In the 11 days – 5 volcanoes program of Cotopaxi Travel there is missing one summit for Bryan and Siew – the Chimborazo. The Chimborazo is with 6268 m the highest volcano and also highest mountain of Ecuador. On a clear day you can see its snowy top from far, but this morning starts a bit cloudy. Anyways the guides Patricio and Fernando are preparing everything for the high camp – tents, sleeping beds, food – and for climbing the icy top. After everything is in the car, they are collecting Bryan and Siew in Baños, where they spent the day to relax from the four volcanoes they climbed before.
At lunchtime it starts to rain, but we continue our way to the entrance of the Chimborazo national park, hoping to leave the bad weather behind.
We arrive within a window of sun and get a small glimpse of the mountain awaiting us. Many vicunas are watching us curiously. In fact, the area is overpopulated with this cute animal. In contrast we soon can’t see other humans anymore.
When we start hiking from the parking lot at 4900 m the window closes and it starts to snow. The visibility gets worse and we need to stay together to not loose sight of eachother. When we reach the camping side at 5300 m we can barely see our hands in front of our eyes. The snowy rain gets worse and we almost get blown away by the wind.
Now there are two options: Put the tents as fast as possible and try to get warm in spite of the wet clothes? It would be hard starting the difficult ascent, frozen already and with only little hope of a view on top of the mountain. The other option is returning for now and try the summit again another day. The guides are reasonable, so we decide for the latter one.
In the mountain you can never be sure what awaits you and the conditions can change from one second to the other. To still use the day tomorrow for a nice hike, we are planning to go to the Quilatoa lagoon, a turquoise crater lake. If the weather and Chimborazo get’s better during the next days, Siew and Bryan will be able to try again.