Chimborazo – the walk to the summit

Finally, it was the “big” day to get out of the town of Riobamba and up to the mountain Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador. And the climate seemed to be nice. That was great. After a good night sleep we got ready for this big adventure and first of all for our breakfast. The breakfast was brilliant and offered energy for our day.

After this strengthening we went back to the Andeans place where John waited for us. He was surprised that we didn’t arrive 10 minutes before the actual appointment. That’s why he thought we won’t come and now his guide and his clients already left. What a pity! But our nice friend phoned his guide and ordered him back to pick us up. What a relief for our expedition! Funny enough right now a procession of some school in Riobamba started in front of us.

The main street, where we were waiting, was blocked, so we had to go to another side street to meet eventually our ride. Everything went fine. Hannah and I jumped in the back of the Jeep and enjoyed the view and the fresh air. But soon enough we were ascending more and more and it was becoming more freezing in the back of the Jeep. But we were in great humor, so we didn’t really mind.

             

           

Our plan for this day was, to go up from the refuge Hermanos Carrel, which is situated on 4.800 m and accessible by car, to the upper refuge, called Whymper. This refuge you find on an altitude of 5.000 m. On this way we passed a memorial, a kind of graveyard for the dead people – the dead who lost their life in the Chimborazo. Hopefully their souls are in peace nowadays and that all their relatives will be released from their grief.

   

It was a bit oppressive and we were reminded about all the risk of climbing a mountain. But still we had confidence in our abilities and experiences.

After 1-2 hours we finally arrived at the refuge Whymper. There we received good news in the cold. We were free to sleep in the refuge and use the kitchen. After the windy, cold and rainy days in the base camp of the Cayambe we were happy to do so. Only now we got the fact that every entrance of the national parks of Ecuador, including the refuge is or should be at least for free. But as you heard from my other stories this wasn’t really the case because the responsible persons in the refuges or national park entrances wanted to do their own small business. But anyway now we are here and the guard in the refuge Whymper was really nice and helpful.

     

After we put our material and backpack in a small room with 3 beds, we went for some walk. We wanted to get to know better our surrounding and of course and very important, we wanted to get used to the altitude.

        

       

Later the sky cleared up and we were regarded with a really great sunset.

So far we hadn’t problems. But at dinner time Hannah felt a bit sick. Hopefully she will recover soon.

The next morning, after a cold night, every one felt good, so we explored our way up to the mountain. If we want to climb the summit we needed to leave the refuge latest at midnight, so it was necessary to know the route up to the summit.  Back in the refuge we had an early dinner and went back to bed. Our big day has come. So we planned to get up at 10.30 pm for having a kind of breakfast and then leaving the refuge to accomplish our project, the Chimborazo.

At 11.30 pm we were walking up the hill and it was windy and cold. Soon we needed to put on our crampons because the way was a mixture of ice and earth, in which it was really hard to find foothold. After some hours we were on the ridge. Here it was extremely windy and my eyes hearted from the sandy wind. We had a short break and then we continued our walk to the peak. It was an exhausting climb since the inclination was strong.

        

But after the sunrise, it go a bit warmer and sunnier.

Soon we were on the summit Ventimillia (6.275 m).  

What delight! We made it!

        

But every climber knows that reaching the summit does not mean that you have already accomplished your expedition. Now it was another hard work to get down to the refuge. This was really difficult since we already were late and so we had the risk of falling rocks on our descent.

        

Only in the afternoon we reached finally our destination, the refuge Whymper. After a hot soup and some food we went straight to bed.

The following day we were descending from our refuge to the city of Riobamba. There our Ecuador expedition was going to its end. But yes we did it!

Riobamba – the Rio de Janeiro of Ecuador, we wished…

After our retreat from Cayambe, we were happy to get to warmer regions in Ecuador. We wanted to relax before starting our last and biggest project – the Chimborazo, the highest volcano of Ecuador. It is 6.267 m high – an impressive altitude.

To get easily to the base camp of the Chimborazo you should be in the city Riobamba. On our way from Quito to Riobamba, Banos was on the map and so we decided to relax there for a few days.

When we got to Banos we were happy to take a hot shower and unpack our backpacks.

The following day we had a late breakfast and still decided to do a cycling trip from Banos to Puyo, which is a small city located in the Amazon region. This trip is a 58 km cycle. During this tour we were passing different climate zones, which was amazing and very interesting. You end up in the Amazon region, where you find different food and climate. I was impressed. Now I really was looking forward to see and feel more of this fascinating region.

All in all it was a nice and funny cycle trip. In Puyo we got a bus to Banos. The bus driver was not amazed about carrying our rented bikes with the bus but we persisted. So just in time we got to the bike shop in Banos to return the bikes. Our shower was deserved!

The following days we prepared our project and went on to Riobamba. There we wanted to do the last bit of shopping, revise our plan and request the last missing information. Personally I was looking forward to go to Riobamba, the second Rio de Janeiro, at least the name sounded like that. But Riobamba was more Pampas than anything. When the bus driver said we already got to the Terminal in Riobamba, we couldn’t believe what we heard. But sure, you accept fast that you are in Riobamba and so we had to look for a Hostel, which wasn’t that easy either. After a through-the-city-run we finally found ourselves in a descent hotel.  Then straight away after getting rid of our heavy luggage we searched for camping gas, food and for more information. Still we weren’t sure how to get to the mountain hut “Hermanos Carrel” of Chimborazo.

We had luck; we found the Andean Adventures place where we met John, the guy who is working there. We talked with him and he gave us a lot of helpful information. After he heard about our project he offered us a lift to the base camp the next morning because his guide would take some clients up there anyway.  This was really nice and helpful.  So now it was fixed. We were going to leave Riobamba and going up to the base camp of Chimborazo the next morning. How exiting! In a hurry we went to a supermarket to buy the missing food and then more or less straight to bed. Some important days were waiting for us.

But first, some more impression of our stay in Banos and surrounding: