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Peru with Mountain Madness

January Ecuador Climbing School & Expedition Successful!

Com­ing up: Feb. 20 Ecuador School; Bolivia Schools start­ing in May, & June 29 Ecuador School.

I could go on for­ev­er about how good a guide Topo was. He was patient, kind, a very good teacher and a fan­tas­tic per­son. I am an old­er climber (66) and I nev­er felt out of place or a bur­den to the group. Topo builds and bonds togeth­er a good group of team­mates. Com­ing from Wis­con­sin and not being a down­hill ski­er, I found the down­hill climb on scree slopes chal­leng­ing. Topo was nev­er impa­tient and hung in there with me. I have been on climbs with oth­er com­pa­nies and none com­pare to the expe­ri­ence that you get from Moun­tain Mad­ness. Last sum­mer we did the Mount Bak­er 4‑Day with Tino. Again, it was a first class expe­ri­ence with Tino fit­ting the high stan­dard that you find with Moun­tain Madness”

~ MM Climber Dave S.

On top of Guagua Pich­in­cha. All pho­tos by Topo

The Moun­tain Mad­ness Moun­taineer­ing Course in Ecuador met with great suc­cess in Jan­u­ary. MM guide Este­ban Mena, affec­tion­ate­ly known as Topo, met the group at the hotel and off they went. An acclima­ti­za­tion ascent on one of the Pich­in­cha peaks above Quito and a vis­it to the col­or­ful mar­kets of Otava­lo start­ing the process of adapt­ing to the rar­i­fied Andean air. 

Looks like dog, but its pig cooked in fire­wood oven in Otava­lo market.

After sev­er­al days of instruc­tion on the glac­i­ers near the Cayambe hut, the group was ready for the climbs. With what Topo called accept­able con­di­tions, the group reached the sum­mit of both Caymabe and Cotopaxi. Con­grats to the team!

On sum­mit of Cotopaxi.

Cotopaxi sum­mit crater.

Next up was Chimb­o­ra­zo, which the group didn’t sum­mit due to the dry, some­what icy con­di­tions fol­lowed by a snow­storm. After sev­er­al dif­fer­ent strate­gies, includ­ing a longer safer route, it was clear the moun­tain was not going to coop­er­arte. Topo describes the process as fol­lows; When we got to the hut, the dry con­di­tions were obvi­ous and we decid­ed to start at 4 am on the next day via a longer but much safer route. But, at 4 am I checked the weath­er and con­firmed that the vis­i­bil­i­ty was poor and a front of bad weath­er was com­ing in. Also dur­ing the night we got 3cm of snow on the nor­mal route, which was not the best of con­di­tions on to[p of the ice.” 

On the way to the sum­mit of Coto.

Descend­ing Guagua.

After wait­ing it out the next day, it became obvi­ous that it was not to be as a big snow­storm came in shut­ting out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an attempt. The group returned to Quito with a cou­ple of suc­cess­es and great mem­o­ries of this fan­tas­tic Andean adventure.

Descend­ing Coto.

Dave S. and Topo on the sum­mit of Cotopaxi. Este­ban Mena photo