“Phil, I have to turn around.” At 19,000 feet on Cotopaxi in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, we could see the summit and smell its volcanic sulfur. Physically, I was strong, but emotionally, I was drained and frightened. After rounding a 60-foot ice column, a nightmarish fear came from out of nowhere, and its shock overtook me, shattering the thin veneer of swagger I had been carefully building since our first day in country.
A third-year student at Biola University and resident of the San Jose Bay Area, Jocelyn Horsager’s winter outdoor experience was limited to shredding slopes and kicking back in a cabin. But despite her anxieties regarding the winter camping course, she found herself pleasantly surprised by each day’s experiences. And when we weren’t calling her back from leaning over the edge of a cliff to snap some killer GoPro fisheye panoramas, she was being followed by a Yosemite-native coyote with a peculiar taste for her foam sleeping pad.