Summiting Cotopaxi, all 5,897m of it!

Cotopaxi Travel Blog

 › entry 61 of 79 › view all entries
chilling out before the cotopaxi climb

so... I had it in mind to climb the (so claimed) highest volcano in the world.... Cotopaxi. I haven´t done much (any) mountaineering before, and At 5,987m I expected it to be hard work. Having a little bout of the flu didnt help....

we booked a seemingl alright tour from Baños, and were picked up in a clapped out van the next morning, kitted out with gear, and shuttled up to Cotopaxi park.

Immediately, I realised I was under prepared in the warm clothes department. Camping didnt help, niether did the not quite big and thick enough sleeping bag. So after a sleepness, cold night, we took a little stroll around the area, checking out some creeks and a rather pretty lake set under Cotopaxi.

... the whole time Cotopaxi stood looming over us, intimidating us. It was a scary looking moutain.... ice, glaciers, wind... damn. what did we sign up for.

We headed on up to the refuge, which involved hiking with all our gear up a 300m elevation change from 4,500m at the carpark to 4,800m at the refuge. DAmn, it was hard work... struggling with strength after the illness, and catching my breath from the altitude, the short walk took a damn long time... one foot after the other.

After some brief practice witht the crampons (spikes for the bottom of your shoes to dig into the ice/snow) and ice axes, it was in bed, battling a headache, at the late hour of 7pm...

After a nervous few hours of sleep, we rose at midnight, and kitted up for the climb.... We left at 1am, i was teamed up with my old mate Sam, plus our guide.

the mountain... this is what we first saw we when woke up... how intimidating! ....dont look it in the eyes
Hiking in the night wasn´t as psychologically difficult as I expected. I didn´t have the energy to worry about anything other than catching my breath... a seemingly impossible task at such altitude, and with such little fitness. It was actually good to climb at night, as you couldnt see what was ahead... only the dim lights of other climbesrs ahead. The mountain sloped up at angles no less than 45 degrees, and in once place hit a whopping 80 degrees.... which was a little sketchy, and not to mention (again) intimidating.... but we did make it after 6 hours.... and yes, the view was amazing... it seemed as if you were in a helicopter or plane, the ground was that far away. Off in the distance you could make out other volcano´s and mountains... and the volcano crater too was interesting...

but I´ve got to say... I did want to get off the mountain.... exhausted, and shakily we slid down the moutain on our backsides...making for a much easier descent than ascent....

to sum it up. Bloody hard work, but worth it.... if only for the sense of accomplishment than anything else.

...now for a 6,000m peak.....

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
chilling out before the cotopaxi c…
chilling out before the cotopaxi …
the mountain... this is what we fi…
the mountain... this is what we f…
yes, i made it!!!
yes, i made it!!!
Cotopaxi
photo by: Biedjee