From Summit Vista to Summiting Mountains
For many people, climbing to the peak of a mountain is nothing more than a bucket list item. For Carol Masheter, however, climbing one peak was not enough. On a recent trip to Ecuador, Carol was able to reach the summit of Fuya Fuya (14,000 ft.), Imbabura (15,000 ft.), Cayambe (19,000 ft.), and Cotopaxi (19,350 ft.). In total, Carol reached the top of 4 mountains and climbed over 67,000 feet on her journey.
Carol’s journey was one of growth and perseverance. The trip started by summiting Fuya Fuya and Imbabura. These two hikes were critical as they were meant to help the group acclimate to the volcanic peaks and prepare them for the glaciated volcanoes they would be attempting later. Carol was successful in reaching both peaks and did so with a very positive attitude. When asked about the experience, Carol said: “I am repeatedly amazed how strangers from all over the U.S. and in other countries, ranging in age from mid-20s through mid-75s, men and women, can bond into a mutually supportive team within 48 hours and achieve joint goals, in this case getting people to the top safely while having the time of our lives.”
After successfully completing the two preparatory hikes, Carol was ready to take on the larger summits. First up was Cayambe. This hike would be no easy task as Cayambe’s south slope is the highest point in the world crossed by the Equator and the only point on the Equator with snow cover. When asked how they overcame these conditions, Carol said: “Folks dug deep, pivoted as needed to meet changing situations and supported each other.”
The last and most difficult hike of the trip was Cotopaxi. While Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador’s most popular hikes, it is also its most difficult. The use of crampons and ice axes are mandatory because of heavy snow and ice slopes of up to 50 degrees. Yet again, Carol and her team were able to overcome the challenges and reach the summit.
Carol completed these hikes along with nine other climbers and six climbing guides. Of course, the trip did come with its own set of challenges. Among these challenges were a bus crash, a stomach virus, two positive COVID-19 cases, flight cancellations, and storms. But like they did with the challenges of the hikes, Carol and her group overcame them all by coming together and supporting each other.