While many were reveling in the yearly celebration of America's birthday, a Niagara University assistant professor was climbing one of the world's tallest active volcanoes.
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," Hutton wrote 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 as a fundraiser to help reduce poverty in Third World nations.
To learn more about Niagara University's business programs, visit www.niagara.edu/business.