The volcanoes of Ecuador are well known among climbers.
Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the earth (due to our planet’s equatorial ‘bulge’). Our expedition to the highest mountain in Ecuador during the 16-day itinerary includes a thorough acclimatization program and glacier skills training, as well as climbing activity with a variety of technical equipment in a natural mountaineering environment.
This 16 day trip also enables us to experience the landscape, culture and people of the smallest Andean country. During the expedition we climb 5 volcanoes. The first 2 objectives provide good acclimatization, before we move on to Cayambe for a two-day glacier training program, culminating in an ascent of this popular peak. Cayambe provides the team members with the skills, fitness and degree of acclimatization necessary for success on the two higher peaks of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. The expedition’s 5 objectives, in order of ascents, are: Guagua Pichincha 4,794m (15,724ft) or Rucu Pichincha 4,627m (15,176ft), and the three following mountains to begin the “real” adventure: Cayambe 5,790m (18,991ft), the third highest mountain, Cotopaxi volcano 5,897m (19,342ft), the world’s highest active volcano, and Chimborazo, at 6,310m (20,696ft).
Ecuador is perhaps the easiest and most pleasant of South American countries to travel in. Its capital city, Quito, has a beautifully preserved colonial character architecture. At an altitude of 2,800m (9,186ft), it has an invigorating, spring-like climate. During the expedition, we will have time to explore Quito and its enchanting Indian markets.
After arrival and pick-up for the first night in the hotel, we will spend 16 days in Ecuador including a day visiting the Indian market of Otavalo (one of the most famous in South America). Other resting days will include Baños, a quiet and relaxing city, to store up our energy after reaching the highest peaks.
The tour will begin in Ecuador with a climbing acclimatization at Guagua Pichincha, 4,794m (15,724ft) or Rucu Pichincha, 4,627m (15,176ft). We propose the three following mountains to begin the “real” adventure: Cayambe, 5,790m (18,991ft), is the third highest mountain, Cotopaxi volcano, 5,897m (19,342ft), is the world’s highest active volcano, and Chimborazo, 6,310m (20,696ft).
Transfer In to hotel. We suggest you arrive in Quito on Friday. The EAI team will meet you at the airport on arrival and give you an initial program orientation.
The first full day in Ecuador we drive north to Otavalo, the market town. During this day, you will get a good idea of the indigenous population and the products they sell at the market. Our visit is timed for a shopping day. You need to be very discreet while taking pictures, because this population doesn’t like being photographed. The Otavaleño Indians come down from their small villages in the surrounding mountains to sell their agricultural products and handicrafts. After a morning exploring, taking pictures and shopping, we hike one hill above the town of Otavalo and San Pablo lake, the biggest lake in Ecuador. After an hour and a half, we stop for our lunch at a restaurant, enjoying a typical Otavaleño and Ecuadorian meal. We’ll take an afternoon drive back to Quito, stopping at the Equatorial Monument or Equatorial line to take pictures in the latitude 00,00. B/L/-
We take our acclimatization ascent on the Guagua Pichincha or Rucu Pichincha volcano at 4,800m (13,773ft). Quito is nestled on the slopes of this active volcano. We drive from Quito for half an hour to the Cruz Loma area at 3,900m (12,792ft). Our primary goal here is to help each team member to start testing his or her response to higher elevation, and to give our bodies a chance to get used to higher altitude. We hike from Cruz Loma to a very beautiful, panoramic valley, we cross and hike a sand slope and get in some rock climbing during this easy climb. It will take 4 hours up to reach our summit where we’ll rest, have lunch and take photos. After lunch, we’ll take 2 hours to return to the parking lot. If the weather conditions are favorable, we may have many photographic opportunities of beautiful scenic areas along the way! Then we’ll take an afternoon drive back to Quito. B/L/-
We offer a scenic tour through Quito, a city of contrast between the Spanish colonial displays, pre-Columbian art and Inca culture. We also visit the national ethnological museum, which provides a good introduction to the history of Ecuador, several of the city’s most interesting colonial churches, and the busy, traditional central market. This day has a free afternoon. B/-/-
We’ll depart from Quito at 9:00 A.M., and arrive at the Cayambe volcano refuge by 3:00 P.M. (4,700m / 15,416ft). Lunch is included. Located northeast of Quito on the eastern ridge of the Andes, Cayambe is Ecuador’s third highest peak and stands at 5,790m (18,991ft). The glacier of this mountain is large and among the most active of all equatorial ice flows, and the varied glacial terrain here provides an excellent training ground and a rewarding summit climb. We’ll stay overnight at the refuge. B/L/D
We’ll get up at 7:00 A.M. for breakfast. We continue acclimatization to the altitude. We go on the glacier at 8:30 A.M. and engage in the moderate glacier section – a good activity where we’ll familiarize ourselves with the various climbing techniques and equipment work for climbing. Our guide trains you on glacier skills, all necessary techniques for climbing the high peaks like Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo and other mountains, too. We’ll learn and practice the general procedures for high peak mountains: rope-handling, glacier travel, snow climbing, basic crevasse rescue skills and safety techniques. After 6 hours training, we go back to the refuge for a delicious lunch and resting afternoon, of course we’ll get prepared for a midnight departure to Cayambe summit day. We’ll have an early dinner and get to bed early, usually by 6:30 P.M. B/L/D
We’ll get up at midnight for breakfast and final equipment check up. We leave the refuge at 1:00 A.M. and climb with headlamps for the first 4 hours. We have an easy glacier climb to a saddle and then continue onto steeper and more exciting grounds. We’ll traverse around large crevasses and pass some spectacular seracs. We’ll climb 40 degree slopes with occasional short, steeper sections. We’ll reach the final Cayambe summit at about 9:00 A.M. You’ll have a wonderful photo opportunity of the spectacular mountains. Then we return to the refuge around 2:00 P.M. In the afternoon we drive down to Guachala Hacienda and spend the night there. Guachala is an old hacienda from the colonial architectural period and is great for a relaxing night. B/L/-
We’ll have breakfast at 8:00 A.M. and depart the hacienda for the hot springs of Oyacachi to swim in the hot water pools. This area is on the East cordillera of Ecuador at 3,200m (10,498ft). After a relaxing time, we drive to La Cienega hotel near the Volcano Cotopaxi. This is an old hacienda, where we’ll have a restful night and get prepared for our climb of Cotopaxi volcano. B/-/-
Today we leave this fertile and rich green valley at 10:00 A.M. and drive east into the Cotopaxi National Park, where we park at the Cotopaxi parking lot located at 4,203m (13,787ft.) From here we have a 45 minute hike with full packs up to the Jose Rivas Refuge on the flank of Cotopaxi at 4,795m (15,729ft.) After arriving at the hut, we will enjoy a hot tea and a short rest, before heading out to the glacier for an afternoon review of technical training and equipment preparation. We’ll have supper late in the afternoon and then early to bed at 6:30 P.M. B/L/D
We’ll get up at midnight for breakfast and equipment check-up. We leave the refuge at 1:00 A.M. We will pass a group of uniform slopes and ice ramps of 30 and 35 degrees before reaching a glacier platform. We will enjoy one of the most spectacular color displays in the Andes from this point. We’ll see the valley below us, where the morning sunrise welcomes us with incredible colors. Our route will pass under a base of rock 400 feet wide called Yanasacha. The Quichua name says it all, it’s a black wall of impressive size. The Indians called it ‘The Route of The Moon’. Here, we start climbing glacier slopes of 35 and 45 degrees, at the top of which we will only have 15 more minutes of climbing to emerge onto Ecuador’s second highest summit: Volcano Cotopaxi at 5,897m (19,427ft). Our approximate climbing time will be 7 hours. We’ll return to the refuge around 9:00 or 10:00 A.M. to rest and hike back down to the 4 x 4 vehicle and then return to Hostería La Cienega for a restful night before our Chimborazo adventure. B/-/-
We depart from La Cienega at 10:00 A.M. We’ll drive south of Cotopaxi passing the agricultural towns of Latacunga and Ambato. 5 hours drive crossing agricultural and indigenous areas, where you’ll definitely want to get in some great photos. We will arrive at the lower refuge of Chimborazo “Carrel” at 4,800m (15,744ft) around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon and continue with our acclimatization. We’ll stay overnight in the refuge. B/L/D
We’ll start with breakfast at 8:00 A.M. This day we will need to rest and acclimatize for a higher altitude climb. We’ll have a relaxing mid-morning and then take off for a 40 minute walk with full packs up to the Whimper hut on the Chimborazo flank, located at 5,000m (16,400ft), where we will rest and prepare ourselves for the early morning departure. We’ll have an early dinner and once again, we go to bed early at 6:30 P.M., spending overnight in the refuge. B/L/D
Chimborazo, with 5 summits, is Ecuador’s highest mountain and a massive volcano! We rise at midnight for breakfast and an equipment check-up, leaving the hut at 1:00 A.M. We move immediately to the huge glacier on Chimborazo’s southwest face, where we first traverse moderately angled ice slopes, climb through a series of icefalls and up to the steep ice ramps. Climbing simultaneously on moderate grounds belaying up the steep pitches. Our team will rope together in order to cross crevasses and finally make it to the summit. This is the highest point of the Andes here in Ecuador, and from here we have a magnificent view of the emerging volcanoes that form the eastern and western Cordillera. The volcanoes seem to emerge from the clouds below our feet. Our approximate climbing time is 8 to 9 hours. We return to the refuge around noon and travel to Baños (arriving in Baños at 6:00 P.M.) B/L/-
We relax in the valley town of Baños, where the lush vegetation is home to an unusual variety of orchids, mountains, warm temperature, flowers, birds, many butterflies, hummingbirds and more species to look at. We have a full day activity visiting the beautiful waterfalls on the way to the jungle. On this road it is possible to go by bicycle and enjoy beautiful natural settings and awesome waterfalls on our way. We will walk on the Pailon del Diablo waterfall during the 2 hours and enjoy the jungle forest. We visit the Inez Maria waterfall on the Pastaza River, and of course, our last visit is to the Zoo. We will enjoy nature the whole day, then go back to town. Here you may choose to hike or relax in the town. B/-/-
Drive back to Quito, leaving Baños at 10:00 A.M. and arriving at your hotel around 2:00 P.M. We’ll have a free afternoon and that night, a celebration and farewell dinner. B/-/-
Departure on your international flight.
Gore-Tex type jacket, Fleece thermals or warm fleece, Pair of light liner gloves, Balaclava or polypropylene cap, Wool or synthetic socks, Headlamp, Glacier glasses/dark sunglasses, Sleeping bag (20-30 degrees Fahrenheit), Backpack, Trekking Boots, Plastic climbing boots, crampons, gaiters, 3 pairs of outer socks, 3 pairs of liners, 2 pairs of long underwear, down jacket, Gore-Tex parka, warm pants, Gore-Tex pants or bib, warm gloves/mitts, Gore-Tex over-mitts, cap/hat, helmet, ice axe w/leash, harness, 2 locking carabineers, some oval bineers, prussic slings/ascenders, ski poles, plastic garbage bags, thermarest pad, spoon, bowl, compass, personal toilet/first-aid kit including drugs/sunscreen/chapstick, camera, and a one-liter poly bottle.
|Cayambe, Cotopaxi & Chimborazo 16 Days|
|JUNE 2016||ECUA/02||FRI. 10TH - SAT. 25TH|
|JULY 2016||ECUA/01||MAY 31ST - STA. 16 TH JUNE|
|ECUA/02||FRI. 14TH - SAT. 29TH|