A Magical Day
We drove to the trailhead and hiked up to the Refuge to spend the night – it was a nice hike in – on arrival we were served squash soup (homemade). Followed by popcorn and then we had an epic Hearts battle – Farid was throwing the Queen of Spades around willly nilly [but mostly at me – needless to say I lost!!
Ascent – 716m
Distance – 5.8 km
Dinner was Spaghetti al carne (just as a heads up there is no easy way to get any of this up there, vehicles can’t drive it- everything there is hand carried up – and that is no small feat given the refuge is a 700m ascent from the car park). Gato, who ran the refuge looked after everything. The place was clean and cosy. Really no words to describe how awesome the meal was. He finished up with fresh lemongrass tea from lemongrass he had hand picked. There were a number of foxes hanging around – one of whom was tagged (so they can track). Erie feeling when you go out at 3 am to use the outdoor bathroom as you can hear the foxes roaming around…
We spent the night at the refuge and awoke at 5 am to get prepared for Iliniza Norte – we left the refuge at 6 am and went up and up and up and up. The wind howled and pulled at us, as we completed multiple exposed pitches. The weather had been crystal clear on leaving the hut but became horrendous the closer we got to the top – we were up in the clouds…..we cruised through ‘Pasa de la muerte” (k that may be a misrepresentation on my part, all I can say is WTF – who names part of the route ‘pass of the dead?!!!?’). Roped up for the final scramble to the top. Unable to take a team photo as the summit platform itself is about 8 inches in diameter.
Ascent – 730 (ups/downs/ups)
Altitude – 5126m – WOOHOOOOOOO
Distance – 8.4 km
It was a long descent as we came all the way back to the trailhead. Nelson the driver had hot quinoa soup ready for us. We loaded up and are driving to our next destination – Chimborazo Lodge.
All in all it was a magical day – though we missed Suneet keenly. Getting to the Summit of Iliniza Norte is the highest summit that TYL has ever done as a team..Regardless of the outcome of Chimborazo in 3d – we have accomplished something exceptional today – no words can capture that feeling.