The north side of Chimborazo, with AAI's new route shown in red.
AAI guide Benno Schlauri phoned from the summit of Ecuador’s 20,703-foot Chimborazo this morning a little after 8:00am Ecuadorian time (same as US Eastern time) to say that he, climbers Matthew Holt and Fiona McIntosh (Cape Town) along with fellow guide Nacho Espinoza had succeeded on the new north face route that AAI pioneered in the spring of 2007. His dispatch:
“We are happy to be calling you from the Whymper summit! We have clear clear skies and cool temperatures – it’s about -8 C (18°F) here on the summit of Ecuador, but fortunately for us there is very little wind.
We left our high camp at midnight and got here a few minutes ago, at 8:00am sharp. The route is in excellent shape. We had solid snow and ice and excellent cramponing. The views are also excellent and we had the special good luck of seeing Tungarahua erupting! Lots of smoke and ash in a plume. Matthew and Fiona are very happy - this is the first British ascent of this route (they are British citizens but living in South Africa)."
It’s good to be in the sun, so we will enjoy the summit for a while as it climbs higher in the sky and then had back to camp. We will have a celebration dinner in camp tonight for sure. It was a big day, but everybody feels good and is very happy. Our summiting of Cotopaxi a few days ago meant Matthew and Fiona are nicely acclimatized. It’s a great day for us. We won’t be able to transmit from base camp so we will talk to you more when we are back in civilization. Good bye for now from the top of Ecuador!”
If you are interested in learning more about AAI's Ecuador programs and our new route on Chimborazo, please visit http://aai.cc/ProgramDetail/ecuador_volcanoes.
The north face of Chimborazo with AAI's new route marked. Conditions can change, but on our first climb of the route in 2007, we found it immune from icefall and rockfall dangers and offering superb snow and ice climbing in a remote setting.