Join us to climb three spectacular Ecuadorian snow and ice volcanoes on our Equatorial High Altitude Expedition to these classic volcanic giants; Cayambe (18,997'), Cotopaxi (19,348'), and Chimborazo (20,703'); exploring this fascinating and colorful Equatorial country between climbs, a mosaic of mountains and rainforest, native peoples and their colorful, ancient culture.
Our Expedition begins as we land in the beautiful historic city of Quito, Ecuador, situated at 9,400', in the Pre Andes mountains. Quito is the second highest city in South America, La Paz, Bolivia being the first. highest. Quito's elevation start out our acclimatization process as soon as we step off the plane. We spend our first day exploring Quito, visiting the markets, renowned for fabulous handmade Otavalan sweaters, and brilliantly colorful local and indigenous artwork. The next day we hike up to Ruca Pichincha (15,706'), a hike in the foothills of Quito passing through aromatic eucalyptus forests filled with exotic birds as we ascend and acclimitize. The next day we drive winding roads typical of Ecuador to our first volcano, Cayambe, Ecuador's third highest, a giant surrounded by glaciers and snow slopes approaching 35 degrees. On this climb we will encounter crevassed terrain with spectacular seracs.
After our ascent and a well deserved rest, we travel through the pastoral countryside and villages to Cotopaxi, our second, and the world's highest active volcano, located in Ecuador's eastern cordillera. We arrive at a hut (refugio) at snowline where we rest and begin our ascent at night to ensure firm snow conditions. Cotopaxi is a classic glaciated volcanic cone which steepens to 40 degrees as we coronate the summit crater and a dramatic panoramic sunrise approaches, a breathtaking experience as the summits of Ecuador's volcanoes light up a rosey hue, one by one and you look down upon waking Ecuador.
After Cotopaxi we take a rest day on a 17th century hacienda. Finally, we head for our last, but not least, volcano, the highest of them all, Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak, a massive five-summited mountain that rises eleven thousand feet above Ecuador's central agricultural valley. By this time we will be well acclimatized, which will improve our chances of summiting Chimborazo,a diverse mountain, higher and more technical than it's neighbors Cotopaxi and Cayambe. An early start and spectacular snow and ice climbing takes us to the vast summit crater with views of the Andes and the Amazon Basin that you will not soon forget!