Well I’m sat in the living room of my now good friend Juan Carlos in Ecuador’s capital Quito. I’ve spent almost 3 weeks here in this amazing country, tomorrow I fly back to the UK and I think I’m going to miss it.
I came across just after Christmas, the plan was two fold, one was to Guide a client on some of the great looking Volcanoes as part of his Everest Training. The second was to scope out the mountains and the country to put together our own Dream Guides Expeditions here.
Its been a remarkable few weeks, Kola, myself and our trusty friend Juan have been all over the place staying in some amazing hotels/haciendas, eating some funky food (including Guinea Pig) and doing some great climbing and trekking.
The weather perhaps hasn’t been the best, we have seen strong winds, snow, rain and cloud but this hasn’t damped our enthusiasm for the place.
Kola jetted home Friday evening which left me 48hours, so after some hasty telephone calls I was back in the 4x4 (a fairly mandatory form of transport here) heading back to climb Cotopaxi which is the jewel of the mountains out here. It stands 5897m, thats 2m higher than Kilimanjaro but one starts the climb from the Jose Ribas hut at 4800m, so its doable in a day once acclimitised. I was surprised how good the huts here were and I thought this was the best one, interestingly Juan is not fan of it The climb reminded me a little of Mont Blanc, so if you have done that and looking for ‘whats next’ then look no further. Juan and I raced up, which was a mistake because at the summit it was still totally dark and rather too chilly to wait for the sun but the views on the way down were amazing.
There are many highlights from this trip but for me the stand out bits in no order are the Fruit Juices, climbing Iliniza North in the evening on my own, staying in Le Estacion hotel with its great food and of course Cotopaxi. The only non highlight was American Airlines loosing my bag on the way over, but even that was resolved quickly.
So whats next, well I think we are definitely going to start running these trips, it makes for a great 2 or 3 week Expedition for those who are looking for something a little bit different but perhaps not quite at the Himalayas yet.
Meanwhile it sounds like the Dream Guides crew have been enjoying some exceptional snow conditions in the alps.....I’m not green at all!!!