That concern was relieved, unfortunately, when we learned that afternoon that we would not be able to make the climb the next morning
. Apparently, several groups had tried over the past few days, but avalanche conditions were awful. We could see several thousand foot avalanches from the hut. So, Diego said no way. He said our chances of dying if we climbed were over 50%. Fun. That's part of climbing though. You are deling with very unpredictable and dangerous situations, and you have to play it safe. As a consolation, Diego agreed to take us up to about 18,000 feet on a safe, avalanche free section. So, we set off around 5:00 a.m. for a short climb, and it was a perfect consolation. After the sun rose, the morning was clear. We could see all the way to the top and down the back of the mountain to the coastal plain that eventually runs to the Pacific. I got some beautiful pics on this morning. Didn't make the top, but as I later found, very few Chimborazo climbers do make it due to weather conditions.
After the climb, we headed to Ambato, where I dined on cuy (guinea pig). Delicious.
After resting in Baņos, we headed to our final climb, Chimborazo. Chimborazo is the highest point in Ecuador and due to the bulge at the Equator, it is the farthest point from the center of the Earth/closest point to the sun (yes, even farther than Everest). We got some beautiful and clear views of the mountain on the way to the parking lot. This thing is big. Kilimanjaro is the only "thing" in the world I have ever seen that is bigger. We had another short hour trek to the hut from the parking lot. Again, this hut was nice and included mattresses on the bunks. There was only one other climber at the hut that day, a young American girl. There were also two backpackers from Poland who were spending a few days at the hut but not climbing. The Chimborazo hut was set to be a new sleeping record for me at over 16,000 feet. I was a little worried given my stomachache on Cotopaxi.