Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Carla´s baptism and Ramon´s 2nd birthday

Dec 3oth was a busy day for the family.....Ramon´s 2nd birthday party...with cousins and kids from the neighbourhood. And later that evening, Carla´s baptism. Then early the next morning, we got up to do a local road race.

Colombian godparents Hector and Carmen.

Mom comes in sixth in a 6km race....2.5 months after giving birth.

Blue skies, green grass, and warm temps :)

Going on his bum is just too easy now.

Zambrano Family photos

Maria had the idea to take photos of all the 5 families and put them in one big frame on the kitchen wall for her parents. So here they are.....

Maria and Ramon

All the grandkids minus 2.
Ramon, Carla, Carola, Mafe, Isa, Chinchon

Wilson, Vilma, Hector, Maria, Carlos

Carlos, Mafe, Cristina

Modesto, Vilma, Carola

Maria, Steve, Carla, Ramon

Wilson, Wilson Andres (Chinchon), Carmen

Diana, Isabela, Hector

Carlos and Juan Felipe (from a previous relationship)

Cindy and Wilson (from a previous relationship)

Monday, December 29, 2008

In the belly of Volcan Cumbal 4764m

Maria and I tried this one 12 years ago and had to turn back due to lack of time, poor visibility, off-route and difficulty breathing the sulfur gas emmitted from the steam vents. So back for another go, with brother-in-law Carlos, who had only climbed one other volcano, 15 years ago. We too ended up off-route, but it turned out for the better in the end, so that we were able to camp on the edge of the smaller, lower crater to the south, instead of the gas filled summit crater to the north.

Here is an ariel shot taken by the Colombian vulcanology institute, who´s job it is to monitor these beasts. We spent the night on the edge of the far crater, and the next morning climbed down about 300m to by-pass the narrow connecting ridge and then up to the summit crater.

Summit crater is indicated by the huge steam-gas vent.

We had it much easier this time, as there are 3 or so kms of horse trodden mud, which was relatively dry this time round.

Paramo....and Frailijones that grow between 3700m to 4100m

Plenty of cairns to mark the way....useful in the common foggy conditions.

Nearly as loud as a jet engine!

Locals mine the sulfur and take it down by sled and horse.

An artist´s pallate...however you spell it.

On the edge of the smaller-lower crater, looking towards the Pacific about 100 or so kms away.

Camped on the edge of this.

Mist rolling in around 6pm. Down to zero overnight.

Sumset and steam-gas rising from below.

The objective for the next morning....the summit crater.

.....but we had to find away around this cairns on this stretch between the two craters to assist us.

Fortunately, the morning fog burned off and we had clear views of Chiles, Cayambe and Cotacachi in Ecuador, with all else below, obscured by mid-level cloud.

And so it was easy route-finding with the fog-mist gone.

Up thru the colored band .... into the black band....

.....and into the summit scree and sulfur gas.

Carlos arriving at the summit...note the yellow sulfur under foot and Volcan Chiles in the background.

Yippee! Highest he´s ever been!

The endorphin goat himself. I´m sure many jokes could be made of this seating position and apparatus, but I won´t stoop that low.

View to last nights camp....small crater in front of the large one in the distance.

The huge summit steam-gas vent....the same one as in the 1st two fotos.

The descent.

....and back to the paramo and home by 3pm for a roast Peruvian turkey guinea pig this year :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Volan Galeras above the city of Pasto

Galeras is on the Decade Volcanoes list....the top ten in the world most likely to erupt. Its last eruption in 1993 killed nine people...vulcanologists and 3 tourists: I didnt linger long at the summit....there was no one else there, as its been closed to tourists for years....I wonder why.

Bít unnerving with the off and on blasts of gases from the cone in the crater, but not as unsettling as looking down into Volcan Pacaya in Guatemala at sunset a few years back, to see the lava bubbling below.

Can´t seem to get my photos is the correct order....but Im sure youll figure it out.

The cone in the crater.

Part of the crater with the cone to the left.


Summit ridge and tourist longer in use, as its been ripped apart by projectiles.

A closer look at the walk way lookout.

Paramo vegetation.

Im told they were swept years ago. But I stuck to the old tire tracks anyways and treaded softly :)

Frailejone above Pasto.

Rich soil on lower slopes.

Why aint that just purdy.