Mountaineering in Ecuador Trish & Wade Ecuador, Eos Ecuador Travel 0 Comment Summit of Pichincha – a “small” volcano overlooking Quito. Old Town Quito Friendly people, thin air, and the acclimatization has begun as I site see and jog around the steep streets at 9,350 feet. First test: climbing Illinizia Sur – 17,267 feet. The clouds are clearing and there’s angry old Cotopaxi blowing some smoke. There is no climbing allowed on the popular Cotopaxi due to volcanic activity so I’ll have to settle on the much more difficult Chimborazo – 20,564 feet. That doesn’t look so bad. Success rate for low elevation flatland dwellers like me is not so rosy. Come on Cotopaxi. Oh well, let’s do the nasty one instead…after all, I’ve had three days to acclimatize from the midwest’s 1,000 feet of elevation already! Base camp Refugio. We leave at 10 PM and should summit sometime around 7 AM…”If you don’t give up like the German guy I guided last week” said my guide Hugo. No pressure, this vicuna isn’t feeling the altitude at all, I’m sure it’ll be a cake walk. Well, there was nothing easy about this summit bid. That was a 9 hour suffer fest to get to the top… …as evidenced by my celebratory puke session at the top. The Illinizias, Cotopaxi, and Antisana on the horizon behind me. Wow, pretty amazing view from the top of Ecuador! Close enough. Altimeter should read 20,564 from where we were standing at the summit of Chimborazo but I probably need to calibrate or something. Let’s head down…my legs could use a good workout. Couldn’t have done it without this guy. Hugo was a stud, certified by Asegium, arranged for me by Eos Ecuador Travel. “Well, you made it, so I guess you’re not as much of a pussy as my last client”. He didn’t really say that, but I know he was thinking it. Good dude, great country, and an amazing challenge that I vowed never to do again. And here I looking at flights for my next mountain adventure. I never learn. Headed back to Quito with the Illinizias for our view.