Cotopaxi 5.897 m / 19,342 ft

Ascend Ecuador’s most iconic mountain and one of South America’s most climbed

DURATION 2 days

DIFFICULTY Intermediate

TRIP OVERVIEW

"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".

Arrive/Depart: Quito

Group Size: 1:2

Pre-requisites: Good physical condition

Difficulty Levels: Intermediate
EXPLAIN DIFFICULTY LEVELS

Extension: Optional 1 extra day for weather contingency

Access/Depart: Drive in and drive out with 30 minutes hike to hut

Accomodation: José Rivas Refuge (4.800 m / 15,744 ft)

Activity: Hiking / Climbing

Seasons: All year round

Equipment: Climbing Excursions Gear List
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ITINERARY

From 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
01

Travel to Cotopaxi National Park and reach the hut

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

Activity: 1 hour trekking

Transportation: 2-hour private van/jeep transfer

Meals: Lunch / Dinner

DAY
02

Summit Cotopaxi / Return to Quito

  • Climb Cotopaxi leaving at around 01:00
  • Descend from mountain
  • Rest, lunch and packing
  • Return to Quito

Activity: 6 hours climbing up / 2 hours descending

Transportation: 2-hour private van/jeep transfer

Meals: Lunch

Important: Please note that this itinerary is a guideline only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The highest active volcano in the world
  • Ecuador's second highest mountain
  • The most frequently climbed mountain in the Americas
  • The most accessible high altitude mountain from Quito
  • Just 2 1/2 hours away from the capital city
  • Strategic location over the "Avenue of the Volcanoes"
  • All year round climbing

MAP

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COMPLIMENTARY
EXTENSIONS

Our Complimentary Extension Packages offer great opportunities to explore some of Ecuador’s most dramatic scenaries, which have earned the country a reputation as one of the most bio diverse and unique regions on the planet.

We work with carefully selected tourism operators, which will offer the same quality and high standards of service that our clients expect from us.

You can choose from a selection of various (active) outdoor activities in the Galapagos, the Cloud Forest or Amazon Jungle. We highly recommend to extent your trip with a rafting experience.

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WHY TAKE THIS TRIP WITH US?

It is very simple: our team is comprised of the best Ecuador climbing guides. Our mountain guides are an integral part of Andeanface because they understand and share our climbing principles. The quality of our guiding staff is the primary difference between us and our competitors. Andeanface as a company has been leading climbs in Ecuador since 2005.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Activities

Hiking on gravel and basic glacier travel

Terrain

Glacier travel on 25-40 degrees slopes

Travel

We travel to Cotopaxi by jeep, van or bus depending on the size of the group

Weather

Cotopaxi has the largest number of clear days amongst the high peaks of Ecuador

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

SUGGESTED COMBINATIONS

Although Cotopaxi is probably the easiest to climb of the high altitude mountains of Ecuador, it is still a challenging pursuit. Its altitude requires a very good level of acclimatization.
Our suggestion to our clients is to climb several other mountains that would provide them with the necessary acclimatization and a practice of the required skills.

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