Volcano Cotopaxi rises majestically above the Andean cordillera and is the highest active volcano in the world. It’s perfect coned form has given it international fame as well as numerous entries in photgraphic publications. Reaching the top of this volcano is a must-do for every mountaineer or the outdoors inclined, with spectacular views and a gaping crater to peer in, it is quite a unique experience. Technically it is not a difficult mountain, but being in good physical condition is a basic requirement for a successful climb. With the early morning sun on a clear day, the Avenue of the Volcanoes opens up, and with good visibility all of Ecuador’s snow capped peaks can be viewed. A quick glance into the 800m diameter crater, from which a gentle sulphur steam flows, and you can easily imagine how powerful are the forces of nature to create such immense landscapes.
Day 01: Quito– Cotopaxi National Park.
In the morning you depart from Quito on the Pan-American Highway south, to El Chasqui and from there on to the Cotopaxi National Park. You will make a short stop at the small Museum of Nature to learn about the flora and fauna of the region before you continue to the high plateau to the lagoon Limpiopungo on a height of 3.800 at the foothills of 4.712m high extinct volcano peak Rumiñahui. Here you will have a spectacular view on the giant volcano cone Cotopaxi. You continue over the plateau uphill to the parking lot at a height of 4.600m. Driving over the plateau and foothills uphill you will reach the parking area at a height of 4.600m. From here it goes for about 30 minutes by foot ca. 200m. up to the Jose-Ribas-hut, a high mountain refuge at approximately 4.800m height. After lunch we will trek in about 20 minutes to the glaciers which lie on the same height as the refuge. We will spend the afternoon with some practices in the glaciers preparation for tomorrow's climb. You stay at the Jose-Ribas-refuge (dormitory bunks) where you will have dinner and go to bed early. -/L/D
02. Day: Cotopaxi climb – Quito
After a small breakfast at midnight the climb to the top begins. You hike up the scree slope from the hut to the glacier at about 5000m where you put your crampons on. From here the route has varied in the last years and will depend on the conditions. In general you climb up in a wide curve to the right (west) before climbing up quite straight to Yanasacha (black rock) and then steep snow slopes up to the summit. When the weather conditions and the physical health (acclimatization!) permit, you will reach the peak (5.897m) in ca. 6-7 hours! With good weather you can enjoy breath-taking panoramic views and of course photograph all peaks of the snow-covered volcanoes of the Ecuadorian Andes. After the descend of ca. 3 hours back to the refuge and on to the parking area you will drive back to Quito which you will reach in the afternoon. 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 460,- per person (1 Person)
Services included in the price
Private 4WD transportation, one qualified mountain guide for every 2 climbers (English/Spanish speaking), meals as mentioned above (B: breakfast; L: lunch; D: dinner), overnight stay at the mountain refuge. For climbing: mountain boots, ice axe, crampons, harness, rope, entrance into the national park.
Not included in the price
Personal equipment, sleeping bag, tips, mountain equipment: gaiters, warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves etc
What to Bring
Sleeping bag, sun glasses, sun block, rain wear, warm clothes, torch, hat, trekking shoes, warm clothing, canteen, camera, headlamp, batteries etc.
Please note that though the Cotopaxi is technically not difficult long slopes have to be climbed in high altitude. Therefore you need to be in good physical shape and a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.