Great Heights

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
Trip End Oct 15, 2005

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

5 days 3 peaks. What could be easier?

Day one. Corazon. Everything was in our favour, the weather was nice we had a good hearty breakfast and felt fighting fit. The peak was 4500m a doddel. 5 of us were in the group with one guide, we started the climb and made it to the peak in about 5 hours (probably would have taken about 2 at a lower altitude). The climb itself was not too bad but we had to walk so slowly so as not to be affected by the altitude, it felt so strange at first, 5 of us walking pigeon steps up a mountain but by the time we were nearing the top it was all we could manage anyway. We returned to the hostel happy with our achievement.

Day two. Illinois Norte 5100m. This is where it all started to go wrong!!
The girls were fine but Billy and the another Austrialin bloke were attacked by the reduced oxygen. Determined to reach the top they continued up the mountain at a pace of about 10 steps and hour, suffering nose bleeds and vomiting. We reached the refuge at 4800 and there was no choice but to give in and go back down, as quickly as possible. The phrase as quickly as possible started badly, Billy by this point unable to walk managed to make a small amount of headway by regressing to his childhood days and sliding himself down on his backside, stopping only to be sick. Despite me carrying his bag, jacket and for half the time him, progress was slow. Luckily help was near by. A horse was sent to his rescue. Billy with all the energy of a sloth climbed on and felling the worst he has ever felt held on for dear life as the horse galloped down the mountain. He recovered the next day but Cotapaxi was out of the question.

Day 3 and 4 were rest days.

Day 5 Cotapaxi. 5897m. I would love to go on about how fab this was and what a wonderful achievement it was to reach the top oh and how great the views were from up there but I wont. As I failed, giving up 300m from the top, I am still kicking myself but it was bloody hard. The weather was awful my water had frozen along with my hands legs and hair. 300m was going to take another 2 hours (I had already been walking from 12am-5am) and it made running the marathon seem like a sunday stroll over Clapham common. Failed. Oh well at least I could tell Billy that I did it for him so as he would not be jealous. At 8am I was at the bottom crampons and gloves removed and went straight to bed.
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