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Ecuador Volcano Expeditions
Overview | Cotopaxi Express | Cayambe & Cotopaxi | Chimborazo Extension

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Climbing Ecuador's Volcanoes: Cayambe, Cotopaxi, & Chimborazo

Ecuador is one of the world's most varied countries. From the Pacific, the land rises to the high central region--"The Avenue of the Volcanoes"--before dramatically dropping off into the Amazon Basin. Beginning in Quito, we follow a gradual acclimitization schedule that allows us to visit cultural sites, teach and review climbing techniques, and recover between climbs. Whether you are doing the Cotopaxi Express Trip or the 15 day Volcano Climbing Expedition, the emphasis is on developing the skills and experience required to climb high altitude mountains safely and successfully.

The peaks of Cotopaxi (19,348 ft.), Chimborazo (20,703 ft.) and Cayambe (18,997 ft.) are unsurpassed for acquiring high altitude climbing experience in a wonderful country. The culture - and the climbing - can't be beat. Perfect for the climber who is ready to bring basic mountaineering skills into the high-altitude arena. Our expeditions offer very favorable client-to-guide ratios, because we feel this increases our chances for success on each peak, and makes for a better overall experience. Our guides are highly experienced at organizing and running our trips in South America, and we utilize unparalleled local logistics to ensure that our trips run flawlessly.

A good mix of culture and climbing can be found on all of our Ecuador Volcanoes Expeditions. The physically strenuous climbing days are mixed with peaceful rest days in unique villages and towns. Rest and acclimitization day activities include visiting local artisan markets, soaking in mineral hot springs, lodging and dining in historic haciendas, and visiting churches, plazas, and museums. Members should have prior basic mountaineering experience and need to be in excellent physical shape, however, no previous glacier experience is required as we introduce and practice these skills before each ascent.

2012/2013 Offerings

Cotopaxi Express w/Chimborazo Extension Option (9 - 12 days)
If climbing to the top of Ecuador's most recognized peak has always been your goal, then this is the trip for you. A 9 day itinerary allows for plenty of acclimatization, but doesn't blow all your vacation time for the year. We also climb Illiniza Norte in preparation for the ascent of Cotopaxi.

Cayambe & Cotopaxi w/Chimborazo Extension Option (12 - 15 days)
This expedition tackles the 3 most prominent volcanoes in Ecuador and allows for the best chance for success on the mighty Chimborazo. Our most popular trip is unique for the variety of areas we visit and the quality climbs we undertake. The ascent of Cayambe is not to be missed!

*If our scheduled climbs do not fit your needs, we can also schedule private dates for groups of 2 or more.

The Mountains

Chimborazo - At 20,703 feet this is Ecuador's highest peak. It provides an ideal objective for climbers to test their skills and stamina on a 6000-meter peak. From the Whymper Hut (16,400 ft.), the standard route up the western flank makes a gradual ascent (30-35 degree slopes) up a glacial ramp to gain the long summit ridge. The technical challenges involve negotiating crevasses, a couple of short 40 degree headwalls (100-300 ft.), and sustained travel on firm glacial snow for more than 4000 feet! We depart in the middle of the night, ensuring that our 12-14 hour roundtrip is completed before the intense equatorial sunlights softens the glaciers.

Cotopaxi- This 19,348 foot peak is located in Cotopaxi National Park, an area rich with alpine lakes, pine forests, and abundant wildlife. Isolated high above the stark and desolate paramo landscape, Cotopaxi's striking cone-like symmetry is truly awe-inspiring. From the hut (15,750 ft.) we ascend a moraine to gain moderate glacier slopes to the summit. Along the way, however, complex crevasse patterns and snowbridge crossings over deep crevasses keep the climb interesting and provide impressive photo opportunities of amazing ice formations. After passing through a heavily crevassed area midway through the climb, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 35-40 degree snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the crater rim of the world's highest active volcano.

Cayambe - Interesting glacier travel and unspoiled beauty characterize the climbing on this beautiful 18,997 ft. mountain, the third highest in the country. With easy access from an uncrowded and well kept hut, the glaciers of Cayambe offer an outstanding venue for our Mountaineering School. A dry glacier with crevasses and varied snow and ice slopes provides an ideal site for learning glacier travel, crevasse rescue, snow and ice climbing, and other fundamental skills. The ascent of Cayambe weaves through broken glacier terrain to a point near the summit crater where oftentimes a gaping bergschrund provides an exciting climax to the climb.


2012/2013 Schedule & Costs

November - February

*Private dates available upon request

Duration: 9 - 15 days
Cost: Varies
Client-to-Guide Ratio: 3:1
Capacity: 6 climbers 2 guides
Trip Difficulty: Trip DifficultyTrip Difficulty
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