Last stop COTOPAXI, Finally Madlen and Lars spent their last week on our acclimazation program, which consisted of the volcanoes Pasochoa (4200m), Illinizas Norte (5126m), Corazon( (4790m) and Cotopaxi (5897m). Before they started their first climb on Pasochoa, they were stopped by a herd of bulls, which even was the first great experience this day. Since the Pasochoa has more or less an easy ascend, they did not have any problems. The whole tour just took around four hours and for Madlen and Lars it was no real difficulty, but for a russian member of the group it was the last mountain in Ecuador. On the second day, they wanted to climb the volcanoe Illinizas Norte, but since Madlen did not feel well, she stayed in the Hostería PapaGayo to get better soon. Lars and the rest of the group went on without her and needed about eight hours to the summit. Everything went well and they were ready for their next volcanoe, the Corazon.
On the third day of the acclimazation, they continued with this stunning volcanoe but the weather conditions were not good, so they did not feel welcomed. „You should listen to three things before climbing a mountain. The mountain itself, the guide and of course your own body.“, told her Eran before she started the program. If all three things are good, than the ascend will be no problem. Therefore this day of climbing did not start very good and they thought they might need to stop before they will reach the summit because the fog was so thick. José, the guide, meant everything will be fine, so they kept on climbing until they reached the top. Although it was really cold and Madlen had to fight with her fear of height, they made it.
The next day was off, for relaxing and reload the batteries in the beautiful Hostería PapaGayo. Madlen was impressed by the history this place tells and explained: „Once the Hostería was owned by Sucre’s wife and later on by the great-grandson of the liberator Simón Bólivar. On the ground of the Hostería was the battle which relieved milliones of people in South America. Every little part of this masonry reminds us of the past and the history, which makes this a unique place in the middle of a great landscape and environment. Furthermore the team let me feel extremely comfortable in this familiar atmosphere.“ The day after, they will already climb the Cotopaxi, where you need a lot of energy.
Before the tour started, all of them could not believe they finally will go on the top of this spectacular volcanoe. They had a lot of respect of this ascend, not just because of the glacier, also because of the height. At about 5000m it is possible to get the acute mountain sickness, which starts with a headache and leads to dizzyness and vomiting. Luckily no one had this problem but Madlen got extremely tired while passing the beginning of the glacier. Her body felt totally fragile but she did not want to think about giving up – in the beginning. José and Lars motivated her again and again. The extreme cold and the tiring ascend took everything from her body, so they just could continue their way really slowly and reached the top as the last group and after 9,5 hours. Although they missed the sunrise on the summit, they felt as glad as they could be to finally reach it.
The descent was no challenge anymore but the strength was decreasing rapidly, so they needed another three hours to get down the volcanoe. At the end of the day they just sank in the car and wanted to sleep. Back in Germany, Madlen still says that climbing the Cotopaxi was the most exciting and hardest challenge, she has ever been through. Besides that, she thinks that the acclimazation program from Gulliver was the best offer she could get because she didn’t want to try to climb the Cotopaxi without any preparation. After climbing the other three/four summits she and Lars felt good enough prepared to make this step. The next thing she mentioned: „It is really important to have a great guide, who can estimate your strength, who feels when it is enough or he just needs to motivate and José was such a great guide.“
„I would recommend climbing the Cotopaxi to everyone, who wants to have a realistic challenge. It is totally possible for a person with good body conditions but because of the extreme height, you need to acclimatize first.”
Lars will come back to Ecuador at the end of the month to take place on the „Vuelta al Cotopaxi“.
Madlens next trip will be in November and leads her to the great countries South Africa and Namibia.
Hopefully she writes such great posts in her blog about her experiences in Africa, too.
As we say in Gulliver Expeditions. Be Alive. Travel