People per Guide
Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug, Nov, Dec
Type of Trip
The Ecuadorian volcanoes are an exciting paradise for adventurers to explore. Come with me on this 13-day guided expedition and discover one of the most dramatic and spectacular landscapes of South America!
The Ecuadorian Andes Mountains are home to 73 volcanoes. 18 of them are considered to be potentially active. Often covered by glaciers and permanent snow, these mountains outline the Ecuadorian landscape. On this program, I offer you to hike up to the summit of five of the most popular Ecuadorian volcanoes:
- Pasochoa (4,200 m / 13,780 ft)
- Rucu Pichincha (4,696 m / 15,407 ft)
- Cayambe (5,790 m / 18,996 ft)
- Cotopaxi (5,897 m / 19,347 ft)
- Chimborazo (6,263 m / 20,549 ft)
Each day we’ll have a new and exciting place to explore. First, we will start by visiting cultural and historical places in Quito in order to acclimatize. Then, we will do some intensive glacier training in Cayambe. Finally, we will climb the famous Chimborazo volcano (6.263 m / 20,549 ft). Moreover, by staying in countryside farms, known by the locals as “haciendas”, we’ll experience the real life of the Ecuadorian countryside. For a more detailed description of the trip, take a look at the itinerary below!
For this trip, please take into account that all participants must have backpacking experience. Also, a good physical condition is essential. Of course, I will be there every step of the way to help and guide you.
Ready to take on the spectacular Ecuadorian volcanoes? Send your request! It’ll be my pleasure to guide you through this dramatic and full of explosive adventures expedition!
Price per person
- Guiding fee
- Half-board meals during trip
- Transport during the trip
- Group equipment
- Permit and entrance fees
What happens if I need to cancel the trip?
If you decide to cancel, you’ll get a 100% refund (minus fees) if the cancellation is notified up to 60 days before the start of the tour, a 75% refund (minus fees) if you cancel between 59 and 30 days before the start of the tour, and a 50% refund if you cancel between 29 and 21 days before the start of the tour. If you cancel less than 21 days before the first day of the tour, you won’t receive a refund.Take into account, however, that if accommodation, flights or transfers were included in the trip you booked, then a different policy may apply as the guide will be bound by the provider’s cancellation policy.
What happens if the guide cancels the trip because of bad weather/unsuitable conditions?
If bad weather or unsuitable conditions force the guide to cancel the trip, he or she will: a) propose a similar activity at a different place where conditions are better, or b) propose to postpone the activity until a later date, or c) cancel. If you refuse option a), our cancellation policy will apply. Please note, however, that the call to cancel a trip due to bad weather can only be made by the guide (not the client).
What happens if the guide doesn’t show up or cancels for personal reasons?
If the guide cancels for reason of injury or other, you will get a 100% refund on your trip.
City Tour (2.800 m / 9,184 ft) - Night in Quito
Our meeting point will be at 09:00 in the morning for an introductory briefing about the program.
As this will be your first day at an altitude of 2,800 m ( 9,184 ft), we’ll do some easy walking and see some of the main colonial churches in the old part of Quito such as Santo Domingo Basilica and the famous San Francisco church, which was the first religious building constructed in South America by the Spanish, in 1538.
Then we’ll drive up to the hill of El Panecillo where an impressive statue of the Virgin looks after the city, and offers one of the greatest views of Quito. Exploring the city is a good way to begin your acclimatization process!
Finally, we will sleep at Casa Hebling.
Pasochoa Hike (4.200 m / 13,776 ft) - Night in Quito
We’ll go for the first summit of a volcano!
After a short drive we will hike out into the countryside towards Pasochoa. This mountain is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last Ice Age. Perhaps one of the best things about this excursion is that Pasochoa is one of the few volcanoes where we may see condors!
In the evening, we will return for the night in Quito.
Rucu Pichincha Hike (4.690 m / 15,400 ft) - Night in Quito
Using the cable car we go as high as 4.000m / 13,200ft in a few minutes from where we start today´s hike. Pichincha is an excellent second acclimatization hike.
Rucu (Quichua for “Old”) is one of the three major peaks that make up the Pichincha massive. Quito is actually built on a shelf on the eastern side of this massif.
The hike is again straightforward and will take 4 to 5 hours (round trip).
After this hike we return to Quito for the night.
Cayambe Drive and Hike to the Hut (4.600 m / 15,088 ft) - Night at the Hut
We leave Quito at 08:30 am and drive towards the mountain. Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano. It is located about 68 km North East of Quito and is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the Equator directly passes. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. It is characterized by good climbing opportunities and interesting glaciers. With easy access from a comfortable hut, the glaciers of Cayambe offer an outstanding venue for our glacier school review. Huge crevasses, complex icefalls and seracs provide the ideal setting for learning ice climbing, crevasse rescue, and a variety of other basic skills.
Day 5 to 6:
Cayambe Glacier - Skills Review and Summit Attempt (5.780 m / 18,950 ft ) - Night at Refuge and Hacienda Guachala
During the glacier training on Cayambe on day 5 we cover the following subjects:
- Snow climbing, ice axe positioning, and moving in balance
- Self arrest techniques
- Ice climbing (with top rope) and crampon techniques
- Roped glacier travel
- Discussions on high altitude physiology and other related expeditionary topics
After the session we will return to the refuge for a hearty meal.
Additionally, on day 6 there will be a chance to attempt the summit of Cayambe. The route to the summit follows diverse glacier terrain to near the summit crater. A gaping bergschrund presents a challenge in route finding and an exciting extra obstacle. The ascent normally takes seven hours and the descent three hours.
Finally, after our summit day on Cayambe we descent to Hacienda Guachala for the night.
Drive to Cotopaxi Region
This is a rest day from mountain climbing used as a driving day to get to Cotopaxi National Park. We will stop for lunch in a restaurant along the way. Then, we will spend the night at Tambopaxi lodge, which is a great place with nice views of Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi hut (4.800 m / 15,700 ft) - Night at the Jose Rivas refuge
First, we will drive to 4.600 m. Then we will walk to the hut at (4.800 m / 15,700ft ft).
We will arrive to the hut by lunchtime and rest in the afternoon and evening, preparing for a night time climb. Cotopaxi is one of the most beautiful mountains of the Ecuadorian Andes. The whole national park is known for its rich wildlife and remoteness. Without a doubt Cotopaxi has the largest number of clear days amongst the high peaks of Ecuador.
Cotopaxi Summit Day (5.897m / 19.300 ft)
We will leave the hut at around 1am in the morning. First we will walk for 1 hour to the start of the glacier where we put our crampons on and use the rope. A large featureless glacier is then followed, weaving between large, obvious crevasses. The final section is a bit steeper. The summit gets us above the crater.
During the climb we will use ropes to protect the team from crevasses and also to provide protection on the steeper sections. The ascent normally takes between six to seven hours up and two hours for the descent.
Night at Chuquiragua Lodge.
Drive to Chimborazo region (3.500 m / 11,480 ft) - Night at Urbina Lodge
We will travel further down the “Valley of Volcanoes” and then move up onto the western flanks of Chimborazo where we will spend an evening in a Lodge. This lodge sits in grassy plains below Chimborazo and allows us to rest. Furthermore, we will be able to enjoy views of the Chimborazo altiplano and Carihuarirazo (also known as “Chimborazo’s Wife”). Finally, we will spend the night at a Lodge.
Chimborazo hike to camp (5.050m / 16,564 ft) - Night Camping
First, we will travel by jeep or van to the Plaza Roja (4,852m / 15,914 ft), located very close to the Carrel hut.
From there, it’ll take us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m/16,564ft ), where we’ll spend the afternoon preparing for our next day climb. You’ll be carrying equipment to the camp. Porters will help carrying the tents and water.
Chimborazo summit day (6.310m/ 20.696ft) - Night camping or at the hut
We will start the climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Ridge (5,450m / 17,876 ft.).
This variant of the normal Castle route, free from rock fall, makes it a much safer line to the top.
From the Camp it normally takes eight hours to get to the main Whymper summit, from where you will enjoy beautiful views of Ecuador. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes from two to three hours.
Finally, after we return to the camp, we’ll rest and descend to Plaza Roja.
Chimborazo summit day - Night in Quito
In case of bad weather, the climb can be delayed one more day.
Hostels, mountain huts and camping.
About the Guide
He has been climbing in Ecuador for more than 25 years and has been working as guide for 15 years. As a mountaineer, he has led many ascents in the Andes, the Alps, the Karakorum and the Himalayas. The eight expeditions he headed in Nepal include guiding on two 8000-meter peaks.
He is currently the mountain rescue coordinator of the Ecuadorian Association of Mountain guides (ASEGUIM), and has completed several courses with ENSA, the French National School of Guides. He is also the program director in Ecuador of the American Alpine Institute
During his cycling career he won seven times the National Road Racing Championship, and also a gold and silver medal in the Pan-American games of 1990, for which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honour for the highest merit in Sports.
If Javier Herrera is not available, he works with an excellent team of bilingual ASEGUIM/UIAGM guides.