Thursday, 29 November 2007

Andean Experiences

training stats: no running at all

You know I expected it to be tough. It was. More than I expected it to be.

I failed to climb Cotopaxi. Still regarding my decision to be right after I turned back due to storm and rain at 4,800m with more than 1,000 meters still to climb. But nevertheless this decision was followed by deep disappointment and severe weakness both physically and mentally. If someone had offered me a ticket to fly home instantly I would have gone.

The most depressing time I had when staying in the camp with very wet, foggy and cold weather every morning and evening. I even forgot to use the bottle of Single Malt I had taken with me to help along such phases.

Luckily I made my come back when fighting my way up to the top of Chimborazo. With three tops successfully climbed I can finally regard the trip as an achievement. There were Rucu de Pichincha (4,684m), Illiniza Norte (5,126m) and Chimborazo. At the letter one I have to admit I climbed just the second highest of its 5 peaks, Ventimilla which is recently measured at 6,225m. The main summit is only 42 meters higher (

photo 1: Looking from the ridge of Illiniza Norte to Cotopaxi. Note that Illiniza Norte was expected to be a walking summit free of snow and ice.

photo 2: Flying close by, a condor at the Illiniza hillside.

photo 3: Ornamentally placed alpacas in front of Chimborazo Mountain.

photo 4: We started our ascent of Chimborazo at 10pm. At sunrise we already had been walking for nearly 8 hours. With the verb "walk" playing down the sort of movement.

photo 5: Whereever I went - my mountain of disappointment was there to remind me, Cotopaxi, seen from the top of Chimborazo.

photo 7: Easy to notice that I was at the limit of my capabilities.

It will take some weeks to publish the complete photo story on my website. I will let you know when it's done.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Off to the Andes

training stats: nothing, just rest

Thanks, Heike, your guess is right. I am heading for Ecuador and its chain of volcanoes. I am part of a group of 12 guys who have a tough programme of peaks to do:
Rucu de Pichincha, 4,784 meters
Illiniza Norte, 5,126 meters
Cotopaxi, 5,897 meters
Chimborazo, 6,268 meters

These mountains are technically not too difficult. The only thing concerning is that we will be ascending by a rather high speed. We arrive at Quito (2,800 meters) on Sunday. Climbing Pichincha is scheduled for Tuesday and Illiniza for Thursday and Cotopaxi for Saturday night.
Heading for high mountains you never know what happens. Altitude sickness can catch everybody - you can be fit enough to run a marathon but this is no guarantee you will be able to survive at high altitude. And of course always there is the weather you have to respect. Therefore I would be happy to get to two of the four planned mountain tops.
For those of you speaking German: I have booked with the German Alpine Club's agency, effectively called the "Summit Club", our detailed schedule is published here.
I regret I will have no internet access during most of the time. So you will have to wait for any news until end of November. Sorry about this incovenience. Don't worry.

In case you like to read my German race report of last Sunday's New York City Marathon, here it is.

Monday, 5 November 2007


OK, it is not the time to beat J's result at Frankfurt last Sunday. But honestly I am very happy with my run. NYC has a very tough route indeed. I lost the two needed minutes along the final 3 miles when I had to fight strongly to keep running.

Now I will need a full week's rest to get recovered for the next trip. It starts on Sunday and I would call it the toughest project I ever intended to do.

First of all I look forward to today's After-Marathon-Party, where I will enjoy more than one pint of Sam Adams.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Greetings from NYC - race number 11202

training stats
Fr 02/11: 10K, 0:56 hrs
Mo 29/10: 11K, 1:04 hrs

This trip is my third one to NYC within three years. First time I was totally excited about the abundance of human life. Second time I enjoyed the classic highlights the City offers. Now I feel sort of horrified by moving through the tarmacced gorges of Manhattan. I guess it would be easier to survive in the rain forest than in the hustle of Big Apple. And I reckon people in NYC are so friendly because they know how hard life is in this place.

photo: sunset on Friday afternoon

Regarding tomorrow's marathon I don't feel to be really fit. My legs are more tired than they have been for months. All the guide business might have been a bit too much. Even worse I caught a cold. So I have to think about cutting my goal back to 3:45 or even 4:00. I will decide after having run the first couple of miles.

Today the US Olympic men's marathon trials took place in Central Park. The photo shows winner Ryan Hall waving to the crowds with half a mile to go to the finish line. The two more places to qualify for Beiing went to Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell. Sadly the sudden death of 5-time-US-champion Ryan Shay had to be announced. He collapsed after little more than 5 miles into the race.

Follow tomorrow's race tracker along the New York City marathon and look out for race number 11202.