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kiefner

Cotopaxi in November?

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Anyone interested in joining me on Cotopaxi in November?

 

I’ll be in Ecuador for a couple weeks in November traveling to the Galapagos Islands and some other spots inland. I’ll be back in Quito on November 10th, at which time I’d like to climb Cotopaxi (19,347 ft). I have a flight back to Seattle on November 15th. Unfortunately, it is not a huge window of time, but easily enough for this climb.

 

Is anyone interested in meeting me there to get some serious altitude? The climb is comparable to Rainier, just higher. I’m an experienced mountaineer, I’ve been up to 19,000 ft before, and I even speak some Spanish! Anyone interested in meeting up? I’d really prefer to do it with another experienced climber rather than a guide service with a bunch of rookies. Let me know if you’re interested, thanks!

 

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Not trying to be a buzz killer but that sounds like a very short amount of time to acclimatize properly for 19K.

Quito is at 9K but even after smaller acclimatization trips and a trip to the Illinizas and Cayambe we had to turn back on Cotopaxi because my friend had serious AMS at around 18K. Of course, its up to the individual, but still, 9K to 19K in four days seems like a hell of a schedule.

I'd suggest hitting up the Illinizas.

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Killi is about the same height. And that's a five day climb.

 

I'm trying to head south, but don't have time to travel until after Thanksgiving.

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I have to agree with cbcbd, it doesn't leave you much time to acclimatize. I remember flying into Quito and just taking a couple days to adjust to that altitude. I took hikes on other mountains to acclimatize. It may have changed since the mid 90's, but arranging transport in and out of Cotopaxi park took some doing. The bus ride from Quito was an adventure in itself. The local guides usually have jeeps and can guard your camp, and weren't too expensive. I hope you have a great trip!

 

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Killi is about the same height. And that's a five day climb.

Vs Killi, for Cotopaxi I think one of the things that doesn't help is that the only hut, used for the normal route, is at 15,700', the parking lot is at 15,100'. If you go right for it, in four days it just makes it hard to "climb high, sleep low". For Killi you have intermediate camps going up.

 

One thing I would try to do would be to, on day one, take the Teleferico to Cruz Loma in Quito and hike the rest of the way to Rucu Pichincha (15,400'). Sleep in Quito that night and then head to the hut on day 2, rest day 3, summit day 4. Could actually work if you acclimatize well.

 

As far as transport goes, we took the bus too far, just passing the park entrance, but just talked to some random local with a pickup about giving us a ride to the hut lot. Worked out pretty well and I'm glad at least one of us knew Spanish ;)

 

Anyway, besides all my ramblings I do hope you find a partner and good luck!

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Thanks for advice, and concern regarding acclimatization. I wasn't too clear before, the 10th - 15th is actually my climbing window. Fortunately, I'll have a full week before then treking around Ecuador in which to get some altitude.

 

I'm not heading from sea level to quito to cotopaxi in 4 days; that would be ambitious! My acclimating schedule is still shorter than I'd prefer, so I'm definitely ok turning around shy of the summit.

 

Unless, I meet some good climbers down there, I'll likely be doing it with a guide (hell, maybe I'll even have a cook!). I'll post a TR once I return on Nov 15th. Thanks again.

 

Dave

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You'll be fine. Go climb one of the Illiniza peaks first (@ 17,000'). You can spend day 1 at the Illiniza refugio (15,600'), day 2 summiting, day 3 resting, day 4 at the Cotopaxi refugio (15,700') , and day 5 summiting. That's enough time, just pay attention to your brain. Moggely guides are fun.

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If you do get to Quito and are still looking for someone to climb with, the owner of the Cafe Refugio Montana, Juan Carlos Bastidas, is a really nice guy and an experienced climber. He might know of locals needing a partner or might be interested in climbing with you himself. At the very least his place is a good stop to talk about climbing in the area over beer.

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How is quito for meeting up with other climbers?

 

I'm solo and haven't had luck trolling Summitpost or other online boards.

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It isn't great, since it's such a big city, but I think if you trolled the climbing shops and cafes around the Mariscal Sucre for a day or two you could get a sense if there were other parties out there looking for people. You might meet other climbers acclimatizing on the Illinizas too.

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I have a few suggestions concerning transportation. Save yourself some money and support rural locals who need the cash more than the guide services that organize transportation in Quito. If heading to Los Illinizas take any bus South on the Panamericana and get off in Machachi. You can hire a truck in the major plazas of the city. Pick someone who has a good vehicle as the road up to Los Illinizas was in tough shape when I was there in January. If you pay the driver well and are clear about the pickup time, you can expect him to come back and get you. Some basic Spanish will make this transaction much smoother.

 

To reach Cotopaxi you can also take a bus South on the Panamericana and tell the driver to let you off at the national park. There will be lots of trucks there to take you up to the Refugio. The park entrance closes in the later afternoon so keep that in mind.

 

A much prettier hike than the Pichinchas for acclimatization is Pasachoa. PM me you want to find out more and some directions.

 

I lived in Ecuador for an 8 and then 6 month stretches and found it a very difficult place to find partners. Climbers there are definitely in the middle and upper class and many of them seemed more interested in showing off their gear than climbing mountains. There is a small group of very accomplished alpinists but most of them guide internationally. In terms of foreign climbers, you might have some luck finding people in Quito but most seem to be tourists content on hiring a guide.

 

I never used a guide but would chat with them often in Quito. I'm not sure if this is still his email but one nice guide was Wilson and this is the email I had: lucanwill@yahoo.com

 

If you want to try to make some contacts with locals before you head down you can try these guys: club.andinismo.uce@gmail.com I don't remember which university this is but it's one located in Quito. La Universidad Catolica also has a climbing club. They have members and organize trips and you might find a local partner with them.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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I'm all for supporting the local economy also. Back in the 90's when I went into Cotopaxi I had heard you could easily get a ride from the frequent truck traffic in and out. I saw one truck going out as I was hiking in...it was a loooong approach hike. If you can arrange the ride, great...just don't know if you can count on local transport besides the bus. I don't know if they are still in business, but the South American Explorers Club had an office in Quito and had a board with climbers looking for partners and to buy and sell gear. It was cheap to join and had lots of good travel information for the budget adventurer.

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Success! I made it to the top of Cotopaxi last Friday. Had a great time, and good weather. I'll post a full TR shortly, as there is too much to tell here.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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