Vanishing Tropical Glaciers Archives - State of the Planet

Tree Rings to Investigate Chimborazo’s Past Climate

The landscape around Chimborazo resembles the high desert in parts of the western United States. The terrain approaching Chimborazo is arid and rocky in appearance, with mostly small grassy and shrub-like vegetation growing on it. Finding trees large enough to sample above 4000 meters was, needless to say, a bit of a challenge, but they do exist.

by |November 21, 2012

Putting Up Weather Station Chimborazo

Changes in glacier mass will have significant social and economic consequences for cities around Chimborazo and I’m hoping the specially built weather station will shed more light on the climate factors contributing to glacier loss.

by |November 20, 2012

Cotopaxi Skies

Because of Cotopaxi’s almost perfectly conic shape, the climb appears be a straight line to the top. It isn’t. In fact, the climb winds past spires of ice and vast blue crevasses the size of small canyons. Cotopaxi is a beautiful mountain.

by |November 17, 2012

Sleepless in Cayambe

The night is spent enduring the constant pinging of text messages, music and lights being turned on in the sleeping area every time someone comes or leaves. One thing to avoid before an Alpine Start (12.30am) is a night without sleep.

by |November 14, 2012

Next, Imbabura

Today was a much longer climb up Imbabura, passing through more páramo until reaching our first Polylepis trees. Conveniently, they were marked by a little wooden sign. These are the trees that I hope to sample next week on Chimborazo.

by |November 11, 2012

Climbing Fuya Fuya

After trudging through the paramo, our route becomes a high-altitude scramble on an exposed rocky granite spine with sheer drop-offs on either side. The surge of adrenaline keeps our minds off the thin air.

by |November 10, 2012

Preparing for Chimborazo

I am staying with a friend’s family in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, and tomorrow will meet up with my climbing partner, Pablo Puruncajas, to prepare for our expedition. I am here to collect tree ring samples and put up a weather station on Chimborazo, Ecuador’s tallest peak, to provide climate data about this region, which relies heavily on Chimborazo’s glaciers for water.

by |November 7, 2012