Inspiring views and fun climbing on Illiniza Norte (5126m/16,817′), Ecuador November 18, 2011

From left to right: April Mayhew, Gary Maxwell, Kelly Tucker, Kurt Wedberg, and Jairo Marin pause for a photo on the foothills below Illiniza Norte, Ecuador.

After finishing a great trip to Mexico’s Volcanoes SMI guides April Mayhew and Kurt Wedberg flew from Mexico City to Quito, Ecuador to guide climbs on the volcanoes located within this beautiful equatorial country.  Gary Maxwell, Jairo Marin, and Kelly Tucker rendezvoused in Quito, which is at an elevation of 2800m/9186 ‘.  Acclimatization was the first order of business.  The team took a couple of hikes on peaks outside of Quito where we were treated to beautiful vistas of the Ecuadorian countryside.  We also attended an intense soccer game between the national teams of Peru and Ecuador.  After a couple good days of acclimatization we then headed to Illiniza Norte.

The climbing on Illiniza Norte is mainly scrambling over rocky terrain.  Ropes are used for safety.  Negotiating the upper reaches of the mountain required picking our way up excellent hand and foot holds on steep terrain with moderate exposure in spots.  The route was fun and offered a great sense of accomplishment.  After this climb the team would be well set up for climbing Cotopaxi in a couple days!

A few pictures are below.  The entire Ecuador photo gallery can be found here:  Ecuador’s Volcanoes November 14-24, 2011

It's always nice to stretch the legs after international flights. The team enjoys their first day hike in the hills above Quito, Ecuador

The team hiking towards Rucu Pichincha (4698m/15,413').

The Chuquirahua flower grows between approximately 3000-4000m in Ecuador. This beautiful wildflower is the symbol of mountaineering to the Ecuadorian "alpinistas".

The team on an acclimatization day hike to Pasochoa (4200m/13,779').

The team traversing along the crest of Pasochoa where the dramatic difference in vegetation is proudly displayed between opposing exposure to the elements.

The team starting up the rock scrambling on Illiniza Norte.

Gary, Jairo, and Kelly enjoying the climb of Illiniza Norte.

Gary, April and our good friend Romulo from Ecuador high on Illiniza Norte.

Gary, Jairo, and Kelly on the summit of Illiniza Norte with Illiniza Sur behind to the left.

April and Romulo on the summit of Illiniza Norte.

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