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5 475 m
4 637 m
0
1,3
2,7
5,33 km

Obejrzane 918 razy, pobrane 8 razy

w pobliżu Ovejería, Pichincha (Ecuador)

This attempt to the Cotopaxi has been one of the most extreme experience of my entire life. We arranged to go up with Vocan Route agency in Latacunga (USD170 each, 2 of us, January 2015) camping besides a mountain hut half way up to the Jose Ribas hut, as this one was still being renewed. All high mountain equipment provided was good and very complete, plus meals during the adventure and the camping equipment.
We left Latacunga around 1400h, have nice lunch on the way, and on reaching the hut we pitched the tent provided and we got diner at 1800h and suppose to have breakfast at 2200h, but that was for us too much food so we requested to save the breakfast for the following morning, after returning from the Cotopaxi. The hut had around 18 bunk beds, all full, plus others like us sleeping in tents. We also heard that other people was going up coming from other huts and othe camping sites.
The afternoon was very pleasant and sunny, with almost clear views of the Cotopaxi from the hut and camping site. Nothing anticipated the huge change on weather conditions...
We woke up at 2200h, had a coffee and got ready to approach the parking at the beginning of the ascension at over 4.600m. After around 20 minutes by car, we reached the parking place in the middle of a storm of ice, snow and strong winds. It was pretty cold and disencouraging, but we decided to give it a try.
When we reached the hut Jose Ribas (4.878m), there were already some groups turning back. The conditions were not any better and the people in the outside of the hut, waiting, was not very encouraging, including the guides.
A big group left and Carsten and I talked to our guide, Sergio, and decided to delay the departure from there, hoping that in couple of hours the weather might change.
Finally we were almost the last ones, so decided to give it a try at 0115h. The conditions were horrible and by then, the backpack was totally frozen, and ice was already starting to mount in our jackets.
We reached the big party at the time most of them were putting on the crampons (some others were starting to return from there) at around 0150h and proceeded to wear our crampons and the rope.
From this point, the wind was even stronger, no sign of weather change, snow and ice was all around us and advancing was extrenuous. Below us we could see some few parties slowly advancing and we took over only one in the way up. At that point, we were the ones opening the way, which made the way even harder. The wind was even erasing the prints of the colleague just 5 meters ahead.
The slope got very steep and I needed to rest every few meters to find my breath. Carsten looked stronger, but Sergio told us that he was only going to reach 5.400m, that was the limit for such bad conditions.
We kept going up, in the middle of the storm, trying not to make the stops too long and being very carefull not to fall.
Finally at almost 5.500m, with no sign of weather change, and feeling that our limits were very close, we all decided to return. It was 0350h and we were at 5.475m. Some meters after returning we found 2 other parties (2 colombians plus guide, and 2 americans with 2 guides) and they all decided to turn back with us.
I was not as solid as Carsten, so Sergio decided I was going down in the middle. Even if we left behind the 2 other parties, I was feeling quite tired going down, and had to extreme precaution.
On reaching the place where the crampons should be removed, the remainings of a big party were just leaving going down.
We finallly made our way down to the parking, reaching it at 0520h, tired, frozen and covered in a think lawyer of ice over our clothes.
We could not summit the Cotopaxi, we could not enjoy the marvellous views, but we had an extreme experience that I must admit enjoyed every single meter!
Apparently Carsten, Sergio and I were the party that reached further that night, and we were told that there were about 60 people on the slopes.
The mountain didn´t want anyone to reach the summit that night, and the Pachamama did protect the mountaing with the storm.
I have to add that the following day I was exhausted, feeling just about to get sick, and I needed to sleep 16 hours with lots of blankets in order to recover my normal being. But this experience I will never forget, and it already making my love for the mountains even stronger!

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