Volcanoes Expedition

A journey to 5 mountains that will provide a complete experience of the Ecuadorian Andes



DIFFICULTY Easy to Advance


"The volcanoes of Ecuador have given the country universal fame among the geologists of the world. They are the terror of the Indians, the admiration of the conquistadors, the study of the naturalist and the plague of the people who live near them."
Edward Whymper | Travel Among the Andes of Ecuador, 1890.

Andeanface offers you a 13 day itinerary of volcano climbing in Ecuador, where you will find high altitude climbing combined with moderate to easy trekking and cultural visits to historical places. During the Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition you will stay in country side farms (haciendas) which have been converted into hostels.

The Volcanoes Expedition is not only an excellent mountaineering experience, you will also see the real life of the Ecuadorian countryside: it is a special and diverse mountain climbing expedition in Ecuador which we highly recommend.

You will climb: Pasochoa / Rucu Pichincha / Cayambe / Cotopaxi / Chimborazo

This short video of Ian Bernstein summarizes our 14 days Volcanoes program


Arrive/Depart: Quito

Group Size: 2-10 Guests

Pre-requisites: Good physical condition

Difficulty Levels:
Easy: Pasochoa / Pichincha
Intermediate: Cayambe / Cotopaxi
Advance: Chimborazo

Accomodation: 14 nights: 5 Hotel in Quito / 4 at Haciendas / 2 Camping / 3 at Mountain Refugues VIEW LODGING

Activity: City Exploration / Trekking / Wildlife & Natural History / Glacier Practice / Climbing

Seasons: All year round

Equipment: Climbing Expeditions Gear List
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Arrival / Night in Quito [2.800 m / 9,184 ft]

Once you arrive at the airport you should take a transfer to the hotel in Quito. Our staff will meet you the following morning.

Activity: Arrival in Quito

Accommodation: In Quito - Vieja Cuba or similar


City Tour [2.800 m / 9,184 ft]

Andeanface staff will meet you at 09:30 in the morning for an introductory briefing about the program. As this is your first day at altitude 2,800 m / 9,184 ft, we will take you to do some easy walking and to see some of the main colonial churches in the old part of Quito such as Santo Domingo, the Basílica and the famous San Francisco, which was the first religious building constructed in South America by the Spanish, in 1538. Then we drive up to the hill of El Panecillo where an impressive statue of the Virgin looks after the city, and offers one of the greatest views of Quito. Exploring the city is a good way to begin your acclimatisation process! For the night we stay at Vieja Cuba or a similar hotel.

Activity: City sightseeing

Accommodation: In Quito - Vieja Cuba or similar

Transportation: Private van transfer

Meals: Breakfast


Pasochoa Hike [4.200 m / 13,776 ft]

Having had a day to begin the acclimatization process in Ecuador, we now go for the first summit of a volcano. After a short drive we hike out into the countryside towards Pasochoa. This mountain is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last Ice Age. Perhaps one of the main reasons for this excursion is that Pasochoa is one of the few volcanoes where we may see condors flying - the largest flying birds in South America. We return for the night in Quito.

Activity: 4-5 hours hiking up and down Pasocha

Accommodation: In Quito - Vieja Cuba or similar

Transportation: Private van transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Rucu Pichincha Hike [4.690 m / 15,400 ft]

Using the cable car we go as high as 4.000 m / 13,200 ft in a few minutes from where we start today’s hike. Pichincha is an excellent second acclimatization hike. Rucu (Quichua for “Old”) is one of the three major peaks that make up the Pichincha massive. Quito is actually built on a shelf on the eastern side of this massif. The hike is again straightforward and will take 4 to 5 hours (round trip). After this hike we return to Quito for the night.

Activity: 5-6 hours hiking up and down Pichincha

Accommodation: In Quito - Vieja Cuba or similar

Transportation: Short transfer on private van or jeep + cable car ride

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Cayambe Drive and Hike to the Hut [4.600 m / 15,092 ft]

We leave Quito at 08:30 AM and drive towards the mountain. Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano. It is located about 68 km North East of Quito and is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the Equator directly passes. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. It is characterized by good climbing opportunities and interesting glaciers. With easy access from a comfortable hut, the glaciers of Cayambe offer an outstanding venue for our glacier school review. Huge crevasses, complex icefalls and seracs provide the ideal setting for learning ice climbing, crevasse rescue, and a variety of other basic skills.

Activity: 3 hours drive / short walk to hut / skills practice

Accommodation: Ruales, Berge, Orleas Mountain Refugue

Transportation: Private jeep or van

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Cayambe Glacier - Skills Review & Summit Attempt [5.780 m / 18,950 ft]

During the glacier training on Cayambe on day 5 we cover the following subjects:
  • Snow climbing, ice axe positioning, and moving in balance
  • Self arrest techniques
  • Ice climbing (with top rope) and crampon techniques
  • Prussiking
  • Roped glacier travel
  • Discussions on high altitude physiology and other related expeditionary topics
After the session we return to the refuge for a hearty meal. On day 6 there will be a chance to attempt the summit of Cayambe. The route to the summit follows diverse glacier terrain to near the summit crater. A gaping bergschrund presents a challenge in route finding and an exciting extra obstacle. The ascent normally takes seven hours and the descent three hours. After our summit day on Cayambe we descent to Hacienda Guachala for the night.

Activity: Glacier practice

Accommodation: Ruales, Oleas, Bergé Refuge or Hacienda Guachalá

Transportation: Private jeep or van

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Drive to Cotopaxi Region

This is a rest day from mountain climbing used as a driving day to get to Cotopaxi National Park, we will stop for lunch in a restaurant along the way, for the night we will spend at Tambopaxi lodge, it is a great place with nice views of Cotopaxi.

Activity: Drive to Cotopaxi National Park

Accommodation: Tambopaxi Lodge or similar

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Cotopaxi Hut [4.800 m / 15,700 ft]

We drive to 4.600 m / 15,095 ft and then walk to the hut at 4.800 m / 15,700 ft. Having arrived at the hut at lunchtime, we rest in the afternoon and evening, preparing for a night time climb. Cotopaxi is one of the most beautiful mountains of the Andes of Ecuador. The whole national park is known for its rich wildlife and remoteness. Without a doubt Cotopaxi has the largest number of clear days amongst the high peaks of Ecuador.

Activity: 1 hour walk to the refugue

Accommodation: Jose Rivas Refuge

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Cotopaxi Summit Day [5.897 m / 19.300 ft]

We leave the hut at around 1 AM in the morning. First we walk for 1 hour to the start of the glacier where we put our crampons on and use the rope. A large featureless glacier is then followed, weaving between large, obvious crevasses. The final section is a bit steeper. The summit gets us above the crater. During the climb ropes will be used to protect the team from crevasses and also to provide protection on the steeper sections. The ascent normally takes between six to seven hours up and two hours for the descent. In the early afternoon we will drive to Baños for the next two nights of rest. Baños is considered the gateway to the amazon basin and a much lower point to sleep at, this allows a much better recovery for the Chimborazo summit attempt.

Activity: 8 hours climbing up and down Cotopaxi

Accommodation: Hotel in Baños

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Rest Day in Baños [1,900 m/6,332 ft]

Today we will wake up in Baños, a town located at the edge of the Pastaza River Canyon on top of a lava Plateau. Baños receives a lot of moisture from the amazon basin, which creates many beautiful waterfalls in and arround town. We will drive eastwards to the waterfall's route in order to hike into/on top/or below the Devil's Pot waterfall, located in a extremely lush environment, that will show you the diversity of climas that Ecuador has to offer within a short drive. There is always the chance to "fly" in one of the longest cannopy rides from Ecuador (close to 1000m long) inside the Pastaza Canyon, and enjoy the hot springs in the late afternoon.

Activity: Drive / Sightseeing / Rest

Accommodation: Hotel in Baños

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Chimborazo hike to camp [5.350m / 17,300 ft]

Today we travel by jeep or van to the Plaza Roja (4,852m / 15,914 ft) located very close to the Carrel hut. From there, it takes us about 3 hours to walk to the High Camp (5,350m/17,300ft ) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb tonight. You will be involved carrying equipment to the camp. By the time you get there, the tents will be ready in place.

Activity: Drive / 2 hour trek / Camp

Accommodation: Camping

Transportation: 2 hour drive in jeep or van

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Chimborazo summit day [6.310 m / 20,696 ft]

We start the climb at about midnight following the western ridge until it joins the Castle Saddle (5.500 m / 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 high camp it normally takes six hours to get to the Whymper summit, from where you might enjoy one of the most impressive views in Ecuador. The descent back to camp takes 2-3 hours. After returning to the camp we’ll have some drinks and rest, then pack and descend to Plaza Roja, and drive to the valley.

Activity: 8 hours climbing up and down Chimborazo

Accommodation: Camping or drive to hotel

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Spare summit day / Return to Quito [6.310 m / 20,696 ft]

In case of bad weather, the climb could be delayed one more day

Activity: Trekking down / Drive to Quito

Accommodation: In Quito - Vieja Cuba or similar

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, 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.


We offer you an excellent mountaineering experience, discovering the real life of the Ecuadorian country side:

  • Good first approach to climbing the Andes
  • Guiding ratio of 1:2 on Cayambe , Cotopaxi and Chimborazo
  • Good first high altitude experience
  • A short and compact expedition with lots to do and enjoy
  • Local guides with international experience
  • Updated knowledge of the local conditions
  • Great accommodation in typical "Haciendas"
  • Porter support available at Chimborazo at extra cost




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.



Scheduled Dates

* A “CONFIRMED DEPARTURE” is when we have at least 2 participants booked!

Sunday JAN 08 - Saturday JAN 21, 2023


Sunday JAN 22 - Saturday FEB 04, 2023


Sunday FEB 05 - Saturday FEB 18, 2023


Sunday MAY 07 - Saturday MAY 20, 2023


Sunday JUN 04 - Saturday JUN 17, 2023


Sunday JUN 18 - Saturday JUL 01, 2023


Sunday JUL 02 - Saturday JUL 15, 2023


Sunday JUL 16 - Saturday JUL 29, 2023


Sunday AUG 06 - Saturday AUG 19, 2023


Sunday NOV 05 - Saturday NOV 18, 2023


Sunday NOV 19 - Saturday DEC 02, 2023


Sunday DEC 03 - Saturday DEC 16, 2023


Thursday DEC 28 - Saturday JAN 13, 2024


Sunday JAN 07 - Saturday JAN 20, 2024


2023 Prices

1 participant - USD 5.500 per person
2+ participants - USD 2.970 per person
Single Room Suplement - USD 550 per person

Trip Cost Includes

  • All transport by private vehicles during the program when needed
  • All the food once out of Quito
  • Accommodation: 5 hotel nights in Quito (on Bed & Breakfast), haciendas and huts. In the city twin basis, a multiple room for the group at Tambopaxi Lodge, shared basis at refuges
  • Camping gear
  • Permits and park fees
  • One guide for the acclimatisation hikes
  • One bilingual qualified mountain guide per every two climbers on Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo
  • A base camp manager (cook) on Chimborazo
  • Some climbing gear: crampons, harness, helmet, ice axe and group gear such as ropes (boots available for rent from $20 per day)

Trip Cost Does Not Include

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunch and evening meals while in Quito
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Extras, laundry, tips
  • Airport transfers
  • Other items of Climbing gear
  • Hotel nights out of the program or if return to the cities earlier


There are several reasons: There is few places in the world where so much mountianeering can be done in such a short time. Our team is formed by the best Ecuadorian mountain guides. Some of us have historical guiding achievements, including guiding in the Himalayas while others are well known for their leading mountaineering expeditions in South America. Our mountain guides are an integral part of Andeanface because they understand and share our climbing principles. The quality of our guiding staff is what makes us stand out from other companies. The accomodation used during this expedition gives it an added value, some nights are spent in Haciendas, which are traditional fams houses converted into mountain lodges.


The majority of our clients come from North America, the UK or Europe, meaning that 98% of the time, the expedition is guided in English. However, we could provide a German speaking guide, when a private trip is requested. For acclimatization purposes, we strongly recommend our clients to arrive in Quito (2.800 m / 9,000 ft), one day prior to the expedition. The first day of acclimatization, as well as the two first hikes depart from Quito, and once they are completed, you will return to a hotel in Quito for the night. Once we leave for Cayambe (on day 5), we will only be returning to Quito on the last day of the trip. After our summit day of Chimborazo, we will return to the city at 5-6pm, hence we recommend you do not fly out that same evening, since it will be too tiring. During the expedition the large bags (duffle bags) get transported in a 4X4 car or a van (depending on the size of the group). The only time when our clients need to carry their large backs is when we hike to the refuge of Cotopaxi (40 minutes) and to the high camp of Chimborazo (2 hours).  When requested (at added extra cost), we can organize a porter to help  to carry personal gear to the camp of Chimborazo. Most of the time our clients do reach the summit of Chimborazo on their first attempt. Nonthless, as guides we prefer not to have to spend two nights at the high camp of Chimborazo as it is not easy to get a good night of sleep. During the trip there is internet access and mobile signal on most days. All foreign telephone companies work with a local provider, Claro is the best local company especially in rural areas