Holding the Heat


At dinner time tonight, I noticed that everyone across from me was in four layers. For each of them, the top layer was a puffy jacket. Surprised by this, I asked S if he were cold. No, he said, he felt fine. If he took off the jacket, however, he'd be cold.

I was sitting there, quite comfortable in a t-shirt and my long-sleeved t-shirt hoodie. And with the sleeves pulled up to my elbows.

As someone who has always run cold, running warm is an interesting curiosity.

I know that I can go short sleeves until 16˚C if I'm moving and minimal wind. I know that 15˚ is when I put on the long sleeved t-shirt, if I'm not moving, and 12˚ is when I do wear if moving, not in sun, or if there is wind. I know that climbing up the mountain, I'm in a t-shirt, long-sleeved hoodie t-shirt, and an R1 Patgonia fleece, and I'm just fine down to 8˚ no wind. Hell, if Baker is any indication, I'm good down to -2˚C with those three layers, and likely still sweating at the end.

I Have Made Better Choices, part 317


While waiting for the rest of the team to return from the Cotopaxi summit, I wandered around inside and outside of the lodge after I caught up somewhat on sleep. In the lodge, there is a wall of crocs, each pair, if you can match them, available for anyone to wear:

hanging crocs shoes

Day hikers come up to the lodge, which is awesome. Hike up to the lodge, kick off your shoes, have some tea or hot chocolate, maybe a sandwich, head back down. A lovely afternoon adventure.

And while I appreciated the wall of available lounging shoes at the lodge, I have to say I have made better choices than the one I made when I decided to wander out to walk along the ridge and take a picture of the mountain in these:

Dizziness will be My Downfall


Subtitled: Dizziness is my devil

After two very vivid dreams, Mauricio woke me at 22:10. I suspect he thought I would have my own alarm, but I did not have one set, assuming he would wake me. While he did, in retrospect, that was a bad plan. I lay in the sleeping bag for a couple minutes, then rose to start this day. I had all the various clothes and equipment laid out, but was slightly unsure what order to dress in, so opened up my list from Cayambe and cranked through it.

I went downstairs quickly to start eating. I had cream cheese and jelly on a roll, and in the next thirty minutes managed to eat most of it. I had hot water and made my green tea, downed that. Went to the restroom because I really did not want to use a wag bag on the glacier. My body agreed with this desire and helped me out.

Happiness is a Warm Shower


I was mostly blah last night from the climb and the travel back, so didn't shower. We are back at Yanacocha Lodge today, so I knew that the showers were not hot, they were just slightly cooler than tepid. When I woke up at 6:15 to a teammate's accidental alarm, and, as I already had 9 hours of sleep, decided to embrace the cold shower.

Turns out, the tepid was "not enough hot water because everyone else was showering at the same time." The shower did start off cold, and I jumped in, but it warmed up as I cleaned up. Never quite sure if the water was becoming warmer, or I was becoming colder and the water warmer by comparison, I eventually put my head into the water to wash my hair and it was warm!

Mucho happiness!

One thing I don't understand at this lodge is how everyone is walking around in socked feet. These floors are COLD. I'm in my indoor shoes nearly all the time and my feet are still chilled.

A Successful Climb Doesn't Necessarily Need a Summit


Well, that was an adventure. I did not summit. None of the team summitted. I learned a lot, and have a new highest point for me: 5000m (16404').

That said, this climb was a complete mismanagement of intake resources, coupled with significant equipment issues. Which begs the question, "Can a climb be awesome and awful, wondrous and a wreck?" Yes? Good, because this one was.

I had packed my summit bag and written up my checklist last night, so that I should be good to go immediately at wake up. Didn't really work out that way. I went through my checklist as quickly as I could, but was still far behind everyone getting ready to go. I think maybe one person didn't have his crampons on by the time I arrived at the stones to put mine on.

View towards Quito from Cayambe Hut

Daily Photo

Breakfast at Yanacocha Lodge


I struggled to eat this morning. I mean, I already don't eat breakfast for the most part. Add altitude to the mix and food is unappealing before noon, and not very appealing after. I'm still hungry, just unable to eat enough.

Breakfast talk was amusingly about weird dreams, some sun coming out today, and double pane windows.

Apparently, unusual dreams are very common at altitude. I had a dream that Priyanka had tossed my journals at me, and was angry at me. She had found my journals, read them, and came across an entry where I had done something mean to her. I think the "mean thing" was that I hadn't paid a bill, and it had a late fee to it. I was conflicted in my dream between being annoyed that she had read my journals and embarrased that I had done the mean thing.

There are eight of us at the meals. Four of us eat left-handed, five of us are right-handed, and one of the left-handed people does everything but write and eat right-handedly.

First night near 12000'


I went to bed last night around 22:15, our first night at 11982', essentially 12000'! I woke up very confused today at 00:15. I heard someone in the hallway moving, which wasn't unusual as the shared toilets were down the hall. The retching sounds, however, followed by the splash was unusual. I lay there for a bit before realizing that if I were the one puking in the hall, I would want help. Unsure if anyone else had heard, but I had, and helping was the right thing to do, I unzipped my bag.

"It's okay, it's okay. Go back to sleep."

When in distress, sometimes people are embarrassed. When at altitude, people may not be thinking clearly. Add in the time of the night, and I wanted to confirm.

"I'd like to help. Will you let me help you?"

While speaking, the location of the spill became more obvious, and it was right in the dorm doorway. I would realize only while helping clean up the vomit that the mess missed my bag by about 12". Close!