How one professor is spending his summer vacation — scaling a winter mountain

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Remember, it’s always winter somewhere. And a Niagara University professor is really taking his “summer” vacation to an extreme.

Ed Hutton, assistant professor of finance and director of NU’s Financial Services Laboratory, reached the summit of Cotopaxi, a stratovolcano in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains, around 11:30 a.m . on July 4.

To reach the 19,393-foot summit, Hutton’s four-person team started at 2:30 a.m. in order to safely cross the many crevasses on the mountain’s glaciers and to minimize the risk of avalanches.

By sunrise (around 6 a.m.), they had reached the Yanasacha, the distinctive black rock wall located at 18,000 feet, and by 11:30 a.m. had climbed the steep ice face to step onto the mountain’s summit.

From the summit, the volcano’s 900-foot-deep crater shows rising steam vents, despite the below zero temperatures and high winds. The group arrived safely back at camp by 5 p.m.

“Climbing Cotapaxi was an incredible experience,” wrote Hutton in an email. “I had a great team, led by guides from Rainier Mountaineering. This was my first trip to South America and I look forward to more great climbs in the Andes.”

Hutton and his wife, Gayle, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2013 as a fundraiser to help reduce poverty in Third World nations.

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