Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Avenue of the Volcanoes

Believe it or not that's me standing there motivating a fellow classmate with the sun coming up behind us and Cotopaxi in the background.

As I mentioned at the tail end of my last post I was heading into Ecuador's Avenue of the Volcanoes for some more play time. This time there was more than just play. I had signed up for IWLS 24 day mountaineering course (originally for Patagonia, but it was cancelled) and was ready to hone my skills and learn some new ones on the great conical mountains of the Ecuadorian Andes. The hit list was impressive - Guagua Pichincha, Illiniza Norte, Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo - but the weather kept us away from the summits and our rummy skills sharp. In the end I got to hike Rucu Pichincha, summit Illiniza Norte, nearly summit Cayambe, and summit Illiniza Sur (almost forgot, jumped off a bridge in Banos too).

Me iced up on Cayambe

Due to glacial recession Cayambe has an impressive set of bergschrund crevasses at it's top that requires a fair bit of ice climbing. We got through part of it, but I called it quits just about 10 minutes shy of the top to ensure a safe descent. Illiniza Sur wasn't on the original list and is an impressive peak to top out on. There was no snow making it an ice climb to the top. Lots of steep ice travel and ice climbing with impressive crevasse formations along the way.

Jared, Micah, and I on the summit of Illiniza Sur

Now, after busing from Quito to Ushuaia and back up over 6 months and exploring a small chunk of the natural beauty that South America has to offer, I'm off to my next destination - Australia. Trading llamas and condors for koalas and kangaroos.

Goodbye quilted hills, golden paramo, majestic mountains, and kind people. Until we meet again...

Sun coming up over Cotopaxi, view from Illiniza Norte


Stacey said...

Wow! I am just so impressed and proud of my little sis. It looks scary and breathtakingly beautiful all at the same time.

DJ says: "Awesome pictures! Hope you had a fun time."

Lucky is nudging my hands off the keyboard at the moment; doesn't he realize that I'm saying 'hi' to his mommy? lol I suppose I should take him out... AGAIN!

How's it going down under? Can't wait for those pictures either!

Love ya, take care!


A-train said...

Hey Sis!

Thanks for the great Lucky pics. I'm in a Mac world at Bryn and Jills so when I get to PC land I'll downsize and upload some more pics. I'm way behind. Have tons to get sorted and upload.

You've been taking some greats. I love the ones you've put up on your flickr account.

I'm glad you like the pictures DJ, maybe someday we'll climb a mountain together...or at least go backpacking.

Love ya'll!