Hello! My name is Stuart Aeschliman, a business major from Salem, Oregon. I bring you today’s blog:
On May 5th, the group headed for Rucu Pichincha. We knew little about the hike other than that the summit stood an impressive 15,407 feet above sea level. In comparison, Goshen, Indiana has an elevation of approximately 900 feet. While the group had spent two full days at 9,000 feet elevation in the city of Quito, we were no where near prepared for the steep terrain the towering volcano had in store.
At the midway point of the hike, the trail split in two. To the right was the “normal way” and to the left el paso de la muerte, or the “pass of death.” Feeling brave, I pondered taking this route. But, once I got ten feet up the rocky ridge, my fear of heights got the best of me. Classmates Evan and Trever were crazy enough to take the Pass of Death. I said my goodbyes and headed on my way with the rest of the group. Huffing and puffing, the group slowly made their way up the mountain. Right as I was starting to get discouraged, I scaled the last ridge and made it to the summit. I don’t know whether I was more surprised to see the summit or see both Evan and Trever both alive and well at the top.
Over all, the majority of the group summitted Rucu Pichincha and those who didn’t came very close. To top it off, the last ones off the mountain were treated to a heavy downpour of rain and hail, Ecuadorian-style. We headed back to the hotel with heavy legs, wet clothes, and a memory that will not soon be forgotten.
By Stuart Aeschliman