Volcanoes of Ecuador

Antisana (18,874ft/5,752m), Cotopaxi (19,347ft/5,897m), Chimborazo (20,701ft/6,310m)

Expedition Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in the capital city of Quito.
It lies on a long and narrow Andean valley surrounded by high volcanoes at an elevation of 2,850 meters/ 9,350 ft. Our guide will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you to the hotel.
Altitudes: Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: Depending on altitude of home town
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: Depending on altitude of home town
Travel times: Airport - Hotel: 30 min
Accomodations: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN. There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes

 

Day 2: City Tour Quito.
We spend the day sightseeing in Quito. The northern capital for the Incas, Quito is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all South American capital cities with its well preserved colonial architecture and mild climate. We visit the old town of Quito which has been declared a World Heritage by the UNESCO.. We acclimatize to the local altitude while taking an easy walk through narrow streets and historical squares, admiring the old colonial churches, buildings and houses. Before returning to our hotel we enjoy a great view of Quito from the top of the El Panecillo hill. This day constitutes an important foundation for our acclimatization. We also have a thorough equipment check and orientation including discussion of Leave No Trace practices. A welcome dinner follows in the evening. Overnight stay in Quito.
Altitudes: Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: 0m/ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0m/ft
Travel times: Hotel - old town: 30 min;  Old town - Hotel: 30 min
Accomodations: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN. There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes

 

Day 3: Rucu Pichincha Climb - Papallacta.
Easy access from Quito using the cable car makes Ruco Pichincha (4,698m /15,413ft) a great acclimatization hike. The gondola will take us up to an altitude of 3,966m / 13,012ft from where we will have a first glance of three of the highest snow-capped Ecuadorian mountains. Cotopaxi, Antizana and Cayambe. From there we will start our hike, which will take us to the top of this ancient volcano in three hours. Two hours later we will be back in Quito and drive to the most beautiful hot springs spa in Ecuador, Termas Papallacta, (11,800ft). Papallacta has private hot pools in font of every room filled daily with perfectly clear hot water from their natural hot springs. The spa is also available for message at very reasonable prices. We spend the rest of the evening enjoying a great dinner and relaxing in the pools. Night at Papallacta.
Altitudes:   Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
                   Gondola upper station: 3,966m/13,012 ft
                   Summit Ruco Pichincha: 4,698m/15,413ft
                   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,848 m/6,063ft
Vertical gain climbing: 732 m/2,401ft
Vertical gain of sleeping altitude: 450m/1,477ft
Travel times: Hotel - Gondola (lower terminus): 20 min
                        Gondola (lower terminus) - Papallacta: 2 hours   
Hiking/Climbing times: Gondola (upper station) - Summit Rucu Pichincha: 3-4 hours
                                      Summit Rucu Pichincha - Gondola (upper station): 2 hours
Accomodation: Resort
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also two computers at the business center which you can use for free. Most of the time you have to wait in line. For some reason beyond our control, Apple devices (iPhones, iPads) do not connect to the wireless service at this particular place.
Cell Phone signal: Yes

 

Day 4: Acclimatization Hike Bear’s Peak. Papallacta.
Today we take an acclimatization hike through a thick Cyprus forest up onto the high ridges surrounding Papallacta. We have excellent views of the surrounding valleys and our first climb, Antisana (5,758m / 18, 891ft). After our hike we head back to Termas Papallacta for a fine diner and another evening in the spa.
Altitudes:   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
                  Summit Bear’s Peak: 3,987m/13,081ft
Vertical gain during the day: 687m/2,254ft
Vertical gain climbing: 687m/2,254ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0m/ft
Travel times: 0
Hiking/Climbing times: Termas de Papallacta. - Summit Bear's Peak:  2-3 hours
                                      Summit Bear's Peak - Termas de Papallacta: 1-1.5  hours
Accomodations: Resort
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also two computers at the business center which you can use for  free. Most of the time you have to wait in line. For some reason beyond our control, Apple devices (iPhones, iPads) do not connect to the wireless service at this particular place.
Cell Phone signal: Yes

 

Day 5: Termas de Papallacta - Antisana. Hike to Advance Base Camp. Overnight at Base Camp.
This morning we meet the rest of our climbing guides( our guide to climber ratio is 1:2) who will be joining us for the climb and take our bus and four wheel drive jeep up to the base of Antisana. Our Base Camp (13,500 ft) is in the remote highlands of a private ranch with wild horses, lamas, fox and raptors. Few people visit this area and we usually have Antizana all to ourselves. Our cook and staff prepare camp as we do an acclimatization hike up to advance base Camp at 15,500 ft and then return to Base Camp for the night.
Altitudes:   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
                  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,233m/4,043ft
Vertical gain climbing: 447m/1,465ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 786m/2,578ft
Travel times: Termas Papallacta- Antisana Base Camp: 3 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: Antisana Base Camp - Advance Base Camp:  2 hours
                                      Advance Base Camp - Antisana Base Camp:  1 hour
Accommodation: Antisana Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 6: Glacier Training. Overnight at Base Camp.
After breakfast we travel in the 4 wheel drive up to Advance Base Camp. From here we hike for an hour up to the glacier for a climbing skills review and to acclimatize. The lower glaciers on Antizana offer great cramponing and practice for running belays, etc. That evening we return to Base Camp where dinner is be waiting for us.
Altitudes:  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
                  Antisana Glacier: 4,789m/15,713 ft
Vertical gain during the day: 703m/2,308ft
Vertical gain climbing: 256m/843ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0 m/0ft
Travel times: Antisana Base Camp - Advance Base Camp:  30 min
Hiking/Climbing times: Advance Base Camp - Glacier: 1 hour
                                      Glacier- Advance Base Camp: 1 hour
Accommodation: Antisana Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 7: Move to Advance Base Camp and preparation for the climb. Overnight at Advance Base Camp.
In the morning we break camp and move up to ABC. We spend the afternoon preparing our climbing gear and head to bed early so that we are well rested for are early departure on the summit climb.
Altitudes:  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
Vertical gain during the day: 447m/1,465ft
Vertical gain climbing: 0m/0ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 447m/1,465ft
Travel times: Antisana Base Camp - Advance Base Camp:  30 min
Hiking/Climbing times: 0
Accommodation: Advance Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 8: Summit Antisana - Los Mortiños. Overnight at Los Mortiños.
We rise before midnight where our cook will have breakfast waiting in the dinning tent. At midnight we head out with our guides on the summit climb. Antisana has challenging glaciers where we climb small steps to avoid the larger crevassed areas. We wind around towers of glacier ice and as the sun rises to a most spectacular of a dozen volcanoes throughout all of Ecuador.
Altitudes:  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
                  Summit Antisana: 5,758m / 18,891ft
                  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Los Mortiños: 3,620m/11,877ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,225m/4,021ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,225m/4,021ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -913m/-2,993ft
Travel times: Advance Base Camp - Antisana Base Camp:  30 min
                      Antisana Base Camp - Los Mortiños: 2 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: Advance Base Camp - Summit Antisana: 7-8 hours
                                       Summit Antisana - Advance Base Camp: 3-4 hours
Accommodation: Lodge
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No (sometimes there is a weak signal which will allow you to make a call)

Following Antisana we travel by private bus to Los Mortiños (3620m / 11,877ft) a small and beautiful lodge in the center of cowboy country and close to Cotopaxi, our next objective.

 

Day 9: Rest Day. Los Mortiños - Tambopaxi.
Today we rest and have a relaxing morning enjoying a leisurely breakfast and fantastic views of Cotopaxi. The region around Cotopaxi has the highest number of clear days per year in the Ecuadorian Andes. In the early afternoon we travel by bus to Cotopaxi National Park, the showpiece National Park in all of mainland Ecuador. On our drive, we pass through several vegetative zones and anticipate encountering llamas, herds of wild horses, foxes, Cara-Cara falcons, eagles, Andean gulls, Lapwings, etc and interesting paramo vegetation. We stay at Tambopaxi (3,766m / 12,356ft). This rustic but elegant lodge offers great views of the north face of Cotopaxi. There is a telescope so that we can have a closer look of the normal route up the mountain. The rest of the day is dedicated to rest and preparation for the upcoming climb.
Altitudes:  Los Mortiños: 3,620m/11,877ft
                  Tambopaxi: 3,766m/12,356ft
Vertical gain during the day: 146m/479ft
Vertical gain climbing: 0m/0ft (you do have the possibility to take a short walk in the surroundings of the lodge)
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 279m/916ft
Travel times: Los Mortiños - Tambopaxi:  40 min
Hiking/Climbing times: 0
Accommodation: Lodge
Internet Access: Wifi
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 10: Tambopaxi - Jose Ribas hut. Overnight at the hut.
After breakfast, our transport will take us to the park land on the northern slopes of Cotopaxi (4600m / 15,100ft). From there, we hike for approximately an hour to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4,800m / 15,750ft). Once at the hut, we prepare the climb of the most coveted Ecuadorian mountain: Cotopaxi.
Altitudes:  Tambopaxi: 3,766m/12,356ft
                  Park land Cotopaxi: 4,600m/15,100ft
                  Jose Ribas hut: 4,800m/15,750ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,034m/3,394ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 1,034m/3,394ft
Travel times: Tambopaxi - Park land Cotopaxi:  45 min
Hiking/Climbing times: Park land Cotopaxi - Jose Ribas hut: 1 hour
Accommodation: Jose Ribas hut
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 11: Summit Cotopaxi - Lasso (Quito for 12-day program). La Cienega.
Alexander von Humboldt said: "Cotopaxi's shape is the most beautiful and regular of all the colossal peaks in the high Andes. It is a perfect cone covered by a thick blanket of snow..." We begin the climb at about one in the morning. An early start allows us to take advantage of the better snow conditions and thus travel more quickly and safely. The normal route is technically not challenging but physically demanding. It involves climbing on moderate glaciated slopes (generally 30° - 45°). After approximately seven to nine hours of climbing we reach the top where we can enjoy magnificent views of the gigantic crater and of mountains such as Antizana, Cayambe and Chimborazo. After the summit climb, we descend Cotopaxi and head to the historic La Cienega Hostelry for rest and recovery.
Altitudes:   Jose Ribas hut: 4,800m/15,750ft
                  Summit Cotopaxi: 5,897 m/ 19,347ft
                  Park land Cotopaxi: 4,600m/15,100ft
                  La Cienega Hostelry: 3,000m/9,857ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,097m/3,597ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,097m/3,597ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -1,800m/-5,893ft
Travel times: Park land Cotopaxi - La Cienega Hostelry:  1 hour
Hiking/Climbing times: Jose Ribas hut - Summit Cotopaxi: 7-8 hours
                                      Summit Cotopaxi - Jose Ribas hut: 2-3 hours
                                      Jose Ribas hut - Park land Cotopaxi: 20 min
Accommodation: La Cienega Hostelry
Internet Access: Wifi (outside the rooms because of massive walls)
Cell Phone signal: Yes (outside the rooms because of massive walls)

Those in the 12 day program will return to Quito for their flights out the next day.


Day 12:
Lasso - Patate. Hacienda.
On our way to Riobamba, we visit San Augustin de Callo. This hacienda was built on the site of an Inca palace. It constitutes one of the two most important Inca archeological sites in Ecuador, and the point furthest from Cuzco of Imperial style construction. Beside the hacienda, the farmhouse has a unique blend of architectural styles: 15th century Inca, 16th century Colonial and 19th century Republican. After, we travel by bus to the Abraspungo Hostelry (2,750m/9,022ft) located close to the city of Riobamba. This cozy accommodation in a spectacular setting gives us another opportunity to rest and prepare before our most demanding climb.
Altitudes:   La Cienega Hostelry: 3,000m/9,857ft
                  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
Vertical gain during the day: -250m/-835ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -250m/-835ft
Travel times: La Cienega Hostelry-Abraspungo Hostelry: 2.5 hours
Accommodation: Abraspungo Hostelry
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN
Cell Phone signal: Yes. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

 

Day 13: Abraspungo Hostelry - Stübel Camp on Chimborazo
Chimborazo, our next objective (6,310m /20,702ft) is the highest mountain in Ecuador. This old volcano is considered extinct although some recent studies show that it might still be considered active. Its main summit has the distinction of being the farthest point from the center of the earth making Chimborazo, in its own way, the tallest mountain in the world. It does not matter from which side you look at Chimborazo, it will impress you by its size and beauty. Today we travel by bus to Plaza Roja (4,852m /15,918ft.) located close to the Carrel hut (4,862m /15,951ft). From there, it takes us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m /16,567ft) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb the next day. Porters will help us carrying group gear from Plaza Roja up to the Stübel Camp.
Altitudes:  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
                  Plaza Roja: 4,852m/15,918ft
                 Stübel Camp: 5,050m/16,567ft
Vertical gain during the day: 2,300m/7,545ft
Vertical gain climbing: 198m/649ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 2,300m/7,545ft
Travel times: Abraspungo Hostelry - Plaza Roja:  1 hour
Hiking/Climbing times: Plaza Roja - Stübel Camp: 2 hours
Accommodation: Stübel Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: Yes.

 

Day 14: Summit Chimborazo - Riobamba. Abraspungo Hostelry.
We start the climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Saddle (5,500m /18,044 ft.). This new variant to the normal Castle Ridge route is free from the danger of rock fall making it a much safer line. From the Stübel Camp, it normally takes eight hours to get to the Whymper summit from where you will enjoy one of the best views in Ecuador. To the east and south-east: El Altar which is the most difficult mountain to climb in Ecuador and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay. To the north and north-east: mountains like the Ilinizas, Antisana and the famous Cotopaxi. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes three hours. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Plaza Roja and travel to Riobamba town. The Abraspungo Hostelry gives us beautiful Andean scenery at the end of our climb.
Altitudes:  Stübel Camp: 5,050m/16,567ft
                  Summit Chimborazo: 6,310m/20,702ft
                  Plaza Roja: 4,852m/15,918ft
                  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,260m/4,135ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,260m/4,135ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -2,300m/-7,545ft
Travel times: Plaza Roja - Abraspungo Hostelry:  1 hour
Hiking/Climbing times: Stübel Camp - Summit Chimborazo: 8 hours
                                      Summit Chimborazo - Stübel Camp: 3 hours
                                     Stübel Camp - Plaza Roja: 1.5 hours
Accommodation: Abraspungo Hostelry
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN
Cell Phone signal: Yes



Day 15: Riobamba - Quito. Hotel Quito.
After having breakfast we drive along the Avenue of the volcanoes back to Quito. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Altitudes:  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
                 Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: 100m/328ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 100m/328ft
Travel times: Riobamba - Quito: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes



Day 16: Return flight USA.
Travel times: Airport - Hotel Quito: 30 min


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