And the answer is . . . no. But . . . I am completely at peace with the outcome because it was an amazingly beautiful (and challenging!) weekend. Here’s a play by play for you. Also, after you read the chain of events from the weekend, check out the pictures at the end of the post that show you more details about the journey. (By the way, if you have no idea what I am talking about so far, read this post first.)
Friday, June 21
- 2:30pm: I was driven to Casa Condor (about 30 minutes away) by a friendly taxi driver named Roberto. Ironically, he ended up being the father of one of my previous students here in Riobamba. I stayed at Casa Condor because it is at a higher altitude (3800 meters/12,400 feet) than Riobamba and it’s wise to slowly acclimate to the higher altitude of Chimborazo.
- 4:00pm: I went on an incredibly challenging “walk” to acclimate to the higher altitude (this was suggested by my taxi driver). The place I walked was so steep, it was quite a challenge! Here’s a video of me while I was resting on my walk. As you can tell, it was a bit windy!
- 6:00pm: I went to scope out the kitchen in the hostel so I knew where I’d be cooking my dinner. That’s where I met two other guys that that I learned would be hiking with me the following evening. They are both from Australia and their names are Garrick and Ron. They are nice guys and as it ended up, I was really glad that we all took this journey together. That evening, we made a pasta dinner and talked a bit to get to know one another, since we’d be spending plenty of time together over the next 36 hours.
- 8:00pm: I went back to my room and was asleep by 9:00pm. 🙂
Saturday, June 22
- 8:00am: I got out of bed after reading for awhile, took some pictures of the beautiful countryside, and made breakfast.
- 10:45am: Garrick, Ron and I went on a walk around the community where we were staying.
- 12:30pm: We were picked up by our guides and drove to the first refuge (4800 meters/15,700 feet) of Chimborazo.
- 2:30pm: We drank Coca tea (apparently helps with altitude sickness) and soup at the refuge.
- 3:00pm: We went to rest/sleep to let our bodies get ready for the upcoming demands of the evening.
- 4:30pm: We woke-up and ate “dinner” and then hiked to the second refuge (5000 meters/16,400 feet).
- 6:30pm: We arrived at the second refuge and got ready for bed. We were supposed to sleep from 7:00pm until 10:00pm to rest for the hike.
- 6:45pm: I walked outside to see an amazing sunset and filmed a short video before going to sleep. Watch it here.
- 10:00pm: We were woken up and to eat “breakfast” and then got dressed and ready to leave for the hike.
- 11:30pm: 3 hikers (me, Ron, and Garrick) and 3 guides (Fabian, Raul, and Alberto) left to begin the journey up Chimborazo.
Sunday, June 23
- 12:15am: After hiking for about 45 minutes, we stopped to put crampons (equipment you put on your shoes in order to hike in snow and ice) on our boots for the rest of the journey.
- 12:20am: I had no idea how to walk with crampons.
- 1:00am: I started to partly understand how to walk with crampons.
- 2:00am: Our group of 6 discussed our progress at that point. We were pretty exhausted already. Our guides decided that at our current pace (apparently rather tortoise-like), it would take about 6 more hours to summit Chimborazo.
- 2:15am: Two of us decided to go on and continue to hike onto the glacier.
- 3:30am: My guide, Fabian, told me that we still had about 5 hours until the top. At that point, I needed to stop about every 30 seconds to rest and I didn’t foresee that getting better as the altitude increased. After hiking through a lot of ice and snow, I decided to call it quits (5700 meters18.700 feet) and surrender.
- 4:00am: We started to descend and head back to the refuge with another hiker and his guide.
- 6:30am: We arrived at the second refuge and tried to get a couple of hours of sleep. (This was very difficult because it was freezing!)
- 9:000am: We walked down to the first refuge, were picked up and driven back to Riobamba to end our adventurous journey.