As promised in the last post, here are the pics of Cotopaxi in chronological order.
The day before, I stayed at a hostal around 3500 meters to help acclimatize to the altitude. I don’t know if it helped or not… I ended up getting a severe headache for most of the climb and also felt like I was going to puke a lot (but I never did). Maybe it would have been worse had I stayed at 2800m in Quito, though.
These are some pictures I took from the hostal (in the middle of nowhere).
Arriving at the park…
A national park surrounds the Cotopaxi volcano. On the way in we stopped at various points to take some pictures from afar.
Practicing the afternoon before…
My climbing partner was Hannah from Germany. I’m not ashamed to admit that she totally kicked my ass during the ascent. Altitude sickness is totally random and she got lucky. I had to stop more often that I wanted to because my head was spinning. We practiced on a nearby glacier the afternoon before. I got a good shot towards the summit as well. Intimidating.
I can’t even begin to describe how physically painful and mentally challenging it was to climb for 8 hours. But somehow I was still able to have a huge smile on my face. Here’s a pic of Me, Abraham (our guide), and Hannah at the top. The happiness lasted only a few minutes and then I realized that we still had a 3 hour trek back down.
Me, on the summit of the 6th highest active volcano in the world. On the left bottom corner you can see part of the crater. And in the background you can see a (lower) secondary peak of the volcano.
Since we were so high above the clouds only a few other peaks were visible. Here’s a view of Chimborazo, the only higher volcano in Ecuador.
Other hikers coming up the path to the summit. In the background you can see another major peak (lower than Cotopaxi). This may be Antisana but I’m not certain.
Here are some random views across the summit skyline.
Experts say that Cotopaxi has the most perfect crater of any volcano in the world.
What do you think?
Since it was completely dark during most of the ascent, I had to take pictures of what I went through as we were descending.
Crazy! I still can’t believe I did it. One of my proudest life accomplishments without a doubt.