SKI OVER THE ECUADORIAN VOLCANOES

Duración

12D / 11N

Tipo de tour

Sky

Altitud del tour

6310 M

Tamaño de grupo

2 a 10 personas.

Skiing opportunities in Ecuador are limited to ski ascents of the countries four highest peaks, which are all volcanoes, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe. These are the only peaks in Ecuador with significant snow. Access to these peaks is easy, with huts at about 4500-5000m on all of them except Antisana. However the peaks are not the most straightforward for skiing due to some big crevasses and often considerable avalanche danger, and these days there is a legal requirement to hire a guide….

Enjoy this challenging trip through the Ecuadorian Andes. During the acclimatization hikes/ascents you will be amazed by its diversity, beauty and cultural excellence.

Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano located 65km northeast of Quito. It is both Ecuador’s third highest peak and the third highest peak in the America’s north of the Equator. It also has the distinction of being the highest point on the Earth’s surface through which the Equator directly passes. Although technically not real difficult it is rather dangerous due to very active glaciers, crevasses and avalanches.

Cotopaxi is an active Volcano in the Andes Mountains, located about 50 km south of Quito. It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m, it is one of the world’s highest volcanos. The last eruption lasted from August 2015 to January 2016. Cotopaxi had been officially closed for climbing by authorities until it reopened on October 7, 2017.

The Chimborazo, 6310m, like so many mountains on earth, is affected by global warming and the glacier melts slowly. Thus, the conditions for an ascent constantly change. The normal route has become much more difficult and dangerous because of rock falls. For that reason we only offer the safer route Gualgualla with High Camp in 5300m.

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Tour Program

Itinerary

Day 01
Arrival in Quito 2800 m / 9,186 ft - (Transfer in-Airport-Hotel) Overnight: Hostel in Quito. (no meals included)
Day 02
Acclimatization hike to Pasochoa volcano 4200 m / 13,779 ft – Quito
We’ll leave from Quito (2800 m / 13,779 ft) early in the morning and will drive southeast for about 1,5 hour through the Andean highlands until getting to the trail head (3500 m / 11,482 ft). As we gain elevation we’ll be able to see the surrounding snow-capped mountains, such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illiniza, Cotopaxi and even Chimborazo far away to the south in clear days. Once nearing the summit, will be hiking by the ridge of the deep forest-covered caldera which takes us to the true summit soon after. It will take us about 5 hours round trip. Drive back to Quito to the same hostel.
Day 03
Day 03: Climb Guagua Pichincha 4791 m / 15,718 ft – Quito
Early morning departure towards Pichincha, the local mountain from Quito. From the village of Lloa, at about 3,500 m, drive to the refuge and march to the crater rim of the Guagua Pichincha, 4.800 m, a still active volcano. Here you can see fumaroles and especially, in clear weather, most of the high snow mountains of Ecuador. Descent and overnight in Quito. Total walking time: about 5 h.
Day 04
Transfer to “La Virgen”, Hike to the “Nuevos Horizontes” Refuge 4750 m / 15,583 ft.
After breakfast, we will drive towards the base of Ilinizas and we will stop on a place named "La Virgen" located at 3900 m. There will be waiting horses for carrying our stuff up to the refuge. Once there we will start a 3-hour hike up to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge”, where we will relax the rest of the afternoon. Dinner will be served by late afternoon. Overnight in the hut.
Day 05
Climb Iliniza Norte 5125 m / 16,814 ft – Quito
Our climbing day starts at about 5h00. We will have a light breakfast, pack our climbing equipment and leave the refuge an hour later. We will continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks and then to Iliniza Norte summit (5125 m/ 16,814 ft) soon after. The approaching to the top involves an easy 3 hour srambling. Once at the summit we will enjoy and admire the beautiful surroundings. We go down for about 3 hours to La Virgen parking lot and drive back to Quito to the same hostel. Horses will bring our stuff down to the parking lot.
Day 06
Quito - Ruales Refuge
We will drive from Quito for about 3.5 hours to the Ruales Oleas Cayambe Refuge. There we will rest and eat dinner, and then go to sleep to prepare for an early start the next day.
Day 07
Climbing To Cayambe Summit At 5.790m
The climb up to Cayambe is amazing. During its 8-hour hike you will enjoy such versatile surroundings. Getting to the summit means we will be at 5.790 meters of high! After taking some pictures and admiring the viewpoint, we will head back to the refuge in 1 to 2 hours. At the Refuge we will rest for a while, and back start packing our belongings in order to drive to Quito.
Day 08
Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park, hike to the Jose Ribas Refuge 4800 m / 15,748 ft.
We’ll leave from the hostel in the morning and will drive to the Cotopaxi National Park entrance. There we will have lunch and registration. From there we’ll drive east to the Cotopaxi parking lot (4.500 m) and then hike up for another hour to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4.800 m). Once at the refuge we will store our belongings and rest in the afternoon. Dinner and Overnight in the hut.(B/L/D).
Day 09
Summit Cotopaxi 5897 m / 19,347 ft – Baños
Midnight will be our wake up time, and the departure to the top (5.897 m) will be around midnight, not before having a hot drink and get our stuff ready for the ascent, which will take us about 6 to 8 hours. Each climber will get a box lunch for the climb. Once at the summit we’ll take our time to take pictures of the crater and surroundings, and then we’ll head down back the refuge (1 to 2 hours). Once at the refuge we will pack our belongings, have something to eat and drink and go back to the parking lot where our transportation will be ready to take us to Baños.
Day 10
Rest day in Baños
Day 11
Baños – Refuge Carrel 4800 m / 15,748 ft – High Camp on Chimborazo 5300 m / 17,388 ft
From Baños we drive to Riobamba, Through picturesque fields and bizarre gorges, the road winds to the plateau on the slopes of Chimborazo. We see llamas, vicunas and alpacas. We drive to the Carrel Hut 4800m and there we will start marching to the high camp at 5300m. In the high camp we will expect the complete logistics with tents, kitchen etc. We need about 3 hours. Early dinner and rest.
Day 12
Summit climb Chimborazo 6310 m / 20,702 ft
We will get up before midnight to ascend the Chimborazo and after 8 hours we will reach first to the summit Veintimilla (6270 m / 20,570 ft) and then to the maximum summit Whymper (6310 m / 20,702 ft). At about noon we will be back in the refuge, where we will rest a little before returning to Quito. Walking time between 10 to 12 hours. Drive back to Quito. Overnight in hotel.

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