Aventuras Patagonicas on Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

Aventuras Patagonicas on Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

International Expeditions and Climbing Guide Service


Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

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.

Cayambe and its glaciers - 18,997 feet
Cayambe and its glaciers - 18,997 feet

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.

Chimborazo - Ecuador's highest peak - 20,703
Chimborazo - Ecuador's highest peak - 20,703

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!


  • Day 01

    Group meets in Quito, Ecuador's beautiful capital city, the world´s second highest capital at 9400 ft (La Paz, Bolivia being the first), starting our acclimatization program as soon as you step out of the plane. Gear check and afternoon briefing at the hotel.

  • Day 02

    Free day, the main purpose of our second day is to spend another night above 9,000'. This is a great occasion to visit Otavalo, known the world over for its colorful sweaters.

  • Day 03

    Hike up Rucu Pichincha, essential to our acclimatization program before tackling Ecuador's giants. At 15,706 ft, Rucu Pichincha lies in the foothills of Quito.

  • Day 04

    Drive towards Cayambe,18,997 ft, Ecuador's third highest peak. Cayambe offers spectacular snow and ice climbing and intricate glacier travel. Stay in hut at 15,290 ft.

  • Day 05

    Acclimatization day, we work on glacier travel techniques. Our route isn't technical but we will encounter many very large crevasses on our climb.

  • Day 06

    We start our climb with headlamps on very early in the morning, a standard procedure of tropical high altitude climbing in Ecuador for firm snow conditions during our ascent and descent. An exciting day, challenging glacier travel takes us to the summit, culminating with an exciting line along the glaciated edge of the volcano's crater. Descend to our hut and possibly drive south to our next objective.

  • Day 07

    Our next objective will be Cotopaxi, at 19,348 ft, Ecuador's second highest peak and one of the most beautiful peaks in the Ecuadorian Andes, a perfect cone covered by glaciers and snowfields. We will stop for a rest at a 17th Century Hacienda on our way to Cotopaxi, a beautiful place to relax and enjoy views of Illiniza Sur and Cotopaxi.

  • Day 08

    Drive east into Cotopaxi National Park. Travel through pine forest to above treeline for a spectacular drive and a wide open view of Cotopaxi. The four wheel drive road is quite exciting taking us as high as 15,000 ft. From here a short hike will take us to the Jose Ribas Hut, at 15,729 ft.

  • Day 09

    Again we leave for the summit shortly after midnight for firm snow conditions. Challenging glacier travel will take us to the base of the 400 foot wall Yanasacha, meaning "large black rock" in the native Quechua language, from were we head west up Cotopaxi`s upper glacier on 35 to 40 degree slopes to finally coronate the summit with striking views of Cotopaxi`s summit crater at sunrise. The changes in color as dawn approaches will be a memorable experience of this day's climb. Return to hut.

  • Day 10

    Another rest day at the Hacienda before heading towards our last objective, Chimborazo, at 20,703 ft, it is Ecuador's highest point.

  • Day 11

    Drive towards Chimborazo. We will stay at the Whymper Hut at 16,405 ft.

  • Day 12

    Summit day. It will be a long summit day. Climbers should be well acclimatized by now after several days above 15,000 ft and well conditioned after climbing two of Ecuador`s highest peaks. Chimborazo is a great challenge and a major peak. Lately the standard Whymper route has been out of shape due to dry seasons, so most likely we will take a more challenging line, left of the Whymper. Exciting ice and snow climbing will take us to the summit. Down to the hut.

  • Next Day

    Drive back to Quito. Next day fly back home, at the earliest, or continue traveling in South America.

Note: This itinerary is intended to be a guideline only. Weather days, rest days and some flexibility on the itinerary are always a possibility while on a climbing expedition.

Cost Includes

  • Professional Mountain Guides
  • 2 Nights hotel accommodation in Quito
  • 2 Nights accommodation at hacienda
  • Huts
  • All land transportation
  • Meals while in the mountains
  • All community gear (tents, stoves, cooking gear, ropes, ice screws, pickets, medical kit, etc.)
  • National Park fee


You are responsible for

  • Flights to Quito
  • Meals (except while you are climbing)
  • Personal equipment
  • Passport
  • Personal items and services (laundry, drinks, tips, etc.)
  • And expenses incurred in the event of a rescue.

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