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.
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)!
*As of January 2023: Cotopaxi is currently closed due to volcanic activity. Our trips are currently climbing Antisana (18,875 ft. / 5,753 m) in its place.
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). Note: There are times when one of the above peaks is closed for climbing due to conditions. When this is the case, we climb Antisana (18,875 ft. / 5,753 m), another beautiful and iconic Ecuadorian volcano.
This trilogy of climbs is quite unique. 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. Cotopaxi is the world’s highest active volcano, and the most popular climb in Ecuador. Chimborazo, the giant of Ecuador, offers challenging glacier climbing all the way to the summit, which is the farthest point from the center of the Earth.
Our low climber-to-guide ratio (2:1) translates into safer climbing and much higher summit success than many other operators in the region. Our gradual acclimatization itinerary gives climbers ample time to physiologically adjust to high altitude, also contributing to high summit rates on this expedition.
In addition to our time climbing, this trip spends time in Quito enjoying the cultural heritage and night life of the capital city; two nights in Papallacta, a beautiful private hot springs and spa; and five nights in various beautiful mountain lodges in the highlands. 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.
All of the lodging was lovely in different ways. My favorite was probably Tambopaxi lodge due to the wild animals. 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.
New in 2023! Cotopaxi Express trip
We are now offering a Cotopaxi-only trip to Ecuador. While we believe our standard Volcanoes of Ecuador trip (3 summits) offers greater value to a developing climber, we recognize that many climbers cannot dedicate 16 days for the trip. Our 9-day Cotopaxi program (1 summit) offers the opportunity to experience high altitude mountaineering in a shorter amount of time away. 9 days is the shortest itinerary that still allows for safe acclimatization and summit success.
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 3-Day 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.
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 Amazon.com with reviews.
Ecuadorby Yossi Brain
Ecuador Climbing and Hiking Guideby Rob Rachowiecki, Mark Thurber
The Incas: Empire of Blood and Gold (New Horizons)by Carmen Bernand
Yes, I did enjoy the trip. It was everything I hoped it would be. The quality of the experience was exceptional.