Excursions

Corazon

Corazon

Corazon is another eroded and extinct volcano located about 40 km south west of Quito. The name Corazon means “heart” in Spanish and is said to refer to two gullies on the north west slopes which, when seen from the distance, appear to join together in the shape of a heart.
The first recorded ascent was in 1738 by La Condamine and Boiguer. It is a good second acclimatization hike after Pasochoa and before the Ilinizas.


Itinerary

View of Ilinizas from CorazonWe drive up to 4.000 m / 13,120 ft to a small valley from where we start the hike to the summit.
It is quite an arduous walk and normally takes four hours up and one and a half hour down.
On a clear day you have a beautiful view of the so-called "Avenue of the Volcanoes", including Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Ilinizas and Antisana.



 

 

 

Day 1Almost at the Top

  • Pick up at Quito at around 7:30
  • Travel for 2 hours to the slopes of Corazon
  • Four hours hike to the summit
  • Box lunch
  • Two hours down to the vehicle
  • Back at Quito by 18:00

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Corazon

 

Rumiñahui

Rumiñahui

This long extinct volcano is located 45 km South of Quito and just 13 km Northwest of Cotopaxi. Rumiñahui is a huge caldron open to the Northwest, and it is named after the loyal general of the last Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. Once the Spaniards murdered the Emperor, Rumiñahui hid the famous treasure of gold that was to be paid for Atahualpa's freedom, and led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua the name means "stone face".


Itinerary

View on RumiñahuiRumiñahui consists of three peaks. We attempt the central summit. Leaving from Quito we start our day with a 2 hour drive to the plateau of the Cotopaxi National Park and start hiking from the Limpiopungo lake located at 3.800 m / 12,464 ft.
The hike normally takes four hours to the summit and two hours down. Technically, it is just a hike with some easy scrambling at the end. The mountain offers a fantastic view of Cotopaxi to the East of Rumiñahui.
The night can be spent in a lodge depending on the next destination of your itinerary.

 



Day 1On Top

  • Pick up at Quito at around 8:30
  • Two hours drive to Cotopaxi National Park
  • Four hour hike to the summit
  • Box lunch
  • Two hours down to the vehicle
  • Back at Quito by 19:30

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Rumiñahui

 

Carihuayrazo

Carihuayrazo

"Edward Whymper was told in 1880 "a portion of its apex fell during a great earthquake which occurred at the end of the 17th century""
Edward Whymper. Travel Among the Andes of Ecuador, 1892.

The name Carihuayrazo has its origins in the Quichua language, and can be translated as follows: Cari means "macho", and Huay-razo can be interpreted as “strong cold wind”. This makes perfect sense considering the climatic conditions that usually identify this mountain. It is located just a few kilometres Northeast of Chimborazo, and behind it you will find Tungurahua, nowadays one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. It is the smallest glaciated mountain of Ecuador and is located in an area of high indigenous population.


Itinerary

Carihuayrazo is one of the least visited mountains, which makes it very attractive. As there is no refuge, a base camp has to be set up.

Day 1Carihuayrazo in the Background

  • Pick up at Quito at around 8:30
  • 4 hour drive to the Chimborazo Ecological Reserve
  • Hike to base camp on Carihuayrazo's slopes
  • Base camp installation
  • Early dinner at 18:00

Day 2

  • Climb Carihuayrazo leaving at 05:00
  • Descend from mountain
  • Rest, lunch and packing
  • Return to Quito

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Carihuayrazo

 

Guagua Pichincha

Guagua Pichincha

Guagua - Quichua for baby - is one of the three major peaks that make up the Pichincha massif. It is located 20 km West of Quito. It is normally snow free but an occasional high-altitude storm will cover the mountain with a layer of snow.
In the past it was possible to descend into the crater of the volcano. You could watch the fumaroles and superheated water rising from its vents. However just a couple of years ago Pichincha suddenly became active again and covered Quito temporarily with a layer of ash. At present the Pichincha crater continues spewing and venting.


Itinerary

Trekking to the RefugeGuagua Pichincha is a good second acclimatisation hike. We drive up to 4.000 m / 13,120 ft to a small valley from where we start the hike to the summit.
It is quite an arduous walk and normally takes three hours up and one hour down.
On a clear day you have a beautiful view of the so-called "Avenue of the Volcanoes", including Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Antisana.


 

 

 


Day 1Amazing view into the Crater

  • Pick up at Quito at around 7:30
  • Travel for 2 hours to the slopes of Pichincha
  • 3 hour hike to the summit
  • Box lunch
  • 1 hour down to the vehicle
  • Back at Quito by 16:00

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Guagua Pichincha

 

El Altar

El Altar

It doesn't matter where you view it from; this ancient and extinct volcano is the most impressive in Ecuador's Andes. The fifth highest, it is the most technical of all the mountains in Ecuador. Known as "Capac Urcu" in Quichua for Sublime Mountain. El Altar presents the hardest climbing in Ecuador.
A legend says that El Altar tried to steal Tungurahua, Chimborazo’s wife. Chimborazo went to war against El Altar and won, leaving El Altar smashed. According to Indian legend, the collapse happened in 1460; geologists say that the collapse happened a lot earlier. The Spanish named the mountain El Altar, for it resemblance to a cathedral; German explorer and climber Hans Meyer christened the peaks with their individual religious names. El Altar is made up of nine major summits arranged in a reverse C-shape. Starting with the highest in the south and going around counter clockwise the peaks’ names are as follows: Obispo; Monja Grande; Monja Chica; Tabernaculo; the three Frailes, Oriental, Central and Grande; and Canónigo.
El Obispo 5.319m / 17,451 ft is the most popular peak of El Altar because it is the easiest to get to and the highest. It has also some of the best climbing in Ecuador, which in good conditions is excellent. The choice of which the three standard ways up to Obispo, depends on the snow conditions.


Itinerary

El Obispo in the BackgroundSummit day on El Altar begins early as we climb in the predawn hours on the route we decided upon the day before. Steep snow and ice leads to the upper superior glacier. From here a narrow gully of steep ice leads to a very exposed notch in the summit crest. From the notch we can look north into the deep inner cirques of El Altar. The last section of the climb is often the hardest with a steep rock wall above the notch presenting technical rock climbing difficulties. The holds are large but the rock is steep. Descent is by rappel and down climbing. El Altar is a long summit day with varied climbing. It is no wonder it was the last of Ecuador's 5.000 meter summits to be ascended!




Day 1Climbing El Altar

  • Pick up at Quito at around 9:00
  • Lunch at Urbina
  • 5 hour drive to Vaqueria Inguisay 3.550 m /11.650 ft for night camping

Day 2

  • Hike up to Campamento Italiano 4.600 m / 15,090 ft

Day 3

  • Climb Obispo and return to camp

Day 4

  • Spare day

Day 5

  • Walk down to Vaqueria Inguisay

Day 6

  • Return to Quito

Important Note: This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen difficulties.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

El Altar

 

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Climbing Difficulty Levels

The following scale reflects the difficulty of the climb considering the technical specifications, experience required, altitude and duration of the ascent. The grades are roughly estimated and you have to take into account the difficulty varies depending on your personal fitness and experience.

Intermediate - No previous mountaineering skills are required. Climbers should be in acceptable physical condition and it is highly recommended that participants have some backpacking experience. In some cases a rope may be used to belay some exposed places.

Advanced - Basic mountaineering skills required, experience in high altitude and use of climbing gear such as crampons, rope and ice axe is preferred, but not required. A moderate climb usually is on a glacier, you may have to cross some crevasses, the slopes are not so steep (max. 40%) and full gear is used on all climbs. Very good physical condition is required.

Strenuous - More than 6.000 m / 19,600 ft technical climbs with steep snow slopes and exposed ridges, you may encounter some crevassed sections. Experience in high altitude and proper use of equipment as well as some knowledge of mountaineering techniques are required. Climbers should be comfortable on snow and ice up to 50 degrees. An excellent physical condition is a must.

Ascension Success Rates

The following information is based on our own records since 2005. It represents the percentage of trips in which we have taken at least one client to the summit.
Besides the percentage, we also give you a brief description of the most common cause for not been able to reach the top.

Chimborazo: 70%
Icy conditions and lack of stamina from climbers ( clients running out of fuel!)

Cotopaxi: 85%
Strong winds.

Cayambe: 75%
Bad Weather.

Antisana: 65%
Not being able to cross the bergschrund around the summit.