November 18, 2012
Since I was not enjoying sleeping at the higher altitudes, we came up with a good plan for Cotopaxi. Instead of climbing it in two days like normal, we would sleep at a fancy lodge at 13,000 feet, drive up to the parking lot at 11pm and climb it in one day from the parking.
Cotopaxi is not a difficult mountain to climb but it is very high. It is 19,347 feet high. It is a beautiful perfectly shaped volcano.
The lodge was called tambopaxi and it was pretty plush. It was warm, had excellent views of the climb and was a quick car ride to the base of the mountain. We went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 11pm ready for action.
Most people that climb Cotopaxi start the climb very quickly and then loose steam towards the top. We did the opposite. We started very slow, took our time and ended up passing most parties on the way up. The route is mostly packed snow with a few crevasse passes. One of the crevasses had a broken snow bridge, so we needed to climb inside and back out the other side.
The summit was amazing. You could see the crater of the Volcano smoking. We took some pictures, exchanged some high fives and admired the perfect weather and the great views.
I brought a cliff bar and mountain house to the top and enjoyed them at the hut as a post climb treat.
The descent went quickly. However it was very scary to watch other parties descend. One man was so exhausted that he kept falling on the slope and his guide was traveling behind him roped and had to self arrest to keep him from sliding off the mountain. Highly dangerous and stupid.