According to the IFC, tourism is a significant source of employment in Ecuador, and is too important to neglect. In 2019, 408,800 Ecuadorians depended on tourism and its associated activities for employment. Tourism is Ecuador’s fourth-largest nonpetroleum export and its largest service export, contributing more than 5 percent of the country’s GDP. Revenues are concentrated around the Galapagos Islands, though Ecuador possesses multiple dazzling ecosystems, ranging from coastal areas to high mountains to rainforests, 26 percent of which has protected area status. It is home to 2,477 species and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Despite these attractions, the average number of tourists visiting Ecuador has increased only slightly over the last decade.
A couple years ago, Will and I climbed the North Ridge of Eldorado, a fairly rarely climbed rocky ridge up the popular peak. The route gave us spectacular views out over the western flank of the mountain, exposing what looked like a much wilder side. Among the jumbled glacier patches and broken rock towers, the West Ridge ominously cracked it way up through the skyline. It was gnarled and blackened, with massive teetering spires and gendarmes; it looked evil, it looked wicked. [...]
Will and I had come off a long climbing day just the past day. Our 6:30am alarm was too early. While the West Ridge of Eldorado did not destroy us, but it did take a good bit of our energy. We looked at the peaks. Early Morning Spire and Dorado Needle. They were just right there. Right there. I never wanted to walk back into this basin again either. “You game?” “Yeah.” [...]
I had been wanting to come to the “Bugs” for years. That desire outlived the age of this blog, and in many ways, had evolved from a desire to a dream. I hadn’t found the right partner to turn that dream into a reality, and for year’s course those massive granite towers would just be photos I’d look at dream about. [...]
Eastpost Spire’s SE Ridge received a single star in the Atikson Piché guidebook, a guidebook not loose with the starts whatsoever. I had also seen it pop up on some various “must do” lists from guiding websites here and there, mostly as rainy day objectives around camp. Eastpost Spire imposes itself over the campsite, with two ridges cutting into the skyline, being an undeniable objective for even some of the most technical climbers who arrive. Most folks seem to scramble up the NW Ridge for the killer views, but how could we deny that single star the guidebook gives to the SE Ridge? [...]
We had a great previous day climbing the beautiful West Ridge of Pigeon Spire. We were also afforded great views of Crescent Spire, giving us a chance to spot a couple routes we had out eyes on for the next few days- Lion’s Way and Ear’s Between. We planned to target Lion’s Way, a classic moderate objective close to camp.
Our goal for our first full day in the Bugaboos was to acquaint ourselves with the area, and what better way to do so than with the ultra classic Pigeon Spire West Ridge. I had already found that things felt very similar to home, but a little different. The biggest impactful difference I really noticed was the scale. Standing below these massive spires, it was hard for my mind to really gauge how truely large they were. My first realization was when I saw tiny human dots making their way up the Bugaboo Snowpatch Col. [...]
Vesper Peak’s Ragged Edge had consistently sat in a little corner at the bottom of our massive to-do list in a section labeled “other”. Out of the sun? Check. Moderate enough to not burn us out for the Bugaboos a few days later? Check. Local classic status? Check. Okay, that’s the one. We packed 7 liters of water and filled one up with electrolyte powder. Heatwave, here we come. [...]
Annually since 2019, Jessica and I have humping our gear up the Killen Creek trail hoping to find the route in favorable conditions. With the overheard objective hazard that this glacier presents, neither Jessica nor I wanted conditions to be anything less than stellar. We were looking for was a good snow fill, with extremely low avalanche hazard, and cool temperatures. Those variables finally looked like they’d line up for a splitter window on the July 4th weekend of 2022. [..]
Most of the climbs I choose to share about are amazing, and I love sharing them so other people can feel the confidence to go feel that amazing experience as well. Some are so bad that I just want to forget, and some are just forgettable, neither of which usually make it to this blog. And then, some….some are just annoying. This one, dear readers, was just annoying. [..]