These twin peaks of rock, ice and snow were once upon-a-time one massive volcano that shared the Páramo with neighbouring and still-intact Cotopaxi. Then one day a great magma explosion split the beast's breast in two, creating the Illiniza sisters: North and South. Snow-capped and dripping with icicles, the South Sister offers a variety of challenges for those wanting to test their mountaineering abilities. Here you can enjoy an interesting technical climb even if you don't have much time, providing you have some experience in ice and mixed climbing.
Day 1: Illiniza North (5.126m)
You start your tour early in the morning driving from Quito southward over the Pan American highway to Tarqui. From here you will continue towards the western Andean range to the village El Chaupi (ca. 3.350 m) which is about 7 km away. Finally you reach a parking area that is named after a shrine that has been build here: “La Virgen” (the virgin). Near La Virgen you can admire the Polylepis-forest (paper trees). These trees have a multi-layered bark and that is where their name comes from. From “La Virgen” (3.950 m) you will hike ca. 3 hours to the “Nuevos Horizontes” refuge at an altitude of ca. 4.650 meters. If you are in good shape and well acclimatized, you will start the way up to the north peak. You will reach the summit after another 2-3 hours. For the descent back to the refuge you will need ca. 1 hour. After an early dinner you will accommodate at the refuge. -/L/D
>Day 2: Illiniza Sur (5.263m)
In the early morning you will start the ascent to the peak of the “Illiniza-Sur” (5.265 m). Crossing rocks, you will reach in about 1 hour the glacier wall (one of the most beautiful in Ecuador) at the western base of Illiniza Sur. According to the conditions you will usually climb the normal route towards the right and then straight up to the summit. More experienced ice climbers might want to try the direct route if conditions permit. If conditions permit you will reach the summit after 5-6 hours. The view is breathtaking! You have the northern summit near you and on a clear day can see the huge glaciers of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. The way back to the refuge and on to the car will last another 5 hours. In the afternoon you return to Quito. B/L/-
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 290,- per person (Minimum 2 People)
USD 420,- per person (1 Person)
Services included in the price
Private transportation, qualified English speaking mountain guide for every 2 climbers, meals according to the itinerary, national park entrance fee, accommodation at the mountain refuge. For climbing: mountain boots, ice axe, crampons, harness, rope, ice screws, first aid kit.
Not included in the price
Sleeping bag, personal equipment, tips, travel insurance, mountain equipment: gaiters, warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves etc.
What to Bring
Sleeping bag, personal equipment, travel insurance, mountain equipment: gaiters, warm and waterproof clothes (Fleece and Gore-Tex), sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves, sun block, torch, hat, trekking shoes, warm and water–proof clothing, canteen, camera.
Please notethat steep ice walls and the high altitude complicate the ascent and therefore climbing experience in ice is necessary for this mountain. Ideally you do some acclimatization hikes and/or climbs before climbing Illiniza South, anyway a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.