Ecuador – Volcano Cotopaxi

At 5’897m (19,348 feet), the Cotopaxi volcano is Ecuador’s second-highest peak and one of the most active volcanoes. Already back home in Canada Ivan was talking about this volcano and was planning to summit it. While I was at the retreat in Otavalo, Ivan was training in the mountains above Otavalo and getting more acclimatized. He was so excited for this high-altitude climb that covers glaciers and slopes of up to 50 degrees. After we booked the mandatory guide and collected all the necessary equipment (boots, crampons, helmet etc.) we headed into the National Park. On our way up to the parking lot the sky turned black, lightning & thunder and further up even snow covered roads. Ivan had to get ready to meet his guide at 10:00pm. We waited out in the car until the worst storm was over, then cooked some food and tea. To our surprise it cleared up very fast to a stunning atmosphere. I got ready for some high-altitude sleeping and cuddled in my warm sleeping bag while Ivan & his guide disappeared in the dark. They first moved up to the Refugio at 4’800m, drank some tea & rest a little more before they set out at midnight for a strenuous & long climb. I slept quite well at this altitude and woke up early and photographed the stunning surroundings. So magical to get up and stand right in front of this beautiful volcano and the sea of clouds. I expected them to be back from the climb around lunch but already at around 7:00am they were back in camp. Ivan looked exhausted and a bit disappointing because they did not reach the top. He got ill and was forced to turn around just 90 meters below the summit. I am glad that he was listening to his body who was fighting the conditions at this high altitude. He said that they climbed up at a fast space (probably too fast) and then got the symptoms. But he really loved this experience & definitely wants to try another one:-)

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first glimpse of Cotopaxi on a 6-lane highway

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driving through the park up to the parking lot at 4’500m – not looking good with all the black clouds

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then it started to snow…..

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after 2 hours in a snow storm at 4’500m it cleared up…

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a beautiful rainbow below us

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it felt amazing

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a fox checking us out…

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I woke up very early to this view

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thankful for the sun warming up

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Mr. G at 4’500m

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climbers on their way back

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Ivan & his guide Francisco

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high-altitude camping

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smith tea from Oregon USA – high altitude tea making – thanks to Tiffany

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the beautiful cone-shaped volcano

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2 thoughts on “Ecuador – Volcano Cotopaxi

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