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Ecuador 1993

Climbing, crawling & Cholera

South America

This page is about visiting Ecuador in 1993. The climbing exploits open in their own
windows from the thumbnails displayed here. At the time I went to Ecuador with Kevin
Siebke, I was a widower with a house and a dog. My mom was house-sitting for me.
I had a new girlfriend, whom I was leaving for three weeks. I feared that she might not
want me after such a long absence, and Kevin was doomed to hear me whine about it!

You fly over the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to get to Ecuador from Miami
Late afternoon
over the Pacific
27 October 1993
Ah. Jet lag.
Kevin at Charlie's,
high over Quito
28 October 1993
Morning in Quito, Ecuador
Ben on Charlie's
basecamp balcony
28 October 1993
Cotopaxi is 19,347 feet above sea level.
Our first look at
Cotopaxi, from Charlie's
28 October 1993
One of lesser extinct volcanoes
El Corazón (15,708 ft)
from Chaupi, Ecuador
30 October 1993
Mountaineering in the Andes!!
Heavy weather near
El Chaupi township
30 October 1993
Charlie & Nell drove us as far as the road would allow
Charlie & Nell
bid us adiós
30 October 1993
Just before dark on the trail to the mountain
Iliniza Sur at dusk
(17,267 ft - 5263 m)
30 October 1993
Recovering from the hike in!!
Hike recovery at
the hut (15,256 ft).
31 October 1993
Link to the climb
Our climb on
Iliniza Sur

1 November 1993

Our "basecamp" in Quito was the posh high-rise quarters of Charlie & Nell Cobb in
the Bosque district. Neither one of us had ever had it so nice on a climbing
trip. In the rarified daylight, we could see some of the highest volcanoes in the country
from the huge picture windows. Beneath our feet, the Pan Am Highway snaked noisily
along in a North-South orientation. Two million people reside in Quito, and yet it is not
the largest city in the country (that distinction belongs to sprawling, coastal Guayaquil).

It was a busy, rainy rest day...
In search of maps,
downtown Quito
4 November 1993
The 135-foot-tall madonna was dedicated in 1976
El Panecillo from
García Moreno Street
4 November 1993
It's good to be born in the USA
Typical city dog,
Ecuador-style
4 November 1993
The name means the Basilica of the National Vow
Basílica del Voto
Nacional, Quito
4 November 1993
The basilica is yet to be finished
The first stone
was laid in 1892
4 November 1993
Pope John Paul II blessed the Basilica in 1985.
The Basilica was
consecrated in 1988
4 November 1993
Apparently this is one of many worldwide La Salle schools
Colegio La Salle,
Downtown Quito
4 November 1993
Da-da-dali, hellooo...
I like the name.
Old hotel, Quito
4 November 1993
Native Andean animals adorn the Basilica
Armadillo & monkey
grotesques, Basilica
4 November 1993
It's the most prominent landmark in Quito.
Another view of the
Nat'l Vow Basilica
4 November 1993

Besides our forays into the mountains, we necessarily shopped for maps
and victuals. Along the way, there were numerous gastronomic adventures.
We were pleased to find hamburguesas and fritas papas. We were
surprised at an apparent disdain for Mexican food there... so North American!
All around us, architecture of varied quality reached for the sky as best it could.
And the animals of the city - dogs and cats - appalling. Even Kevin stayed clear.

Bus rides are the way to get around in Ecuador. One can ride in First Class, or
in Coach, with the chickens. The roads can be very exciting! Alternatively, you
can take a taxi, or if you're really lucky, get a ride in a private vehicle...

Nell called us 'The Boys.' We felt adopted!
Four-star sleeping
quarters at Charlie's
4 November 1993
The 4th highest mountain in Ecuador is 31 miles away.
Antisana from Charlie's
(18,714 ft - 5704 m)
4 November 1993
Rumiñahui is the snowless, saddle-shaped peak and is 15,479 feet high
Cotopaxi & Rumiñahui
in the morning sun
5 November 1993
I know. You might call it a dining room.
Our Situation Room
at Charlie's & Nell's
5 November 1993
It's. So. Big.
On the road to
El Chimborazo
8 November 1993
The closer we were, the higher it looked. Gulp.
El Chimborazo
(20,702 ft - 6310 m)
8 November 1993
This is how we got to the mountain from Riobamba.
Zeus Hotel manager
and his fine chariot
8 November 1993
This is at the Whymper Hut, altitude 16,400 feet
Kevin regards stones
of luckless climbers
8 November 1993
The Whymper Hut, which was covered by an avalanche on the 10th of November
The Whymper refuge,
altitude 16,400 feet
8 November 1993
Link to the climb
Our climb on
El Chimborazo

9 November 1993

We took a side trip to Otavalo, to the north, to do some Christmas shopping.
There's an Indian market, and a Hard Rock cafe... and we even ate pizza at
a cafe, run by the only other blonde in Ecuador besides Kevin, a French girl.
At some point, we snacked on some cuy shish kebabs, (I thought we were
eating chicken). The Otavaeños were entertained by our comical Spanish.
We partied to Bolivian folk music until 2 AM, dancing in wild abandon, thanks
to way too many Cuba Libre's. We had such a good time that we had
trouble finding the Hotel Otavalo. But not the hangover...

You can see the sunburn on Kevin's face...
Recovery from
Chimborazo, Quito.
11 November 1993
You can't beat the colors of sunset. Except for sunrise.
Cotopaxi Sunset
from Charlie's place
11 November 1993
A dreary day at the Middle of the World
100-foot monument
on the Equator
13 November 1993
I bought a tiny guitar here...
Dreary weather at
Mitad del Mundo
13 November 1993
The beer is safer than the water.
Kevin gets hydrated
inside and out
13 November 1993
This is looking West.
The monument is
inlaid with andesite,
13 November 1993
Middle of the World
Fingers of sun
touching the hills
13 November 1993
He fears no Injun.
The fearless driver
of our flying taxi
14 November 1993
The highest active volcano in the world, they say...
Cotopaxi
(19,347 ft - 5897 m)
14 November 1993
One of the nicest refugios in Ecuador...
The Ribas Hut,
at 15,748 feet
14 November 1993

Riobamba is to the south of Quito, and was our hub of operation when we attempted
to climb Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak. We spent four days in the area, staying
at the Hotel Zeus, when we weren't on the mountain. We spent a little time around
a motley assortment of university students, in many ways more Americanized than us!

A few miles to north of Quito, directly on the Equator, is a little place called La Mitad
del Mundo
, or the Middle of the World. Just a little monument to 0° Latitude! We made
the mistake of riding a bus back to Quito from there, with some fellow South Americans.
They were quick to point out, as they crowded us in, that even though we are all indeed
"Americans," they said with somewhat physical emphasis "Pero nos somos Latinos!"
Thus, the white boys exited the bus, and caught a different bus back into town...

Link to the climb
Our climb on
Cotopaxi

15 November 1993
The Pan Am Highway snaking Southward from El Bosque.
Night in Quito,
La Luz del Mundo
15 November 1993
Another big one. It's #3 in Ecuador
Cayambe at Dawn,
(18,996 ft - 5790 m)
16 November 1993
Charlie at his home away from home, Quito.
Mr. Charlie Cobb,
our helpful host
16 November 1993

Our final venture in Ecuador was fairly slick. We'd finally figured out
how to get to where we wanted to be, and we knew what to expect
when we arrived there. Bus ride from Terminal Terrestre in Quito to
Latacunga's Plaza del Salto. Climbers everywhere. We took the first
taxi ride we were offered, and got out of there quick. Our driver got us
through a faux Indian roadblock to the Ribas hut at 4800 meters. Late
that night, we started our climb on Cotopaxi. Despite his rampant belly
'flu, Kevin and I summitted the mountain. And, oh, how he suffered.

We made it back to Charlie's late on the 15th of November. That gave us
an entire day to pack for the flight home the following morning. Our trials
were not over, even Stateside: I was forced to pay extra baggage fees in
Miami, and to do so with Gladness, as directed by the stoic Kevin.

I guess he was finally fed up with my everlasting whining...

All images Copyright 2012 EBBoykin, Jr

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