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Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby mountainfreak241 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:13 am

Stay at Hotel Sierra Nevada. Best guides and reasonably priced. Quito is easy to get around in.
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby centrifuge » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:28 am

So, Moonstalker and I are headed down for sure in December and I am wondering for those of you who used the bus system for transportation to and from the trailheads how much luck you had if you didnt speak spanish? Honestly, that is my #1 concern. Also, unless something changes, there are only 2 of us that are 100% in. Imho I would really prefer a 3 person rope team for glacier travel, but given the limitations we need to work around it if it ends up being just the 2 of us. We are planning on using a guide on Chimbo for any number of reasons, but were hoping to get by with a 2 person rope team for Cotopaxi and follow the boot pack. From everything I have read, we should be fine with this from a saftey standpoint on that mountain, but I really want to get input from others who have been there.
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby climbing_rob » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:45 am

centrifuge wrote:So, Moonstalker and I are headed down for sure in December and I am wondering for those of you who used the bus system for transportation to and from the trailheads how much luck you had if you didnt speak spanish? Honestly, that is my #1 concern. Also, unless something changes, there are only 2 of us that are 100% in. Imho I would really prefer a 3 person rope team for glacier travel, but given the limitations we need to work around it if it ends up being just the 2 of us. We are planning on using a guide on Chimbo for any number of reasons, but were hoping to get by with a 2 person rope team for Cotopaxi and follow the boot pack. From everything I have read, we should be fine with this from a saftey standpoint on that mountain, but I really want to get input from others who have been there.
Conditions change greatly year-to-year, but I was significantly more puckered on Cotopaxi than on Chimbo. In December of 2007 we had a fairly gnarly traverse with a gapping crevasses below that my 2-person rope team (myself and my 110 pound GF) carefully negotiated. Obviously we survived. Chimbo had an icy section that was a tad sketchy, but a fall there at least would not have been fatal, just very painful. Overall, I agree, a three-person team is safer, though on that particular Cotopaxi traverse, if anyone had fallen, all would have probably gone in. the snow was probably too soft for picket-protection to do any good. I guess we could have simply set protection at the start, belayed one across, then set pro at the end and belayed the second. We probably had enough rope, can't remember.

Not trying to scare you, but don't take either mountain lightly. beautiful summits, especially Cotopaxi with its crater, though Chimbo was more satisfying to me. Don't cop out and stop on the false (Ventimilla) summit of Chimbo! Many do and call it good. Sorry, that's not the summit. Suck it up and get over to Whymper! Dress warmly, wear plastics or other serious boots. I made the mistake of wearing simple leather boots on Chimbo, thankfully with merely very cold feet and no damage.

FWIW: we had no language issues, though we don't speak much Spanish at all.

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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby cheeseburglar » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:18 am

When we were down there we took a taxi/bus/pickup combo to Illiniza. We had mixed luck.
We didn't want to try to take buses in Quito to the bus station, so we got a taxi to drop us off there. We went to the little town and had no trouble finding a pickup to take us to the trailhead. It was hilarious, especially when our driver picked up 6 schoolkids and had them ride in the bed. He picked us up at more or less the agreed upon time.
We did speak barely proficient spanish at the time, definately not fluent.
The only problem we had was when someone went through my pack on the bus and took my softshell, 35mm camera, and lunch. There aren't very good places to keep your backpack on local buses, it was under the seat. If someone is being real friendly with you, it might be because his friend is looking through your luggage.
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby JB99 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:49 am

Does anyone know if the hut on Illiniza has a stove for use? I'm planning on bringing my MSR XGK but if it is just going to be an extra thing to carry around and won't get used on Illiniza or Cotopaxi because the huts have stoves I'll leave it. I know Cotopaxi does but am not sure about Illiniza. Thanks.
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby dude4mountains » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:17 am

JB99 wrote:Does anyone know if the hut on Illiniza has a stove for use? I'm planning on bringing my MSR XGK but if it is just going to be an extra thing to carry around and won't get used on Illiniza or Cotopaxi because the huts have stoves I'll leave it. I know Cotopaxi does but am not sure about Illiniza. Thanks.


The hut at Illiniza is similar to Cotopaxi. There is a small kitchen and a guy hanging out selling tea for $1 a mug. I assume they would let you use the stove, etc. or provide you with hot water.

Enjoy,
Dude

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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby cheeseburglar » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:39 am

You'll probably go to Illiniza before Cotapaxi, so when you get to Illiniza, don't think the hut on Cotapaxi is similar. The Cotapaxi hut is much larger and will probably have a lot more loud people stomping around.
We didn't stay at the Illiniza hut or ask if they had a stove, so I'll defer to the Dude on that question. There was a group of about 6 taking up pretty much the whole place with their gear when we walked by it.
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby dude4mountains » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:29 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:You'll probably go to Illiniza before Cotapaxi, so when you get to Illiniza, don't think the hut on Cotapaxi is similar. The Cotapaxi hut is much larger and will probably have a lot more loud people stomping around.
We didn't stay at the Illiniza hut or ask if they had a stove, so I'll defer to the Dude on that question. There was a group of about 6 taking up pretty much the whole place with their gear when we walked by it.


Yeah sorry, by "similar" I mean not the same at all - with the exception of a working kitchen and a hut attendant working the hot water. Illi hut is much smaller and I'd guess bunk beds for maybe 10-12, an exterior toilet room and great views (when available). Coto is more of a hostel - two stories - and a bunch of Wanna-be's stomping around in their plastics all hours of the day and night - count on 4 hours of sleeps (tops) before the 12:00-1:00am start - and feel free to walk around in your friggen' socks when everyone is sleeping, or carry your damn boots down the stairs before you go outside to hit the head <sorry for the rant>.

Enjoy,
Dude

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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby climbing_rob » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:37 pm

dude4mountains wrote: Coto is more of a hostel - two stories - and a bunch of Wanna-be's stomping around in their plastics all hours of the day and night - count on 4 hours of sleeps (tops) before the 12:00-1:00am start - and feel free to walk around in your friggen' socks when everyone is sleeping, or carry your damn boots down the stairs before you go outside to hit the head <sorry for the rant>.

Enjoy,
Dude
Hah! I clearly remember that same annoyance. Nonetheless, Cotopaxi was a great climb. Chimbo's (Whymper?) hut was more of the same; nice enough but pretty much impossible to get any sleep, especially given its at 16,5000' and you start at more like 10 pm for that one. Ouch!

Here's a hint: take Down booties on all these climbs. Comfy, cozy, warm and most of all Quiet!

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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby lodgecamp » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:54 pm

It's a good idea to take a designated P-bottle into the hut on Cotopaxi- if you are well hydrated you should be going alot and it is huge hassle to go downstairs and outside several times...also you ordinarily will be woken alot so definitely take ear plugs or even larger ear protection like you use with power tools- it can be a real annoyance...also some bunks are more rickety than others- try to get a solid one so the shaking won't continually disturb whatever sleep you may get with people getting in and out all night since they are stacked three high and like ten? wide...you can get lucky -as the first time I was there the hut was packed- being able to hold up to 80-100 people...but a few weeks ago there was only one other person on the mountain and only a few in the hut- but don't count on it!! Have a great trip and Good luck!!!
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby centrifuge » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:44 pm

I wanted to throw a huge thanks to everyone who has helped us with all the valuable input and advise over the last year and a half of prep! Even though its a year later then I had originally planned, 4 of us (all 14er's folk: sdkeil, moonstalker, jb99 and myself) are leaving tomorrow to give these peaks our best go, and look forward to seeing the world from the tops of the peaks! Thanks again, and I really look forward to posting a report when we get back since you guys have helped make this trip happen with the generosity info and in one case gear :D
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Re: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Advice

Postby cheeseburglar » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:07 pm

Buen suerte.
Todo es posible, nada es segura.
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