November 29, 2010
Guide Greg Vernovage reports the entire team is safely back in Quito after their attempt on Cayambe. Here is his report:
“Back in Quito. Cayambe was a tough go. We had to get dropped off well below the hut …. We got the 4X4 to help out shuttling people. Rain and snow on the way up to the hut.
A good night sleep by everyone. We did some training and a short hike up the rocks outside of the Refugio to get a look at the route.
What I noticed was how warm it was. After all the precipitation we had combined with the warmth I thought there might be some potential for slides higher up. We heard that there was a slide higher on the mountain that afternoon.
Woke up at 11pm and walked by 12:15. Weaved our way up the rocks and across some mellow terrain. Crampons on and roped up. About 30 minutes later, arrived at the avalanche path. Looked to be a wet slide. Good size path and firm. It was a very warm night. Walked about 10 minutes on the path, same as the climbing route…. Romulo and I stopped and talked about where the Avalanche might have originated and if there could be more (hazard) up higher.”
[The guides estimated the avalanche path to be 400 meters wide and 600 meters long, and were concerned about the additional potential for slides. They made the right call in deciding to turn the group back at this point. GD]
“We returned to the hut and caught a nap. Woke up at 8:30 to wind and a lot of snow blowing in. Got our gear together and loaded it into the 4X4 and made our way down.
More rain in the afternoon which is a pattern. Arrived at the Hotel in Quito. Everyone is happy and resting today.”
Some members are on their way home after the end of the normal program. There is continued concern about new snowfall in the mountains, and how it would affect the upcoming climb of Chimborazo. As a result, the remaining members have decided on an alternate plan proposed by the guides. Instead of attempting Chimborazo, they will attempt a climb of neighboring Iliniza Norte and Iliniza Sur over the next two days.
As reported to George Dunn in the office by trip leader Greg Vernovage.