Volcanoes of Ecuador

Antisana (18,874ft/5,752m), Cayambe (18,993ft/5,789m), Chimborazo (20,701ft/6,310m)

Expedition Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in the capital city of Quito.
It lies on a long and narrow Andean valley surrounded by high volcanoes at an elevation of 2,850 meters/ 9,350 ft. Our guide will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you to the hotel.
Altitudes: Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: Depending on altitude of home town
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: Depending on altitude of home town
Travel times: Airport - Hotel: 30 min
Accomodations: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN. There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes

Day 2: City Tour Quito.
We spend the day sightseeing in Quito. The northern capital for the Incas, Quito is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all South American capital cities with its well preserved colonial architecture and mild climate. We visit the old town of Quito which has been declared a World Heritage by the UNESCO.. We acclimatize to the local altitude while taking an easy walk through narrow streets and historical squares, admiring the old colonial churches, buildings and houses. Before returning to our hotel we enjoy a great view of Quito from the top of the El Panecillo hill. This day constitutes an important foundation for our acclimatization. We also have a thorough equipment check and orientation including discussion of Leave No Trace practices. A welcome dinner follows in the evening. Overnight stay in Quito.
Altitudes: Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: 0m/ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0m/ft
Travel times: Hotel - old town: 30 min;  Old town - Hotel: 30 min
Accomodations: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN. There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes

Day 3: Rucu Pichincha Climb - Papallacta.
Easy access from Quito using the cable car makes Ruco Pichincha (4,698m /15,413ft) a great acclimatization hike. The gondola will take us up to an altitude of 3,966m / 13,012ft from where we will have a first glance of three of the highest snow-capped Ecuadorian mountains. Cotopaxi, Antizana and Cayambe. From there we will start our hike, which will take us to the top of this ancient volcano in three hours. Two hours later we will be back in Quito and drive to the most beautiful hot springs spa in Ecuador, Termas Papallacta, (11,800ft). Papallacta has private hot pools in front of every room filled daily with perfectly clear hot water from their natural hot springs. The spa is also available for massage at very reasonable prices. We spend the rest of the evening enjoying a great dinner and relaxing in the pools. Night at Papallacta.
Altitudes:   Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
                   Gondola upper station: 3,966m/13,012 ft
                   Summit Ruco Pichincha: 4,698m/15,413ft
                   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,848 m/6,063ft
Vertical gain climbing: 732 m/2,401ft
Vertical gain of sleeping altitude: 450m/1,477ft
Travel times: Hotel - Gondola (lower terminus): 20 min
                        Gondola (lower terminus) - Papallacta: 2 hours   
Hiking/Climbing times: Gondola (upper station) - Summit Rucu Pichincha: 3-4 hours
                                      Summit Rucu Pichincha - Gondola (upper station): 2 hours
Accomodation: Resort
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also two computers at the business center which you can use for free. Most of the time you have to wait in line. For some reason beyond our control, Apple devices (iPhones, iPads) do not connect to the wireless service at this particular place.
Cell Phone signal: Yes

Day 4: Acclimatization Hike Bear’s Peak. Papallacta.
Today we take an acclimatization hike through a thick Cyprus forest up onto the high ridges surrounding Papallacta. We have excellent views of the surrounding valleys and our first climb, Antisana (5,758m / 18, 891ft). After our hike we head back to Termas Papallacta for a fine dinner and another evening in the spa.
Altitudes:   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
                  Summit Bear’s Peak: 3,987m/13,081ft
Vertical gain during the day: 687m/2,254ft
Vertical gain climbing: 687m/2,254ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0m/ft
Travel times: 0
Hiking/Climbing times: Termas de Papallacta. - Summit Bear's Peak:  2-3 hours
                                      Summit Bear's Peak - Termas de Papallacta: 1-1.5  hours
Accomodations: Resort
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also two computers at the business center which you can use for  free. Most of the time you have to wait in line. For some reason beyond our control, Apple devices (iPhones, iPads) do not connect to the wireless service at this particular place.
Cell Phone signal: Yes

Day 5: Termas de Papallacta - Antisana. Hike to Advance Base Camp. Overnight at Base Camp.
This morning we meet the rest of our climbing guides( our guide to climber ratio is 1:2) who will be joining us for the climb and take our bus and four wheel drive jeep up to the base of Antisana. Our Base Camp (13,500 ft) is in the remote highlands of a private ranch with wild horses, lamas, fox and raptors. Few people visit this area and we usually have Antisana all to ourselves. Our cook and staff prepare camp as we do an acclimatization hike up to advance base Camp at 15,500 ft and then return to Base Camp for the night.
Altitudes:   Termas Papallacta: 3,300m/10,827ft
                  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,233m/4,043ft
Vertical gain climbing: 447m/1,465ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 786m/2,578ft
Travel times: Termas Papallacta- Antisana Base Camp: 3 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: Antisana Base Camp - Advance Base Camp:  2 hours
                                      Advance Base Camp - Antisana Base Camp:  1 hour
Accommodation: Antisana Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

Day 6: Glacier Training. Overnight at Base Camp.
After breakfast we travel in the 4 wheel drive up to Advance Base Camp. From here we hike for an hour up to the glacier for a climbing skills review and to acclimatize. The lower glaciers on Antizana offer great cramponing and practice for running belays, etc. That evening we return to Base Camp where dinner is be waiting for us.
Altitudes:  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Advance Base Camp: 4,533m/14,870ft
                  Antisana Glacier: 4,789m/15,713 ft
Vertical gain during the day: 703m/2,308ft
Vertical gain climbing: 256m/843ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0 m/0ft
Travel times: Antisana Base Camp - Advance Base Camp:  30 min
Hiking/Climbing times: Advance Base Camp - Glacier: 1 hour
                                      Glacier- Advance Base Camp: 1 hour
Accommodation: Antisana Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.

Day 7: Rest and preparation day for the climb. Base Camp.
We spend the day planning the climb and preparing our gear. We will head to bed early so that we are well rested for an early departure on the summit climb.
Altitudes:  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                 
Vertical gain during the day: 0m/0ft
Vertical gain climbing: 0m/0ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0m/0ft
Travel times: 0
Hiking/Climbing times: 0
Accommodation: Base Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: No. For emergencies and to cybercast, we have a satellite phone with us.
 
Day 8: Summit Antisana - Hacienda Cusin. Overnight at Hacienda Cusin.
We rise at 10:00 pm. Our cook will have breakfast waiting in the dinning tent. We will then drive up to La Virgen Moraine from where at midnight we head out with our guides on the summit climb. Antisana has challenging glaciers where we climb small steps to avoid the larger crevassed areas. We wind around towers of glacier ice and as the sun rises to a most spectacular of a dozen volcanoes throughout all of Ecuador.
Altitudes:  La Virgen Moraine: 4,533m/14,870ft
                  Summit Antisana: 5,758m / 18,891ft
                  Antisana Base Camp: 4,086m/13,405ft
                  Hacienda Cusin: 2,600m/8,530ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,672m/5,486ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,225m/4,021ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -1486m/-4,875ft
Travel times: La Virgen Moraine - Antisana Base Camp:  30 min
                      Antisana Base Camp - Hacienda Cusin: 2.5 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: La Virgen Moraine - Summit Antisana: 7-8 hours
                                       Summit Antisana - La Virgen Moraine: 3-4 hours
Accommodation: Hacienda Cusin
Internet Access: Yes
Cell Phone signal: Yes
Following Antisana we travel by private bus to Hacienda Cusin, a beautifully restored, 17th-century estate at 8,530ft/2,600m in the Ecuadorian sierra close to Cayambe, our next objective.
 
Day 9: Rest Day. Otavalo Indian Market - Cuicocha Lake - Hacienda Cusin.
Today we have a rest day which will start with a relaxing morning enjoying a leisurely breakfast. We will visit the famous and colorful Otavalo Market which dates back to pre-Inca days and the beautiful and impressive Cuicocha Crater Lake. The rest of the day is dedicated to rest and preparation for the upcoming climb.
Altitudes:  Otavalo: 2,550/8,366ft
                  Cuicocha Crater Lake: 3,080m/10,104ft
                  Hacienda Cusin: 2,600m/8,530ft
Vertical gain during the day: 480m/ 1,574ft
Vertical gain climbing: 0
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 0
Travel times: Hacienda Cusin - Otavalo:  15 min
                      Otavalo - Cuicocha Crater Lake: 30 min
Cuicocha Crater Lake - Hacienda Cusin: 45 min
Hiking/Climbing times: 0
Accommodation: Hacienda Cusin
Internet Access: Yes
Cell Phone signal: Yes

Day 10: Hacienda Cusin - Cayambe Hut. Overnight at the hut.
After breakfast, our transport will take us to Cayambe town where we will meet the rest of the guides. Together, we will travel up to the Cayambe hut (4,650m/15,250ft) using four wheel drive vehicles. The hut is situated on the southern slopes of Cayambe and has fantastic views of "Glaciar Hermoso". Once at the hut, we prepare the climb of the third highest mountain in Ecuador.
Altitudes:  Hacienda Cusin: 2,600m/8,530ft
                  Cayambe hut: 4,650m/15,250ft
Vertical gain during the day: 2,050m/6,720ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 2,050m/6,720ft
Travel times: Hacienda Cusin - Cayambe town: 30 min
Cayambe town - Cayambe hut: 2 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: 0
Accommodation: Cayambe hut
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: Weak but enough to make a call
 
Day 11: Summit Cayambe - Hacienda Cusin (Quito for 12-day program).
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 is 0° and so is the temperature. We begin the climb at about midnight. An early start allows us to take advantage of the better snow conditions and thus travel more quickly and safely. The normal route is technically not challenging but physically demanding. From the hut, we will have to ascent a rocky ridge. From the top of it, we have to make a short descent before heading up to join the glacier. Once on the glacier, we will rope up and head up toward a rocky outcrop located in the middle of it. From there, we turn left toward the summit working a way through crevasses until reaching the huge summit dome (5,789m/18,993ft) with magnificent views of the Amazon Rain Forest, the surrounding highlands and mountains such as Antisana and Cotopaxi. After the summit climb, we descend Cayambe and head back to Hacienda Cusin for rest and recovery.
Altitudes:  Cayambe hut: 4,650m/15,250ft
Summit Cayambe: 5,789m/18,993ft
                  Hacienda Cusin: 2,600m/8,530ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,139m/3,743ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,139m/3,743ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -2,050m/-6,720ft
Travel times: Cayambe hut - Hacienda Cusin:  2.5 hours
Hiking/Climbing times: Cayambe hut - Summit Cayambe: 8 hours
                                      Summit Cayambe - Cayambe hut: 3 hours
Accommodation: Hacienda Cusin
Internet Access: Yes
Cell Phone signal: Yes
Those in the 12 day program will return to Quito for their flights out the next day.

Day 12:
Hacienda Cusin - Riobamba. Abraspungo Hostelry.
After breakfast, we travel by bus to the Abraspungo Hostelry (2,750m/9,022ft) located close to the city of Riobamba and Chimborazo. We will drive south along what was called by Alexander von Humboldt "The Avenue of the Volcanoes": the high valleys separating the two Ecuadorian mountain chains. There will be great opportunities to admire the "Big Ten Ecuadorian Volcanoes" including the beautiful and active Cotopaxi. In the afternoon, we will reach Abraspungo. This cozy accommodation in a spectacular setting gives us another opportunity to rest and prepare before our most demanding climb.
Altitudes:   Hacienda Cusin: 2,600m/8,530ft
                  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
Vertical gain during the day: 150m/492ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 150m/492ft
Travel times: Hacienda Cusin - Abraspungo Hostelry: 4.5 hours
Accommodation: Abraspungo Hostelry
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN
Cell Phone signal: Yes.  

Day 13: Abraspungo Hostelry - Stübel Camp on Chimborazo
Chimborazo, our next objective (6,310m /20,702ft) is the highest mountain in Ecuador. This old volcano is considered extinct although some recent studies show that it might still be considered active. Its main summit has the distinction of being the farthest point from the center of the earth making Chimborazo, in its own way, the tallest mountain in the world. It does not matter from which side you look at Chimborazo, it will impress you by its size and beauty. Today we travel by bus to Plaza Roja (4,852m /15,918ft.) located close to the Carrel hut (4,862m /15,951ft). From there, it takes us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m /16,567ft) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb the next day. Porters will help us carrying group gear from Plaza Roja up to the Stübel Camp.
Altitudes:  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
                  Plaza Roja: 4,852m/15,918ft
                 Stübel Camp: 5,050m/16,567ft
Vertical gain during the day: 2,300m/7,545ft
Vertical gain climbing: 198m/649ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 2,300m/7,545ft
Travel times: Abraspungo Hostelry - Plaza Roja:  1 hour
Hiking/Climbing times: Plaza Roja - Stübel Camp: 2 hours
Accommodation: Stübel Camp
Internet Access: No
Cell Phone signal: Yes.

Day 14: Summit Chimborazo - Riobamba. Abraspungo Hostelry.
We start the climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Saddle (5,500m /18,044 ft.). This new variant to the normal Castle Ridge route is free from the danger of rock fall making it a much safer line. From the Stübel Camp, it normally takes eight hours to get to the Whymper summit from where you will enjoy one of the best views in Ecuador. To the east and south-east: El Altar which is the most difficult mountain to climb in Ecuador and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay. To the north and north-east: mountains like the Ilinizas, Antisana and the famous Cotopaxi. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes three hours. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Plaza Roja and travel to Riobamba town. The Abraspungo Hostelry gives us beautiful Andean scenery at the end of our climb.
Altitudes:  Stübel Camp: 5,050m/16,567ft
                  Summit Chimborazo: 6,310m/20,702ft
                  Plaza Roja: 4,852m/15,918ft
                  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
Vertical gain during the day: 1,260m/4,135ft
Vertical gain climbing: 1,260m/4,135ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: -2,300m/-7,545ft
Travel times: Plaza Roja - Abraspungo Hostelry:  1 hour
Hiking/Climbing times: Stübel Camp - Summit Chimborazo: 8 hours
                                      Summit Chimborazo - Stübel Camp: 3 hours
                                     Stübel Camp - Plaza Roja: 1.5 hours
Accommodation: Abraspungo Hostelry
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN
Cell Phone signal: Yes


Day 15: Riobamba - Quito. Hotel Quito.
After having breakfast we drive along the Avenue of the volcanoes back to Quito. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Altitudes:  Abraspungo Hostelry: 2,750m/9,022ft
                 Quito: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Vertical gain during the day: 100m/328ft
Vertical gain of sleeping elevation: 100m/328ft
Travel times: Riobamba - Quito: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Internet Access: Wifi with PIN There are also some computers which you can use at the business center
Cell Phone signal: Yes


Day 16: Return flight USA.
Travel times: Airport - Hotel Quito: 30 min


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