Ecuador 4 volcanos beyond 5000 m

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Mont of the year: all year around
Duration: 17 days
Scheduled departure: see SCHEDULE TRIPS page or contact Avalco Travel
Trip code: SP12060
Country: ECUADOR
ski-mountaineering Ecuador volcanos

The 4 highest mountains in Ecuador are imposing volcanoes that offer pleasant and not difficult ascents in a particular natural environment. From the plateaus rich in flowers, colorful birds, wild horses, llamas and vicunas, you slowly climb to the frozen peaks from which you can admire the flight of the condors and the infinite wilderness  of the Amazon jungle.
In favorable conditions, these mountains are also doable on skis or snowboards: after an approach on foot of a few hours; the skiable vertical drop is in the range pf  800 – 1000 m mostly on highly crevassed  glaciers.
Chimborazo 6310 m is the maximum elevation in Ecuador. In ancient times it was considered the highest mountain on earth, and indeed it is, if we consider the distance of the peak from the center of the earth! As an alternative to the normal route from the south, we propose the ascent and descent along the north side, which is less frequented and more interesting in particular for skiers.
Cotopaxi 5897 m is the second highest elevation in the country, the most active volcano, and perhaps the most popular hike.  The ascent presents some passages of large crevasses and ice walls.
Cayambe 5790 m can offer, after a recent snowfall, wide and easy slopes for a nice descent on skis or snowboards.
Antisana 5758 m is an active volcano; less frequented perhaps due to the absence of huts. In good conditions it is the best (but challenging) choice for skiers of the four volcanoes.
We have studied a program of progressive intensity, to facilitate acclimatization, allowing  well deserved moments of relaxation between one ascent and the next.
The road transfers are carried out by private jeep and driver, as to quickly arrive at the departure points of the itineraries. In the mountains  we overnight in huts,  where available, or in tents.
The program can be customized, for example by aiming at other peaks, and/or adding tourist visits in the country.

– other mountains for climbing:  El Altar 5320 m, Illiniza Sur 5263 m e Norte 5116 m, Sangay 5230 m;
– other mountains for trekking: Tungurahua 5023 m, Pichincha 4776 m, Ruminahui 4722 m, Imbabura 4621 m;
– possible extensions including kayak or rafting at Tena, Baeza or Banos;
– tourist destinations: amazon jungle of  rio Napo,  Mindo forest  (for birdwatching), Cuenca, Galapagos islands.


Accomodation: hotel, hostaria, hacienda, mountain hut, tents.
Local transfers: van, and 4WD vehicle
Services included: hotel (double room with breakfast included) on days 1 and 2; otherwise accomodation in hacienda or hostaria or lodge in various locations (double or multiple rooms with breakfast included); on the moutains: overnight in huts or bivouac in tents (according to program) with all meals included; all local transfers (as per program) by car or van with driver; support of local guide all along the trip including the days on the mountain but excluding the summit ascent.
Optional services: flights; insurance; assistance of a local guide or IFMGA guide for thr summit ascents (including common climbing gear such as rope etc.); single room (when available); changes and extensions of the program
Special notes: This trip can take place all year around. However for ski-mountaineering the suggested months are november-december and may-june, in relation to the seasonal snow falls.

Photo credits:  [9]ASEGUIM


Day 1
Arrival  Quito. Transfer to Tumbaco and overnight in hotel.
Day 2
Free visit of Quito, purchases, check of equipment and gear.
Day 3
Transfer  (approximately 90 km northbound)  by WD vehicle to the reugio Ruales Oleas at 4650 m elevation,  on the south-west side of the Cayambe volcano.
Opzional: visit to the Laguna Mojanda nearby or to the pictoresque  Otavalo market (on saturday only).
Day 4
Acclimatization day with short ascent and descent of the Hermoso glacier. Overnight at the hut.
Day 5
Ascent to the  Cayambe summit 5790 m via the normal route and return to the hut. In the evening transfer to Papallacta, the most important  thermal resort of Ecuador. Dinner and overnight at a hostaria.
Day 6
Day free for enjoying  the hot springs of Papallacta, or various activities such as: kayak and rafting on the Quijos river,  mountain bike tour, visit  of Baeza.
Day 7
Transfer to  Pintag and  Laguna Santa Lucia 4350 m, on the west side of  volcano Antisana , where we set the camp (no huts available here).
Day 8
Ascent to the summit of Antisana 5758 m,  a partially acvtive volcano, by the complex west slopes. The exact route has to be decided on site, according thi the actual conditions of the glacier. Return to camp. In the afternoon, transfer to a lodge on the hills north of Cotopaxi.
Day 9
Transfer to  Pedregal and to the end of the gravel road at around 4600 m altitude. Short walk to the refugio José Ribas 4800 m.
Day 10
Acclimatization day with possible hikes nearby the hut or exploration to the glacier.
Day 11
Ascent of Cotopaxi 5897 m, a still active volcano, by the   Yanasacha  route on the north side.  The glacier has some tricky sections with large crevasses  and  short ice walls. Return  to the hut  and  transfer to Tanicuchì where we overnight at an hacienda.
Day 12
Transfer to Ambato and to the Carihauirazo hut at  4250 m elevation on the north side of  Chimborazo volcano.
Day 13
Hike to a small lake at 4760 m elevatiob and camp.
Day 14
Ascent to Chimborazo  summit 6268 m, and return to the hut.
Day 15
Reserev wheather day, or transfer to  Tanicuchì.
Day 16
Transfer to the airport for the return flights.

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Ecuador 4 volcanos beyond 5000 m
Trip code: SP12060

Key Definitions

Trip dates, Duration, Departure

The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations.
Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements.
If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information.
In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request

Challenge scoring

By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events


The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).


The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.

Service included and Prices

We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only.
Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking.
Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates.
Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.