If you’ve spent any time in Quito you will have been aware of the old volcanic peak of Pichincha as it is the highest point close to the city and marked by the cable car which takes you on to the plateau below the summit.
It is possible to catch the cable car up Pichincha and walk for a couple of hours to reach the scramble to the summit. However offered the option of the full traverse of the volcanic ridge I wasn’t going to turn that down.
It’s taken me a while to get around to writing about Cayambe. For some in our group it was their first alpine ascent, for some their first 5000m peak. So I didn’t want to take anything away from that achievement for them. It’s certainly an epic achievement, a great volcano/mountain to climb and a wicked view from the summit. There’s not many places you can climb a volcano and see others surrounding it which are still active.
But for me, it was the first guided ascent I’ve done in 6 years and reaffirmed why I hadn’t done any sooner.
After a few days in Quito we headed out for acclimatisation walks and Lake Cuicocha was a beautiful place to have on the list.
We’d spent the night in Otavalo, a nearby town which was very friendly and laid back. After a morning wandering round the market and having coffee in a cafe we drove to Lake Cuicocha.
Lake Cuicocha is a 3 km wide caldera lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. The name comes from the Kichwa, a variety of Quechua language and means lake of the guinea pigs – referring to the two humped islands.
Sometimes I get asked to review some beautiful books. Mont Blanc Lines is definitely one of those. It succeeds in not only having beautiful images of the Mont Blanc massif in a coffee table book format but also providing detailed topos and stories.
Sweating pouring down my back, muttering expletives under my breath as I carried my On-One 456 on my shoulder. Seat digging in and the pedals constantly clipping my leg. As I emerged from the woods I put my bike down to find 4 ticks on my legs. That was it. I lost it.
Mountain bike the West Highland Way?! Who’s stupid idea was this?
I met the ridgeline and immediately got pushed back by the wind. As I braced myself I looked across to the mountains and questioned my route for the day.
Dolina Chocholowska round 26.5km
With only one day left in Zakopane to go hiking I caught the bus to Dolina Chocholowska. I’d wanted to visit this valley so I could tick off all of the major valleys in the Polish Tatras and complete another round of mountains.
With low winds and amazing sunshine forecast I decided a traverse of the Tatras was in order. I’d originally planned to do this route in reverse but having not worked out the bus times to get to Kiry I opted to walk from Kuznice which is simpler and worry about how to get back on the bus later.
I’ve called this route the Koscieliska horsehorse but its a bit of a misnomer as while it is a horseshoe shape, the route traverses the 2000m mountains along the main ridge from the centre of the national park to descend into the Koscieliska valley. Nevertheless its a great route, with outstanding views.