Logistics

Paperwork

Please take the time to read the entire Logistics section in full. If you have questions, feel free to call the Alpine Ascents office or email us. 

Make sure you have submitted the following paperwork to Alpine Ascents.

⎕  Application
⎕  Flight itinerary

Trip Insurance

As there are many unforeseen circumstances that may occur during or leading up to the trip, we strongly recommend trip insurance for your expedition.

A variety of trip insurance options are available through different providers. We recommend Comprehensive Trip Insurance for your protection.

There are two basic policies: ‘standard trip insurance’ which can cover injuries or illness, or a ‘cancel for any reason’ addon which covers a wider variety of situations. Note – this addon is considerably more expensive, and if paid out only covers 75% of the trip fee. Please note this is just a summation of the policies available.

Please see complete specific policy information for our recommended policies..

Getting There

A day-to-day itinerary can be found with your confirmation letter.

Flight reservations for your expedition should be made as soon as possible. Please forward a copy of your flight itinerary before final purchase so we can review departure and arrival dates.

Alpine Ascents can make pick-up, hotel, and transport arrangements to meet individual itineraries.

Flying to Quito, Ecuador 

Arrival: Arrive in Quito on Day 1 of your itinerary. Most flights arrive in the evening. Those arriving on the scheduled date will be met at the airport by an Alpine Ascents guide or representative and taken to the hotel. Please look for an Alpine Ascents sign upon leaving customs.

Departure: You may fly out any time on the last day of your itinerary.

Early Arrival/Late Departure: For those arriving early or departing after the scheduled itinerary, we can make hotel and transport arrangements at an additional cost. Please contact our office in advance if you would like us to make additional reservations.

Visas & Passports

Most travelers entering Ecuador as tourists, including citizens of Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, South Africa, and the USA, do not require visas. Upon entry, they will be issued a T-3 embarkation card valid for 90 days.

If you have a Central American or Asian passport please contact Alpine Ascents or your embassy to consult visa regulations for your country.

All visitors entering as tourists need a passport that is valid for at least six months after arrival. You are legally required to have your passport and embarkation card/visa on you all times. Copies are not an officially acceptable form of ID if not notarized but we recommend bringing photocopies as a backup.

US citizens can consult the US State department website for further information: Ecuador International Travel Information

Hotels

For climbers who prefer single room accommodations, these arrangements can be made for an additional fee. Be aware that private rooms are available at hotels during our trip, but not in some of the mountain huts.

For climbers choosing double room accommodations every effort will be made to pair you with another climber. A Single Room Supplement Fee will apply if a match cannot be made or there is a last minute cancellation. This will help keep our overall program pricing down since unlike other companies we do not charge more for smaller groups.

In Quito

Hotel Mercure
Vicente Ramón Roca E4-122, Quito
(593)2 299 4000
mercurequito.com.ec

Outside of Quito, lodging is in old haciendas converted to hostelries and mountain huts. Some changes in the itinerary may occur with the addition of huts and lodging being established in the region.

Gear List

Please refer to your Gear List:

Note: For the climbers who will attempt Chimborazo, you will need to bring an inflatable sleeping pad. Not required for 12 day program climbers.

You are required to bring every item on this list as described, so be as precise as possible when packing. We are happy to work closely with you on finding the proper gear.

Because we are in Quito for a few days as well as staying in hotels between mountains, it is nice to have a couple changes of casual clothes. A few pairs of pants and a few shirts are sufficient. Culturally, shorts are not usually worn in Ecuador and the evenings are quite cool.

If you plan to rent gear, your rental form must be submitted at least a month prior to expedition start date. Please call our office or e-mail [email protected] with any questions.

Gear Lexicon

If you’re confused by items and/or language on the Gear List, we encourage you to refer to our Gear Guide for explanations on layering systems, differences between boots, etc.

Other Resources

Below are articles written by veteran Alpine Ascents guides that you may find helpful in preparing and packing for your expedition.

Medications & Prescriptions for Mountain Climbing

Women’s-Specific Tips

Not on the Gear List, but in our Backpacks

Packing Tips

People generally take too much “stuff” rather than too little. Study each item before you pack it. Eliminate redundant items, extra changes of clothing, and excessive “nice to have” luxuries. You will benefit from traveling light because of the costs of excess baggage and because of the frequent loading and unloading of bags. Take everything on the required equipment list and little else. Remember to review your airline’s weight limits and pack accordingly. If your airline enforces a strict weight limit, you should be ready to have your boots and another heavy item transferred to your carry on.

Expenses

We recommend using a combination of cash and credit cards for purchases, meals in the city, and extra expenses in Ecuador.

Currency

The Ecuadorian currency is the US dollar. Bills used in Ecuador are those issued in the USA. Coins of one, five, 10, 25, and 50 cents are identical in shape, size, and color to their US equivalents, but bear images of famous Ecuadorians rather than US presidents. Both US and Ecuadorian coins are used in Ecuador. The US $1 coin is also widely used.

The biggest problem when it comes to cash is finding change. It can be hard to cash $50 and $100 bills even in big cities. Please bring several US $1 bills for tipping the bell boys at hotels, hostelries, and haciendas.

Pounds, Euros, and other major currencies can be changed in Quito, but it is best to arrive with US dollars.

ATMs: ATMs are the easiest way of getting cash. They are found in most cities and even in smaller towns. Make sure you have a four-digit PIN; many Ecuadorian ATMs do not recognize longer ones.

Credit Cards: Credit cards are great as backup. Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club are the most widely accepted cards. First-class restaurants, hotels, and some of the gift shops accept credit cards.

Early Departure/Evacuation

If you need to leave the expedition early, you are responsible for all incurred expenses (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc). A comprehensive trip insurance plan is recommended, which can cover these costs in the event that they occur.

Climbers who opt not to participate in one of the three climbs will be responsible for hotels and meals during that time.

Budgeting

During the Alpine Ascents Ecuador expedition, meals in Quito are not included in the trip cost. You should budget about US$20 for each meal in Quito and US$35 for the farewell dinner (including one non-alcoholic drink).

On Day 1, climbers normally do not have dinner since most flights from the US arrive late in the evening. On Day 2 you have lunch and dinner in Quito, and on Day 15 (Day 11 for the 12-Day trip) the farewell dinner. For these three meals, you should budget about US$75 total.

Alcoholic drinks and bottled drinks are not included. Please bring some extra cash if you plan on having drinks (not recommended during the expedition). On Day 15 you will have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and gifts in Quito. You should bring extra cash or your credit card for this purpose.

Tipping

Our guides make every effort to ensure your climb is safe, successful, and as enjoyable as possible. Guides are permitted to accept and greatly appreciate tips. Tipping has long been part of the climbing tradition Ecuador.

7-10% of the total trip cost is a standard guideline for the whole guide team, including porters. Any contribution to the guides’ tip pool can be given directly to your lead guide and will be appreciated by the entire team.

Tip porters at the airport and bellboys at hotels about $1 per bag. Taxi drivers are not normally tipped, but you can leave them the small change for a metered ride. At restaurants bills usually include 10% service charge. In better restaurants you should tip an additional 5-10%.

On the Mountain

Physiology Of Mountaineering

Dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, and altitude illness are all important health conditions to be aware of while climbing. Please read our overview of these physical factors:

Food & Water

We are aware of the potential monotony of expedition food and Alpine Ascents makes every effort to make meals a positive part of the climb. We take great care in our meal preparation, understanding the importance staying healthy, fueling effectively, and enjoying your food. Whenever possible, we use fresh ingredients from local markets in our pre-planned meals.

Tap water in Ecuador is not safe to drink. While in the city, use bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth. While climbing, Alpine Ascents guides will sterilize all water and climbers will fill water bottles at breakfast and dinner.

Snacks: Depending on the day’s activity, we provide granola bars, chocolate bars, trail-mix, cookies, crackers, fresh fruit (bananas, tangerines, oranges, etc.) and also bread, cheese, ham, peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches. If there is a special outdoor snack you prefer, it is better to bring it from home. Performance snacks (energy gels, energy bars etc.) or hydration drinks (Gatorade, Nuun, Cytomax, etc.) are not available in Ecuador.

Health Tips

You may want to consult your physician for advice on treatments for gastrointestinal upsets that you may encounter on your trip. In the past, climbers have relied on antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin. Your doctor may recommend medications such as Lomotil or Imodium to stop diarrhea, and Compazine to prevent nausea.

Leave No Trace

Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Before your climb, please become familiar with Leave No Trace:

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

As guides, we spend time teaching the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices. There is nothing more rewarding than working hard to get high into the mountains, reaching a pristine campsite, witnessing incredible views, and having the feeling that no one has been there before.

Conversely, there is nothing more disheartening than working hard to climb a mountain, reaching a site and encountering trash, food waste, and toilet paper. Please read the seven LNT principles, and call the office if you have any questions about what you can do to plan ahead.

Behavior in Ecuador

Bargaining

In markets and smaller handicraft stores, bargaining is acceptable, indeed expected, and you can sometimes lower the original price by about 20%. In “tourist stores” in Quito, prices are usually fixed.

Photographing People

Ask for permission and if this is refused, do not become offended. Be aware and sensitive of people’s feelings; it is never worth upsetting someone for a good photograph.

Contact With Locals

There is very little anti-foreigner sentiment in Ecuador. The average Ecuadorian usually has a relative who lives in the United States or Europe and is very interested in conversing with you. However, problems do exist with the dichotomy between rich tourists and the locals who work for substandard wages to provide services for tourists. Demands by groups of non-Spanish-speaking tourists can seem rude to locals. We stay at nice lodging places, eat at good restaurants, and the Alpine Ascents staff and local guides do their best to make your trip as pleasant as possible. We require a certain grade of flexibility from your side and sense of tact when asking for a special service or making a complaint in an establishment (in certain cases it will be better if you ask your guide to take care of it).

Charities/Gifts for Children

Please do not give money or sweets to children you might meet along the trip. This will only lead to a vicious circle, as parents will keep sending their kids on the streets to beg. An exception can be made with disabled or old people. If you are interested in donating money for a social or environmental cause in Ecuador, please consult the various possibilities with your guide.

Other things to know

Official Language

Ecuador’s most widely spoken language is Spanish, though there are two official languages besides Spanish: Shuar and Quichua (two indigenous languages).

Electricity

Ecuador uses 110V AC, 60Hz (the same as in North America). Plugs have two flat prongs, as in North America.

Clothing

Ecuadorians dress formally while in the cities, although this is not generally expected from foreigners. Shorts are not commonly worn in the highlands of Ecuador and you might consider bringing some cotton clothes for the evening meals in Quito and the other lodging places.

Restrooms

The sign for restrooms is “SSHH” or “Baños”. Usually toilet paper must be put into the bin. Toilets are not designed to flush the paper and can clog easily. All lodging places and huts have toilets with running water. At Antisana basecamp, we will have a “toilet tent” with a portable toilet.

Security

You should take all normal big city precautions while you are in Quito. Once in the mountains, however, you can relax.

Excess Luggage

Your guide will tell you where you can leave excess luggage while climbing. Please remember that you should bring an Expedition medium duffel bag with travel lock for this purpose.

Definitely enjoyed the expedition and everyone involved. This was our first time climbing with Alpine Ascents. Everything was well organized and accommodations far exceeded expectations.

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