Monday, December 10, 2007

Back in Denver

I am not going to post much tonight, I am tired.

The quick version:
I didn't go up Cayambe, my insides were turned around on me.
Pictures are posted
Cayambe looked awesome from where I was resting. Had a blast, couldn't be happier with my experience.

I will post more detailed descriptions of both my summit attempt on Cotopaxi and what went on while at Cayambe tomorrow after I have had a chance to rest.


Friday, December 7, 2007

A rest day

After our summit attempt yesterday, today was a welcome rest day. We left a very nice hotel, Hosteria La Cienega, this morning, dropped off a couple of our team mates who are leaving tomorrow and headed towards Cayambe.

We are currently at the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, the Hacienda Guachala and are just hanging out playing pool and ping pong. Kurtiss and I are going to battle at ping pong for our international ping pong title. (The punk has our international foosball championship won in London.)

So that's about it. We head off to Cayambe in the morning, an early sleep, and plan to awake around midnight (Saturday night) to push for the summit of Cayambe (18,997ft). I still have my bronchitis and it got significantly worse after our Cotopaxi summit attempt, but I am going to give it a go. If I am not on top of my game though, I am not going. I cannot even begin to describe how uncomfortable it is at 18,500ft.

Also, here is what our lead guide has to say regarding our trip. Enjoy.

G(in Ecuador)W

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Summit Attempt

The hut we stayed in the last couple of nights was at 15,800ft. I was starting to get a headache from the altitude but I took some Diamox and that seemed to fix me up. So we did some training hikes like I mentioned and I felt strong throughout. Even though, I was somewhat worried about my performance on the mountain today, but was still hopeful all would go well.

Yeah, so last night we went to bed around 6:00PM and woke up around 11:30PM. (an alpine start) Got dressed, ate breakfast and hit the mountain. We were climbing by 12:30AM.
I felt wonderful today. I was climbing strong and had a pretty good outlook on the day. That is until we hit the 50 degree incline that continued for 1800 vertical feet. Talk about a lung buster. About half way up, at 17,500ft, I asked the lead guide if I could quit, he was all, ¨No.¨

So this continued, and just so you know, am still recovering from my bronchitis so I was leaving big chunks of my lungs on the mountain. Around 18,000ft, I started having wicked coughing fits. I thought I was going to break a rib, turns out, I think I pulled an ab muscle because if I breathe deep, it hurts.

Well, around 18,700ft, the sun started to come up and I started seeing stars on the ground. This is a result of hypoxia; basically starving my brain of oxygen. I was still climbing though. Just to let you know how thing the air is that high, I was taking 2 to 3 breaths for every step I took - super hard.

Around 19,100ft, we took a break and only had about 200 ft to go. I was wasted though, I started coughing and red stuff came out. My guide thought I was coughing blood, but it was only gatorade, regardless, he turned me around. Thank God, I was ready.

So, I didn´t make the summit, but I did make 19,000ft, 4000 ft higher than anything in the lower 48, so I am pretty proud of myself.
Going to get a beer and celebrate our success on the mountain and get ready to try cayambe in 2 days.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

First hike today

First off, let me start by saying that it is always interesting using a keyboard with buttons in different places.
Yeah, so we arrived in Quito, Ecuador on Friday night around 11pm. Pretty quick evening, checked into our hotel and called it a day.
The first part of the day yesterday was spent exploring the city.
Around 3:00, Kurtiss and I decided we were going to go find someplace to hang out. Luckily, we ran into some other members of our group (Ray, Steve, and Pete) and they pulled us back from the ledge. Not too far though, we ended up staying at the bar for about 4 hours and having a few drinks. Yeah, I think we each had 5 or 6 22oz beers and our tab was $21. How were we to leave.

So today we are going to about 14,000ft. For reference, the highest peaks in CO are at 14,400. This is just to stretch our legs... Should be a good time. We are going to a National Forest Reserve and starting at 10,000, so a 4000ft climb (to stretch our legs...)

Well, that´s about it. I have loads of pics and will try to post some tonight if my fingers aren´t worn out.

C ya,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

12 hours to flight

Well, the bronchitis hasn't let up but my hopes are high. We aren't going to 15000 ft until Sunday, so I should be fine by then. I am totally worried that it is going to hamper me going up the mountains, we'll see. And, if I don't think the bud lights I had tonight aren't going to hurt, why would I think bronchitis would???

Yeah, so, excited and apprehensive pretty much describe how I'm feeling. The bags are packed and I'm ready.

So that you know, the two main volcanoes we will be going up are Cotopaxi and Cayambe. Here are a couple of links to go check out a little information on each one:

C you in Ecuador.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2 Days

So, I think I am ready for the trip.

We leave on Friday around 8:00am and get into Quito around 11:00pm. Saturday is going to be a lazy day just seeing the city and Sunday we are to go on an acclimatization hike to 15,000ft. That's right higher than anywhere in the lower 48 only 40 hours after arriving.

On a negative note, I came down with a wicked case of bronchitis on Monday. My nose is completely blocked and I have a wicked cough that hurts way down there. My doc gave me every medication known to man and said it should be good my game time. (I think we go to 18,500ft on Wednesday or Thursday) I was so medicated at work today I just had to leave. My mind was all over the place...

Standby for reports.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

I have been away

I have been away from publishing anything here for a long time so I started over.
To get started, as Ray's blog states, we have only another 11 days and 7 hours until we leave for Ecuador.
Am I excited? Hell yes.
Am I ready? Hell, who knows.
I do know this, I hope I am ready.

My last hike was up by Boulder where I went up Green Mountain and then Bear Peak.
These aren't big mountains by any standard, but they are good for training. I left the trailhead (5900ft) around 11:30am on Friday with about 38# in my pack. I felt strong, but with only 38#, it is hard not to. I figure when I am in Ecuador though, I won't have more than about 20# in my pack.

I don't really pay much attention to my HR while going, I just go at a pace that feels comfortable and one that I know I can maintain; that happens to be around 155bpm. Carrying 38#, this worked out to me going up at a rate of about 1400ft/hr. This put me towards the top of Green Mtn around 1:15. First 2000ft done.
I then had to come down for about 800ft before I could start going up Bear Peak. At this point, it was all new trail to me so I wasn't really sure how far it was. I estimated it to be a total day of 10mi from the trail maps, but they're hard to read and I wasn't really concerned; it didn't look that far. Famous last words.

To the top of Bear Peak was another 1200ft. This was much steeper in sections and much rockier than I had been on. If I would have been in my plastics, I probably would have turned around. Towards the summit, it got pretty rough with some pretty big, steep, and loose rocks - good times. The final summit block really shouldn't have been attempted with my backpack on. At one point, I started to fall, clawed at a boulder, caught and edge, then my breath, and moved on. I could have easily bought the farm...
Well, I arrived at the summit and this is pretty much the first time I looked at the time. It was about 3:15 and the sun is down around here at 4:45-5:00. I'm like, hey, I have something like 4-5 miles to get back, I better get going. So off the summit I go.

I am heading down at a pretty good pace and still feel pretty strong and about 15 minutes into the descent I see a trail sign. You can guess what I said, "SHIT, I am on the wrong trail."
That's right. I had planned on a shorter route for the return. This trail was going to be an extra 3 miles and I didn't have the time. Had there been another couple hours of daylight, I would have just continued, but I had to turnaround. That was about a 400ft mistake and cost me about 30 minutes. I was pissed. I decided to go around the summit off trail to cut some time off, bad idea. That's all I have to say about that. Let me say it again though, bad idea.
So, I made it back to the summit (just below the 20ft summit block scramble) and found the right trail. I was hauling the mail at this point. About 15 minutes later, I took my first real break in 2 hours and decided I needed to dump some weight so that I could pick up speed. I emptied 4L of water, ate a mothers milk bar, and headed out.

The final 4-5 miles took me about 1:45 minutes which included about 1800 ft of descending and another 4-500 ft of ascending. Luckily, I only needed the headlamp for about 20 minutes. It was pretty dark but I could see where my truck was parked because other hikers were leaving and it was about half a mile away. Problem is, the trail I was on wasn't going there and I didn't see the trail that did, so that was all bushwacking for the final half mile. What an effin trip...

All in all though, a good training hike, felt good and my legs weren't tight the next day. So, I might be ready - as long as I don't have to lead the way.

My Heart rate log: