Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The Whymper Hut is haunted.
The hut keepers all have ghost stories about the place. They've all seen something in there. They've all felt something. Maybe it was nothing more than a candle inexplicably blowing out. Maybe it was nothing more than a door blowing shut. Maybe it was nothing. Or maybe it actually was something. They're certainly convinced.
It's not terribly surprising. Chimborazo is a dangerous mountain. Since its first ascent in 1880, this mountain has seen thousands of ascents and hundreds of fatalities. Many of those who died on the mountain have been stored in the empty third story of the hut. South Americans are superstitious and for them ghosts are simply a part of life. For them, a place that has been used as a morgue is no place to be when it is dark.
One of the stories goes something like this. A hut keeper was alone in the kitchen. There were no climbers there. He was washing dishes. Suddenly he felt something. It was like someone was watching him. But when he looked around there was no one there.
He went back to washing his dishes.
A moment later, somebody slapped him on the back. Whomever it was slapped him hard...so hard that it left a red mark in the shape of a hand on his skin. But there was still no one there. The young man immediately ran from the hut. After he got outside and into the freezing wind, he fell to his knees.
And threw up.
I suppose that the hut keeper could have simply rolled over and fallen out of bed. I suppose that happens a lot. But if he supposed anything, he supposed that the ghost of a dead climber dragged him from his sleep and onto the floor. He supposed that the climber wished to bring him with him into the next world.
And my favorite story of the group, goes like this...
An Ecuadorian guide and his client were alone in the hut. The guide told the client that they would wake up at one in the morning to start their climb. At midnight, somebody wearing an old school yellow one-piece Gore-Tex suit quietly came over to the guide's bunk and sat down on it. The climber never looked at the guide. Instead, he began to put on his boots.
"What are you doing?" the guide asked. "It's only midnight. Go back to sleep."
Without looking at the guide, the climber got up and walked away.
An hour later, the guide's client appeared wearing black pants and a red jacket. "What happened to the one-piece suit?" the guide asked.
"What are you talking about? I don't have a one-piece suit."
"But you were wearing a yellow one-piece Gore-Tex suit when you got up an hour ago."
"I didn't get up an hour ago," the client responded. "I only just woke up."
--Jason D. Martin
Posted by American Alpine Institute at 6:14 AM