Saturday, November 17, 2012

Illiniza Norte and Sur 11-15 to 11-16-2012

Illiniza Norte and Sur 
November 15th and 16th

The Plan:
We were attempting to climb Illiniza Norte and Sur for acclimitization. The plan was to climb Norte as we approached on the 15th and Sur in the monring of the 16th.  However, poor weather lead us to decide to climb both on the 16th.

November 15th:

Approach and the hut:
Juliana drove (I can't drive stick shift) to the base of the mountain and we packed up to the hut at 15,416. Our plans were to climb Norte that day but the weather was very bad and visibility was low, so we decided the next day we would try for a double summit. Wake up at 3:30 am, leave by 4:00 am and attempt Sur then Norte in a big day. We had some food in the hut then attempted to sleep. I had some trouble acclimatizing and was unable to sleep well at the altitude.

November 16, 2012

Illiniza Sur:
We woke up at 3:30 am and made some mountain house breakfast. It was blueberry, granola and milk. It was really good and gave us a good boost in the morning. Even Juliana enjoyed it and she thinks all freeze dried food is gringo food. We made our way across heavy fog to the base of the route and began climbing. We soloed some easy but snowy low fifth class rock and continued onto the glacier.
Illiniza Sur
Breakfast Mountain House

Breakfast Prepared

Slab Avalanche Risk:
We heard whoomphing after each step and Juliana decided to dig a snow pit to investigate. We dug out a small pit and finger tested. A three finger deep consolidated layer sat atop a sugary layer followed by another three finger deep layer separated from the rock by ice. She stomped above the pit and the entire slab separated. We decided not to take the risk and descended as the sun was rising. We had beautiful views of Cotopaxi.
The broken slab we tested
Rappelling Down

Cotopaxi at sunrise

Illiniza Norte:
We hiked back down to the hut. I wasn't feeling so well and was very nauseous from lac of sleep and the quick move from sleeping at 7,500 feet in Cumbaya (where Juliana lives) to 15,416 feet at the hut. But we decided to still attempt Norte. We headed out and climbed a variation to the normal route by staying further east and staying within the rock band.

It was good climbing but as we got higher, I felt more and more nauseous. Five minutes before the summit, I couldn't hold it in any more and vomited. I felt a little better, tagged the summit, the descend to the hut the to the car.

It was really good climbing and a lot of fun despite the minor acute mountain sickness. We made a good decision to bail on Illiniza Sur and the summit of Norte was perfect with amazing weather.

After the climb, we drove to Papallacta hot springs and met some friends to soak and relax!

1 comment:

  1. Nice, Jared! Good call on bailing after checking out the avi conditions.