A couple of friends and I had made the decision to try to climb Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. Because of the earth’s imperfect shape the summit is the furthest point from the centre of the world with a height of 6,276. After arriving to the foot hills from sea level, we needed to acclimatise somewhat to the altitude, we were driven to accommodation in the mountains at a cute farm, case del condor where we went on a several hour hike with no particular path. We could see in the distance a large rock formation, Piedra Negra, Black Rock. Other than being a great album made by the Black Keys, It was also a lot further away than we thought. We trekked off in the direction of the rocks and quickly lost the dirt path we began on. Relying on a manly sense of direction and a desire not to fail, we jumped no fewer than 30 poorly constructed farm fences. We navigated over stranger’s rancheros and stared down the terrible, vicious beast they harboured. Llamas! At one point they must have followed us for 2 kms, making us look like blind cripples the way they walked the terrain and we scrambled up the hills. The hike was great and the view of Chimborazo was awesome as it is the only snow-capped mountain in the area.
We woke in the morning to a spectacular view of Chimborazo and we were picked up and driven to another point of the mountains, el refugio. We geared up and prepared to climb the mountain. We waited until midnight to climb so we could watch the sunrise from the summit, also it is impossible to climb at all after mid-morning as the wind picks up and blows all of the rocks off of the mountain. Unfortunately, only a few hours into the climb, the wind picked up to alarming rate. There were three of us accompanied by two experienced guides. These guides made the regretful decision to cancel the rest of the climb. We were upset but understood it was unsafe to continue.
We found out when we got to the bottom again that the entire national park was being evacuated and there was nothing left to do, but return one day and try to summit.