Join Javier, local ASEGUIM Mountain Guide, on this once-in-a-lifetime, 7-day expedition to the summit of Ecuador's most stunning volcano, Cotopaxi.
Private and Group
* Experience Hiking from the base of Cotopaxi to its summit.
* Gradual acclimatisation process
* Get to see the rural life of Ecuador during the hike.
* Exclusive approach route into Cotopaxi National Park
Join Javier, local ASEGUIM Mountain Guide, on this once-in-a-lifetime, 7-day expedition to the summit of Ecuador’s most stunning volcano, Cotopaxi.
Located within a National Park and surrounded by other smaller volcanoes, the towering Cotopaxi, with its seemingly perfect cone shape, stands at 5897m as the most emblematic of Ecuador’ peaks, second in height only to Chimborazo, but unrivalled in terms of aesthetic beauty.
On this amazing journey, instead of driving in and out and missing all of the other beautiful features and sights, like many people unfortunately do, we will be hiking in from the very beginning, which will allow us to enjoy and really experience all the breathtaking landscapes and feature this Park also has to offer.
To properly acclimatise for this endeavour we will start with the 4-day hike that leads us into the Park and, on our way, climb Pasochoa (4.200 m /13,776 ft). Once inside the Park we will continue our hike and climb up to the central summit of Rumiñahui (4.600 m / 15,088 ft). We will take the following day as a rest day and the day after we will continue on and reach the Jose Rivas Refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. This itinerary has proven to be very effective for acclimatisation and it provides the best chance to summit Cotopaxi in a short period, all whilst minimising the amount of driving time. For a more detailed description of the trip, please look at the itinerary below!
Don’t miss this chance to experience this memorable journey to the summit of one of the most famous Volcanoes on Earth! Request to book this trip now and I’ll be more than happy to safely and enjoyably guide you and your group to the top of Cotopaxi and back down, and ensure every aspect of this expedition is truly unforgettable.
If you’d like to discover and climb some of the other beautiful volcanoes in this area, please also check out this amazing trip I’m offering!
- Accommodation included
- Guiding fee
- Transport during the trip
- Permit and entrance fees
- Clean drinkable water
- Hot shower
- Ice axe
After a short drive of only one hour, we start hiking from the village of Santa Clara located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 2.750 m / 9,020 ft. The trek follows cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park. Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the “Virgen de la Piedra”, the Virgin of the Rock. The first day’s hike will take around 5 hours. When we get to the Hacienda the camp will already be set up. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.
Today we leave in the morning around 8 a.m. for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita. Pasochoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last ice age. If the weather permits, from the summit, we will be able to take a good look at the crater. Inside you will see the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean Forest with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees, located between 2.700 m / 8,856 ft and 4.200 m / 13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can normally see condors. We return to Santa Rita camp site for the night.
Today we hike towards the hacienda El Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see hummingbirds. El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Cotopaxi Park. Located at 3.600 m / 11,808 ft, El Porvenir is surrounded by four volcanoes: Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Here you will be able to enjoy your stay in a comfortable, functional and beautiful traditional Andean hacienda. The “casa de hacienda”, or farmhouse, is built with materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. If Porvenir is not available we will use Hacienda Los Mortiños
From Hacienda El Porvenir we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The rock on this mountain can be a bit loose underfoot, so we have to take care, but the views from the summit are really worth it. The volcano is located only 13 km North West of Cotopaxi and it is named after Atahualpa’s general, who was the last Inca Emperor. After the emperor was murdered, Rumiñahui led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua his name means “stone face”. We spend the night at Tambopaxi.
Today we do a gentle 2.5 hours hike to 5.000m on Cotopaxi to increase our acclimatisation, have lunch at the hut and drive down to Tambopaxi for the sencond night there, it is a beautiful hostel, located inside the Cotopaxi National Park. It is a great place to rest and acclimatise at the same time! It has excellent facilities such as good and clean showers, the luxury of warm water, and excellent food.
From Tambopaxi we drive the short distance to the car parking at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft in only 45 minutes. From here we hike for another 45 minutes to the Jose Rivas refuge at 4.800 m / 15,750 ft. After lunch, we provide a good glacier skills review. Also we will brief you about all the technical aspects of the ascent. After a couple of hours we return to the refuge for a hearty hot meal.
This is the day in which you will actually be climbing Cotopaxi. We leave the refuge around 1 a.m. for a six hours climb. From the hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes to the summit. Along the way however, complex crevasse patterns and snow bridge crossings over crevasses will make the climb very interesting. After passing through a heavily crevassed area, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 35-40 degree snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the crater rim of the World’s highest active volcano. At the top of Cotopaxi you can look inside the crater and see its sulphur fumaroles. The crater rim measures approximately 800 m / 2,600 ft in diameter. The view from the summit is indeed one of the most spectacular in Ecuador. Technically the normal route is not difficult, but special care has to be given to potential hidden crevasses. The descent usually takes around two hours.
Other gear: thermal base layer (top + bottom), fleece jacket, breathable windstopper outer shell, fleece pants, windstopper breathable pants, trekking boots, mittens/gloves, balaclava, wool beanie, Down or polar guard sleeping bag comfortable to minus 10 Celsius
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.
Hi. I cannot say enough that this trekking trip was really well run and organised . Great walking and accommodation in the Haciendas perfect. Our guide Pablo went out of his way to help with any problems and changes we made.. Information on Ecuador and nature there was nothing he did not know. When there was altitude problems he adapted the trek. A great and amazing guide!!!!!! The volcano walks nothing short of amazing., Big thankyou to Javier.. A great company...
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