Maintain your old Siemens Hipath system

Chimborazo: Learning Spanish At 20,600 Feet

Climbing the glaciers to the summit of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador isn't highly technical. It is mountaineering, but how hard can it be, considering I went to 20,600 feet the first time I used crampons and an ice axe? Okay, I used them once for practice, on a sledding hill near my house. I climbed forty feet while people walked by with their sleds, telling their kids to stay away from me.

It's also easier to climb when the guide drives you to 15,000 feet. Don't get me wrong. Climbing the last 5,600 feet was incredibly difficult, but not for the skill required. The air missing half of its oxygen is what had me quitting twenty times on the way up. It just gets difficult to move up there.

The Chimborazo Graveyard

The monuments near the first refuge weren't for climbers without skill. The graveyard is a warning of the unpredictability of all high places. Chimborazo is very high, it randomly shruggs off large rocks, and has weather that changes by the minute. While hiking to the second refuge, we could hear the rocks and pieces of ice falling somewhere above.

El Refugio Edward Whymper is an unheated hut at 16,000 feet, named after the English climber who first summitted the mountain. Okay, it isn't entirely unheated. There's a fireplace, and if somebody feels like carrying wood up to 5000 meters, the fire may raise the temperature in the hut by 3 degrees.

We had hot mugs of "mate de coca" a tea of coca leaves, which are also used to make another product - one that's taken up the nose. We went hiking for twenty minutes - my acclimatization. We ate, and I slept for an hour before starting the ascent at eleven that night.

About Mount Chimborazo

Chimborazo is in Ecuador, near the Equator (100 miles south). The elevation in the center of the country, and the moderating effect of the Humboldt Current along the coast, gives the country near perfect weather. A bit hot in the lowlands, but spring-like in Quito (the capital) , with highs in the sixties to low seventies every day of the year. Great weather almost everywhere--until you get high enough.

The summit of Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the Earth. Our planet bulges at the equator, making Mount Chimborazo even futher out there than Everest. It has the distinction of being the closest point to the sun on the planet. Unfortunately, it's also the coldest place in Ecuador.

Climbing Chimborazo

Paco, my guide, didn't care for the lightweight part of my mountain climbing adventure. He frowned at my sleeping bag, which packed up smaller than a football, and weighed a pound. My 13-ounce frameless backpack didn't impress him either. It did get below freezing in the hut, just as he said it would, but I stayed warm - as I said I would. No problems so far.

Unfortunately, Paco didn't speak any English, and I was just learning Spanish. Since our whole group consisted of him and me, we had some communication problems. I thought, for example, that the $11 fee for the "night" (a few hours) in the hut was included in the $130 guide fee. He thought I was a mountain climber.

I think he said he didn't like the papery rainsuit I was using, and he frowned at my homemade ski mask. When he saw my insulating vest, a feathery piece of poly batting with a hole cut in it for my head, I just pretended not to understand what he was saying.

I hadn't intended to go climb Chimborazo with such lightweight gear, but I'd come to Ecuador on a courier flight, and could bring only carry-on luggage. I had12 pounds in my pack to begin with, so by the time I put on all my clothes that night, the weight on my back was irrelevant. The weight of my body, however, wasn't. Paco had to coax me up that mountain.

Hiking On Glaciers

The glaciers start near the hut, and hiking became mountaineering. I put on crampons for the second time in my life (there was that sledding hill). During one of my many breaks ("Demasiado" - too many, which I pretended not to understand), I noticed my tiny, cheap thermometer had bottomed out at 5 degrees fahrenheit. I wasn't cold, but I was exhausted at times - the times when I moved. When I sat still I felt like I could run right up that hill.

We struggled (okay, I struggled) up Mount Chimborazo, hiking, climbing, jumping crevasses, until I quit at 20,000 feet. Of course I had quit at 19,000 feet, and at 18,000 feet. Quitting had become my routine. Lying had become Paco's, so he told me straight-faced that the summit was only fifty feet higher. I wanted to believe him, or the lack of oxygen had scrambled my brain. I started up the ice again.

The Summit of Mount Chimborazo

We stumbled onto the summit at dawn. Well, okay, I stumbled. Paco, who seemed slow and tired down at the refuge, was energetic at 20,600 feet. Dirtbag Joe, a nineteen-year-old kid from California with ten bucks in his pocket, borrowed equipment, and my Ramen noodles in his stomach, was waiting for us, smiling.

The sky was a stunning shade of blue you can never see at lower elevations. Cotapaxi, a classic snow-covered volcano, was clearly visible 70 miles away. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes.

Handshakes all around, and it was time to head down. I was told you don't want to be on Chimborazo when she wakes up. She wakes up at nine a.m.

Paco kept looking at his watch and frowning. He got further and further ahead, like he planned to abandon me on the mountain. When I finally caught up, at the hut at nine a.m., I heard the rocks falling out of the ice above as the sun warmed it. Now I understood - we really did need to get down by nine. A thousand feet lower my mountain climbing adventure ended with a photograph that mercifully can't show my shaking knees.

Note:

To climb Mount Chimborazo, it's cheapest to wait until you get to Ecuador to make arrangements. Talk to almost any hotel manager in Riobamba, and he or she will find a guide for you. It's also cheaper if you're part of a group.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of ultralight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheBackpackingSite.com

In The News:

'Not my choice to be here': Hamilton condemns Saudi Arabia's 'terrifying' LGBTQ+ laws before race
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 22:16:00 +0000
Lewis Hamilton has said he does not feel comfortable about racing in Saudi Arabia's grand prix this weekend, as he expressed concern about human rights in the kingdom.

At least 50 people infected with Omicron variant at Christmas party in Norway
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:34:00 +0000
At least 50 people in the Norwegian capital of Oslo have been infected with the Omicron variant.

Mandatory COVID jabs considered in Germany from February as tougher restrictions brought in for unvaccinated
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 13:52:00 +0000
Unvaccinated people in Germany are to be excluded from non-essential stores, cultural and recreational venues, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

British teenager 'attacked by crocodile' while rafting in Zambia
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 04:23:00 +0000
A British teenager has been attacked by a crocodile while travelling with friends in Zambia, according to reports.

Ghislaine Maxwell ordered housekeeper to bring two underage girls to Epstein mansion, New York trial hears
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 18:14:00 +0000
Jeffrey Epstein's former housekeeper drove two underage girls to the disgraced financier's house under Ghislaine Maxwell's orders, a New York court has heard. 



tikatoshop.it

Erfahrungen mit Pallhuber Wein
Agen Bola SBOBET Terpercaya

Travel in comfort and at your leisure with CT Airlink Limousine & Car Service for top quality private transportation and exceptional customer service. We operate Sedans, SUVs & Vans for CT Car Services to covering all Connecticut airports including Car Service from CT to Newark Airport , Mohegan Casino Uncasville CT, Foxwoods Casino Mashantucket CT, Manhattan Cruise Terminal NYC, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal NYC and Bayonne Cruise Terminal NJ. CT Airlink hire licensed and friendly chauffeurs who have in-depth knowledge of the Areas.

Hawaii Volcano Tour

A Hawaii volcano tour can be a most memorable experience,... Read More

Where to Find Some of the Best Beaches in the World

We think that Cape Town has some of the best... Read More

Stay Out of That Old Mine!

It seems like the most adventurous thing in the world.... Read More

PaintBall Gun Buying Tips

There are so many selections available when it comes to... Read More

Arrowhead Hunting and Rock Collecting

We weren't planning to go rock and arrowhead hunting in... Read More

Survival in the Wilderness: What to Do, What You Need

Summer is for picnics, hikes, outdoor concerts, barbeques ... and... Read More

Mount Kenya ? Up High at God?s Mountain

Mount Kenya is Africa's second highest mountain, after Kilimanjaro. It... Read More

Inflatable Boat Trailers

An inflatable boat trailer is needed if the user has... Read More

Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know!

How to get discount lift tickets for popular ski resorts... Read More

Hiking Trails Mt. Washington Valley NH - Trekking trails USA

Mt. Washington Valley Trails & Mt Washington - NHThe highest... Read More

Creative Camp Cooking

For most people, outdoor cooking is synonymous with barbeque, but... Read More

Things to Make Your Gap Year in Africa Easy!

The kind of things you pack when you go on... Read More

10 Tips to Planning Your Dream Road Trip

Everyone has a travel dream. For many it is hitting... Read More

Too much to do in London!

No one can truly say... Read More

Holidays in Goa

Sun, Sand and Surf ? an apt description for Goa?... Read More

The Best Safari Company for Your Safari Trip - Heres How To Choose

Which is the best African safari company for my safari... Read More

Your Virgin Bushwalk

Isn't it time you stepped out of the concrete jungle... Read More

Edible Wild Plants For Backpackers

Knowing a few edible wild plants can make your next... Read More

Bird Watching in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania

The Usamabara Mountains are very special mountains, often that tired... Read More

The Best Backpacking Food

Maybe your favorite backpacking food is a freeze-dried turkey dinner.... Read More

Sleeping Pads For Ultralight Backpackers

Ultralight backpackers want to give up weight, not comfort. Sleeping... Read More

Going it Alone: The Waterfall at Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

I stood at the observation point on the balcony at... Read More

River Rafting: An Overview

White-water rafting can be one of the most exhilarating experiences... Read More

Drive Me to WA Today!

Western Australia Driving Adventure Great Australian Road Trip Large... Read More

Discover Knotts Berry Farm

Of course you know about Southern California's premier attraction, Disneyland... Read More