Despite their heights, Ecuador’s mountains can be climbed in a brief period of time. However, a good acclimatization is very important. Therefore, we always recommend spending a couple of days in higher elevation and eventually doing some easy hikes in order to get used to the altitude before starting any highlands tour. Of course, a good physical condition helps a lot. Since we only work with skilled and certified mountain guides, even less experienced climbers are able to reach our highest summits. The guides will explain how to use the equipment and will lead the clients step-by-step to the summit.
Pasochoa 4.200 m/13,776 ft
This heavily eroded volcano, without any doubt, is the easiest and most accessible acclimatization peak. Pasochoa is located 25 kilometers south of Quito; despite its proximity to the city, this volcano has much to offer: easy and gradual elevation gain, amazing views and a very rewarding summit in a very short period of time.
We will leave Quito in the morning and drive approximately for two hours to the foot of the volcano itself. The ascent will take us about 4 hours. Once on the top we will eat lunch and enjoy the breathtaking views of Cotopaxi and the other nearby volcanoes. After descending, we will return to Quito.
Guagua Pichincha 4.794 m/15,728ft
Easy access from Quito through the beautiful valley of Lloa makes Guagua Pichincha a good acclimatization climb.
Guagua (Quichua for “baby”) is one of the three major peaks that make up the Pichincha massif. The other two peaks are Padre Encantado and to the north the extinct Rucu (“Old”) Pichincha.
We will leave Quito in the morning and drive by car to the Valley of Lloa situated South-West from Quito. After one and a half hours by car we will stop at 4.100 m/13,448 ft. From here we will walk for about two hours towards the refuge then one additional hour will be necessary in order to reach the summit. After enjoying the views from the crater we will start descending to the car. We will be back in Quito by late afternoon.
Imbabura 4.630 m/15,190 ft
Imbabura is an inactive strato-volcano in northern Ecuador. Although it has not erupted for at least 14,000 years, it is not thought to be entirely extinct. Imbabura is intermittently capped with snow and has no permanent glaciers.
Covered in volcanic ash, the slopes of Imbabura are especially fertile. In addition to cloud forests, which are found across the northern Andes to an altitude of 3000 m, the land around Imbabura is extensively farmed. Corn, potatoes, beans, etc. are all staple crops of the region. Cattle are also an important commodity, and much of the land on and around Imbabura, especially the high-altitude meadows above the tree-line, is used for grazing.
Day 1: Quito – San Clemente
We will leave Quito in the morning and drive about 60 kilometers north. We will make some stops on route where we can visit and get to know important places such as the real Equator Monument. In the afternoon we will arrive to the indigenous community of san Clement where we will have the opportunity to share and learn more about the Andean people. Overnight in the community at the foot of Imbabura.
Day 2: San Clemente – Summit – Quito
We will start our hike at about 6 am and after a climb along the ridge of 5 hours we will reach the summit. Going down will take us another 4 hours. Return to Quito.
Rumiñahui 4.634 m/15,203 ft
Ruminahui is made up of three peaks, all of which make a good acclimatization climbs, as long as you do not attempt climbing them in one day starting from Quito. This extinct volcano is definitely the perfect combination for a Cotopaxi climbing plan. They all present the opportunity of fantastic views of several surrounding volcanoes such as Cotopaxi, Ilinizas, Sincholagua, Pasochoa, Antisana and even, in clear days, Chimborazo.
Day 1: We will leave Quito in the morning, heading in direction of the Cotopaxi National Park. One we get to our acclimatization center at 3.750 m/ 12,300 ft. we will drop off our gear and immediately start our acclimatization hike in the valley of Limpiopungo for about 4-5 hours. Afterwards return to the acclimatization center, rest and get ready for the following day.
Day 2: We will leave the acclimatization center around 7:30 am the drive for 30 minutes towards the Laguna Limpiopungo, which is the trail head then we will start the ascent for about four hours to the central summit. After enjoying the views from the top we will start the descent to the car and drive back to Quito.
Iliniza Norte 5.126 m/16,817 ft
The northern peak is rocky without permanent snow. It is a relatively easy climb with various scrambles and a challenging finish due to the loose volcanic rock. Iliniza Norte can be climbed in 2 days and as mentioned above is very suitable and an excellent acclimatization peak before attempting higher peaks. During the trip, we will spend the night at the refuge at a height of 4.650 m/15,252 ft.
Day 1: Quito – Refuge Ilinizas
We will leave Quito in the morning and drive approximately two hours to the foot of the Ilinizas (La Virgen). From there, we will start a three hour hike to the Nuevos Horizontes refuge where we will eat dinner and spend the night.
Day 2: Refuge – Summit – Quito
We will get up early in the morning then leave the refuge approximately at 6 am and start climb for three hours along the rocky ridge until we reach the summit. On the way back, we will have a short rest at the refuge before returning to Quito.
Iliniza Sur 5.263 m/17,264 ft
Iliniza Sur surely belongs to one the most interesting climbs. This peak offers the most accessible hard climbing in the country. Again, ice climbing equipment and glacier experience is strongly required due to the existence of steep slopes and sometimes, hard-solid ice.
Similar to the attempt on Iliniza Norte, the starting point is the refuge. From the refuge, it takes four hours to reach the summit, from where there is a spectacular view of Cotopaxi.
Day 1: Quito – Refuge Ilinizas
We will leave Quito in the morning and drive approximately two hours to the foot of the Ilinizas up to a place named La Virgen at 3.900 m/12,792ft. From there, we will hike for about 3 hours to the Nuevos Horizontes refuge (4650 m), where we will eat dinner and spend the night.
Day 2: Refuge – Summit - Quito
We will get up early in the morning and start the climb approximately at 4 am. We will reach the summit in roughly 4 hours and then return to the refuge in 3 hours. Afterwards we will walk an additional hour and a half to La Virgen, where our car will pick us up.
Antisana 5.798 m/18,891 ft
This massive - glaciated volcano is located southeast of Quito in a hidden valley, far away from any paved public road, has some of the most interesting climbing in Ecuador.
Steep slopes and plenty of crevasses complicate the ascent and make it a mountain reserved just for experienced climbers. During the two day trip, we will be camping in tents which will provide a unique atmosphere and special experience.
Day 1: Quito – Camp Antisana
We will leave Quito in the morning, heading southeast. We will put up our camp at the western flank on a height of (4.300 m/14,104 ft), eat dinner and prepare the equipment for the ascent.
Day 2: Camp – Summit - Quito
We will start the climb at midnight and after eight hours will reach the summit. The way down will take us four hours. After breaking the camp, we will be back in Quito late afternoon.
Cayambe 5.789 m/18,993 ft
The volcano Cayambe is located 65 kilometers northeast of Quito and is composed of several peaks, with the highest one situated at the center of the mountain. Cayambe is distinct because is the only point on earth where the equator line crosses a glacier exactly at a height of 4.530 m/14,858 ft near the south flank.
This active volcano is notorious for the high amount of crevasses. In order to reach the summit an experienced and highly qualified guide is necessary.
Our two day tour leads to the refuge at 4.600 m/15,088 ft on day one and the second day to the summit. In addition, we offer the option of a 3 day tour, which includes a glacier course led by instructors of ASEGUIM.
Day 1: Quito – Refuge Cayambe
We will leave Quito in the morning and head north until we reach the city Cayambe, from where we will go towards the Ruales-Oleas-Berge refuge (4.600 m/15,088 ft). The rest of the afternoon we will spend relaxing and preparing the equipment for the ascent.
Day 2: Refuge – Summit - Quito
We will leave the refuge around midnight and after 7 hours will reach the summit. The descent will take another 4 hours. We will be back in Quito late in the afternoon.
Day 3 (optional):
You can spend an extra day in our “short glacier school”, where you can learn technical climbing techniques and to use mountaineering equipment.
Chimborazo 6.310 m/20,702 ft
was considered for a long time to be the highest mountain of the world before Mt. Everest was measured, but when we consider the center of the earth still maintains that distinction. Chimborazo is the highest peak in Ecuador and surely one of the most demanding climbs. Attempts to summit Chimborazo can be made all year round. Chimborazo was first climbed in 1880 and the impressive shape of this extinct volcano still attracts numerous climbers.
Our tour consists of 2 days (or an option of three days which includes one acclimatization day) and requires ice climbing experience and technical mountaineering gear.
Day 1: Quito – Refuge Chimborazo
We will leave Quito in the morning, heading south for the Avenida de los Volcanes or Volcanoes Avenue until we reach the Hermanos Carrel refuge at 4.800 m/15,744 ft. From there we will walk another 45 minutes to the Whymper hut at 5.000 m/16,400 ft. where we will relax, eat dinner and prepare for an early morning ascent.
Day 2: Refuge – Summit - Quito
We will get up at 11 PM and leave around midnight. After 6 hours we will first reach the Veintimilla summit (6.270 m/20,565 ft) and after one additional hour the Whymper summit (6.310 m/20,670 ft). We will be back in the refuge around noon then we will pack up as soon as possible before returning to Quito.
Day 3: (optional)
You can spend an extra acclimatization day by exploring the marvelous surroundings of the Chimborazo National Park or the mountain itself.