In January of 2001, Terry Mataya, Pat Ellis, and I took a trip to Ecuador with the goal of climbing Cyambe (18,982), Cotopaxi (19,347), and Chimborazo (20,700). We got skunked.
The biggest problem was the weather. It rained nearly everyday for two weeks.
We skipped Cyambe right away and turned our attention to Cotopaxi. Over the period of a week, we made two serious attempts but never made it past the Jose Ribas Hut at 15,700 feet.
We also ran into some civil unrest that prevented us from getting to the base of Chimborazo. Ecuador was in the process of converting their currency to the US dollar and the common folk weren't too crazy about seeing their life savings getting greatly devalued. There were strikes throughout the country and one particular strike blocked the road to Chimborazo. We ran one roadblock, but the mob was too large at the next roadblock. We turned around.
Finally we said "screw it" and drove to the Pacific beach for the last few days.
As a base of operations, we stayed at Hosteria San Jorge at about 10,000 feet on the slope of the volcano Rucu Pichincha outside of Quito. Having spent so much time there, we developed a friendship with the owner George, his family, and the staff. Be sure to check it out if you're planning a trip to Ecuador.
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