... stuck in a muddy roadside on our way to Pasochoa. A medium-height mountain of the Ecuadorian eastern cordillera, and one of the 4 mountains we had in mind to climb before Illiniza Norte and Cotopaxi.

Marie Michelle, Marie Helen, Alan (CAN) and Rommy (AUS) remained in the truck while I looked for a truck to help us getting the truck out of the canal.

Our help arrived one hour later. A small farm tractor helped us pulling the truck out of the canal very carefully, leaving no damage in the truck at all.

It made no sense to keep driving up on those conditions, so we opted to drive back to Quito and to climb Rucu Pichincha.

It was a fast ascent. We climbed up from the teleferico restaurant (4,100 m / 13.448 ft) to the summit. It took us exactly 3 hours to get to Rucu Pichincha summit (4,698 m/15,413 ft). Snapped a few pics and headed back down to Quito.

Illiniza Norte

Our next goal was Illiniza Norte, so 2 days later we left Quito and drove south to La Virgen Parking Lot (3,900 m) in Reserva Ecologica Illinizas.
Illiniza Norte Normal RouteIlliniza Norte
Pico Villavicencio, Illiniza Norte.Illiniza Sur from Illiniza Norte

The weather was perfect, clear blue sky and almost windless. The five of us got to the Nuevos Horizontes refuge (4,700 m) after 3 hours of hiking. We spent the afternoon at the refuge playing games with 2 friendly germans and their guide Jacobo (ECU).

The Climb

We woke up at 5:30 am and an hour later we were heading up towards the summit by the ridge that starts at the base of the saddle formed by Illiniza Sur (5,266 m/17,277 ft.) and Illiniza Norte (5,126 m/16,818 ft).
Breaking Trail on Illiniza Norte.Breaking trail

The morning was windy a bit and the route was covered by hard snow. As soon as we reached Pico Villavicencio the snow softened considerably. We climbed on mixed ice/rock surface until we got to a long traverse which took us up to the very base of the summit.
Illiniza Norte SummitIlliniza Norte Summit (5,126 m/16,818 ft.)

Alan, Marie Michele, Marie Helene, Romy and I kept going up avoiding a few exposed passes and joined Jacobo and his German clients at the tinny summit. We all felt so happy up there, did our best to take pictures of all of us, had lunch, laughed, hugged and congratulated to each other and headed back down to the refuge.

We all had a great time during the climbs and in Quito as well. I hung out with them at night (while not climbing) at their hotel´s terrace.. chatting, laughing, having fun and enjoying the beautiful clear nights of the capital city. They became my new good friends; I really enjoyed hanging out with them.


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