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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pasochoa Volcano Climb - June 2008


June 2008 Pasochoa, said to mean "old widower" in Quichua, is an old volcano just about 45 minutes south of Quito along the Panamerican highway. When you look at it from the highway it is to the east. You can see that centuries ago a massive explosion blew the western wall of the volcano out, leaving a long descending valley down to the pastures below. Much of that descending valley is a humid forest. It is one of the few such forest at an elevation of around 10,000 ft. We arrived early in the morning, paid a $2 entrance fee and then set out on our climb. After two hours of steady climbing we cleared the muddy humid forest. We came out into about 20 minutes of scrub bushes. Once clear of these we came to the northern ridgeline and a beautiful stand of pine trees. As we trekked up the ridgeline we cleared the pine trees and entered the paramo (highland grassland above the tree line). The remaining two hours were spent climbing the steep hill to the summit. We encountered some snow at the summit. We were blessed to see a flying condor near the top of Pasochoa. We made this climb in 4 hours 45 minutes. When we got to the base of the mountain again we pitched our tents in the park camping area. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and a good night's rest before leaving the reserve.
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