A Travellerspoint blog


6th to 13th November 06

DSC00568.JPGDSC00567.JPGDSC00570.JPGDSC00574.JPGDSC00580.JPGDSC00580.JPGDSC00581.JPGDSC00549.JPGDSC00559.JPGDSC00541.JPGDSC00543.JPGDSC00545.JPGcotapaxi[1.jpg thumb=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/72928/thumb_cotapaxi[1].jpg]cotapaxi[1.jpg]DSC00530.JPGDSC00533.JPGDSC00536.JPG* Quito is the Biggest city in Ecuador and sits at 2800m above sea level.

  • Arrived in Quito feeling crap - had flu like symptoms - aches, fever etc. Could be Malaria or the Flu - so did what the Travel Doc said to do if this happened and took a double dose of the Anti Malaria - antibiotics I was given. After two days I felt good.


  • The main thing I wanted to do in Quito was climb Mt Cotopaxi which is the largest active volcano in the world - at a height of 5970m. Its not that difficult a climb - there are only some steep parts where an Ice axe is needed - however, its the altitude that you need to overcome. Check out the photo - its the snow capped mountain.
  • Checked out a few places which will take you up Cotopaxi - struggled to find a second climber to go with me - then I was told that having lived in London (sea level) for a while I would need to acclimitise to the altitude before attempting Cotopaxi. I was advised to climb Mt Pichincha (approx 4800m)- see how I felt - If I was fine then I could attempt Cotopaxi- If not then I would need to stya in Quito for a few weeks or an expensive fast track acclimitisation course.
  • So of I went, hired some gloves and a full face balaclava - couldnt find any one to climb with me - its the wet season so the weather for climbing isnt the best esp in the afternoon. Caught a gondola (cabkle car) up to 4100m and then chnaged into my thermals and off I went. Check out the photos - its the mountain wihtout snow on it.
  • Got to about 4500m and started to feel the lack of oxygen - breathing became harder and I had a mild head ache. At about ยบ100m from the top the weather closed in - the clouds wrapped around the mountain cutting visability to about 15m - its was like walking through a cloud. Then hail started to fall. I was really starting to struggle with the altitude, I had to make a goal of taking 100 steps and then sitting down, 100 steps sit down - the peak got steeper and I was so close but felt so far - I was absolutely exhausted. So much for living at sea level. I finally got to the top. My body just wanted to sleep - I put on my gloves, my balaclava and set my alrm for half an hours sleep.I laid down and was out in an instant - I woke up 10mins later because of the hail hitting me in the face - reality hit me and I thought this isnt the smatest thing to do - its amazing how your brain reacts with a lack of oxygen - I got myself up and headed back down the mountain - the track was a little hard to find because of the cloud and hail - but I found it - a hundred or so metres down and I felt fine - other than being soaking wet.
  • So I had to give Cotopaxi a miss - Didnt have the time to spend acclimitising or the money to spemd on a fast track course - maybe another time.


  • Went to the Equator (Mitad Del Mundo), checked out the monuments - boring, then did the experiments i.e watching which way the water runs down the sink on diff sides of the equator, balancing an egg on a nail etc. Funny thing about this place is that they built a monument where they thought the Equator was years ago - by using geometry equip measuring the stars etc and then recently they found out by using GPS that they got it all wrong and are actually 270m away from the actuual equator. There is a small museum built on the actual equator which carries out the experiments - I wonder why they didnt just use the draining water experiment to find the ecuator back in the day.
  • Couldnt climb Cotopaxi so I decided to ride down it with a mountain bike - well not from the top - from tha base camp - was good fun expect for the weather - i turned up in shorts and it started snowing - freezing !!! but a good rush.
  • Went on a bus ride to visit some volcanic springs (volcano heated water pools) - was good, Best part was sitting in the warm water and then jumping into the cold stream runnign beside the baths.
  • Walked around Quitos old Colonial Town - nice place, nice buildings etc.

Posted by allan01 09:36

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