Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

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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.

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

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 01Group 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 02Free 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 03Hike 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 04Drive 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 05Acclimatization day, we work on glacier travel techniques. Our route isn’t technical but we will encounter many very large crevasses on our climb.

  • Day 06We 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 07Our 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 08Drive 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 09Again 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 10Another rest day at the Hacienda before heading towards our last objective, Chimborazo, at 20,703 ft, it is Ecuador’s highest point.

  • Day 11Drive towards Chimborazo. We will stay at the Whymper Hut at 16,405 ft.

  • Day 12Summit 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 DayDrive 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.

Dates of Trips

Aug 20 – Sept 1, 2022
Sept 3 – 15, 2022
Sep 17 – 29, 2022
Sep 24 –  Oct 6, 2022
Oct 22 – Nov 3, 2022
Nov 5 – 17, 2022
Nov 19 – Dec 1, 2022




Cost for reserving:


Cost Includes

  • Professional Mountain Guides
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Mendoza at theMendoza Park Hyatt Hotelwith breakfast buffet (1 night at the beginning of the expedition and 1 night at the end of the expedition)
  • 1 night hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner in Penitentes, on the way to the mountain
  • All land transportation
  • Mules
  • All expedition food
  • All community gear such as: tents, stoves, state of the art Base Camp, cooking gear, medical kits, satellite phones, radios, gamow bag, pulse-oximeters, etc.

You are responsible for

  • Round-trip flights to and from Mendoza, Argentina
  • Aconcagua climbing permit fee ($300 to $750 which you will pay in Mendoza, accompanied by your guide)
  • Meals in Mendoza
  • Personal equipment
  • Passport
  • Personal items and services (laundry, snacks, drinks, tips, etc.)
  • Expenses incurred in the case of a rescue or early departure from the expedition
  • SAT phone charges
  • *Porter fee (If used)


Porters cost from $160 to $300 per load carry depending on Altitude they carry to. You will need a maximum of 5 to 6 load carries from Base Camp to High Camp and back down to Base Camp again (about $1,000 USD), if you choose to have a porter for each carry, and move, and for the descent of the mountain.
Porters will be available at Base Camp. The final number of estimated load carries may be decided at Base Camp.