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Dispatches from Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi photo from the Smithsonian Institution

 

Big time mountaineering season is in full swing. Out in the Himalayas everyone is jockeying for position to summit Everest and stand on top of the world. Down in the Andes Mountains another exciting summit bid is shaping up. Two members of Trailblazer Central are in Ecuador getting ready to scale the world’s highest active volcano, Cotopaxi.

Towering up to 19,393ft, Cotopaxi is the crown jewel of the stunning Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi looks just like many children draw mountains to look like; rising up from the valley floor in a seemingly perfect symmetrical shape. The summit doesn’t come to a point since this still active volcano has a summit crater a few hundred feet deep. The upper flanks of the volcano are covered by glaciers year round making this a technical climb involving belaying across snow bridges and climbing around crevasses.

Whenever possible, Chris and Shelby Howe will be checking in with us to give updates on their progress and experience. They weather hasn’t been great down there for the past few weeks. Fingers crossed that things will clear up for some good climbing. Over the weekend we got our first check in:

 So, we decided to do some extra pre-trip training before we meet with our group on Friday.  Today…Cotopaxi to 16,600 ft to the start of the glacier.  The air is thin up here but all is well and we made it without much trouble. –Chris

Here are a few pictures Chris sent along of the extra training they did.

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