Excursions

Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi

"Cotopaxi’s shape is the most beautiful and regular of all the colossal peaks in the high Andes. It is a perfect cone covered by a thick blanket of snow which shines so brilliantly at sunset, it seems detached from the azure of the sky."
Alexander von Humbolt, 1802.

Cotopaxi is without any doubt, one of the most beautiful mountains of the world. Due to its geographical position it has more clear days than any of the other high mountains in Ecuador.
Nowadays, it has become the most popular mountain not only of Ecuador, but of the whole Andes chain. In Quichua language the name Cotopaxi supposedly means the "necklace of the moon".


Itinerary

Normal Route on the West FaceFrom the 4.800 m / 15,750 ft hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes to the summit. Along the way however, complex crevasse patterns and snow bridge crossings over deep crevasses make the climb interesting. After passing through a heavily crevassed area we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 35-40 degree snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the crater rim of the world's highest active volcano.
The climb normally takes six hours and the descent two hours. The volcano’s last strongest eruption was in 1877, and caused serious damages even down by the coast, hundreds of kilometres away.

 

 

Day 1Crater from the Summit

  • Pick up at Quito at around 8:30
  • Travel for 2 hours to the Cotopaxi National Park
  • Skills review and safety talk during the afternoon
  • Early dinner at 18:00

Day 2

  • Climb Cotopaxi leaving at around 01:00
  • 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.

Cotopaxi

 

ex clim chimborazo2

Chimborazo

 NEW ROUTE UPDATE: Chimborazo: improved chances to climb Ecuador´s highest mountain!

Some months ago, Andeanface took part in an expedition to find a safe route on Chimborazo. The expedition was led by Jose Luis Peralvo actual president of ASEGUIM the Ecuadorian Association for Mountain Guides.  The expedition found a route via the Stübel Glacier that now provides the safest alternative to climb Chimborazo, Ecuador´s highest mountain. In this way we avoid “el Castillo”, which during the last years has become very dangerous due to its exposure to rock fall as a result of the global warming. Andeanface considers its responsibility to offer safety first as well for our clients as for our guides.

Chimborazo is Ecuador’s highest peak. For many years European climbers thought it was the highest mountain in world. In fact, it is the highest mountain if measured from the centre of the Earth, and it's the mountain closest to the sun due to the Earth’s wider shape. The first ascent was made by the famous expeditionary Edward Whymper back in 1892. The mountain has four main summits:

•    Veintimilla 6.267 m / 20,561 ft (named by Edward Whymper after the president of Ecuador)
•    Whymper 6.310 m / 20,702 ft
•    Politecnica 5.820 m / 19,094 ft
•    Nicolas Martinez 5.570 m / 18,274 ft (named after one of the pioneers of  Ecuadorian mountaineering)


Itinerary

foto1 chimborazoThe Stübel Glacier route  not only provides more safety but also more adventure because we will be camping instead of using mountain refuges, it is a real expedition style. Also clients will be more active involved in getting equipment to the camp.

Important Note: Chimborazo is a hard climb and physically very demanding. We expect our clients to have some previous alpine experience.

 





Day 1 Travel to Chimborazo region - Hike Stübel Camp on Chimborazo.

foto2 chimborazo

Today we travel by jeep to the Plaza Roja (4,852m / 15,914 ft) located close to the Carrel hut. From there, it takes us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m/16,564ft ) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb the next day. You will be involved carrying equipment to the camp. Porters will help carrying the tents and water.

Day 2 Summit Chimborazo.

We start the climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Saddle (5,500m / 18,044 ft.). This new variant to the normal Castle Ridge route, free from rock fall, makes it a much safer line to the top. From the Stübel Camp it normally takes eight hours to get to the Whymper summit, from where you will enjoy one of the most impressive views in Ecuador. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes three hours. After returning to the camp, we pack and descend to Plaza Roja, and drive to the valley

 

Day 3: Spare summit day  Almost on the Whymper Summit
An extra day can be added to the excursion under request

 

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







Picture of the Route

Also see our Interactive Map.

ruta-final-chimborazo texto

 

Excursions

Excursions

One of the options Andeanface offers you is to make your own itinerary by combining various activities. We offer:

Climbing Excursions
Two-day ascents to various peaks of Ecuador.

Trekking Excursions
Small day hikes to get acclimatised.

Culture & Relax Tours
Quito city tour, Indian markets or hot springs.

Other Adventures
Galapagos, cloud forest, jungle or rafting.

Most of the climbs and hikes can be combined with a culture and relax tour or with other adventures. The colourful Indian markets of Ecuador are a very popular option, but it all depends on the area where you want to climb. For accommodation, we can book you a couple of nights into some nice haciendas, which are old Spanish countryside farmhouses converted now into lodges.

Please click on an image to select a type of excursion:

Climbing Excursions

Trekking Excursions

Culture Relax Tours

Other Adventures

 

Climbing Excursions

Climbing Excursion

Andeanface has designed its Climbing Excursions as independent ascents to eight of Ecuador's ten mountains above 5.000 m / 16,400 ft, like Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayambe.
All of them are to be done in two days if departing from Quito, but we can arrange to pick you up from another town or city that might be closer to the mountain you choose to climb.

The idea of creating your own itinerary, gives you the advantage of combining some of this single ascents while you are exploring a certain area of the Ecuadorian Andes.
In any case we would suggest specific combinations based mostly on the fact that to climb some mountains, you need to have a very good acclimatisation and a fair knowledge of mountaineering techniques. The climbs we suggest can be single day Trekking Excursions that are in order of ascension, so you can develop an ideal acclimatisation process.

Additionally we would suggest some cultural tours or other activities as complimentary extensions depending on the area where the mountain is.

Remember that our speciality is the organisation of well-developed itineraries, so we can design you an exclusive expedition. Let us know your requirements and ideas.

Each one of the following options presents its own challenges, from long journeys to technical terrain. Please click on an image to select a Climbing Excursion:

Chimborazo

Cotopaxi

cayambe 2

antisana 2

Glacier School

El Altar

South Iliniza

North Iliniza

Carihuayrazo

 


 

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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.