November 11, 2011

Ecuador High Altitude Mountaineering 2011

This photo of  a flight over Chamonix has absolutely nothing to do with the content in this post. 

A strange thing happened to me this morning: I woke up in Ecuador. Or maybe it's not strange at all considering that I haven't missed a South American foray since 1999. It's been 12 years since I guided my first trip down here and 4 years since my last visit. I spent the millennium dodging exploding weaponry on the streets of Quito and turned 25 on the summit of Chimborazo. 

For the next two weeks, Johann M (the great Maltese climber) and I will throw ourselves at the Illinizas, Antisana, and Chimborazo.  We will also acclimate with a few smaller peaks that include Gua Gua Pichincha and Pasachoa. 

Climbing in Ecuador is as much a cultural tour as it is a high altitude mountaineering endeavor. The haciendas (grand old land-holdings turned hotels) that serve as base camps for the climbs, date back to the late 16th century and have housed such notables as Edward Whymper and Danny Uhlmann. The reggaeton is also second to none.

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