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Climbing Ecuador

Day 1: Arrive in Quito- City tour in Quito Old Town. (9186 ft. / 2800 m.)

Arrive in Quito. If you land here in the morning, visit to the colonial downtown of Quito (9186 ft. / 2800 m.), 3-4 hours visit, of the museums, churches, all the architecture mainly mixed style Indian with Barroco.

Day 2: Hike around Cuicocha´s Volcano Crater. (11482 ft. /3500 m.)

Drive from Quito to the north and excursion around Cuicocha Lake (11482 ft. /3500 m.) for 4 to 5 hours hike. Overnight in Otavalo town.
Day 3: Visit to Otavalo Indian Market (9,186 ft. / 2,800 m.)

Visit to Otavalo Indian Market, which is one of the most typical Indian markets in southamerica,, with its colorfull handicrafts, in the afternoon short excursion around the place – return to Quito.

Day 4: Acclimatization hike to Pasochoa Peak (13778 ft. / 4200m.)

We’ll leave from Quito (9,186 ft. / 2,800 m.) early in the morning (7h00) and will drive southeast for about 1 hour through the Andean highlands until getting to the trail head. The hike goes through an amazing primary Andean forest, great for bird watching, like the exotics hummingbirds which could be easily seen at all times during the hike. As we gain elevation we’ll be able to see the surrounding snow caped mountains, such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illiniza, Cotopaxi and even Chimborazo far away to the south in clear days. Once nearing the summit, will be hiking by the ridge of the deep forest covered caldera which take us to the true summit soon after. It’ll take us about 6 hours round trip approx. Return to Quito by late afternoon.

Day 5: Acclimatization hike to Rucu Pichincha Peak (15413 ft / 4698 m.)

Being one of the closest mountains from Quito, Rucu Pichincha is one of the favourite peaks for acclimatization purposes. It towers up just above Quito, so it’ll take us around 20 minutes to get to the parking lot (10,827 ft/3,300 m) by car. From here we’ll ride on the cable car (teleférico) one of the highest in the world, for about 15 minutes up to the trail head (13,451 ft/4,100 m). From this point, we’ll follow a long ridge which will take us to the base of the summit. After traversing north, we’ll continue gaining altitude by hiking on sandy terrain which will lead us to the top. Total hiking time: 4 hours. Return to Quito by late afternoon.

Day 6: Acclimatization hike to Ilinizas Norte Peak (16818 ft / 5126 m.)

We leave from Quito (9,186 ft/2,800 m) in the morning (7h00) and will drive through the Avenue of the Volcanoes until getting to the village of “El Chaupi”. We’ll continue driving up until getting to “La Virgen parking lot” (12,795 ft/3,900 m), once there we’ll start a 3-hour hike up to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge” (15,583 ft/4,150 m), where we’ll have lunch and relax the rest of the afternoon. Dinner will be served by late afternoon.

Day 7: Our climbing day starts at 5h00. We’ll have a light breakfast, pack our climbing equipment and leave the refuge an hour later. We’ll continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks and then to Illiniza Norte summit (16,818 ft/ 5,126 m) soon after. The approaching to the top involves an easy 3 hour scrambling. Once at the summit we’ll enjoy of a box lunch, and of course… taking pictures and admiring the beautiful surroundings. Overnight in an old Hacienda.

Day 8: Rest day, optional visit to a local indigenous market. Overnight in an Hacienda.

Day 9: Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park. Hike to the Jose Ribas Refuge (15746 ft. / 4800m.)

From the Hacienda will drive south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes until getting to the Cotopaxi National Park entrance. From here will drive east to the Cotopaxi parking lot (14,764 ft. /4,500 m) and we’ll hike up for another hour to the Jose Ribas Refuge (15,748 ft. / 4,800 m). Once at the refuge we will store our belongings in safe lockers. Lunch will be served soon after.

In the afternoon we’ll head up to the glacier for ice practices and training (3 hours approx). We’ll learn some basic techniques which will include how to handle climbing equipment (crampons, ice axe, rope, etc). We’ll go back to the Refuge for dinner and rest.

Day 10: Midnight will be our wake up time and the departure to the top (19,347 ft. / 5,897 m) will be around 01h00, not before having a light breakfast and get our stuff ready for the ascent which will take us about 6 to 8 hours. Each climber will get a box lunch for the climb. Once at the summit we’ll take our time to take pictures of the crater and surroundings, and then we’ll head down back the refuge (3 to 4 hours). Transfer to Banios town (6012ft./,1800m.)

Day 11: Rest day in subtropical town Banios (6012feet./,1800m.)

Rest day in the subtropical small village of Banios, optional visit to waterfalls.
Day 12: Transfer from Banios to Chimborazo Refuge (Whymper Hut at 5000 m.)

From Banios, we’ll drive southwest to the Chimborazo’s Reserve entrance. Finally we’ll drive for another 20 more minutes to “Hermanos Carrel Refuge” at 15,744 ft. / 4,800 m. of altitude. Lunch will be served there. In the afternoon we’ll walk up for 1 more hour to the “Whymper’s Hut” at 16,400 ft. / 5,000 m., where we’ll have dinner and get some rest until 23h00, our wake up time. There will be an early light breakfast served just before getting ready with our gear and start heading up.

Day 13: At midnight we’ll start our climb to the top of Ecuador’s highest mountain, Chimborazo, which will take us about 8 to 10 hours. Each climber will get a box lunch for the ascending. We’ll get to the summit in the early hours (20,702 ft. / 6,310 m,) the perfect spot for resting and picture taking of the beautiful Andean surroundings. Then, we’ll start our descending to the Refuge; it will take us from 3 to 5 hours. Once in “Whymper Refuge” we’ll pack our things and go down to “Hermanos Carrel Refuge”, where we’ll get our lunch and drive back to Quito.

Day 14: Reserve day for Chimborazo summit and return to Quito.

Day 15: Excursion to Papallacta Hot Springs(11022 ft./ 3300 m.)

From Quito, we’ll drive northeast. Visit to Papallacta hot springs one of the best places to relax in Ecuador after the mountain program. Return to Quito

Day 16: Transfer out. Fly home.

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