Ascent of Volcán Antisana on 2015-02-21

Climber: Jens Midthun

Others in Party:Brian Lentz
Darrel Ainscough
Eric Milne
Date:Saturday, February 21, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcán Antisana
    Elevation:18678 ft / 5693 m

Ascent Trip Report

We set up camp near the ranch base camp at 13,200 ft. At 11 pm we started driving the long road towards the trailhead which we reached at midnight. We left the cars at 14,700 ft and hiked for around 45 minutes until we were on the glacier and by 1 am. We were roped in and had on our crampons at 15,300 ft. It was bare ice for about an hour before we got to the snow.

We crisscrossed up the snow covered glacier, crossing many crevasses of varying sizes. By 4:30 am we reached a vertical wall of ice about 30 ft high that we had to climb up. The ice was soft and we ended up hacking our way up, causing a cascade of sugary snow to fall down our rope team. At the top, we could see that it was the beginning of a maze of crevasses and seracs. We crossed a couple of them before moving along the mountain to the right. The crevasses narrowed and the glacier got steeper.

We continued on the snow field until 6:30 am, when we encountered another rope team ahead of us. They had placed a few pros and we waited our turn to use them. We traversed across the 70-80 degree slope and then made the final push up it to the top of the pros and the summit ridge. That was the end of the steeps but we still had a half hour walk to the true summit, a very large and gradual snow dome. We summited by 7:45 and waited for our other rope team to make it.

It was a clear day and we could see the other big volcanoes of the range: Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Antisana, and even Chimborazo in the background. With our whole team together we headed back down, this time turning right earlier off of the summit ridge to descend a slightly less steep but longer decline. We were roped in at this point with our guide lowering us. After a couple of crevasses to maneuver, we followed our old path down, with the exception of the first ice wall which we were able to avoid altogether. We were off the ice by 11:30 am and back to the Jeeps by 12:30.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3978 ft / 1212 m
    Route:Main Route
    Trailhead:14700 ft / 4480 m
    Grade/Class:Class 5
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb, Ice Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Guide, Tent Camp
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 45 Minutes

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