Climbing Cotopaxi & Chimborazo (11 Days)


11 Days/10 Nigths
Max. Altitude: 6310 m / 20,564 ft
Route: Pasachoa, Guagua Pichincha, Iliniza norte, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.
Availability: All year
Difficulty: Moderate
People per Guide: 2

Enjoy this challenging trip through the Ecuadorian Andes. During the acclimatization hikes/ascents you will be amazed by its diversity, beauty and cultural excellence.

Cotopaxi is an active Volcano in the Andes Mountains, located about 50 km south of Quito. It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m, it is one of the world’s highest volcanos. The last eruption lasted from August 2015 to January 2016. Cotopaxi had been officially closed for climbing by authorities until it reopened on October 7, 2017.

The Chimborazo, 6310m, like so many mountains on earth, is affected by global warming and the glacier melts slowly. Thus, the conditions for an ascent constantly change. The normal route has become much more difficult and dangerous because of rock falls. For that reason we only offer the safer route Gualgualla with High Camp in 5300m.

Travel Program


Day 01: Arrival in Quito 2800 m / 9,186 ft - (Transfer in-Airport-Hotel)
Overnight: Hostel in Quito. (no meals included)

Day 02: Acclimatization hike to Pasochoa volcano 4200 m / 13,779 ft - Quito
We’ll leave from Quito (2800 m / 13,779 ft) early in the morning and will drive southeast for about 1,5 hour through the Andean highlands until getting to the trail head (3500 m / 11,482 ft). As we gain elevation we’ll be able to see the surrounding snow-capped mountains, such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illiniza, Cotopaxi and even Chimborazo far away to the south in clear days. Once nearing the summit, will be hiking by the ridge of the deep forest-covered caldera which takes us to the true summit soon after. It will take us about 5 hours round trip. Drive back to Quito to the same hostel. (B/BL)

Day 03: Climb Guagua Pichincha 4791 m / 15,718 ft – Quito
Early morning departure towards Pichincha, the local mountain from Quito. From the village of Lloa, at about 3,500 m, drive to the refuge and march to the crater rim of the Guagua Pichincha, 4.800 m, a still active volcano. Here you can see fumaroles and especially, in clear weather, most of the high snow mountains of Ecuador. Descent and overnight in Quito. Total walking time: about 5 h. (B/BL)

Day 04: Transfer to “La Virgen”, Hike to the “Nuevos Horizontes” Refuge 4750 m / 15,583 ft.
After breakfast, we will drive towards the base of Ilinizas and we will stop on a place named "La Virgen" located at 3900 m. There will be waiting horses for carrying our stuff up to the refuge. Once there we will start a 3-hour hike up to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge”, where we will relax the rest of the afternoon. Dinner will be served by late afternoon. Overnight in the hut. (B/BL/D)

Day 05: Climb Iliniza Norte 5125 m / 16,814 ft – Quito
Our climbing day starts at about 5h00. We will have a light breakfast, pack our climbing equipment and leave the refuge an hour later. We will continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks and then to Iliniza Norte summit (5125 m/ 16,814 ft) soon after. The approaching to the top involves an easy 3 hour srambling. Once at the summit we will enjoy and admire the beautiful surroundings. We go down for about 3 hours to La Virgen parking lot and drive back to Quito to the same hostel. Horses will bring our stuff down to the parking lot. (B/BL)

Day 06: Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park, hike to the Jose Ribas Refuge 4800 m / 15,748 ft.
We’ll leave from the hostel in the morning and will drive to the Cotopaxi National Park entrance. There we will have lunch and registration. From there we’ll drive east to the Cotopaxi parking lot (4.500 m) and then hike up for another hour to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4.800 m). Once at the refuge we will store our belongings and rest in the afternoon. Dinner and Overnight in the hut.(B/L/D).

Day 07: Climb Cotopaxi 5897 m / 19,347 ft - Quito
Midnight will be our wake up time, and the departure to the top (5.897 m) will be around midnight, not before having a hot drink and get our stuff ready for the ascent, which will take us about 6 to 8 hours. Each climber will get a box lunch for the climb. Once at the summit we’ll take our time to take pictures of the crater and surroundings, and then we’ll head down back the refuge (3 to 4 hours).
Once at the refuge we will pack our belongings, have something to eat and drink and go back to the parking lot where our transportation will be ready to take us back to the same hostal in Quito. (B/BL).

Day 08: Rest day in Quito
Rest day in Quito. (B) Day 09: Quito – Refuge Carrel 4800 m / 15,748 ft – High Camp on Chimborazo 5300 m / 17,388 ft
From Quito we drive south, past the cities of Latacunga and Ambato and always along the famous “Avenue of Volcanoes”. Through picturesque fields and bizarre gorges, the road winds to the plateau on the slopes of Chimborazo. We see llamas, vicunas and alpacas. We drive to the Carrel Hut 4800m and there we will start marching to the high camp at 5300m. In the high camp we will expect the complete logistics with tents, kitchen etc. We need about 3 hours. Early dinner and rest. (B/BL/D).

Day 10: Summit climb Chimborazo 6310 m / 20,702 ft
We will get up before midnight to ascend the Chimborazo and after 8 hours we will reach first to the summit Veintimilla (6270 m / 20,570 ft) and then to the maximum summit Whymper (6310 m / 20,702 ft). At about noon we will be back in the refuge, where we will rest a little before returning to Quito. Walking time between 10 to 12 hours. Drive back to Quito. Overnight in the same hostel. (B/BL). Day 11: Transfer to the airport and flight home.
Pick up from the hotel and transfer to the airport (B).

What’s included

What’s included

  • Transfer In and Out (Airport-Hotel-Airport)
  • Private Transportation during the whole tour
  • Certified Mountain Guide UIAGM/AGMP the whole trip
  • Additional Certified Mountain Guide IFMGA/ASEGUIM for the climb of Cotopaxi. Client/Guide ratio 2:1
  • All meals while in the mountains. Vegetarian or special diets can easily be arranged in advance.
  • Meals stated in itinerary (B=Breakfast, BL=Box Lunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Horses on Iliniza (Parking lot – refuge – parking lot)
  • All logistic in the High Camp on Chimborazo (kitchen tent, dining tent, private tent, etc.)
  • Accommodation for the whole tour (middle class hotels-B&B, in refuges based in shared occupancy)
  • Entrance fees and permits to all National Parks and private reserves
  • technical equipment (crampons, harness, ice axe, helmet) and also sleeping bag
  • 24/7 support and assistance

Not Included:
  • Not described meals while in the cities or off the mountain
  • Additional activities or visits not described in the itinerary
  • Mountain equipment (boots, clothes, etc.)
  • Extra Drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Items of personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, etc.
  • Tips/gratuities to staff members and Guides

What to take


  • 50-liter backpack and small day pack
  • plastic or leather boots
  • crampons
  • harness
  • Ice-axe
  • Gore-Tex jacket, pants and gloves
  • inside polar gloves
  • gaiters
  • inflatable mattress (only for Chimborazo)
  • sunglasses with 100% UV protection against strong Equatorial sunlight
  • headlamp and batteries
  • helmet
  • warm or thermic clothing
  • thermos and drinking bottle
  • sleeping bag (minus 5 degrees Celsius) – For Chimborazo minus 10 degrees Celsius!!
  • wool hat, buff and face mask
  • sun cream and lipstick
  • personal medicine, Etc

Scheduled trips & Prices

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Mountain Guide

Octavio Salazar

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