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Ascent of Volcán Tungurahua on 2017-01-12

Climber: Harvest Mondello

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, January 12, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Volcán Tungurahua
    Location:Ecuador
    Elevation:16480 ft / 5023 m

Ascent Trip Report

Volcán Tungurahua: North Ridge Route (Car to Car). PD / Alpine Grade I (45 degrees snow) / Class 3. 7,280 net elevation gain. 9 miles RT & 9 hours RT.

The name means “Throat of Fire" in the native Quechua language Here's a link to photos and a write up of the eruption 7 months prior to my climb: https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=352080

The Approach: 3,300 elevation gain. 2 hours up and 1 hour down. Class 1.

The hike to the hut is thru dense jungle on a dirt trail ending just below the jungle line. Very scenic. Trekking poles suggested. Begin 9,200 & end 12,500.

The Climb: 3,980 elevation gain. Climb took me 4 hours up and 2 hours down.

The climb begins near the end of the jungle, on loose sand, scree and snow. There's minimal exposure. Fumerols were very active on the upper reaches of the climb. No aroma & no negative affects (I kept a short distance) but be cautious of being poisoned or just not getting enough oxygen. Trekking poles & trail runners with gator suggested. Some use boots and crampons. Begin 12,500 & end 16,480. The rock, scree and and is all loose and crumbly.

Beautiful views from the summit. Active fumerols. Solo climb. Single day: 9 hours car to car for me (2 approach, 4 climb, 3 out). A fit & acclimatized climber should be able to do this in 8-10 hours rt.

The approach, climb and hike out can be done in one long day with good weather as I did. However, keep in mind it's 7,250 feet of elevation gain and 9 miles round trip. Half of this is on loose sand, scree and snow. I suggest bringing 12 hours of food / water and plenty of sun screen. Local guides do this in two days with the first night at the upper hut at 12,500.

Gear:
Trekking poles suggested. Running shoes for the approach hike. Optional gear includes boots, crampons & ice axe for the snow fields and scree climb are suggested. I personally used my trail runners the whole climb but wished I had an ice axe for the icy snow fields.

Logistics:
Bus from Quito or Riobamba to Baños. There's no station in Baños so don't miss your stop. Taxi thru Pondoa to trail head. Sign in with the park rangers next to the trail head. Hitch hike or walk back to town is my suggestion. It's 5 miles back to town.

The Volcano is officially closed on and off due to activity. When I climbed everything above the hut officially required a guide. This was not enforced and there's no climbing checkpoint above the hut. Climb at your own discretion and ask about current activity.

Dangers:
I can't stress enough that this volcano is very active on and off. Ask local park rangers about current activity. Active fumerols can be a major concern.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7180 ft / 2188 m
    Total Elevation Loss:7180 ft / 2188 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:7180 ft / 2188 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:North Ridge (solo ascent)(C2C)
    Start Trailhead:9300 ft / 2834 m
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:7180 ft / 2188 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:North Ridge
    End Trailhead:9300 ft / 2834 m
    Time:3 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: Ecuador Jan. '17 (6 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1(Attempt) Volcán Altar2017-01-114859 ft / 1481 m
2Volcán Tungurahua2017-01-127180 ft / 2188 m
3Sincholagua2017-01-154910 ft / 1497 m
4Volcán Pichincha2017-01-16 
5Volcán Pichincha-Rucu2017-01-16 
6Padre Encantado2017-01-16 
Total Trip Gain: 16949 ft / 5166 m    Total Trip Loss: 16949 ft / 5166 m



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