The Illiniza 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. The North Peak is the only 5000+ peak of Ecuador that has been climbed by Ecuadorian climbers first: Nicolas Martinez and Alejandro Villavicencio reached its summit in March 1912.
The Illinizas lay in the 1500/sq/km nature reserve “Reserva Ecologica Los Illinizas” in the western Cordillera of the Andes. Here you can enjoy an interesting non-technical climb that brings you over 5000m altitude – amazing views included!
Day 01:Illiniza North (5.126m)
You start your tour very 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, the hike back to the car will take another 5 hours. In the late afternoon you return to Quito. -/L/-
B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner
USD 150, - per person with minimum 2 people
USD 270,- with one person
Included in the Price:
Private transportation, qualified English speaking mountain guide for every 4 climbers, meals according to the itinerary, nature reserve entrance fee, For climbing: rope, first aid kit.
Not Included in the Price:
Personal equipment, tips, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves etc.
What to bring with you:
Personal equipment, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes (Fleece and Gore-Tex), sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves, sun block, hat, trekking shoes, canteen, and camera.
Please note Though the climb of Illiniza North is not very technical the high altitude complicates the ascent and some easy rock climbing is involved. Therefore a good physical condition is necessary for this hike. Ideally you do some acclimatization hikes before climbing Illiniza North as a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.