Ecuador is an astonishingly beautiful country that has some of the highest volcanoes in the world. Our Ecuador Volcanoes expedition tackles four of the best volcanic peaks, with a careful programme of acclimatisation and skills development to ensure you have the best chance of success, comfort and enjoyment combined with sufficient rest days to absorb the culture and visit the colorful Indian market of Otavalo. You will be astounded at the unusual volcanic rock landscapes and luxuriant vegetation that gives Ecuador its unique environment.
We initially climb on the volcanic peaks of Pasochoa (4200m) and Illinizas Norte (5116m) before taking time out to visit the vibrant Otavalo market. One day of skills training is given before we attempt our next Ecuador volcanoes, Cayambe (5790m) a beautiful glaciated peak and ideal preparation for the classic summit, Cotopaxi (5897m) and for those doing the extension our final peak Chimborazo (6268m), the highest peak in Ecuador and the furthest point from the centre of the earth. The views of the surrounding natural wonders and volcanic peaks are a spectacle to behold. Through the clouds you will be able to gaze upon your previous endeavors and savour the clear air and views of the distant Andes.
Day 1: International flight to Quito
Day 2: Quito Arrive in Quito and settle into your hotel. Meet with the rest of the team and start to acclimatize to the thin air. Quito is 2850m so you may already feel slight effects of the altitude. (H)
Day 3: Acclimatisation Quito Visit the old city of Quito, the best conserved colonial town in South America. The fabulously rich decorated churches, museums, squares and the numerous colonial buildings come under the banner of “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. Lunch in town (not included), and. then an optional ascent of Cruz Loma (4050m) by cable railway for an unforgettable view of the capital and the highest Ecuadorian summits. (H, B, D)
Day 4: Ascent of Pasochoa (4200m) A short journey out of Quito allows to take a lovely acclimitisastion walk and up Pasochoa where there is a very good chance to see the magnificent Condor soaring above us. (H, B)
Day 5: Ascent of Pichincha (4,698m) Again a short distance out of Quito we can make use of the gondola that takes us quickly upto 4000m and access to another wonderful walk and ascent of Pichincha from where we can see the snow-capped peaks Cotopaxi, Antisana and Cayambe. (H, B)
Day 6: Quito- El Chaupi. After breakfast we head south following the famous “Volcanoes Valley”, to reach the small village of El Chaupi located at the foot of the twin summits of Illinizas Norte and Sur. We transfer to the place known as “La Virgen” (3900m) to aid acclimitisation as our bags are driven up to the Illiniza’s Refuge (R, B, L, D).
Day7: Illinizas Norte summit (5116m) – El Chasqui. Early in the morning we leave the camp, the next 2 or 3 hours walking is fantastic brings us to the pass between the two summits. A further 2 hours are needed to climb the north peak of Illinizas (5116m). This route does not present any major difficulties although you may need to use your hands at a few points. We descend the same way and drive back past El Chaupi along the Pan-American highway till El Chasqui where we base ourselves at a charming hacienda. (R, B, L, D).
Day 7: Otavalo market – Cayambe Refuge (4600m). Today we head towards Cayambe via the Otavalo Indian market, the most famous and colourful Indian market in Ecuador. After lunch we transfer to the Cayambe refuge (4600m). The vehicle will drive as far up the rough trail as possible, followed by a walk of 1 to 1.5hrs to the Refuge with a small backpack. (Your mountain backpack and food will be transferred by vehicle). (R, B, L, D).
Day 8: Skills workshop on the Cayambe glacier. We meet with our mountain guides and walk up to the glacier at about 4800m to start a practical snow and ice technique course – ice axe and crampon work, progression in snowfields, rope handling, belays in snow, self-arrest, study of the different snow types, different progression techniques on 40 to 80 º slopes, natural and artificial ice anchors, knots. Back to the refuge at the end of the afternoon. (R, B, L, D).
Day 9: Cayambe summit (5790m) – Quito. We leave the refuge at around 1:00am to attempt Cayambe (5790m). This is a reasonably technical summit but we should be topping out for sunrise and back to the refuge by mid morning. After a light brunch we will continue down to Lasso for a well deserved celebration at our hotel. (H, B).
Day 10:: Today we head towards the Cotopaxi National Park. Our Vehicle will drop us at an altitude of 4600m, just 200m below the Cotopaxi refuge. With food and equipment this will take about 45 minutes up a sandy path to the Refuge.
Day 11:: After a midnight alarm call we aim to leave the refuge at 1am to climb the worlds highest active volcanoe Cotopaxi at 5897m. This ascent is almost totally on glacial terrain but without any major difficulties.It will take around 6-7hrs to summit.
Day 12: Return to Quito or Chimborazo Summit Extension group to the town of Riobamba.
Day 13: Drive to Carrel Hut ascend to Stubel Camp. Today we head up to carrel hut in preparation for our attempt on Chimborazo the highest mountain in Equador and in its own way the tallest in the world, its summit being the furthest from the centre of the earth due to equatorial buldge! From the Carrell Hut we walk about two hours up to Stubel camp, porters carry group gear. (C, B, L, D).
Day 14: Chimborazo summit (6268m) Another midnight wake up call, as 8 to 9 hours are needed to reach Ecuador’s highest summit. This new route that follows the Stubel glacier is free from the danger of rock fall that had previously plagued the original route. The ascent is quite long with a height gain of 1260m (approx. 8hrs up and 3hrs down) but with good weather the views are stunning and ‘Chimbo’ provides a fitting conclusion to the expedition. (H, B, L).
Day 15: Spare Summit day/return to Quito To increase the chances of success, two days are dedicated to the ascent of Chimborazo (H, B).
Day 16: Return international flight Breakfast and transfer to the airport to take your flight home. (B).
Day 17: Arrive back in the UK
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