Well . . . here I go!  Apparently, with only two weeks left in Ecuador, I felt the need to take on a challenge that is very likely I may not complete.  Ready to hear about it?  Let’s do it!

This weekend, I am attempting to summit Mount Chimborazo.  What is Chimborazo?  Well, actually, it’s the furthest point on earth from the center of the earth – higher than Mount Everest – and the closest point on earth to the sun.  If you don’t believe me, check this out.

So, here are the details:

  • Friday, June 21: I travel about 45 minutes to stay and sleep at a hostel, Casa Condor, for the afternoon and evening.  This hostel is about 1000 meters higher than Riobamba, at 2700 meters.  This will allow my body to begin to acclimate to a higher altitude in preparation for the hike.
  • Saturday, June 22: In the afternoon, I am picked up by my guide and we make our way toward Chimborazo. Around 5:00pm or so, we eat dinner and then head to the second refuge on Chimborazo, which is at 5000 meters.  We sleep there for about 5 hours (again, so our bodies can acclimate to the altitude) and begin our hike at 11:00pm.  (Yes, you read that correctly – at night.)  The reason we hike at night is because as the snow is warmed by the sun, avalanches are far more likely.  On top of this, any rock held in place by ice will start its gravity-induced downward journey once the sun has melted the cementing ice.  Nights and early mornings are generally clear, and clouds normally come in by midday, which is another reason to climb at night.  Also, the weather tends to be better during full moon . . .  and guess what?  Sunday is a full moon. 🙂
  • Sunday, June 23: We will be hiking from Saturday evening until early Sunday morning – hopefully.  The plan is to summit, but if I have to stop earlier because of altitude sickness, we will do so.  Optimistically, I will be back down from the summit by 10:00am on Sunday morning.  At that time, I get picked up by the guide company and driven back to Riobamba.

So, what can you do for me?  PRAY, PRAY . . . AND PRAY.  I am looking forward to the challenge – because I do like a challenge – and am excited about the possibility of making it all the way to the top.  Yay!  But also, I pray to have peace if I do not make it to the top.  I pray that I do not feel like a failure and can be happy with myself that I at least attempted the journey.  So . . . please pray for our safety, to enjoy both journeys – up and down, to feel peaceful regardless of the outcome, and to revel in the beauty of this majestic mountain.  I will be in touch next week and let you know the outcome.  Thank you in advance for your prayers. 🙂

Some other volunteers and I "visited" Chimborazo last December.  Little did I know that I'd be attempting to make it to the top several months later.

Some other volunteers and I “visited” Chimborazo last December. Little did I know that I’d be attempting to make it to the top several months later.


14 responses »

  1. Rachel! Praying for your altitude adjustment AND your safety! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures when you get home!

  2. Rachel, good luck on your climb! I’ll be thinking of you this weekend. I can’t wait to hear all about it and see beautiful pictures from the summit!

  3. This sounds like so much fun!!! I am jealous. I can’t wait to hear about it and to SEE you! Be safe, friend!- Love, Liz

  4. Your are going to come back a world class adventurer with a host of exciting stories to share with you class. This will be another one of those adventures that you get to share. How exciting!!!

  5. Will pray! I could be jealous–it sounds like a terrific adventure. I’ll especially think of you as I watch the moon turn and shine so full. What an amazing light it will be, a true friend you’ll always celebrate.

    Here’s a worthwhile quote for you from a recent article in the New Yorker about the matchless Swiss Ueli Steck of Everest fame: “A climber’s reputation rests not just on first ascents or flashy routes but on how he conducts himself when things go to pieces. Steck may be renowned as much for his abandoned expeditions as for the flawless ones.”

    I’m all for your summit–if favorable conditions apply. In that case, I’m all for wisdom and discernment . Love you and can’t wait to hear about it.

    • As always Nancy, I love your wisdom. Thank you for your prayers, the quote and your encouragement. I love you very much and look forward to catching up with you when I return to the U.S. 🙂

  6. Love, thoughts, and prayers for you as you take on this challenge! I have faith in you–both that you are going to be successful when you make it, and accepting if “things go to pieces.” I don’t know if that last sentence makes sense, but anyway! Good luck, my friend! ❤

    • Emily . . . thank you for your encouraging email! I will be thinking of you this weekend during my journey as well. I will be in touch next week with the results! 🙂

  7. Wow, way to go! I’m so proud and excited for you, you are going into this with just the right attitude and I so admire your courage in taking on this challenge. Hope it’s an amazing experience, will keep you in my prayers. Love you and miss you!

    • Thank you Rachel. 🙂 I miss you too and wish we could catch up one of these days. Maybe when I get back to the States? So . . . I’m working on a blog post about my hike last night, but just to let you know . . . I didn’t make it to the top. But, it was still a great experience. Thanks for your prayers.

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