Ecuador 2021, Escaping the Pandemic

Just like most people in the world, the Pandemic had been weighing on us. We had gotten a lot of climbing in this past year, but our international plans had all been canceled. And with Jessica's green card application in the USA moving forward, we knew there would be a long period ahead where travel on her end would be 100% restricted. The weather in the PNW had been particularly bad this winter, and it only looked like it was getting worse. After a number of failed climbing attempts due to conditions, we made the call to go south for a bit. [...]

Cotopaxi

My 3rd time in Ecuador. My 6th week. Around my 40th day in the country. And I had still not ever stepped foot on the famous Cotopaxi. I swore that this trip, I would change that, I wouldn't leave before giving it a shot. I say “a shot” because our luck with the weather and conditions has been fairly poor so far. A few years ago, coming to Ecuador looking to climb more technically challenging routes, Cotopaxi seemed to not have any on the list. The perfect conical shape left no nooks and crannies for “imperfections” like ridges or faces. [...]

Illiniza Sur

Illiniza Sur, Illiniza Norte’s far less popular yet much more difficult sibling, was our main objective.  Up until 2009, there were two routes up Illiniza Sur, with the most popular route being La Rampa.  As of 2017, La Rampa is pretty much just a melted out rock shooting gallery, so we would be using the other route.  Funnily enough, nobody really seems to remember what the current route used to be called back when there were two routes.[...]

El Altar: Subpeak Dreams and Avalanche Hell

Nacho and my expedition to El Altar was planned for 8 days, much longer than we spent last time here in 2017 when we climbed the main summit, El Obispo. We would hike in supported by horses to the Italian Camp, and setup (and likely tear down) a base camp. Then the plan would be to do an alpine style smash and grab of Monja Grande, and 2 further peaks (to remain unnamed for now), inaccesssble from the base camp. [...]

Carihuairazo

Spelling the name of this peak seems to be just as challenging as pronouncing the name. I practiced in my head, but when I'd open my mouth, unstrung syllables just gobbled out. The indigenous people's story goes as such. Carihuairazo and El Altar entered an epic battle against Chimborazo over the love of Tungurahua. Carihuairazo and El Altar were left battered and destroyed, only remaining as the calderas that they are today. This peak had been on my radar for a few years now, but it was more of a question mark than anything else. [...]

Eldorado Peak, North Ridge

I mentioned to Will that Jess and I were looking at climbing the NE Face of Eldorado. His AMGA Alpine exam happened to take him pretty close to our objective, the relatively untouched North Ridge of Eldorado. Kind of a coincidence because I had just been looking at the N Ridge topo wondering if it would be a viable ascent. Turns out it was, and Will was ready to get back on it! [...]

Dorado Needle, East Ridge

We had spent the previous day hauling up to the 7400’ camp of Eldorado. This camp is such a long way to go that it doesn’t particularly make sense to me for anything except mini-basecamping. Our primary objective of the trip was to climb the rarely touched North Ridge of Eldorado, with the NW Ridge of Dorado needle as a warmup. Being the slightly overlay ambitious people that we are, chatting over our rehydrated meals, the East Ridge came up. “Why not!” [...]

Dragontail Peak, West Route

Jess and I took a random Tuesday off with the hope to climb. As of Monday early morning, the overall conditions looked too warm and we called off the climb…or so we though. Sitting around at 5pm and feeling guilty/fat, we said “Why not shoot for Dragontail?” We had just got a good look at the route previous week during our run up Colchuck and we figured it would be pretty stable in the warmth. And similar to Colchuck, we wanted to get to know the route we would use to descend our more technical winter/spring attempts on the peak. [...]

Colchuck Peak, Colchuck Glacier

After a fairly intense (ie. extremely dangerous) experience on Mount Hood’s North Face recently, Jess and I were feeling pretty risk adverse in approaching a tight weather window between periods of heavy unseasonal precip. We’ve been wanting to climb Colchuck’s North Buttress Couloir, but had never actually climbed Colchuck to begin with. Why not check it out? [...]