Cotopaxi Trip Report (#21868)

  • Signed By: JosephBohlig
  • Date submitted: January 29, 2010
  • Date(s) climbed: 14 January 2010
  • Number of People Encountered:11-25 people
  • Recommend to a Friend: Highly

What a great climb! At 1:15am Myself(Joe), my buddy Scott and our guide Jorge left the Jose Rivas hut and headed up the mountain. Just as we were reaching the glacier my partner started experiencing what he felt was the beginning of AMS. He was having a little trouble breathing and was coughing up some fluid. Although he felt he could go higher, he thought it best he return to the hut before it became worse. Jorge and I continued up through the night. Taking short breaks for drink(in my case, hot gatorade)and food. The climbing was physical, but not technical. We past some spectacular sights and crossed some narrow and awesome (if not a little scary) snow bridges. The hardest part, besides breathing, was the wind! It almost blew us off our feet a couple of times. Finally at about 6:50am we made the summit. The wind was still blowing, but not nearly as hard as 1000ft lower. The summit of Cotopaxi is beautiful! And the views are fantastic. I took some pictures and got my mandatory summit photo then started down. We had been at the summit for all of 20 minutes, but it seemed longer. On the way down I got to see some of the spectacular snow & ice formations I missed in the darkness. I also noticed a couple of the snow bridges were a little "hairier" than I realized in the night. One in particular was about 25 feet and very narrow. Jorge said it would be safe for only a few more days and then a route to get around the cravase would have to found. We descended rather quickly and made it back to the hut in 1:46 from the summit. Before the climb, Jorge said it would take about 7 hrs, so 5:35 to the summit was very fast according to Jorge. I hope so because I was really exhausted. In fact I couldn't remember the last time I was so tired!

When I got back to the hut I checked on Scott and he said he was feeling better, but not great. He said, although a little disappointed, he felt he made the right decision. After a few hours and some food and drink, we hiked back down to the Land Cruiser and headed for Banos. Next was a smaller mountain called Iliniza Norte(16,800), but that's another story........

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