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Avenue of the Volcanoes

Sun, 01/01/2012 - 18:47

Hello! Is anyone else booked to go on this trip? Only 6 weeks away now - I can't wait!

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Tue, 01/03/2012 - 16:18

I've just booked and got the last place. I've been dithering since before Xmas and today I phoned up to find out what ages people are. I'm getting on a bit now (62) so I don't want everyone to be thirty something like they were on one of my previous treks! Fortunately, there is one person older than me and seven  in their fifties so I decided to go for it. I have all the gear, so I might as well make use of it while I'm still able and I've never suffered any altitude problems. My highest is Lungser Kangri in Ladakh at about 6660m. in September last year. Hope there aren't too many professional climbers on this trip as I am very much a beginner at this ice climbing lark.

 Trevor Jones

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 22:33

Hi Trevor, good to hear the trip's fully booked. Did you find out any other ages - you've got me worried I'm going to be the only 30 something now!

Are you taking all the climbing equipment with you? I'm planning on hiring it out there as  I've never done any ice climbing before, have you?  Hopefully we'll have plenty of time to practise before we get to Cotopaxi, I don't want to slow the group down!


Wed, 01/04/2012 - 17:44

Hi Mary,

I wouldn't worry about being the youngest and if anyone will be slowing down the group, it will be me! In my experience a group size of 14 and a spread of ages is a good thing. The only reason I asked about peoples ages was that on the trek where everone was half my age they just "left me for dead" and I felt like a complete geriatric. Don't want that to happen again.

Yes I will be taking all the climbing equiptment with me, but just because I've got it doesn't mean I know how to use it! This is mainly the reason I chose this trek. Again I wouldn't worry. I'm sure they will teach us all we need to know in order to have the best chance of getting to the top of Cotopaxi. It doesn't matter what your age or level of fitness, high altitude is a great leveler and everyone needs to go at a slow and steady pace.

I've got to contact Exodus again so I will interogate them further and let you know if I learn anything interesting. 


Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:13

Trevor Jones

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:35

Hi Mary, I've just paid so it looks like your stuck with me now. I had a tricky moment when I realised one person must have cancelled and I thought it might be you, because of what I had said, but I'm advised your still with us. There is another 30 year old (male), a couple in their 40's and the rest as I said previously. Most of the group are from the UK with 2 Australians coming along.

I asked about helmets as it's the only thing I don't have. I was told they have a large stock of kit for hire and a helmet would be no problem.

Sorry about the previous null post, just getting old! 

Trevor Jones

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:24

OMG there dropping like flies!  Was it something I said?

Trevor Jones

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:15

Hi Trevor,

It does seem to be changing alot!  Well I've definitely no plans to drop out.

Started a bit of packing today - can't make up my mind what all I need to take but the essentials are in - fun size mars bars and cadbury's mini eggs. If all else fails, chocolate will get me to the top of Cotopaxi!!


Wed, 01/11/2012 - 20:35

Hi Mary,

I've just been reading an e-mail from Karol Rogacki regarding the fact that they now need to know, in advance, what items we might want to hire. You said that you intended to hire all the gear so I thought you might like some advice. If you don't then read no further.

At high altitude your body will expand. This may be due to an excess of chocolate, but is more likely caused by the reduced atmospheric pressure! For gloves choose one size larger than normal to accommodate possible swollen hands and maybe liner gloves. I know this from experience. Mountain boots normally have an inner and outer boot. The size of the boot is for the outer boot. For instance I take a size 8 in a shoe, but my trekking boots are a size 9 and my mountain boots are a size 10! Make sure you tell exodus what size you are giving them so they can decide what size of mountain boots may be suitable. I hope they will bring a reasonable selection so you get some choice. In any case you will need to err on the larger size so take some extras socks in case you need some padding. I know it's not on the list, but I don't consider a down or duvet jacket to be optional, you might like to enquire whether you can hire one, if you haven't got onel. I'm going to take mine as I don't like being cold. Not to wear when trekking, but for the nights when it I'm sure it may be very cold and I don't know if any of the haciendas/refuges are heated. I hope what I have said is some use to you (and anyone else who may be lurking). If you have any questions - just ask.

I had hoped some of the others would have joined in by now. With just over 4 weeks to go there is still time, though.

Trevor Jones

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 22:52

Hi Trevor,

I've just placed my order with Karol. Thanks for the advice, I've been at altitude before so it's just the ice climbing stuff I need (axe, boots, crampons, helmet). I did go up a size for boots, as my hiking boots are always bigger, but I'm sure they'll have extras in case I do need to go up 2 sizes. Is it too much to ask that I hope they'll be comfortable?! I bought a down jacket after last year's cold winter and still haven't had a chance to wear it - it's been too warm! 


Sat, 01/14/2012 - 06:12

Trevor/Mary-another relative oldie-I am Steve from Hampshire and will just  be 53 by time we set off-have done a few high altitude treks before and always take Diamox tablets-have given my order to Karol for the gear I will need for the final Cotapaxi leg but given what Trevor says will perhaps amend my boot size although suspect they will have plenty of sizes when we get there-think you said the group size is 14 or therabouts which is a much smaller party than on my previous treks and hope thats a good number. I havent used Exodus before-have either of you ?

Sun, 01/15/2012 - 17:10

I'd just about given up on onyone else joining in, so welcome to the party.

I've been with Exodus about 6 times now and never had any problems with them. I'm surprised you think 14 is a small group (I think it's actually 12 now) as this was standard for all the treks I have done, including those with other companies. I think I have been above 5000m eight times now with two of the treks above 6000m and I am fortunate that I have never had even a headache or had to take any tablets. I seem to be able to acclimatise very quickly. I've been with plenty of people who have had to take tablets mind you, including Diamox. They certainly help some people, but not all.

I live in Newcastle upon Tyne now, but I did live in Wokingham, Berkshire for nearly 25years and used to go to Old Basing, Hampshire quite a lot, so I am familiar with that part of the world.

One thing did occur to me when I was sorting out all my gear. My normal trekking gaiters aren't big enough to fit my mountain boots and I have a secong (larger) pair for them. It might be worth mentioning this to Karol, but I'm sure the hire people know all about this sort of thing and won't miss an opportunity to get you to hire something more.

Nice to hear from you. Lets hope it isn't too wet in Equador as I'm told success is mostly dependent on the weather! 

Trevor Jones

Sun, 01/15/2012 - 23:39

Hi Steve,  

It'll my first trip with Exodus too, so just hoping they'll be as good as the other companies I've travelled with. And I'll also be taking diamox with me, although I might try to see how I get on without it. I was fine when I took it before, but maybe I didn't even need it.

Trying not to look up the weather forecast as it's usually wrong (but it did look like a lot of rain over Quito on the bbc :( ) Still a few weeks for it to brighten up! Fingers crossed!


Mon, 01/16/2012 - 13:22

Trevor-sounds like you have an extra trip to make justy to get down to Heathrow! I am happy with a group of 12 or so -less names to remember! My last 2 trips were with a company called Action Challenge and the groups were made up with  well over 30 people-makes taking a group photo hard trying to fit them all in! I think must be easier to keep a small group together as well. I agree Mary-we cant do much with the weather and it is what it is! So far as Diaamox is concerned no idea if it works but as never had a problem I will keep with it.

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 14:15

Hello Mary, Steve and Trevor,

Better joining the chat line late than never!!

Well as I have never done any high altitude stuff I am now getting a bit nervous, I don’t have any tablets so I think I will look into this just in case. Sorry Mary I am in my 50’s as well so as long as you bring enough chocolate for all of us that fine and your young enough to put it all in your rucksack!!

I am travelling with a work colleague/friend I walk with, she has done this sort of stuff before but a few years ago, however she took a tumble on Sunday descending from Snowdon and ended up with 9 stitches in her knee, not good timing. I am in bad books as it was my idea for me to get some experience walking with crampons on.

Never been to Ecuador either but we have tagged a few days on at the end to go to Galapagos (to recover!!)

See you all soon.


Sat, 02/04/2012 - 15:06

Nearly missed you there, Stuart. I had given up on anyone else joining in.

Sorry to hear about your travelling companion. I would be very concerned if we were going to spend about a fortnight camping in the middle of nowhere (as I did on my last 2 treks). Fortunately, almost all of the destinations appear to be accessible by vehicle and so if she found she couldn't manage the walking, she could always hitch a lift. It would be worth asking Exodus (Brendan Phelan?) if this is the case, just to be on the safe side.

Don't worry too much about the altitude. I haven't been to Equador before, but I have been to Peru. I have been checking and have found that Coca Tea is widely available in Equador. If you can't get any Diamox (some Doctors won't give you a prescription) I can recomend the Coca Tea or mate de coca which helps with the altitude. Just don't drink any in the evening or you won't be able to sleep!

I'll be giving the "Bulls Penis soup" and "Roast Guinea Pig (Cuy)" a miss, however, just as I did in Peru. I'ts Chicken, Alpaca or Beef Steak for me.

I'm going with Iberia via Madrid from Heathrow Terminal 3. The flight takes off around 07:20 on Sat 10th so I need to be at Heathrow between 03:00 and 04:00. Oh joy! I'd rather drive for 5 Hours ( I've done the journey umpteen times before) than wait around for about 8 hours in Terminal 3. If your around Terminal 3 at that hour and see an old bloke bent over with the weight of a Deuter backpack, that will probably be me.

Still undecided whether to pack a pair of wellies, full length waders, pac-a-mac, sou'wester and golf umbrella. Hope I won't need the wet suit though :-)

Trevor Jones

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 10:16

Stuart/Mary-I see Trevor is going out via Iberia-I am going on Saturday 11th via Heathrow on Continetnal flight to Quito via Houston-are you on the same flights?

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 11:30

Hope your friend's knee is on the mend and that it hasn't put her off. I'll have some extra diamox if anyone needs it/can't get hold of it - my doctor gave me twice as many as i'll need and I'd forgotten about the coca tea Trevor, it's good too. As for my chocolate supply, I think it needs topped up - I shouldn't have packed it so early!

Steve, I'm on the Continental flight too, not quite as early as yours Trevor but I still have to fly over on Friday night. Hope the snow's all cleared before then!

See you all soon :)

mary t 

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 15:24

mary-i might take you up on a few diamox tablets- i think am about 4 or 5 days short if you coudl spare them for me-i recall coca tea and of some use but not very enjoyable

will see you on saturday at airport or en route to quito and glad not gone this weekedn and caught up in heathrow cancellations

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 17:00

I presume the Continental flight is the Exodus "Group" flight. What Day/Time is it due to arrive in Quito? My flight from Madrid IB6463 is due to arrive in Quito at 17:25 on Saturday 11th Feb. I've had a look at the Continental website and the only flights to Quito  via Houston depart on Sat 11th Feb, but don't arrive in Quito until 22:30 ish on Sun 12th Feb. Is this correct or are these the only flights still available at this late stage? I only ask as Exodus said I could join the group flight bus for the journey from the airport to the hotel (hostel) and so I expected it to be arriving about the same time (and day) as my flight.

The weather looks better for next weekend, so fingers crossed. Don't mind the cold and snow; fog is the real horror!  

Trevor Jones

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 18:02

Trevor-my flight-assume the group flight is CO1035 leaves Houston at 1600 and arrives Quito on Sat 11th at 2224-seems very precise

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 16:12

Steve, I've enquired and it appears my group flight consists soley of me. Hopefully, I will meet the genuine Exodus rep this time! (I'll tell you what I'm talking about on the trek). All things being equal then I should get to the Hostel about 19:00 whereas you will be closer to midnight. By that time I should have had my first steak and  bottle of Tequila or more likely I'll be too tired to do anything.

As Mary is now the designated group "Chocolate Monitor" and is going via Houston, Texas I would like to point out that I have always found Hershey Bars to be too sweet for my taste but I really really like Jelly Beans ;-)  No pressure mind!

I've now become fixated with the weather forecasts for the UK rather than Quito. Perhaps I should watch Vertical Limit one more time - just to calm my nerves.....

Not long now.

Trevor Jones

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 22:35

Trevor-good luck with your trip out there and hope we all make it to Quito without problems-

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