Illiniza Sur

Yesterday we had a relatively quiet day with as only goal getting to the Refugio Nuevos Horizontes. Edgar picked us up at 10 and, following his advice, we had rented a horse to carry the mountaineering equipment to the hut. So we could slowly walk up to the hut at 4750 m.

Joline with the horse that carried our equipment up.

The Refugio Nuevos Horizontes represents the original concept of a mountain hut: a space with a couple of bunk beds, a place to cook and a table with a bench.

Refugio Nuevos Horizontes

Unfortunately, both Joline and myself have caught some throat infection (probably some bugs at the plane or so) and are not entirely fit. We had decided to go for Illiniza Sur, which in my view is way more interesting than Illiniza Norte, which is ~100 m lower, has no glaciers but nevertheless attracts >95% of all climbs. To make sure that all glaciers, snow bridges etc. are well frozen you typically make an early start. We decided to go for 2 h. When we woke up at 1 h, Joline was a bit feverish and didn’t feel well. Edgar and myself decided therefore to go together and Edgar graciously offered to take Joline to the Illiniza Norte later as we expected to be back around breakfast.

We set out at 2 h and had a wonderful climb. Until about 4 h is was clear with some moon shine and we climbed the long, steep (up to 60°) snow walls so efficiently that we were about 30-40 min from the summit at 4:30 h and would arrive at the summit well before sunrise. We decided to have a long break and had a nice conversation at high level (literally, it was at ~ 5100 m) with a spectacular view. Unfortunately, it became very cloudy and when we reached the summit at 5263 m around 6 h, it was covered in a cloud. At -12 °C that means we were soon covered in a thick layer of ice. We climbed down and were back in the refuge ~ 7:30 h. Joline would rather go back to the cottage than climb Illiniza Norte as she still didn’t feel very well.

Edgar at the glacier of Illiniza Sur