Today Russ, Ed, and I visited Equador’s highest peak, at 6310m, Volcano Chimborazo. It’s been a really fantastic, tiring, and long day! We were picked up from our hotel at 8am and driven up to 4800m to the first climbers’ refuge. On the way we stopped to look at a large canyon, a fighting bull farm, and a place where you could see layers of rock dating back many thousands of years. On the approach to Chimborazo it looks absolutely gargantuan!
Most of the time the peak was covered by cloud, but the mountain was still pretty awe inspiring. Arriving at 4800m we found ourselves above the snow line, it was a bit nippy! We hiked 200m up to the second climbers refuge at 5000m – pretty high! On the way we passed many memorials to climbers who had died whilst attempting the summit – you have to be an experienced climber to go past the second refuge, its serious business from there. You can feel the effects of the altitude too, walking even a short way can be hard work and you feel out of breath easily, it took us about 30 mins to get up there. Russ was feeling it more than Ed and I, but he got through it and we made it to 5000m.
We had walkie talkies to communicate with our guide, Galo, who stayed at the first refuge to prepare our bikes – it was amusing playing with them “Rodger that”! We didn’t hang around at 5000m, it was cold and were advised not to stay there for long as the effects of altitude may be felt. On returning to the first refuge we got on our bikes and descended about 500m over 7km of dirt road. Visibility wasn’t great and the wind in our faces was chilly, but it was good fun! We were being careful as the road was rocky and bumpy and didn’t want any injuries!
From about 4300m we detoured off the road and did some technical single track trails down the mountain, stopping regularly to take photos and admire the views. It was a great way to experience the size and scale of the mountain, and it was interesting to see the changes in atmosphere and vegetation as we descended. Here’s the three of us and Galo with the Mountain behind us.
As we neared the base of the mountain we passed through villages and farmland. Probably the worst bit of the ride as we kept getting chased by dogs! I‘ve surprised myself several times on this trip, and I used to fear dogs quite a bit but they didn’t bother me too much today – even when they kept trying to bite us! The trick was to pass them at speed, although that wasn’t always possible due to the rocky road and lots of puddles! We had a lot of fun though!
I ´m off to bed now (Russ retired at 8!) – struggling to keep my eyes open! Tomorrow we want to have a more relaxing day, we are considering going to the town of Banos, about 50km from here, to relax in some thermal baths. I took loads of photos today, and I‘ve uploaded a few here.