Andes Mountains, Ecuador


Alpine Endeavors offers guided trips to Ecuador to climb the volcanoes of the Andes.

Ecuador offers a lot of climbing and culture, from the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the farmer's markets and villages. Join us on a memorable trip to South America. We believe time is critical to a positive, enjoyable experience and offer our trips as 12 or 16 days in length. We have built a schedule that allows for acclimatizing, climbing the popular peaks, and time to explore the country. No previous glacier experience is required, however, you should have experience backpacking and camping, and have climbed (rock or ice) a few times to be familiar with the equipment and be able to belay and rappel. We will cover the glacier skills locally before we leave, and review the skills while we are there.

Here is an itinerary* for our 12 day trip.

  • Day 1: Arrive in Quito (9000ft/2800m), Ecuador’s capital city, head to the hotel.
  • Day 2: Head out for a hike/tour of the town and pick up any last minute supplies. Sort and pack gear, get ready for the mountains. This is a good day for acclimatizing.
  • Day 3 : Head to Pasochoa and hike up to the rock wall at 3,800M (12,464ft) and back. Pasochoa is one of the few places you can still see condors. Spend the night at a local hotel.
  • Day 4: Climb Guagua Pichinchia - 4300 M (14, 104 ft) - a once-active volcano. In 1999 it erupted a few times and covered Quito in ash. If it is clear, we'll be able to see down into the crater and view the new formations.
  • Day 5: Head to Illiniza, spend the night in the refugio.
  • Day 6: Climb Illiniza Norte or Sur, return to camp, pack up and head toward Cotopaxi National Park. Stay at a nearby hotel to clean up, repack and rest.
  • Day 7: Pack up and head up to the Jose Ribas Refugio (4800m / 15,750 ft) to stay for the night.
  • Day 8: Review glacier skills and crevasse rescue on the glacier during the day, eat early and get to bed for a summit attempt in the early hours of the next day.
  • Day 9: Get up at around 12am, eat, and head out at about 1am. We will head up to the glacier. Once on the glacier, the normal route heads up right for a couple of hundred meters and then goes mostly straight up aiming for the right side of the rock wall known as Yanasacha (the Eye). We will ascend up right of Yanasacha and reach the summit of Cotopaxi (19,347ft /5,897m).
  • Return to the refugio, pack up and head back to Quito.
  • Day 10: Head to Otovalo and shop the Indian Market for gifts for family and friends. Visit the equator in Cayambe on the way back to Quito.
  • Day 11: An alternate bad weather day for Cotopaxi, or if we summit as planned a day to visit old town in Quito and explore the churches, art, etc.
  • Day 12: Depart to fly home - or stay for the "additional days" option.
  • Additional possibilities: stay a few extra days and continue climbing the Volcanoes.
  • Day 12: Head to Cayambe, pack in and camp around 4573M (15,000ft).
  • Day 13: Climb Cayambe (18,996ft/5790m). Ecuador’s third highest peak, and the highest point on the earth’s surface through which the equator directly passes. The climb consists of moderate to heavily crevassed glaciated slopes to the summit.
  • Day 14: A back up day for Cayambe. If we summit as scheduled, we can use this day to visit the hot springs, and/or tour around Quito.
  • Day 15: Head to Chimborazo and spend the night in the refugio.
  • Day 16: Climb Chimborazo
  • Day 17: Return to Quito
  • Day 18: Fly home

*We may have to adjust the trip accordingly to suit climbing abilities, weather, climbing conditions, volcanic activity, etc with other peaks and/or locations while in Ecuador.