Oh, Glorious Cotopaxi Summit (19,344 ft)!

September 9, 2010

At midday, we hiked up to the mountain hut to continue acclimatizing and practice ice techniques on the nearest section of the glacier. Who knew 20 minutes up gravel and sand could be so exhausting!

At 1:00 am we strapped on our gear and set out from the hut. The moon was nil and we bumbled along with headlamps and starlight. Quito’s light pollution also woke up the sky and a gentle wind pushed us upward. At 2:00 am we found a magnificent ice cave where we sought refuge – though not for long! We hadn’t even reached the most difficult section of the climb yet!

Having just puked from a 4 hour battle with nausea, I was feeling quite giddy at last. But the altitude did its best to disorient me and my relief from purging was quickly punished by the incredibly steep uphill climb I would have to overcome if I planned to step foot on the summit.

This…

…and this rekindled my spirits! Cotopaxi’s shadow plastered against Illiniza Sur (left) and Norte (right).

Cotopaxi’s volcanic crater.

Emma, Matt, and our wonderful guide Juliana grace the summit with our Peaks Over Poverty flags!

Thank you DEAR SUPPORTERS! I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU. Can you find your name? (You’d think I’d have a bit more of an exciting stance, but my body was numb from exhaustion and adrenaline!)


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