Ascent of Volcán Chimborazo on 2015-02-25

Climber: Jens Midthun

Others in Party:Brian Lentz
Darrel Ainscough
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcán Chimborazo
    Elevation:6266 m / 20561 ft

Ascent Trip Report

The Whimper Hut was closed so we slept at the Carrel Hut at around 15,800 ft. Our first hour was an easy, marked trail that we took very slowly while we were stalked by a friendly Andean Wolf. We reached the Whymper hut at midnight and kept climbing the moraine. It had snowed a few hours earlier so there were 2-3 inches covering the dirt, frozen for the time being. By 1 am we strapped on our crampons. There was probably glacier under us at that point but it wasn't obvious after the snow and frozen dirt.

We continued up the frozen ground and looked for a route up onto the ridge below El Castillo. Our first attempts up the 10 ft face were unsuccessful and we had to keep moving down and left to try lower points on the ridge. We climbed some short cliffs that got us onto a flat part of the ridge where we buried some water for the return trip. At about 18,000 ft we had to belay over the steep, red rocks that marked the most difficult part of the ridge.

After the red-rocked cliffs, it was basically one long snowfield the rest of the way. It started narrow but eventually opened up. It was quite steep but got there gradually and both sides of the ridge just rolled off into the unknown. We switched back and forth for hours before the sun began to come up. The face rolled into a gradual dome as we finally reached the Veintemilla Summit at 7:30 am. Our guides were celebrating that summit as the victory but we asked about making a final push to the true Whymper Summit. They said we could make run for it and unrope to leave most of our gear on Veintemilla. The traverse went down a bit and then back up through cloud shaped snow formations. The last few steps to the summit crossed up between some of these formations but it was all crusty enough that we weren't sinking though. We reached the true summit around 8 am.

We hurried back past Veintemilla and started down the face, the whole descent visible before us. This went much quicker and we were able to take a more direct route down as the face turned into a ridge. We belayed down the red cliffs and gathered our water before heading to the lower glacier. It had become hot as the sun came out and the fog rolled in so we had to make good time through El Corredor. We made good time and were back at the refuge by 11:40, a more than 12 hour round trip.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1451 m / 4761 ft
    Route:El Castillo
    Trailhead:Carrel Refuge  4815 m / 15800 ft
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Clear until late morning
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:8 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 40 Minutes

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