Climb the Volcanoes of Ecuador With Alpine Ascents

The people and the guides were absolutely awesome. I can’t say enough about the guides. They were the highest caliber I have ever climbed with. They did the best glacier and crevasse rescue overview I have done since my initial course. They showed patience and worked with everyone to help them understand techniques in the ways that made sense to them. —Ecuador Volcanoes Climber

Amazing! The lodging, bus, food, scenery, hosts, and guides were of the highest quality. Every aspect overdelivered. Many of our hosts, drivers, porters were warm and friendly. The accommodations were beautiful and comfortable. Even Stubel camp was comfortable and the soup was delicious with fresh ingredients (totally unexpected)! —Ecuador Volcanoes Climber
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Ecuador, the jewel of the Andes, is a paradise for the mountaineer. Perhaps nowhere else on earth does the combination of high mountains and easy accessibility exist. Over the last 20 years, we have developed what we consider to be the ultimate Ecuador climbing program. Our itinerary offers the best in acclimatization, cultural experience, and great accommodations — all while climbing the three most spectacular volcanoes in Ecuador: Cotopaxi(19,347 ft. / 5,897 m), Cayambe (18,993 ft. / 5,789 m), and Chimborazo (20,701 ft. / 6,310 m).

This trilogy of climbs is quite unique. Our most recent itinerary includes Cotopaxi and we are thrilled to have Cotopaxi back as part of this expedition. Cayambe has the special distinction of being the highest and coldest point on the Equator. This volcano is the only place on earth where the latitude and the temperature are both zero degrees. Chimborazo, the giant of Ecuador, offers challenging glacier climbing all the way to the summit and to the farthest point from the center of the Earth.

Alpine Ascents uses only expert guides. Our low climber-to-guide ratio (2:1 for Cotopaxi and Cayambe, and 1:1 for Chimborazo) translates into safer climbing and much higher summit success. Our gradual acclimatization itinerary gives us ample time to prepare for climbs, and our in-depth knowledge of the climbing routes allows us to ascend with great efficiency.

All of the lodging was lovely in different ways. My favorite was probably Tambopaxi lodge due to the wild animals, but I enjoyed each unique experience along the way. Our cook was very helpful and made us an unexpected hot meal of quinoa soup with fresh cheese and avocado before bed. The hot springs were also a great way to kick off the trip. The program was “mountaineering luxury” that let us rest up, enjoy our vacation, and keep the suffering limited to the climbs. We also got to see a lot of culture and have a bit of free time as we traveled the highlands. —2020 Climber

Between summit climbs we spend three nights in Quito, enjoying the cultural heritage and night life of the capital city. We also spend two nights in Papallacta, a beautiful private hot springs and spa, along with five more nights in beautiful mountain lodges close to our climbs. The ability to rest in comfort between our climbs and enjoy Ecuadorian hospitality throughout the trip makes Ecuador one of the most enjoyable places in the world to climb.

Our program is also flexible for those who do not have enough time to complete the entire 16-day trip. There is a 12-day program that adds Cayambe as a second climb.

Alpine Ascents also offers excursions to the Amazon rainforest and to a magnificent hacienda for horseback riding, biking, and hiking. These are a great way to have the rest of the family join in or just relax after the climb. Contact us for details.


Climbers should have successfully completed our 6 Day, 8 Day, 9 Day, 10 Day, or 13 Day training courses, or have equivalent skills and experience. Those who had a strong performance on a 3-Day Baker or Rainier climb may also join. Climbers must have basic knowledge of progression on snow and ice, self-arrest, and glacier travel. Snow and ice slopes are of moderate angle (up to 45 degrees). These requirements are also based on our desire to have similarly skilled team members.

Contact Gordon Janow for a private program for those with no climbing experience.

Napo Wildlife Center

Napo Wildlife Center is the most luxurious lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon, and it is 100% community-owned. It is part of an environmental project that conserves 82 square miles of pristine lowland rainforest. The lodge itself is beautiful, with local architecture, hardwood floors, and well-considered amenities. Nearby, blinds built at parrot clay licks bring the action to you: a 120-foot canopy tower deep in the forest allows visitors to experience life above the forest floor. The natural attractions in Amazonian Ecuador are simply unmatched.

Location and access: Napo Wildlife center is located in the Orellana province, two hours by canoe from Coca. To get to Napo Wildlife Center, guests fly by jet from Quito to the town of Coca (officially known as Francisco de Orellana) on the Napo River. After a short drive from the airport to the dock, we board a large, motorized, covered canoe for a scenic two-hour trip down the Napo River. Upon arriving at the entrance to the NWC Reserve, we switch to smaller, dugout canoes in which we will be paddled up Blackwater Creek to the lake and lodge (no motorized transport is allowed on the creek or lake so that wildlife isn’t disturbed).


Most of the walks will take place on firm forest land. This pleasant activity will give us the opportunity to feel the forest floor. Here, the assembly of the forest, the sounds, scents, colors, and sometimes wildlife activity, will amuse us. Long, short, or medium length walks can be arranged depending on your preference. During all of these walks, we will be accompanied by a native guide who will introduce to us the secrets of medicinal plants and their applications. If you are interested in insects and frogs, we recommend the walks in the forest at night.

Price per person in double room: $1,300.00

Price includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals while at Napo Wildlife Center
  • Transportation from the airport in Coca to Napo Wildlife Center and vice versa
  • All excursions with a native guide and a bilingual naturalist guide
  • Entrance fee to the Yasuni National Park
  • Rain ponchos
  • Rubber boots

Price does not include:

  • Flight Quito – Coca – Quito (approximately $ 170 per person)
  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses


The Main Hall
Meals are served in the central structure, or main hall, of Napo Wildlife Center. This main hall also offers several comfortable social areas — including a full-stocked bar, reading lounge (where we may conduct briefings), and a 20-foot high observation tower that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding wilderness. There is a short trail that runs behind this building — very popular for evening strolls when busy nocturnal creatures come to life. A combination of the main hall’s location and the traditional openness of Kichwa architecture make it comfortable even during the heat of midday.

Napo Wildlife Center: the most luxurious lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon:
This lodge consists of 16 luxury cabañas and a large dining hall with a library and a well-stocked bar. Attached to the bar is a 50-ft. viewing tower from which you can see the Andes on a clear day. The rooms are huge (over 450 sq. ft.), always clean, and include:

  • One king-sized bed and one twin-sized bed (up to 3 people)
  • Safety deposit box in each room
  • Private bathrooms with on-demand hot water showers
  • Private porches with lake views
  • 24-hour electricity with plenty of lights and plenty of 120v outlets
  • Ceiling fans and secure screens for plenty of bug-free ventilation

Comfort & Amenities


Napo Wildlife Center was built on a particularly privileged lakeside location, providing a refreshing breeze, wonderful scenic views as well as a relatively bug-free environment. The main hall and all cabins are equipped with high electric ceiling fans (cabins also with high quality screens).

Running water

We utilize the lake’s water for the bathrooms at the Lodge. The water is clean and safe for use, as it undergoes a wetland wastewater treatment system of the highest caliber to avoid lake pollution. Drinkable water is always available in big plastic containers so you can refill your own bottles. The idea is to use the least amount of plastic possible. Hot water is available at all times.


Our 24-hour library offers a wide variety of books from Natural history, biology, conservation, literature as well as magazines and scientific reports. We suggest not to take books to your rooms so all guests have the opportunity to enjoy them.


You have the possibility of shopping for souvenirs, as well as personal care items and useful accessories at the lodge boutique. Handicrafts are also sold at the interpretation center’s gift shop located at the first clay lick.


Internet service is always available at the lodge at a reasonable price for guests use at anytime. This will be added to your bill.


The Napo Wildlife Center has a two-way radio (vhf and hf) that connects the Lodge, our office in Quito, our office in Coca and all the facilities. Mobile service can sometimes reach Añangu.

First Aid

We provide first aid kits for eventualities during excursions; our excursion leaders have basic medical training to help in case of an emergency.


Register your rare or uncommon sightings together with your naturalist guides, so future guests can appreciate the wide biodiversity of the Amazon.

Dietary requests

For vegetarian or special diet requests, please contact the lodge manager; anything can be arranged.

Laundry Service

In your room you will find a white bag and form to be filled out. A reasonably priced laundry service will be added to your bar bill.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to with reviews.

by Yossi Brain
Ecuador Climbing and Hiking Guide
by Rob Rachowiecki, Mark Thurber

Beyond what I imagined. The lodges were all unique and so much history. It was amazing to experience all of it.


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