Sunday, December 21, 2008

Volcan Chiles....Ecuador-Colombia border

Volcan Chiles 4723m, is located on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border. The only way to access it seems to be from Ecuador, so after attempting to cross the main border and finding a 4 hour wait, (apparantly not uncommon) I chose a smaller crossing further west, where they don´t even want to see your passport! I got dropped off at the hightest point on the road at 4100m in thick cloud at 2:30pm. At 5:30 pm I found myself about 100m short of the summit, on what I found out later, to be the harder route, and with the sun ready to set I needed a place to pitch my one person tent. There was nothing around that wasn´t out of rock fall danger, until I decended to about 4300m.

Overnight the drizzle stopped and it cleared off as hoped. The temp only dropped to zero, but the drizzle froze to the rocks. Now I had a clear view of the route I was looking for and dropped down to get on the proper ridge. Sunrise at 6am brought awesome views of Volcan Galeras above Pasto to the north, the Amazon to the east, Volcanoes Cayambe and Cotolpaxi to the south just past Quito and the Pacific to the west. Dropped my heavy gear and only took 1.5 hours to reach the summit....a bit tricky on the narrow summit ridge with ice on the west facing rocks.

Sure was great to be back climbing a real mountain, (even if the vertical was only 600m, I did climb it almost twice!), after 3 years, with only one scramble in the Sahara in between.

BTW....Maria and I tried this 12 years ago, but when the bus dropped us off into gale force winds....we turned tail and got transport straight back down!

Well it must be there somewhere....the sign at the bottom says so! Just follow the cairns....numerous on these Andean peaks, becasue of the common fog-cloud conditions.

Should be on the ridge in the RHS background.


The summit. I was on the right hand ridge the previous afternoon at 5:30 before turning back. Darkness comes quick on the equator and didn´t want to get caught on tricky slopes, trying to get a tent up.

More sunrise

Cayambe....on the equator.....actually the highest point in the world thru which the equator passes thru.....on its north flanks. I had a view of this beast from the Amazon years ago.....from 500m looking up to about 6000m I think this one is.....a very rare day in the amazon!

So down and then onto this ridge and up.

from the summit

from the summit....only spent 15 mins at it was clouding in at 9:15am....

Frailejone in the alpine zone below. That is not the summit but just a ridge bump lower down.

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