Day 6 – Climbing Cotopaxi

On Day 6, our search for another core took us to Cotopaxi, the second highest mountain in Ecuador at 5897 m above sea level. The last time this active volcano erupted was back in 2015, forming an ash cloud.

The weather forecast and the amount of time we needed meant that our schedule was tight right from the beginning. After a two-hour journey by car, we set off on foot for another two-and-a-half hours to the glacier. We didn’t have much luck with the weather, which took a turn for the worse at around 9:30am. We disappeared into the clouds as we made our way upwards.

The cloud cover drew in right at the start. In the background you can still see the parking lot.

From the parking lot, we set off on foot for another two-and-a-half hours to the glacier. We had to contend with rain and fog most of the way, so there was no chance of taking insightful panoramic photos on Day 6.

In the fog

It wasn’t snowing when we reached the glacier as expected, but rather pouring down rain. 5°C is just too warm for glaciers, and this one was babbling and gurgling away.

As on the Antisana Glacier, we want to remove an ice core and prepare the drill core removal as a team.

With ropes in all the right places, we climbed the glacier tongue and prepared the area we wanted to drill. 

The prepared drilling site.
The borehole.

Despite the rain getting heavier, we managed to extract an ice core and have it packed up, ready to climb back down Cotopaxi by 1:00pm. Whether our feet were ready or not, we made our way back to the car park.



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