Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador – 14 days – USD 3300
(You can choose to climb only Cotopaxi for USD 2800)
NEXT EXPEDITION: 03 March 2023
Our acclimatisation plan is as follows: Pasochoa (4200m), Corazón (4788m), Iliniza Norte (5126m), Cotopaxi (5897m) and Chimborazo (6310m)
Ecuador is one of the most beautiful Andean countries, full of volcanoes, many of which are active and a very interesting cultural and historical scene.
In this itinerary we managed in a short time to make five ascents to mountains above 4000 meters including the highest mountain in Ecuador, Mt Chimborazo. This is an exhilarating experience in mountaineering, carried out in some of the most beautiful mountains in South America.
Cotopaxi is one of the most impressive active volcanoes in the world, perfectly cone shaped and fumaroles venting gases from its huge crater on the summit. Chimborazo was the first 6000 meter peak to be climbed in the Andes in 1880, it was once considered the highest mountain in the world by Alexander Von Humboldt, who made the first attempt.
Despite these mountains being considered easy, this expedition requires experience and excellent physical preparation. As a way to prevent the risk of infection with Coronavirus, we chose to stay in the small town of Machachi, about 60 km south of Quito. There we will be collected at the hotel, leaving only to climb the mountains and having all meals on site.
Requirements to join this expedition are:
Cotopaxi and Chimborazo – 14 days
Day 1 – Arrival to Quito and drive to Machachi
We will pick you up at Quito airport and go directly to a mountain hostel in Machachi, 75 km away from the airport. In the evening we will have dinner together. There you will meet the guides and the other expedition members. Included: Transfer from airport to Machachi, Hotel and dinner
Day 2 – Machachi – Trek to Mt. Pasochoa (4200m) – Night in Machachi
We will leave Machachi around 8am. Our private car will take us to the base of Mt Pasochoa, we will walk through an andean primary forest where we will be able to observe various types of birds such as hummingbirds and if we’re lucky, condors. It might take around 4 hours to reach the summit. With clear weather you can see part of the crater and also the surrounding mountains: Cotopaxi, Antisana, Ilinizas. The descent will take just over 1 hour and then we will go back to Machachi. Included: Breakfast, snack, transport and hotel.
Day 3 – Machachi – Climbing Mt. Corazón (4788m) – Night in Machachi
We will leave Machachi at 7am and go west, for approximately 30 km using our private transport. Then, we will arrive at the base of the old volcano “Corazón” (which means heart in spanish). This will take us about 5 hours. The hike starts in pastures and then through rocks. If weather is good you will be able to see the Machachi valley, the city of Quito, Cotopaxi, Ilinizas and also part of the Ecuadorian coast. Once on the summit, we will eat lunch. After taking many photos we will go back to our car. Included: Breakfast, snack, transport, guides and hotel.
Day 4 – Machachi – Ilinizas Hut (4.750m)
We will leave Machachi (3000m) in the morning (about 10am) and reach the village of El Chaupi. We will continue until we reach “La Virgen” parking lot (3900m). Once there, we will start a 3-hour hike to “Nuevos Horizontes” Hut (4750m) where we will have lunch and rest. Included: Breakfast, transport, snack at the hut, dinner, night in shared rooms at mountain hut, mules to take duffels bags up to the hut.
Day 5 – Climbing Iliniza Norte (5126m) – Night in Machachi
Our climbing day starts 5am. After having a light breakfast and packing our climbing equipment, we’ll leave the hut an hour later. We will continue the climb towards the col between the two peaks and then summit Iliniza Norte (5126m). The climb takes about 3 hours. Once on the summit, we will enjoy beautiful landscape. The descent takes about 2 hours. We will eat and drink, pack our bags to go down to La Virgen parking lot again, then return to Machachi. Included: Breakfast, snack, transportation and hotel.
Day 6 – Machachi – Laguna Quilotoa (3914m) – Night in Machachi
After the effort the previous day, a good rest is welcome. We will visit the Quilotoa lagoon, which is inside the crater of an ancient volcano. We will start our journey in the morning towards south, we will pass through the city of Latacunga and then go west, where we will pass through cities like Pujili, Sumbahua, Tigua (the latter is very famous for its Tigua paintings). Upon arriving at the Quilotoa Lagoon, we will spend about 4 hours admiring the unique landscapes. We will be able to observe and take many photos of the edge of this crater. The descent into the crater will take just under 1 hour, in this place we will be able to take a boat trip and admire its waters that produce bubbles. In the afternoon we will return to Machachi. Included: Breakfast, transportation, cultural guide, lunch in Quilotoa and hotel.
Day 7 – Machachi – Cotopaxi Hut (4800m)
We will leave Machachi after lunch and follow a gravel road reaching the city of Pedregal. From about 4500m we will start walking and reach the José Rivas Hut (4800m) we will rest and have hot drinks. In the afternoon we will practice glacier and snow walking techniques in one of the nearby glaciers. Back to Refugio before 6pm we will have dinner and then rest until midnight. Included: Breakfast, lunch, transport, Usage of Cotopaxi hut and high mountain guides.
Day 8 – Cotopaxi Hut – Summit of Cotopaxi (5897m) – Return to Machachi
We will wake up at midnight with all our climbing equipment ready. A nutritious breakfast awaits us! Around 1 am we will start our climb to reach the summit. It will take 6 to 8 hours depending on the physical condition of each participant. Climbing 30 to 40 degree slopes, ocasionally 50, we’ll approach the summit. Upon reaching the summit you will be able to enjoy views to all the mountains in their maximum splendor. After photos we will return by the same path to the hut which will take approximately 2 hours. We’ll pack and return to Machachi. Included: breakfast, transportation, 1 guide for each 2 members and hotel.
Day 9 – Rest
We will rest all day to recover energy – Night at Machachi. Included: Breakfast, hotel.
Day 10 – Machachi – Chimborazo High Camp (5300m)
The trip starts in the city of Machachi at 10am. From there we will go to the city of Ambato where we will have lunch at noon, then it will take about 1 more hour by car to reach the Chimborazo Wildlife Protection Reserve. In this area we will be able to see Vicuña grazing in the area. Our car will reach the first hut named Hermanos Carrel (4800m). In the afternoon we will climb another three hours to high camp (5300m) where we will have dinner. We will stay at Refúgio Carrel (depending on availability) and rest for a few hours.
* Chimborazo Hut is closed, if it does not reopen until the expedition starts, we will sleep in tents at 5300 meters. Included: Breakfast, snack on the road, transport, porters or mules for heavy items, night at high camp and dinner.
Day 11 – Acclimatization at Chimborazo High Camp (5300m)
This will be a wild day. If the weather is good for the next day or this day was bad, we will wake up late and unhurried and spend the whole day resting at 5300 meters to improve our acclimatization. If this day has an exceptional time, we will not waste and we will try to summit. This decision between staying, resting and trying to reach the summit will be made the day before by the guide. Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight in camping.
Day 12 – Summit of Chimborazo (6287m) – Return to Machachi
We will wake up 10pm and there will be a light dinner before we leave with all our equipment ready. Around 11 pm we will start the ascent which will take about 8 hours to reach the first summit called Veintimilla (6270m); Then, we will take another hour to the highest peak of Chimborazo. This is a perfect spot to enjoy the Andes and take some spectacular photos. To return we will need about 3 hours. Once at camp, we will pack and return to Machachi or Quito. Included: breakfast, trail snack, 1 guide for each 2 participants, transport and dinner.
* Chimborazo Hut is closed, if it does not reopen until the expedition starts, we will sleep in tents at 5300 meters.
Day 13 – Extra day
This day will be used as an extra day, for rest, organizing luggage and performing the PCR test during the pandemic season COVID 19. Included: Breakfast, does not include the PCR test.
Day 14 – Flight out
Today you will be taken from the hotel to the airport to catch your flight. Included: Breakfast and transfer to airport.
** The above itinerary is subject to change due weather conditions, performance of the group, political/administrative problems and any other events not described.
Having good mountaineering equipment is one of the key points to have a successful expedition. Please note all your personal equipment will be checked by one of our guides in the hotel. You can rent equipment in Quito, please let us know in advance what do you need so we let you know availability and prices.
Total for this trip is USD 3300
Total for the trip up to Cotopaxi is USD 2800
What is not included: