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Climbing Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador

11-day program climbing the two highest mountains in Ecuador: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes, together with an IFMGA mountain guide.


11 Days

All year


This is an 11-day adventure to the Volcanoes Avenue in Ecuador.

I invite you to reach the summits of Cotopaxi (5897 m) and Chimbronazo (6310 m), two of the highest and most famous mountains in the country.

Our trip will start in Quito. Once there, we'll climb Pasochoa, Rucu Pichincha and Iliniza Norte mountains, to get a perfect acclimatization. According to my experience, this will increase our chances of success when we attempt Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.

Besides, we’ll also have the opportunity of visiting the cities of Quito and Baños.

For further details about this trip, you can find the complete itinerary below.

If you are planning an adventure in Cotopaxi and Chimbronazo volcanoes, please contact me. I'm an IFMGA mountain guide and will be glad to show you the most beautiful volcanoes in Ecuador! 

I also organice trips to other impressive volcanoes in my country, like Antisana Volcanoe and Illinza Sur.

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees


Day 1: Arrive to Quito

If you land in **Quito (2800 m)** in the morning, we will visit the Equator line and the Intiñan museum. Night at a hotel.

Day 2: Quito – Pasochoa

We’ll leave Quito early in the morning and drive southeast for about 2 hours through the Andean highlands until we get to the trail head (3300m). The hike goes through an amazing primary Andean forest, great for bird watching. We arrive to the summit of **Pasochoa** (4230 m). If the weather is good, we’ll have a panoramic view of snow capped mountains, such as **Antisana, Cayambe, Illinizas, Cotopaxi** and even **Chimborazo** far away to the south in clear days. The round hike will take us about 6 hours. Return to Quito by late afternoon. Night at a hotel. Includes breakfast and box lunch.

Day 3: Quito – Rucu Pichincha

**Rucu Pichincha** is one of the closest mountains from Quito and also one of the favorite peaks for acclimatization purposes. It towers up just above Quito, so it will take us 15 to 20 minutes to get to the parking lot by car (3300 m). From here we’ll ride on the cable car (one of the highest in the world) for another 15 to 20 minutes up to the trail head (4100 m). From this point, we’ll follow a long ridge which will take us to the base of the summit. After traversing north, we’ll continue gaining altitude by hiking on sandy terrain which will lead us to the top (4698 m). The total hiking time will be around 6 hours. Return to Quito by late afternoon. Night at a hotel. Includes breakfast and box lunch.

Day 4: Quito – Nuevos Horizontes Hut

We leave Quito in the morning and drive through the **Avenue of the Volcanoes** until getting to the village of ‘**El Chaupi’**. We’ll continue driving up until getting to ‘La Virgen parking lot’ (3900 m). Once there we’ll start around 3 to 4 hours hike up to the **‘Nuevos Horizontes Refuge’** (4750 m), where we’ll have something to eat and relax the rest of the afternoon. Dinner will be served by late afternoon. Night in the hut. Includes breakfast, box lunch and dinner.

Day 5: Hut – Illiniza Norte Summit - La estación

Our climbing day starts early in the morning. We’ll have a light breakfast, pack our climbing equipment and leave the refuge. We’ll continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks. The approaching to the top involves an easy 3 to 4 hour scrambling. Once at **Illiniza Norte summit (5126 m)** we’ll enjoy and admire the beautiful surroundings. It’ll take us around 7 hours round trip. Night at in the old Hacienda. Includes breakfast and box lunch.

Day 6: La Estacion – Cotopaxi Refuge

From the Hacienda we’ll drive south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes until getting to the **Cotopaxi National Park** entrance. From here we’ll drive east to the Cotopaxi parking lot (4500 m). Then, we’ll hike up for around an hour to the **Jose Ribas Refuge** (4800 m). In the afternoon we’ll head up to the glacier for ice practices and training. We’ll learn some basic techniques which will include how to handle climbing equipment (crampons, ice axe, rope, etc). We’ll go back to the Refuge for dinner and rest. Includes box lunch and dinner.

Day 7: Refuge – Cotopaxi Summit - Baños

Midnight will be our wake up time. The departure to the top of Cotopaxi (5897 m) will be around 01 AM, after having a light breakfast and getting 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 we’ll pack our belongings, have something to eat and go down to the parking lot, where our transportation will be ready to take us to Baños town (1800 m). Night at the hotel. Includes breakfast and box lunch.

Day 8: Rest day in Baños town

Rest day in the small town of Banos (1800 m); optional visit to waterfalls along the Pastaza River Canyon. Night at a hotel. Includes breakfast.

Day 9: Baños – Chimborazo Refuge

From Baños, we’ll drive southwest to the **Chimborazo’s Reserve** entrance for about 4 hours, until getting to the Hermanos Carrel refuge (4800 m). From here we’ll walk up for about an hour to the **Whimper’s Hut** (5000 m), where we’ll have dinner and get some rest until 23 PM. There will be an early light breakfast served just before getting ready with our gear and start heading up. Includes box lunch and dinner.

Day 10: Refuge – Chimborazo Summit - 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. We’ll get to the summit (6310 m) in the early hours, the perfect spot for resting and taking pictures of the beautiful surroundings. Then we’ll start our descending to the refuge; it will take us from 3 to 4 hours. Once in Whimper’s refuge we’ll pack our gear and go down to Hermanos Carrel refuge, where our transportation will be ready to drive back to Quito. Night at a hotel. Includes breakfast and box lunch.

Day 11: Flight back home.

Transfer from the hotel to the Airport. Includes breakfast.


About the guide

Guide profile image

-Edgar & Guides' team



Mountain Guide

UIAGM/IFMGA-ASEGUIM Mountain Guide from Ecuador.

I am a mountain guide, but also a passionate traveler, climber in rock and ice, and photographer. I spend my free time and holidays exploring new destinations, discovering new mountains and cultures.

I have more than 17 years of experience climbing mountains and volcanoes not only in Ecuador, but also in other South American countries such as Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, and in the Alps in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I also summited KhanTengri peak in the Himalayas, and Mt. McKinley in Alaska. This experiences prepared me to lead expeditions in challenging routes all around the world.

I studied 6 years of Tourism in the University, and followed ASEGUIM courses to become a mountain guide. I’ve also been evaluated by ENSA, and completed first aid courses in the Ecuadorian Red Cross.

I like guiding people from all around the world, and help them discover and enjoy the mountains, while reaching their objectives. I speak Spanish, English, German, Italian, and a bit of Russian.


Russian | Italian | German | English



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What people are saying about this trip



I did not guide with Fredy, I was passed off to another guide (who was IFMGA certified and great), just fyi, if this is something that is important to you. Accommodations are basic but good. I would add only that Chimborazo is a VERY difficult mountain with a ~10% success rate, so you really need to know what you are getting into. Do NOT rush acclimatization. You may consider doing Cotopaxi and then after choosing either Cayambe (same level as Cotopaxi) or Chimborazo, depending on how you feel.



All went perfect. Thanks!



I highly recommend Edgar and Segundo Parra as your guides in Ecuador. Experienced and goal oriented service coupled with a safety first approach that will adapt to all levels of mountaineering.

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