Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Cotopaxi - Ecuador
1. Cotopaxi - 5897m (19,388 ft)

From Christmastime through January 7th, 2006 CMC leaders
Kurt Wibbenmeyer & Greg Olson took a dozen of us on a wild
tour of Ecuador's volcanoes, mountains, assorted hot springs
and the world's most bizarre New Year's eve celebration!



Note: Not to anyone's surprise, on August 16, 2012, the government of Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. For shame.

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for our side trips to Amazonia and Quito's New Year's Eve bash!

Ecuador turned out to be a fascinating, fun-filled adventure I won't soon forget! Despite not speaking Spanish all of the Ecuadorians I met treated me with respect and an even special measure of patience (I got lost a few times, had trouble with restaurant menus, etc.). I found Ecuador to be clean, well organized, and filled with interesting, hardworking people who are very open to Americans and the U.S.

While in Ecuador, I learned that their country's national currency, the "Sucre" (named after a very famous General at the time of Simón Bolívar and the war for Independence from Spain [1820-22]), had been discontinued a few years earlier because of rampant inflation and other financial considerations. The government of Ecuador, in place of the Sucre, has officially adopted the U.S. Dollar. This, along with over a million Ecuadorians living and working in the U.S., has closely tied our two countries for the foreseeable future.

With a smile, many Ecuadorians reminded me that New York City is their country's third largest "town" since over 400,000 Ecuadorians live and work there. As a result, sadly, a few hundred Ecuadorians also lost their lives during the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Anyway, Ecuador is a great place to visit and I hope to return there someday soon to see even more of it!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - January 2006

Map of Ecuador
(Click on this image for detailed map)
       The Team:
  • Kurt Wibbenmeyer - Leader
  • Greg Olson - Leader
  • Lisa Herter
  • Tracey Wise
  • Bryan Barnett
  • Dianne Edwards
  • Tessie DeLaney
  • Dorothea Frohner
  • Rich McAdams
  • Graham Schelle
  • Vernon Bass
  • Richard Taylor
  • Stan Kaliszan
  • Roger J. Wendell
The Goal:

Chimborazo - 6310m (20,702 ft)
Cotopaxi - 5897m (19,347 ft)
Cayambe - 5790m (18,996 ft)
Imbabura - 4609m (15,121 ft)

Click on any thumbnail image for a larger view
(a "Mouse-over" provides text info)


Huts and Climbs:

For this particular trip all four climbs were "centered" around the use of mountaineering huts. In our case, the huts were between 15,000 and 16,700 feet but had no electricity or running water (although one had a pay phone!). And, since our tour bus was too big for such steep grades, we usually stopped about a thousand feet below the hut to pack-in our climbing gear, food, and other supplies. Once inside the hut the idea was to go to bed, just after dinner, and then wake up at 10 or 11 pm to start climbing sometime before midnight. The huts are crowded, noisy, and not at all comfortable so getting up just before midnight is easier than you might think! Nevertheless, I, myself, had a horrible time climbing as I was stricken with a mild case of the flu. At about 17,500 feet I was pretty weak and made a U-turn back to the hut and my sleeping bag...
Our Bus Dropped Us Off Well Before the Huts - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Cayambe Hut - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Refugio at Cotopaxi - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Chimbarazo Hut - Ecuador, January 2006
11 Reach Cayambe's Summit, Ecuador - December, 2005
6. (Greg Olson's Photo)
Our Packs at Chimbarazo Hut - Ecuador, January 2006
Waiting for the Bus in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Our group in the Hut - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Hut Dining - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Stan and Richard - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Marina Obtains Water for our Group - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Marina Cooked for our Group each day we were in a hut - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Kurt and Our Hut Ladder - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Tess and Kurt in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Bryan Sleeping - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Mountains - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Kurt after the Chimborazo Attempt - Ecuador, January 2006
Edgar and Greg - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Putting our Crampons On at around 17,000 feet - Cotopaxi, Ecuador, January 2006
Part of the Group Reached Cotopaxi's Summit, Ecuador - December, 2005
21. (Graham Schelle's Photo)



Except for a touch of the flu, described above, I had no other illness and enjoyed a variety of food from restaurants and vendors off the street. Although eating from street-vendors is normally discouraged, even in our own country, I enjoy it because it brings me closer to what the local folks normally experience when they're out and about town.
Our Guide, Edgar, Stops for Fruit - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Happy Vendor - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Fruit - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Fruit Stand - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Vegetables For Sale in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Meat For Sale - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Pig's Head For Sale - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Stan Eats Soup - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Tracey and Bryan Dining in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006


People and Children:

The best part of any travel! In #39 I was photographing different parts of Baños when this gentleman asked me onto his property to examine his volcanic rock collection! Neither of us spoke a word of the other's language yet we both held a fascination for these fantastic rock samples he had collected from his town's nearby volcano. #36 Is a Photo of Martha and I in front of Quito's Presidential Palace. Although the shot should probably have been placed in my "Quito" section (below) I felt it to be an important "people print" as Martha was so kind to take a good portion of her day to introduce us to not only a most of Quito, but a lot of interesting and colorful people as well!
Washing Clothes in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Roger and the Children at Imbabura, Ecuador - December, 2005
Shoe Shine, QUitio, Ecuador -  January, 2006
Roger and Martha at the Presidential Palace in Quito, Ecuador - January, 2006
People Waiting - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
A man and his bicyle - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Volcanic Rock Collector in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Walking in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006



Quito, Ecuador's capitol, sits at about 9,300 feet (2,835 metres) in a long, narrow valley between mountain ranges. Quito boasts most modern conveniences and technology and is home to almost 2 million of Ecuador's nearly 14 million inhabitants. Quito is located just two dozen miles south of the equator but averages a daily temperature of about 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) due to its elevation. As such, there are just two seasons in Quito - the rainy season and the dry season. I have pictures of Quito's New Year's Eve celebration on my Amazonia web page.
Dianne, Richard and Tess - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Quito, Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
 Building in Quito, Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Church - Quitio, Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Street in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Street in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Living Statue in Quito, Ecuador - January, 2006
At the Equator - Ecuador, December2005
48. The Equator


Hacienda San Agustin de Callo:

Our intrepid group made a stop at what is now the San Agustin bed-and-breakfast. Most of the grounds were part of the northern-most section of the Inca empire at the time of Spanish invasions in the 1500s. Original Inca stone and walls house what was later a Spanish religious compound and now the resort. San Augustin's postcard reads, in part, "For centuries, these walls have kept the secrets of astounding cultures, thinkers, scientists, philosophers and artists... Today, these same walls, which were once part of a great Inca temple, will shroud the mystery of your dreams."
Renovated Inca Ruins at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006
Renovated Inca Ruins at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006
Candle in Inca Wall - Ecuador, January 2006
Greg in the converted Inca chapel - Ecuador, Januray 2006
Renovated Inca Ruins at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006
Kurt, the Architect, Pointing to Joint-Work in Inca Stone - Ecuador, January 2006
Roger Wendell and the Llamas at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006
Roger Wendell and the Llamas at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006
Ramos and the Llamas at San Agustin de Callo - near Quitio, Ecuador - January, 2006


Miscellaneous Structures:

I found the rebar, sticking out of new and old buildings alike, to be an interesting mystery I'm still not sure the answer of! Found on the corners and main structural points of business buildings and homes I was given a number of reasons for their existence. Some said that it was a tax "device," seen in other parts of South America, that suggests the structure isn't fully complete despite being occupied (hence a lower tax rate). Others said it was a plan for future where there's always the possibility of adding another floor or level by simply utilizing the rebar that's sticking up from below. Some said it was simply a lack of funds, time, or energy that stopped construction. Regardless the reason, there was a "ton" of rebar sticking out of building tops all over Ecuador!

Another interesting construction "technique," that I've seen around the continent as well, are the ubiquitous pieces of broken glass sticking out of the tops of walls and building parameters. In inexpensive but apparently effective security barrier...

Rebar remains exposed after construction - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Rebar remains exposed after construction - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Drying Clothes in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Drying Clothes in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
La Floresta, Our Hotel in Baños, Ecuador - January, 2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
 - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Stairs in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006


Ecuador Miscellanea:

Bus rides, beautiful scenery, and great companionship were all part of our trip through Ecuador! On a clinical note, it may be of interest to note that the entire trip cost about $2,500 USD total - a very reasonable price considering it included roundtrip airfare, guide and park fees, in-country transportation, food, lodging (including hut fees as high as $16 per person), and even our side-trip to Amazonia. So, in addition to being very enjoyable, Ecuador was certainly affordable as well!!
Edgar our Guide - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Our Magic Bus - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Greg and Lisa - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Live Volcano (and Fake Birds) - Ecuador, January 2006
Volcano in Ecuador - Christmastime 2005/2006
Rich and Dorthea at Imbabura, Ecuador - December 2005
Beer at Imbabura, Ecuador - December, 2005
Family Member of Shop Owner at Imbabura, Ecuador - December, 2005
Snowy Peak - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006
Farmland - Ecuador, Christmastime 2005/2006


Training Day:

Mountaineering, especially along glaciers with crevasse hazards, is a risky business that requires lots of safety training and physical preparation. It's important that team members know how to respond to a variety of emergency situations, especially those requiring that a teammate be pulled up from a crevasse. The CMC, and most of my friends in general, take mountaineering safety and first aid training very seriously. In preparation for Ecuador we all met on a number conditioning and practice climbs that included this crevasse rescue training on St. Mary's Glacier here in Colorado. The session started out on a very cold (and early!) December 17, 2005 morning. Nevertheless, it was a much needed refresher that's needed no matter how much experience climbers may think that have...
Our entire Group, plus Darin and Barbara, Training for Ecuador on St Mary's Glacier - 12-17-2005
78. Photo by a Snowboarder
Dianne Edwards, Richard Taylor and Roger Wendell Practicing Rescue C Pulley on St Mary's - 12-17-2005
79. Photo by Vernon Bass
Richard Taylor and Roger Wendell Preparing Rescue C Pulley on St Mary's - 12-17-2005
80. Photo by a Vernon Bass





  1. 12ers
  2. 13ers
  3. 14ers
  4. Aconcagua (Argentina)
  5. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  6. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  7. Amazonia and New Year's Eve!
  8. Argentina and Brazil
  9. Australia Main Page
  10. Australia Two Page
  11. Bolivia
  12. China
  13. CIA World Factbook on Ecuador
  14. Climbing
  15. Climbing Photos
  16. CNMI The Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands
  17. CMC Colorado Mountain Club
  18. Colorado Avalanche Information Center
  19. CORSAR - Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card
  20. Gear - Stuff for the Backcountry...
  1. Grand Canyon
  2. High Altitude Medicine Guide
  3. Highpoints and Topographic Prominence
  4. Hiking
  5. India
  6. Leave No Trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics
  7. Lightning Safety
  8. Mexico
  9. New Zealand
  10. Pikes Peak and Barr Camp
  11. Pure Ecuador
  12. Russia
  13. Skiing (Backcountry)
  14. Survival in the backcountry
  15. Ten Essentials and then some!
  16. Travel and Travel Two
  17. United Kingdom - England
  18. United Kingdom - Wales and Scotland
  19. Volcano News (Includes Ecuador)
  20. Waypoints, Grid Squares and Navigation


Warning! Climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing are dangerous and can seriously injure or kill you. By further exploring this web site you acknowledge that the information presented here may be out of date or incorrect, and you agree not to hold the author responsible for any damages, injuries, or death arising from any use of this resource. Please thoroughly investigate any mountain before attempting to climb it, and do not substitute this web site for experience, training, and recognizing your limitations!




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