Friday, July 8, 2011

Pasochoa, Ecuador

There are three ways to define the highest mountain in the world:

- Highest mountain from sea level - Everest, 8,848 meters
- Highest mountain from the base where the mountain rises - Mauna Kea in Hawaii, 4205 meters. The base of Mauna Kea is deep down under the Pacific Ocean. Only the last 4205 meters jut out above the sea.
- Highest mountain from centre of the Earth - Chimborazo in Ecuador, 6268 meters.

I went to Mauna Kea in 2007 (Refer to At my age, Everest is beyond my capability. But why not have a go at Chimborazo!?!

My trip is organized by a local Ecuador climbing company. They have a 9-day hiking program with 3 acclimatization climbs:
- Pasochoa, 4200 m
- Rucu Pichincha, 4698 m
- Illiniza Norte, 5116 m
followed by 2 main climbs:
- Cotopaxi - 2nd highest mountain in Ecuador, 5897 m
- Chimborazo - highest mountain in Ecuador, 6268 m

On the first acclimatization climb to Pasochoa, there were 7 people in the group:
- Mountain Guide - Frank
- Driver - Jose, he went with us to the summit too
- me
- Josh from Kentucky, USA
- Annette from Germany
- Brigette from Germany (she and Annette came to Ecuador to visit the Galapagos and decided to climb Cotopaxi with High Summit)
- Annette's son - I forgot his name.

We leave Quito in the morning by car, head south for the Avenida de los Volcanoes. During the 2 hour drive we enjoy the views of the typical landscape and villages of the Ecuador highlands.

The walk to Pasochoa summit is a leisurely stroll of about 2 hours. We have lunch on the top. There is a great sight on Cotopaxi and the other nearby volcanoes. Afterwards, we return to Quito for the night.

Here are the pictures: (To enlarge a photo, click on it.)

1.) On the way to Pasochoa - Typical rural street scene

2.) Hiking up Pasochoa - The earlier part of the track is a cobble stone road.

3.) Later on, the path becomes a dirt road.

4.) Further up, it is a goat trail. The guy in the centre of this pic is Frank, our mountain guide.

5.) Pasochoa is the mountain behind me.

6.) The summit is just in front.

7.) At Pasochoa summit, looking back - It is a majestic view. Some members of our group are on their way to the summit.

8.) At Pasochoa summit - Nice view of the surrounding countryside.

9.) Me at the summit

10.) Having lunch at the summit. The guy facing the camera is the driver, Jose.

11.) Cotopaxi from the summit - we'll be climbing it few days later. Nice view ... but still, I wish it isn't shrouded in clouds.

12.) Lunch is over. We start to climb down from the summit.

13.) On our way back to the car.

The next day is the 2nd acclimatization climb to Rucu Pichincha ... refer

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