Cotopaxi and Chimborazo involve glacier climbing of easy to moderate difficulty. You will spend time walking with an ice axe, be familiar with self-arrests and learn the proper technique for walking on snow slopes up to 45 degrees.
You will wear crampons during the ascent. If you have not been at altitude before, it is important to understand that you will need to pay close attention to your body’s ability to acclimatize. Your guides will help you make good decisions. You will gain valuable experience about dressing properly and navigating glaciers.
however full climbing gear is required as well as excellent acclimatization and fitness.
With a progressive acclimatization we will reach our two mains aims which are, Cotopaxi the highest active volcano in the world (5897m) and Chimborazo called as well the roof of Ecuador with its 6310 meters.
If you arrive Quito in the morning, in the afternoon City tour in Quito’s colonial old town, including museums and churches (aprox. 4 hours).. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 02: acclimatization day ( tour Pasochoa 4,250m.).
We’ll leave from Quito early in the morning and will drive southeast aprox. 2 hours through the Andean highlands until getting to the trail head (10,827ft/3.300m). The hike goes through an amazing primary Andean forest, great for bird watching, as we will arrive on the summit (13,778ft/4.230m) and if the weather allows, we’ll be able to see the surrounding snow capped mountains, such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illinizas, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo far away to the south in clear days. It will take us aprox. 6 hours the round hike. Return to Quito by late afternoon. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 03: Quito – Jose Rivas refugee 4,800m.
We’ll leave from Quito (9,186ft/2.800m) early in the morning (8h00) and 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 (14,764ft/4.500m) from “Limpiopungo” camping area, then we’ll hike up for another hour to the Jose Rivas Refuge (15,748ft/4.800m). 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 (2 hours approx). We’ll learn some basic techniques which will include how to handle climbing equipment (crampons, ice axe, etc). We’ll go back to the Refuge for dinner and rest. (BL/D)
At midnight will be our wake up time and the departure to the top (19,347ft/5.897m) will be around 01h00, not before having a light breakfast and get our stuff ready for the ascent, the climb will take us about 6 to 8 hours. Once at the summit we’ll take our time to take pictures of the crater and surroundings, and then we’ll head down back to the refuge, which it will take us 2 to 3 hours. Once at the refuge will pack our belongings, have something to eat and go down to the parking lot, where our transportation will be ready to take us to Banios town (6,012ft/1.800m). Overnight in the hotel
Day 05: Banios rest day
Rest day in the small town of Banios (6,012ft/1.800m); optional visit to waterfalls along the Pastaza River Canyon. Overnight in the hotel
Day 06: Banios – Hermanos Carrel refugee (15,744 ft/4,800 m) – Whimper refugee 16,400 ft/5.000m ( Chimborazo)
From Banios, we’ll drive southwest to the Chimborazo’s Reserve entrance for about 4 ½ hours, until getting to the Hermanos Carrel refuge (15,744 ft/4,800 m), from here we’ll still have to walk up for about an hour to the Whimper’s Hut (16,400 ft/5.000m) where we’ll have dinner and get some rest
Day 07: Refugee – Chimborazo summit 6,310m.– Refugee – Quito
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 (20,702ft/6.310m) 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.