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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sincholagua Volcano Climb - August 2008


August 2008 We finished our visit to Cotopaxi by camping on the northeast corner of the park. We set up camp along the Rio Pita and had a great time together. We had originally thought that we could cross the river and drive up several kilometers more. When we discovered that the gate was locked and that the only way to go was on foot, we selected a beautiful campsite by a bubbling glacier stream. Since we had extra and unexpected kilometers to travel, we got up at 3:30 a.m. to prepare breakfast and get ready. It was raining but soon slacked up. Eight of us departed in the dark. We took a short cut that we had scouted out the afternoon before and were soon on the right trail up the northern ridgeline. The higher we climbed the stronger the wind and the colder it got. The oxygen was thiner and thiner as we climbed. The rain and the wind grew stronger so we had to keep pushing on to stay warm. Even with short breaks to breathe I found it a hard but rewarding climb! We climbed about 10 kilometers before reaching the highest point you can reach without climbing rope and gear. This took us 4 hours, 45 minutes. The top of Sincholagua was shrouded in clouds. As we hiked down the mountain I twisted my left knee in a fall on slippery rocks. It was slight and I was able to continue on. As we descended the mountain the weather warmed up nicely. I was able to hid a new geocache commemorating my family's 11 years of service in Ecuador. If you come this way and if you climb Sincholagua Volcano, look for geocache "Eleven Good Years" near the campsite. Visit www.geocaching.com for more information.
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