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South America, Ecuador, Chimborazo, Southwest Ridge and Face (Whymper Route)

Chimborazo, Southwest Ridge and Face (Whymper Route). Norwegian Sverre Aarseth, Canadian Scott Tremaine and I reached the summit of Chimborazo from the newly completed hut on September 3. Climbers have until now usually used the Red Walls route on the northwest ridge because of less icefall danger and because of the previously existing hut. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Whymper’s climb, a new hut has been constructed below the ridge which leads to the Whymper route. The hut is a half-hour hike above the end of a dirt road that can be reached from the road connecting Guaranda and Riobamba. We made the ascent beginning at midnight, getting to the lower summit (Veintimilla) at ten A.M. and the true summit a half-hour later. The “Crux” of the climb is where the Whymper ridge meets the glacier at 19,000 feet. During September there is no snow there and it is a steep slope of rotten rock. We were told that in January snow covers this section and one can crampon over it. The weather windows for climbing Chimborazo are August-September and December-January with the rainy season causing problems for the rest of the year. Cotopaxi is best climbed in the December-January season because of high August-September winds.

David N. Schramm