Saturday, February 6, 2010

Team Poised for Ascent of Ecuador's Cotopaxi Tonight

AAI guide Pepe Landazuri called this morning by satellite phone to give us an update on his team’s climbing.  Earlier in the week they were thwarted on Cayambe because of extremely high winds, so they did a strategic retreat to some near-by hotsprings to plan their next moves.  After a night a Tambopaxi Lodge in Cotopaxi National Park Friday, they moved today to the Jose Ribas hut on the flanks of 19,348-foot/5897-meter Cotopaxi today.

His message was received today at 1:46pm Ecuador time (10:46am Pacific time):

"Hello everyone.  This is Pepe calling for Charlie [Montange], Rebecca [Montange], and Brian [Semkow] to give you the latest news on our climbing here in Ecuador.  Today we are in the refugio on Cotopaxi and all is well.  We just had lunch, and in about an hour we are going to leave and move up the mountain part way for some ice climbing on the glacier.  We did some good practice climbing on Cayambe on Wednesday, but it will be good to stretch our legs this afternoon and get in some more.

The weather has improved, and we are very excited.  It’s not perfect, but the wind has largely stopped, and it is plenty good enough for us to climb.  So tonight we will leave at midnight and give it a good try.

Everybody is feeling really good:  good health, no problems with the altitude, and good appetites.  So we are totally ready.  We’ll leave tonight at about midnight, and we’ll call tomorrow during or after the climb and to pass on word of how it went.  Wish us luck.  Hello to everyone back home. We’ll talk to you soon.”

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