The Altar volcano (5.320 m) located in the Sangay National Park, is an extinct volcano shaped like a horseshoe after an immense eruption. The volcano is open on one side, its very sharp peaks reaching high up into the sky on the other-a truly amazing scene! The vertical walls of the volcano are covered with glaciers which hang from them. The wild and untouched nature around the Altar volcano is one of the most impressive regions for trekking in Ecuador. The volcano is situated about 30 km east of Riobamba, ca. 170km south from Quito. The highest peak, El Obispo (the bishop) has been climbed the first time in 1963 by an Italian expedition led by Marino Tremonti. Due to its technically difficult ascent it was the last unclimbed 5000+ mountain in Ecuador and until today has been conquered only very few times. Therefore please understand that we kindly ask you to send us a list of the mountains you climbed in the last years in order to make sure you are an experienced climber in rock as well as ice.
Day 1: Quito - Hacienda Releche
You leave Quito early in the morning and travel south along the Panamerican highway through the “Avenue of the Volvanoes” to Riobamba. If the weather permits you have already some good views on the huge Altar massif along the way. After Lunch you continue further southeast where you follow a country road to the Hacienda Releche (3080 m). You spend the night here and will be able to enjoy your dinner and the cosy fireplace that the Hacienda offers. -/L/D
Day 2: Hacienda Releche – base camp
After a good breakfast you will be prepared to start your hike uphill to the Altar volcano. On your way you will pass fields and different vegetation types of the paramo (Andean highlands) until you reach the Collanes-valley. You cross the valley and the river of the name and climb the ridge to the south, the Gampala ridge. Descending the ridge you reach the Mandur Lagoon from where you hike up the Negra Paccha Ridge to the Italian Camp, where you will set up your base camp at ca. 4600m altitude. With some luck you can see condors or hawks gliding through the sky on your way. B/L/D
Day 3-5: Preparations – Altar climb
These days serve you to prepare the ascent and climb the Obispo Peak. According to the conditions you will follow the Italian route or the Calvario route (Calvary route) and it might be necessary to use one day to fix ropes in the upper part of the glacier. The overwhelming beauty of the Altar volcano with its glittery ice top which gives a wonderful contrast to the deep green surrounding area will be a well earned reward for all your efforts. As this mountain is known for fast changing climate, a bivouac may be necessary – please bring the according equipment. During these days your porters will stay in the base camp, keep contact with the climbers via radios and await you with a hot tea and a good meal when you come back to the camp. B/L/D
Day 6: Base camp – Riobamba - Quito
After breakfast you break camp and start your hike back to the hacienda which you reach after ca. 6 – 7 hours. Here your transport already awaits you to bring you back to civilization to Riobamba and on the Panamerican highway back north to Quito which you will reach in the night. If you prefer to stay this day in a place with hot thermal baths we can also bring you to Baños with no additional costs – hotel not included. B/L/D
B= breakfast; L= Lunch; D= Dinner
Note: The itinerary of the adventure tour can be changed by the guide due to security reasons (climate, conditions etc) as well as by the national park administration due to changing national park rules. Nevertheless the security and the interest of the participants will always have first priority.
USD 1596,- per person (Minimum 4 People)
USD 1945,- per person (Minimum 2 People)
USD 3385,- per person (1 Person)
Services included in the price
Private transportation, qualified English speaking mountain guide(s), meals according to the itinerary, collective camp equipment 1 or 2-pers. tents, foam pad, kitchen gear etc., cook, porters, national park entrance fee, 1 night lodging in hacienda, radios for the communication between the climbers and the camp.
Not included in the price
International flight, accommodation and food supply in Quito, personal equipment, tips, and travel insurance.
What to Bring
Sleeping bag, sunglasses, sun block, rainwear, torch, hat, Trekking shoes, warm clothing, canteen, camera and film (100 ASA), and complete personal climbing equipment including bivouac, ice screws and ice axe.
Please note that steep ice walls, loose rocks, fast changing climatic conditions and the high altitude complicate the ascent and therefore climbing experience in rock as well as ice is absolutely necessary for this mountain. Please send a report about your last climbs in order to verify your skills, thank you. Ideally you do some acclimatization hikes and/or climbs before climbing Altar, anyway a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.