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Mountaineering, Cayambe, Ecuador, 6-day Introductory course

Cayambe, Ecuador

Join Jaime, an IFMGA certified guide, on this mountaineering introductory course in Cayambe, Ecuador. And follow him to the summit of this majestic volcano.



6 Days

All year




  • Learn all the basics for mountaineering with an expert guide
  • Practice constantly as you explore Ecuador’s famous volcano, Cayambe
  • Reach the summit of Cayambe and put to test all your new acquired skills


There is no similar feeling than the one experienced when conquering a summit. However, reaching the top of a mountain is not an easy endeavor. So allow me to be your guide on this mountaineering introductory course in Cayambe. And welcome you into the magical world of mountaineering.

Over a period of 6 days, we will be learning and practicing everything you need to know for a successful expedition. We’ll cover different techniques and skills, from rock to ice climbing, and from the use of the equipment to having a safe ascent. For instance, some of the things we will learn are:

  • Basic, theoretical and practical mountaineering notions

  • How to read a map

  • Reading the weather

  • Mountain hygiene

  • Movements on rock, snow and ice

  • Crevasse safety and rescue procedures

  • Glacier travel techniques

  • How to tie a knot and use a snow anchor

  • Techniques for sport climbing

  • Rope team

  • The use of ice axes, crampons and screws

  • Resistance to fatigue, hunger and cold

Moreover, our classroom will be one of the most beautiful and exciting places in Ecuador, the Cayambe Volcano. So, during our course, not only will we be constantly practicing each one of our lessons, we’ll also get the chance to explore this magnificent place.

What’s more, our final test will be climbing Cayambe itself. Hence, you’ll get the opportunity to stand at the top of this colossal volcano, while using all the techniques we learnt through out our course. 

So let me guide on this mountaineering adventure. And share with you my passion for this marvellous sport in one of the most dazzling places on Earth. Request to book this trip and stand with me at the top of Cayambe.

Looking for a more challenging ascent? Test your skills and join this 13-day mountaineering trip from Quito to Chimborazo.

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Lift tickets

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

- Mountain guide expenses

Price details

Pick up on the first day and drop off on the last day can be arranged according to your accommodation within Quito.

day 1: rock climbing techniques in Quito, artificial wall / boulder, rope techniques etc. other theory, night in hotel Vieja Cuba, catering: - / LB / -

day 2: Rucu Pichincha via Paso de la Muerte, technique for ridges, night in hotel Vieja Cuba, catering: B / LB / -

day 3: Iliniza Norte - rope techniques, weather, maps, training out in the field, night in Ilinizas Lodge, catering: B / LB / D

day 4: glacier training Cayambe, night refuge, catering: B / LB / D

day 5 & 6: glacier training and Cayambe summit, night refuge, catering day 5: B / LB / D, day 6: B / - / -

return to Quito end of service


Meeting point

Your hotel

About the guide

Certified IFMGA - ASEGUIM Mountain Guide, National guide, Rescue Team Member GRA & Lawyer.

As passionate mountaineer and with almost 20 years of guiding experience, I worked with clients from all over the world. Each tour is a unique experience and I will pleased to guide you to the marvellous summits of Ecuador and South America. My journeys have allowed me to guide and summit several mountains in Peru, like Alpamayo, Chopicalqui & Tocllaraju amongst others and to experience some mountain climbing in the Alps of Austria and Italy.

I’m based in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador’s famous piece of heaven, where we run together with my Austrian girlfriend a small tour operator and a consulting office.

Continuous improvement and keeping up with the State of the Art is our mission:in 2017, I completed the IFMGA certification and, recently, in 2018, I received the National guide certification from the ministry of Tourism.

President of Baños Trail Running Club, I run every week with my team. My achievement of 2018 : Finishing 1st of my category for the 100km Ruco Ultra Trail.

I’m looking forward to exploring our beautiful mountains together with you.


German | French | English




Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador

What people are saying about Jaime Vargas

Michael Caffrey


December, 2022

My wife and I had an exceptionally fine experience on our climb. We initially had planned the Cotopaxi trip, however volcanic activity pre-empted that and we shifted to Cayambe, Ecuador's third highest peak. Our guide was Jose Salazar and from the inquiry and planning stages we had extremely attentive and responsive service from Elisabeth Gschosser at the guiding service. No question was left unanswered. I have worked with many guiding firms- RMI, EMS, Exum to name several and Jose was by far the best guide I have worked with. IFMGA Certified, multi-lingual, a man of letters, extremely patient, an absolute gentleman, and most importantly Jose focused on us- his clients. His goal was not to run up the mountain at his speed so that the next group or clients can be ushered through the climb as in a "cattle-call". Rather, he initiated a pace that he knew would work for clients out age (63 and 54) who had never been above 14,440' prior to coming to Ecuador. He was focused on safety, technique, pace, resting, hydrating and nourishment- and of course how his clients were performing and feeling. We learned much about ourselves and our capabilities on Cayambe- but most of all we learned what a professional mountain guide was. I intend to return to Ecuador and it will be on Jose's rope that I will be climbing. A truly wonderful experience- thanks to all at Explore-Share and Andean Summit Adventure.

Travis Davis


December, 2022

My Guide Paul did a fantastic job and I had a great time on our Hikes. Unfortunately Cotopaxi was closed, but we were able to adjust and climb Cayambe instead, which was still a challenging and rewarding hike. Overall I had a great time. Thank you

Nobuo Yamazaki


November, 2022

Mr. Jaime was very experienced guide. He correctly evaluated my weak points during the first acclimatization climb. Modified climb plan from 2nd day, during climb, he guided to cover those weak points. It was impressive that he accurately assumed every course time. On the other hand, he always encouraged me to continue moving, without him I think it was not possible to reach summit of Iliniza Norte. Unfortunately, we couldn't get summit of Cayambe (substitution of closed Cotopaxi for possible eruption) due to risk of possible avalanche, however it would be better for me to have another chance to visit Ecuador more prepared. I definitely recommend. Explore-Share service was very effective, easy to settle with credit card.

Bogdan Damian


September, 2022

This trip to the summit was awesome. Jaime is a high prefessional guide with a lot of experience and good motivation skills. It was hard but I would do it again. I already thinking abaout the Chimborazo. In 2 years i will be back, so be ready for the Chimborazo, Jaime. :) Thank you!

Oliver Bruessow


September, 2022

Jaime is a fantastic and very experienced guide, the tour was very well organized: We were picked up in Quito and slept at Tampopaxi lodge for one night, a beautiful place. On the first day we did an acclimatisation hike which was quite rewarding. Then we drove/hiked up to the Cotopaxi refuge and started our ascent at midnight. Unfortunately we didn't make the summit due to the winds and our headlights died. The whole trip was still very interesting and definitely a great experience. Jaime and Elizabeth provided us with all the information we needed for the trip, helped with the gear and ensured a safe hike. Jaimewas very strikt with the safety rules. If we go for another hike on Cotopaxi we would definitely choose Jaime and the team again. Thanks so much for the great days.

Øystein Sagosen


July, 2022

The trip was great and our guide Jaime was very professional and got us safely to the peak and back again. Really was a great experience. The only thing that could have been better was the information before the trip. With so many platforms to communicate (email, explore-share chatting system, WhatsApp with several different agents) it was hard to keep track of where I should reply and who I should be asking questions. I also missed information on recommendations for acclimatisation before the trip. Luckily we read up on it ourselves and prepared accordingly.

Blake Eden


July, 2022

This was wonderful! Jaime did a great job and everything leading up to the trip (communication, etc.) was great. Thank you so much!

Omar Saade


May, 2022

It was an incredible experience. Jaime is an extremely professional and knowledgeable guide.

Justin Johns


April, 2022

Great guide and experience! Highly recommend!

Keith Cockrum


April, 2022

Jaime is experienced guide and went the extra mile to make sure I had all the right equipment to climb.

Andrew Brown


March, 2022

Jaime may be one of the most kind and capable human beings we’ve ever met. He let us know exactly what we needed to do to be safe on our summit, while also making it a fun and exciting experience. We were not as fit and experienced as we should have been, and Jaime made sure to not push us past any limits. We had an amazing time (even got engaged at the summit!). Coordination from Elisabeth beforehand was also clear and top-notch. An amazing trip that will forever be in our memories!

Mitchell Smith


February, 2022

Jaime was a fantastic guide and I had for both the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo expeditions. Very knowledgable and you never feel too out of it when you're with him. He was consistent on checking if I was doing okay which I really appreciated. Eliz, who I worked with for coordination, was also great. Super on top of it on making sure things ran smoothly. They both were quick to ensure I had the proper gear to take on these summits too. Highly recommend.

Mitchell Smith


February, 2022

Jaime was a fantastic guide and I had for both the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo expeditions. Very knowledgable and you never feel too out of it when you're with him. He was consistent on checking if I was doing okay which I really appreciated. Eliz, who I worked with for coordination, was also great. Super on top of it on making sure things ran smoothly. They both were quick to ensure I had the proper gear to take on these summits too. Highly recommend.

Richard Steiner


February, 2022

Fantastic climbs, fantastic guide (Jaime Vargas), and fantadtic crew at Andean Summit Adventures!

Alexey Volegov


November, 2021

It was amazing trip, Jaime is professional climber and the person who safety guide us to the top of Cotopaxi and back.

Matthew Fleischman


March, 2021

Super fun! Jamie is awesome. The experience was way more than I expected.

Paul Ludgate


December, 2020

Fantastic people ! They were all friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable . I recommend them without reservation

Maxwell Gregory


December, 2020

Jaime was an awesome guide! Everything was taken care of, he was very aware about going at the best pace for me, and did everything possible to ensure a successful and safe summit.

Sarah Hill


November, 2020

We summited Cotopaxi with Jamie Vargas as our guide. It was an unbelievable and perfect experience. Jamie was very knowledgeable, skilled, and personable. He shared just enough information with us for each part of the trip for us to be prepared but not too overwhelmed. It was very easy to communicate with our guide and the company before the trip. The food was really nice and the whole experience staying at the refuge and meeting other climbers and guides. We were very confident in Jamie’s skills and ability to keep us safe. His saying “never give up!” was very motivating for our successful summit. The gear was all very nice and up to date, we were given every tool we needed. I felt every emotion during this day from excitement, to fear, to fatigue, to gratitude, I cried very much at the summit because it was so beautiful and it was such a big accomplishment for myself and my husband. Overall this experience was our favorite for our time in Ecuador and even one of my favorites of my whole life! Highly recommend Jamie with Andean summit adventure. Worth every dollar as an investment for an experience of a lifetime!

Philippe Coopmans


December, 2019

I found it pretty expensive to have a private guide. The climb was only 8 hours in total and costs me €570,-. Well, that’s the only complain i have. The service all over was great. Jaime was not my guide so i can rate him, it was Juan of course. He was an ok guide, sometimes a bit hurry up. And next time it would be good to get some more explanations about the dangers of the glacier. I’ve spoken to some real mountaineers and found out there were far more dangers then i realized when climbing the cotopaxi. Maybe something for you guys to consider next time. Best regards, philippe coopmans

Nora Hertig


November, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.



May, 2019

Amazing experience. Wonderful guide Diego. Can’t wait to get back and summit another volcano.

jw and sharlene


May, 2019

we had a great time with the guide,  knows his buissnis , he took wonderfull shots from us at tungurahua during the climb. im sure he would have made great pics aswell during the cotopaxi climb,  very experienced guide indeed, and a friendly man with nice girlfriend elisabeth who went with us to tungurahua refugio,   and he can cook



January, 2019

Jaime was absolutely amazing. He always made sure that safety is the priority, even when I was tired and had problems with altitude. I'd climb any mountain with him!

Tyler Long


January, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Marcel Welte


November, 2018

I climbed Tungurahua together with Jaime in November as a preparation for successful attempts to climb both Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. The trip was perfectly organized by Elisabeth and Jaime did a great job as a guide. I would absolutely recommend Andean Summit Adventure and I hope that I can do some further tours in Ecuador in the future with them!

Tim Edinger


June, 2018

I had an excellent experience with Andean Summit Adventure during my recent climb of Volcano Cotopaxi. Elisabeth did a tremendous job coordinating all of the logistics details for my trip while I was still in the United States. Jaime Vargas, my guide, provided a first-rate, safe, and excellent experience during the climb itself. I was completely happy with the support that Andean Summit Adventure provided me and I highly recommend them as a tour/guide service for outings in South America.


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