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Climbing to Cotopaxi's Summit

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Hi Arai, long time no see.

You'll have to count me out. While it looks like my kind of weather, with my knees in the condition they are, I do good to climb an 8 ft step ladder now. I think the mountain is beyond my ability. Have fun, and remember to acclimate yourself for a few days before you start up, to lessen the chance of altitude sickness.....

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Things look to be quite exciting lately. I have 3 trips lined up for next year. One to Siem Reap in February, diver certification in April and then this one climb. There could possibly be a cruise with the company I'm attached with.

I'd originally planned to go on this one almost four years ago, but the final year of university schedule was tight. There are supposed to be a one or two other peaks to scale for acclimatization before actually going up that one.

I like that kind of weather. I miss having four seasons. Here it's summer all year! I'd go a little sooner, but there's the issue of an apartment that won't be completed until May tentatively, which is why it has to be in June or a little later. In the meantime I could probably try to learn a bit of Spanish for getting around Quito.

As for the freezing weather, at least keeping the beer cold won't be an issue up there.  :grin:

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  • 9 months later...

I have an 8-hour layover in Miami International Airport on the 6th, so the good news is that I just got my travel visa to the USA extended by another 10 years! :grin:

Now I have 8 hours to loiter around the airport and breath American air again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Flight went without a hitch. The men's rooms in Miami International Airport smell like a thousand asses, though.

Just had my first peak yesterday to acclimatize. Altitude nearly killed me.

I have another today, then Cotopaxi will take 2 days.

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Alright, here goes...

On Saturday, I went up Corazón (15,715 feet). Started from an elevation of 11,800 feet, and had to use a jeep for part of the way up before climbing the rest of the way to the summit. Going up to that altitude for the first time was really nasty, and I may have taken longer than the average mountaineer to reach the summit. The summit was covered by clouds so not much could be seen from there. The view from the slopes is quite nice.

Yesterday, I went up Rumiñahui (15,489 feet). Started from 11,800 feet but didn't require any vehicle to go up. Felt better with the altitude than on Saturday but still felt pretty awful nearer the summit. The summit is sheer and pointed, and I literally had to straddle the peak to take photos. The view from the slopes and summit is breathtaking. Here's a photo from Rumiñahui's summit in the attachment.

Today, I'll be making a short trip to the Jose F. Rivas Refuge, which is on the northern face of Cotopaxi at around 15,744 feet. Then at midnight (Tuesday), I'll begin the ascent to the summit.

I'm scared as hell just thinking how nasty it will feel climbing up to 19,347 feet. A climb to the peak of the highest active volcano in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After questioning a few guides, there is the possibility that I'll be the first Malaysian to do it, though I'll have to do a more thorough check of their records to make sure.

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I didn't get to the summit of Cotopaxi.

I managed to get to around 18,050 feet before I had to stop. I'm glad my guide noticed that I wasn't walking straight and didn't have full control of my directions anymore, and stopped me when I was being stubborn and tried to carry on. He basically told me that if I pushed on, coming down would be extremely risky.

Lesson learned: never rush to acclimatize. I had three days, with two peaks and a hike up to the refuge halfway up Cotopaxi, and only had around 4 hours of rest before the clfinal climb up. For someone who lives close to sea level, I should have taken between 10 and 14 days.

Still, upon further checking, I'm the first Malaysian to even attempt this mountain, so that's something I can take home with me.

I'm now in Quito, where I'm just going to relax for 3 days before heading off.

The view from the slopes is great though, those will come soon.

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well i think it's awesome that you made it as far as you did, and that you were the first malaysian to attempt it! and i think it's even more awesome that you had someone who could stop you from making a terrible mistake!

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