Ecuador Experience Climber History living in the south of Germany is the perfect suppositions for Thomas Zimmer, 53 years, from Munich: Climbing for many years in the east alps, mainly in Tirol and South Tirol he is used to the challenges you can be faced with in the mountains. As his highest peaks where 3200 m, he decided to challenge himself and do what many others only dream of: After consulting Gulliver Expeditions he made the decision to do together with his daughter the 8 days – 4 peaks – Climbing Program in Ecuador. This seems to be a big announcement to anyone, especially when these peaks are active volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Fire Belt, in Ecuador. In the following interview he tells his personal experience with the Mountain Program of Gulliver Expeditions.
Thomas Zimmer and his daughter join to 4 Englishmen, at the idyllic Hostería PapaGayo.On first day, they started their program on the with the Pasachoa (4200m) and soon felt connected. During this day and the next day Ilinizas Norte their guide was observing them carefully to decide finally how fast they would finally climb the Cotopaxi. Zimmer says: “He was constantly adapting the tempo to our needs and did a really good job with our acclimatization.”
Ilinizas Norte (5126m) was an experience for itself. After more than 3 hours hiking the group got into a snowstorm, so they went into a huddle to decide what to do: Go further or was it safer to return? Thomas explains: “Our guide told us that he thinks we can do it. He assured that he has the trek fully under control and the conditions are ok, too. We all gazed in the eyes of each other and saw confidence and adventuresomeness.”
But how can you make sure you will definitely make it up to the top? Well, short and simple answer: You can´t. “A good preparation is very important. You need to know that you can rely yourself on your body. If you´re fit, your body recovers more easily and faster.”, emphasizes Thomas Zimmer. Training 3 times a week for 1, 5 h endurance running was one way to prepare himself physically. That the mentally training often is the harder one may many climbers not be aware of. “My daughter spent 9 months in Ecuador on the coast with 30 degrees, so she wasn´t able to train for our program at all. Nevertheless she was doing a better job than me. One of the advantages when climbing with your Dad is clearly that you don´t have to carry that much luggage :-). With all the equipment and water I was carrying around 8 kg. You really feel the weight, especially on this altitude. ”
“I can really recommend anyone the mountain equipment of Gulliver Expeditions. As practiced climber I brought my own one and only borrowed me a ice axe, but looking back it wasnt necessary. The equipment they provided us was so good”, Thomas states out.
Climbing the Cotopaxi (5897m) for 2 days was the next big challenge for the group: Hardly any sleep in the mountain shelter, the altitude and the tiring hike was showing especially on the second day their marks. “We felt good acclimatized and the ascent to the andine hut was uncomplicated. But when we started on the second day in the night, I soon felt my struggle. It was too intense, I couldn’t even make clear thoughts. At 4 in the morning I finally returned, before the peak”, Thomas explains. At last 2 out of the 6 climbers made it to the top and had the chance to enjoy the amazing view from up there.
After Climbing the Cotopaxi for the two days the group decided to change their plan: Instead of climbing the Chimborazo for another 2 days, they decided to carry on with the Rumiñahui volcano and the Pichincha. Two smaller, but not less beautiful mountains.
Thomas Zimmer states out that anyone, who is thinking about climbing in these heights, should prepare himself as good as he can. He mentions: “Mentally and physically preparation is the essential thing”. The rest depends from your daily shape, the weather, and your way of handling with the altitude.
Gulliver Team is ready for the next climb, are you?