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7-day Cotopaxi “Trek & Climb” expedition near Quito, Ecuador

Cotopaxi Volcano
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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

Andes

7 Days

All year

Fit

Beginner


Highlights

  • 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

Description

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!

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Hike to Hacienda Santa Rita - 3.280 m / 10,758 ft

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.

Day 2: Hike to Pasochoa - 4.200 m / 13,776 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.

Day 3: Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir - 3.600 m / 11,808 ft or Los Mortiños

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

Day 4: Central Summit of Rumiñahui - 4.600 m / 15,088 ft

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.

Day 5: Hike to the hut and to the Glacier - 5.000 m / 16,400 ft

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.

Day 6: Cotopaxi Refuge - 4.800 m / 15,750 ft

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.

Day 7: Cotopaxi Summit - 5.897 m / 19,300 ft - Return to Quito 

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.

 

Details

More info

Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


Equipment you will need to bring

Sunglasses

Watter bottle

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


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.

Languages

English

Certificates

ASEGUIM

Residence

Quito, Ecuador


Deal opportunities

Join an existing group and pay much less

Nov. 06, 2022 - Nov. 12, 2022

USD 1392 per traveller

Déc. 25, 2022 - Déc. 31, 2022

USD 1392 per traveller


What people are saying about this trip

Gabriel Mardale

5.00

March, 2022

The trip was simply great in all aspects! I will return for more

Eliotte Wong

5.00

January, 2022

Great trip. Summiting Cotopaxi was intense but gave us the most stunning sunrise I've ever seen in my life. The acclimation program was well thought out and the hikes were beautiful. Our guide was very knowledgeable and organized. I had a wonderful time. Bring heavy sunscreen (at least SPF 50 or better yet, 70). Also, train. I'm relatively fit--I run and climb regularly--but I wish I had done more specific training for this trip.

John Cicero

5.00

December, 2021

This was a fantastic trip from beginning to end. Javier, I especially appreciate how well Javier took care of my daughter's (gluten free) dietary restriction, and that he arranged to take my daughter and I for the covid tests required for our return to the U.S. at the end of our trip. The entire team of guides were all knowledgeable, professional, personable and highly attentive to the group's needs. I appreciate how well thought out the itinerary was planned. The daily hikes along the Avenue of the Volcanoes increased in elevation every day in order to acclimate to the higher altitude, giving the best chance of success in reaching the summit of Cotopaxi-the main event-at the end of the week. Cotopaxi is a VERY tough hike, unlike anything that I've ever done before and certainly outside my comfort zone Again, simply a fantastic trip from beginning to end.

Baara Washishi

5.00

November, 2021

Absolutely Incredible trip!! Couldn't recommend enough. Amazing terrains, hikes, food, people and guides! Such good value for money also. Cotopaxi summit day was the most challenging but worth it!

Gerald Tien Pan Loo

5.00

December, 2020

Javier delivered an outstanding expedition from end to end. Everything was seamlessly organised - from transfers between haciendas/campsites to equipment hiring. Pace of the acclimatisation programme was just right, with rest days in between the summit attempts on Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Cotopaxi spent in beautiful accommodation with great food throughout. The other guides Pablo and Marco were exceptional: personable and professional - we felt very safe in their hands.


Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 2475 Each

Group of 2

USD 1392 Each

Group of 3

USD 1392 Each

Group of 4

USD 1392 Each

Group of 5

USD 1392 Each

Group of 6

USD 1392 Each

Group of 7

USD 1392 Each

Group of 8

USD 1392 Each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

- Clean drinkable water

- Hot shower

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Snacks

- Rope

- Harness

- Crampons

- Ice axe




 

 

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