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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Guagua Pichincha Volcano Climb


September 2007 This month I made two trips up to the rim of the Guagua Pichincha Crater. Guagua Pichincha is the cousin volcano to Rucu Pichincha Volcano. They stand side by side. Rucu means "old" and Guagua means "baby" in Quichua. Guagua Pichincha is the active of the two volcanos. The smell of sulfur is still strong at the rim. In my first trip up I climbed with Brett and Ben, two good friends here in Quito. We drove through south Quito and took the road to Lloa. This took us up over the ridgeline west of Quito and down into a beautiful valley. From the town of Lloa we climbed in our 4-wheel drive vehicle up the mountain to a small plain where we could park. We hiked several hours from there to reach the summit. Before reaching the summit we came to the refuge building. Beyond the refuge the climb was a short 500 meters or so up a good trail. We experienced a lot of clouds and wind on this trip but got some good pictures. My second trip was to introduce Sumajhuarmi to the volcano. On the drive out of Lloa we came across four Ecuadorian hikers. They were elated to have a lift. We drove them up to the refuge. They pitched camp there and then accompanied us to the rim. We had a clear day and were able to see the crater. It was a great day! I recommend this climb to everyone. After visiting the rim we went looking for a geocache hidden below the refuge in the paramo grass. It was a good find. We introduced our new friends to the sport of geocaching. You can learn more about that particular geocache and the sport by visiting www.geocaching.com
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