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Has anyone out there climbed Antisana in Ecuador? i'll be going there in Dec. with Eli Helmuth and was just wanting a little beta on it. He is currently in Peru climbing.
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Has anyone out there climbed Antisana in Ecuador?
Yes. I was there in January 2007. Beautiful peak and probably my favorite in Ecuador (but I didn't make it to Altar). It is much less climbed that peaks such as Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and the Illinizas.
There is no public transortation to the peak, so you probably will have to hire a vehicle to take you there (it would be hard to find the road to the trailhead on your own). Perhaps check with Andean Turtle or other local guiding services (even if you want transportation only).
Antisana is a technically straight foreward climb, but the route is heavily crevassed and can be icy, so used caution.
If the weather has been clear for a long period and the snow bridges are melted out, there is (or was) a huge gaping crevasse that blocks the route to the very summit. We could get within a few vertical feet of the summit, but not to the very highest point.
The crevasse is that dark hole and line near the summit that you can see in the photo below:
Anyway, here are some photos of Antisana as seen from below the glacier line:
The route goes up the right side of this one:
Start early, but not too early. We were already down the mountain before sunrise. The last photo above was posted on our descent. I think we started from near the snowline at 11 pm, maybe a little sooner. Starting around 1 am may be better, at least if you climb fairly fast and the weather is good, but there is avalanche danger on the peak so be off early.
Unfortunately, none of the guidebooks (that I am aware of) are up to date as to the current route and conditions. The standard route has changed and is no longer the same route that is in the Bradt guidebook. The Brain guidebook is a little more up to date, but the route has still changed. Unless you go with someone who has already climbed the mountain (we did), you are pretty much on your own as far as routefinding goes. As mentioned, the route more or less goes up the right (not the right hand skyline, but on the face) side of the last photo above.
From memory, here is the approximate route as drawn on one of the photos. The top of the line is the highest point that we could reach.
As mentioned, this route line is only approximate, but it should give you a good idea of the general location of the route. Taking a normal ice axe and one ice tool per person worked out well for us. The mountain is known for bad weather, but we had clear skies on our climb.
Have fun and be safe. Antisana is an awesome mountain.
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