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Ascent of Volcán Cayambe on 2013-06-23

Climber: Paul Brossier

Others in Party:Marie Walker
Jimmy Bombero
Mario Bombero
Date:Sunday, June 23, 2013
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Volcán Cayambe
    Location:Ecuador
    Elevation:18284 ft / 5572 m

Ascent Trip Report

When cycling down the Panamericana, we were lucky to be hosted by the firemen of Cayambe. I was in awe discovering that they were the guys going to do the rescue on the glacier of the Nevado above.

They told us about the 'masiva', an annual meeting that occurs end of June, during the same period than the village celebration: the firemen, police, Red Cross and Club de Andinismo all gather to climb the summit.

Marie and I were lucky enough to join this event with our friend Rodrigo and other firemen.

We left from the fire station to the refuge in the afternoon and joined the large group of 24 people in the main refuge hall. The refuge was completely overloaded that night, with probably more than 60 people altogether.

Rodrigo gave us very a interesting class on crevasse rescue that night before most of the group went to have a couple of hours of sleep. Rodrigo and I both stayed up outside, amazed by the beautiful clear and calm night. The 10:30 alarms went on and we had not gone to bed.

The large group slowly processed through rocks, passing above the beautiful seracs and scrambling all the way up to near the blue laguna at the feet of the glacier, were we installed our crampons. 8 rope parties left in turn towards the summit.

Despite of the beautiful weather, our party was a bit slow, and two of us four were too tired. We decided to go back down after reaching an altitude of 5573 meters. 2 of the 8 rope parties made it higher than us, all the way to the top.

The way down was a long one too, and despite everything seems close on this big snow field, the distances are considerable. Just before exiting the glacier, we were caught in a very humid cloud. That place is known for its crevasses, and I chose this very moment to dip my legs in one of them. Fortunately I could easily go back on solid ice on my own.

Climbing under the full moon with these young men who dedicate their lives to save others was such a humbling and memorable experience words are missing me to describe it.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3081 ft / 939 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Trailhead:15203 ft / 4633 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Hut Camp
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear
clear and calm full moon night
Ascent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Paul Brossier
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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