Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cotacachi 4944m

Well I have stared at this pyramid shaped volcano enuf over the was finally time to climb it.  Details at the bottom.

Cotacachi at 7pm, with Lago Cuicocha in the forground....a crater lake with an island.

The lights of Ibarra in the wee hours of the morn.

The virgin doing her thing....somewhere along the trail.

Looking south towards Quito. I was between two layers of cloud at that point.

A pinnacle on the way up, near the 1st col.

The crux...a 10m chimney...just the perfect squeeze :) (A few weeks later, just read in another guide book that this is rated as a 5.5 IV 70 Degrees)

A rap sling above it. Passed 3 more on the way up.

Looking down the ascent gully from the summit ridge. Placed the "peligro" tape so I wouldn't miss the correct gully on the way back.

Sitting on the 1st summit, looking towards the 2nd summit.

On the 2nd summit, looking back at the 1st. One of those twin summits where it's hard to tell which is higher.

The narrow, exposed, crumbling connecting ridge.

No one had been here for months....the melting snow had erased any footprints that might have been on the ridge.

Ramon loves my fire breathing dragon! What's this old man doing up here anyways? Shouldn't he be at home with is feet up instead? in the photo below...

Going back down the crux/chimney to the right. I didn't need a rope due to the warm verglas on the rock.

Back to the 2nd col. Note my boot prints on the left
This little critter was high up around 4800m on about a foot of corn snow. Must have crawled out of hole where a falling rock had landed and the sun melted the snow around it, allowing it to crawl out. Good luck little buddy!

Hopped on the bus to Otovala after school on Friday and got a truck up the Lago Quicocha...hadn't been there for 16 years, since Maria and I did the 14km trek around the lake. Got there at 5:45...just in time for the 1st photo above....of Cotacachi. Got a ride up to the antennas at about 4000m, from about 3100 at the lake. Started at 5:45 and got to the top at 11:15. Snow from about 4500m to the summit. A difficult scramble with a chimney crux just below the summit ridge. Many route finding challenges...esp in the cloudy/foggy/snowy weather and alot of loose rock...but I'm used to that in the Rockies! Brought a harness and rope to rap the crux, but never used it. Rained on the way back in the paramo...where 5 happy semi-wild llamas were happily grazing. Had to walk the 11km down from the atennas so I didn't hit the hiway until 5:30....back home to a hot bath at 9pm :)
Nice to have a taste of winter when I feel like it! Now it's time for the hotsprings on a Sunday afternoon.

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