PRICE

$3,200

SCHEDULE

January 30 – February 7, 2020
Lead Guide: Dennis Broadwell

February 22 – March 1, 2020
Lead Guide: Sam Tyler

DETAILS

9 days in Ecuador
Grade: Beginner

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Cotopaxi is one of the most impressive volcanoes in the Andes of South America. It towers nearly 8,000 feet above the Ecuadorian Highlands, capped with one of the world’s few equatorial glaciers. At 19,347 feet, it is the second-highest peak in Ecuador, and it offers an excellent introduction to the world of high-altitude mountaineering. The mountain requires intermediate mountaineering skills and offers straightforward climbing at moderately high altitudes. After climbing in the Pacific Northwest, our Cotopaxi expeditions are a great next step for those seeking to expand their international mountaineering experience.

Mountain Gurus offers two different Cotopaxi itineraries, allowing us to tailor the trip to the skills and interests of each team. The Trek and Climb Itinerary is ideal for beginner climbers, while participants on the Illiniza and Cotopaxi Itinerary will benefit from prior mountaineering experience. Both itineraries can be extended with a climb to the summit of Chimborazo (20,702 ft), the farthest point on the earth’s surface from the center of the earth.

Illiniza and Cotopaxi Climb • 9 Days

Our Illiniza and Cotopaxi Climb begins with acclimatization ascents up three trekking peaks in the Ecuadorian Highlands near Quito before climbing both Illiniza North (16,818 ft) and Cotopaxi. First, we trek the to the summit of the extinct volcano Pasochoa at 13,780 feet, where we enjoy stunning views of Cotopaxi and possibly condors and wild horses. The next day we take a cable car from Quito to over 13,000 feet and hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha at 15,696 feet. Third up, we ascend Corazon (15,715 ft.) and then descend to sleep at the nearby Chuquiragua Lodge.

Our expedition now turns to Illiniza Norte, the eighth highest peak in Ecuador. After driving to the trailhead 30 miles south of Quito, we hike three hours to the Nuevo Horizontes Refuge at 15,416 feet. Perched between the north and south peaks of Illiniza, the refuge is known as the smallest high mountain hut in the Ecuadorian Andes. It is an ideal high camp for ascents of the Illinizas, which are frequently climbed to acclimatize for higher peaks such as Cotopaxi. Illiniza South (17,218 ft.) is another option for experienced climbers with technical expertise.

After summiting Illiniza Norte, we overnight at the lovely Los Mortiños lodge. The next day, we continue to Cotopaxi, hiking less than an hour from the trailhead to the Jose F. Rivas refuge at 15,744 feet. After a night at the refuge, we wake early to complete the final phase of our expedition, ascending to the rim of Cotopaxi’s massive summit crater at 19,347 feet.

Cotopaxi Trek and Climb • 9 Days

Mountain Gurus’ Cotopaxi Trek and Climb offers an opportunity to traverse the beautiful Ecuadorian Highlands while acclimatizing for an ascent of Cotopaxi. On the first four days of the expedition, we trek through picturesque Andean forest and grasslands and climb the extinct volcano Pasochoa (13,780 ft.), while staying in quaint campsites and idyllic haciendas. We then enter Cotopaxi National Park to climb Ruminahui Volcano at 15,489 feet. From there, we travel to Cotopaxi basecamp for the mountaineering phase of our expedition. We ascend the mountain’s glaciated summit using ice axe and crampons, then return to Quito for flights home.

Chimborazo Climb • 3 Days

Before departing for home, consider making the most of your hard-earned acclimatization by climbing the famous Chimborazo. At 20,702 feet, Chimborazo is Ecuador’s highest mountain. Its location on Earth’s equatorial bulge makes its summit is the farthest point on Earth’s surface from the center of the Earth.

What skills are required to attempt the Ecuador Volcanoes?

Cotopaxi is a moderately challenging climb recommended for those with previous mountaineering experience. Advanced climbing skills are not required, but the route is physically demanding. You must be in very good aerobic condition and able to hike for 7 to 9 hours on summit day while carrying a 20 to 25-pound pack. Previous high altitude experience will greatly increase your chances of reaching the summit. Ice axe and crampon skills are needed because the final snow slopes before the summit can be as steep as 40-50 degrees. Glacier and rope travel skills are essential for a safe and successful climbing adventure. Mountain Gurus will help you refresh your mountaineering skills before the climb.

What is included in the Cotopaxi Expedition?

Our Cotopaxi climbs feature the services you will need to safely and successfully ascend one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world. Our expeditions progress through a series of carefully planned acclimatization summits to help you adapt to the conditions you will encounter on Cotopaxi. Our itineraries include all scheduled meals and land transportation while in Ecuador. Between ascents, you will stay in comfortable lodges and haciendas at the feet of the peaks, and idyllic campgrounds and mountain refuges while in the backcountry. Our climbs are led by highly experienced, certified mountain guides outfitted with professional mountaineering equipment. All group expedition gear – including tents, stove, fuel, and communal climbing equipment – will be provided. American guides may accompany teams of four or more climbers. International airfare, and non-scheduled transportation, lodging and meals are not included. Personal climbing equipment is not included.

What are the risks of climbing Cotopaxi?

Any high-altitude adventure has risks. One of the best ways to mitigate these risks is to ensure you are in excellent physical condition before arriving in Quito. Stamina, training, and experience will help you tackle the challenges of Cotopaxi. Altitude sickness is one of the primary risks on a high-altitude climb. It is important to alert your guide if you experience significant altitude illness.

Day to Day Climb Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Quito
Day 2 • Pasochoa • 13,780 ft
Day 3 • Rucu Pichincha • 15,696 ft
Day 4 • Corazon • 15,715 ft
Day 5 • Iliniza Refuge • 15,416 ft
Day 6 • Summit Iliniza North 16,818 ft
Day 7 • Cotopaxi Refuge • 15,750 ft
Day 8 • Summit Cotopaxi • 19,347 ft
Day 9 • Depart Quito

Day to Day Trek Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Quito
Day 2 • Santa Rita • 10,758 ft
Day 3 • Pasochoa • 13,780 ft
Day 4 • El Porvenir • 11,808 ft
Day 5 • Summit Ruminahui • 15,489 ft
Day 6 • Cotopaxi • 16,400 ft
Day 7 • Cotopaxi • 15,750 ft
Day 8 • Summit Cotopaxi • 19,347 ft
Day 9 • Depart Quito

Chimborazo Climb

Day 9 • Rest day in Quito
Day 10 • Drive to Chimborazo Refuge • Hike to High Camp • 16,564 ft
Day 11 • Summit Chimborazo • 20,702 ft
Day 12 • Depart Quito

My trip to Ecuador with Mountain Gurus was great. The logistics and Itinerary kept our team moving and allowed for acclimatization before our climb of Cotopaxi. Guides were on point the whole trip and overall fun friendly guys. I really enjoyed being able to trek to our different locations and all the places we stayed were clean with great food. Be sure to look these guys up if you are thinking of an international climbing trip.” December 2014, Kate

ITINERARY

Illiniza and Cotopaxi Climb

Expedition begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador

Day 1 • Arrive Quito • 9,000 ft

Arrive Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador (UOI). Most flights arrive in Quito in the late evening. Our driver will be awaiting your arrival at the airport, and will take you to the hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito

Day 2 • Pasochoa • 13,780 ft

Today we trek to an extinct volcano in the Guayllabamba River Basin named Pasochoa (13,780 ft / 4,200 m). Our hike takes about 4 hours over hills and fields. On clear days, we may see condors and wild horses. We eat lunch on the summit and return to Quito.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,300 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 3 • Rucu Pichincha • 15,696 ft

Today we enjoy our first views of three of the highest snow-capped Ecuadorian mountains: Cotopaxi, Antisana and Cayambe. After breakfast we take a short drive from Quito to a cable car (gondola) that carries us to an upper station at 13,012 feet. We summit Ruco Pichincha (15,413 ft), and then return to the hotel. In the afternoon we are free to explore the city and organize gear for our departure from Quito the following morning.

Vertical gain climbing: 2,401 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 4 • Corazon • 15,715 ft

We depart Quito early and drive a few hours south a quaint hacienda near the base of Corazon in Illinizas Ecological Reserve. After checking in and a short drive to the trailhead, we climb Corazon. Our ascent ends with an exhilarating rocky scramble onto the summit. We eat lunch and then return to the lodge for the evening.

Vertical gain climbing: 2,420 feet

Accommodations: Chuquiragua Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Iliniza Refuge • 15,416 ft

Our expedition now turns its attention to Illiniza Norte. After driving to the trailhead, we hike three hours to the Nuevo Horizontes Refuge at 15,416 feet. Set between the north and south peaks of Illiniza, the refuge is known as the smallest high mountain hut in the Ecuadorian Andes. It is an ideal high camp for ascents of the Illinizas, which are frequently climbed to acclimatize for higher peaks such as Cotopaxi.

Vertical gain climbing: 2,400 feet

Accommodations: Nuevo Horizontes Refuge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Summit Day • Iliniza North 16,818 ft

We rise early, eat breakfast, and set our sights on the summit of Iliniza Norte, the eighth highest peak in Ecuador. After a short hike to the base of the climbing route, we are rewarded with spectacular views of Iliniza Sur and Cotopaxi as we ascend the long ridgeline of Iliniza Norte. We follow a good path for most of the route until the terrain becomes rocky and exposed. For the last few hundred meters we tie in and travel as a rope team, stopping to belay as we climb onto the exposed summit block surrounded by panoramic views. We descend to the refuge, pack our gear and hike out. That evening we relax in the comfort of a beautiful hacienda near the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,406 feet

Accommodations: Hacienda Los Mortiños or Tambopaxi Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Cotopaxi • 15,744 ft

After a late breakfast we gear up and are shuttled to the Cotopaxi parking lot. From the trailhead we hike 40 minutes to the Jose F. Rivas refuge at 15,744 feet. We enjoy lunch, relax and prepare to climb Cotopaxi.

Vertical gain climbing: 750 feet

Accommodations: Jose F. Rivas Refuge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Cotopaxi • 19,347 ft

Today we summit Cotopaxi! We leave the refuge around midnight for a six-hour climb. From the hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes, crossing snow bridges and crevasses as the mountain steepens. After navigating a heavily crevassed section of the glacier, we reach the final summit slope. With ice axes in hand, we climb a challenging section of 35- to 40- degree snow until suddenly we are stepping onto the crater rim of one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. We enjoy spectacular views into Cotopaxi’s massive summit crater, which measures roughly 2,600 feet in diameter and is scattered with sulphur fumaroles. We descend, pack our gear and make our scheduled transfer to Mariscal Sucre International Airport for late night departures.

Vertical gain climbing: 3,603 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito if continuing to Chimborazo (included), or near Mariscal Sucre International Airport (not included)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

*** Day 9 option to depart for home after climbing Cotopaxi ***

Day 9 • Depart Quito or Rest Day

Most international flights arrive from the United States late evening and depart Quito slightly after midnight.

For those continuing on to climb Chimborazo we enjoy a rest day. Today we have time to take a short taxi ride to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo and the Equator line and/or explore some of historic downtown Quito.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Chimborazo Climb

Or continue to Chimborazo for an ascent of Ecuador’s highest mountain.

Day 10 • Drive to Chimborazo Refuge • Hike to High Camp • 16,567 ft

We drive south towards Riobamba and Chimborazo, with the possibility of seeing Ecuador’s big ten volcanoes on the way. Chimborazo’s location along the equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center. It rises dramatically above the surrounding highlands, a high pyramid capped with ice and snow. A short drive takes us to the trailhead and Hermanos Carrel Refuge at 15,744 feet, where we shoulder our packs and begin a two-hour walk to our high camp, Stubel Camp at 16,564 feet. Porters will help carry group gear to high camp.

Vertical gain climbing: 820 feet

Accommodations: High Camp at Stubel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

*** We often overnight at Hermanos Carrel refuge instead of staying at high camp depending on group and snow conditions ***

Day 11 • Summit Day • Chimborazo • 20,702 ft

With a midnight alpine start, we follow a new climbing route to the west-northwest to avoid dangerous rockfall. We pass the base of a rock formation called El Castillo or “Castle Saddle” (18,044 feet) and then climb on toward the Whymper Summit. The ascent from Stübel Camp normally takes eight hours. It ends at one of the best views in Ecuador. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Riobamba town. Return to Quito.

Vertical gain climbing: 4,135 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 12 • Depart Quito

Transport to Mariscal Sucre International Airport for flights home. Many flights depart Quito (UIO) in the late evening.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

ITINERARY

Cotopaxi Trek and Climb

Expedition begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador

Day 1 • Arrive Quito

Arrive Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador (UOI). Most flights arrive in Quito in the late evening. Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you to the hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito

Day 2 • Santa Rita • 10,758 ft

We drive south for an hour from Quito to our trailhead in the Ecuadorian high country. Our trek follows the Pita River through a lush rain forest, over bridges and past waterfalls until we come to a large waterfall at the head of the valley. We eat lunch and then hike back to our starting point. Another short hike from the trailhead takes us to our expedition camp, complete with a dining area and thatched roofs. (Roundtrip hiking time about 3 hours.)

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Santa Rita
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Pasochoa • 13,780 ft

Today we trek up an extinct volcano in the Guayllabamba River Basin named Pasochoa (13,780 ft). Our hike leads through Ecuador’s rolling high plains and lasts about 6 hours roundtrip. On a clear day, we might see condors and wild horses. We eat lunch on the summit and then return to camp.

Vertical gain climbing: 3,000 feet

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Santa Rita
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 4 • Los Mortiños • 11,600 ft

From camp we continue our trek to Hacienda Los Mortiños or Hacienda el Porvenir. El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. After our arrival we can go horseback riding or simply relax and admire the volcanoes above us, including Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Ruminahui.

Accommodations: Hacienda Los Mortiños or Hacienda el Porvenir
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Ruminahui • 15,489 ft

Today, we set our sights on the summit of Ruminahui, named after an Incan general who was known as “stone face.” After a short transfer to the trailhead, we begin our climb beneath spectacular views of Cotopaxi. We follow a good path most of the way, then finish our ascent with a rock scramble protected by a fixed hand line. Our efforts are rewarded with expansive views from Ruminahui’s exposed summit block.

Vertical gain climbing: 3,900 feet

Accommodations: Tambopaxi Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Cotopaxi • 16,400 ft

After climbing Ruminahui we enjoy an active rest day with a short hike to 16,400 feet on Cotopaxi. We enjoy views of the volcanoes on the northern Andean highlands, including Antisana, Cayambe, the Illinizas, Pasochoa, Corazon, Sincholagua and even Pichinchas in the distance. We descend to Hacienda Tambopaxi for the evening, a cozy little hacienda located in Cotopaxi National Park.

Accommodations: Tambopaxi Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Cotopaxi • 15,744 ft

After breakfast we gear up and are shuttled to the Cotopaxi parking lot. From here we hike to the Jose F. Rivas refuge at 15,744 feet. We enjoy lunch and continue to the edge of the glacier for the afternoon, where we practice glacier climbing skills. Our training includes crampon techniques, self-arrest, ascending and descending various slope angles in various snow conditions and traveling on the rope. After a short acclimatization climb higher on the mountain, we return to the comforts of the Jose F. Rivas Refuge.

Accommodations: Jose F. Rivas Refuge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Cotopaxi • 19,347 ft

Today we summit Cotopaxi! We leave the refuge around midnight for a six-hour climb. From the hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes, crossing snow bridges and crevasses as the mountain steepens. After navigating a heavily crevassed section of the glacier, we reach the final summit slope. With ice axes in hand, we climb a challenging section of 35- to 40- degree snow until suddenly we are stepping onto the crater rim of one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. We enjoy spectacular views into Cotopaxi’s massive summit crater, which measures roughly 2,600 feet in diameter and is scattered with sulphur fumaroles. We descend, pack our gear and make our scheduled transfer to Mariscal Sucre International Airport for late night departures.

Vertical gain climbing: 3,603 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito if continuing to Chimborazo (included), or near Mariscal Sucre International Airport (not included)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

*** Day 9 option to depart for home after climbing Cotopaxi ***

Day 9 • Depart Quito or Rest Day

Most international flights arrive from the United States late evening and depart Quito slightly after midnight.

For those continuing on to climb Chimborazo we enjoy a rest day. Today we have time to take a short taxi ride to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo and the Equator line and/or explore some of historic downtown Quito.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Chimborazo Climb

Or continue to Chimborazo for an ascent of Ecuador’s highest mountain.

Day 10 • Drive to Chimborazo Refuge • Hike to High Camp • 16,567 ft

We drive south towards Riobamba and Chimborazo, with the possibility of seeing Ecuador’s big ten volcanoes on the way. Chimborazo’s location along the equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center. It rises dramatically above the surrounding highlands, a high pyramid capped with ice and snow. A short drive takes us to the trailhead and Hermanos Carrel Refuge at 15,744 feet, where we shoulder our packs and begin a two-hour walk to our high camp, Stubel Camp at 16,564 feet. Porters will help carry group gear to high camp.

Vertical gain climbing: 820 feet

Accommodations: High Camp at Stubel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

*** We often overnight at Hermanos Carrel refuge instead of staying at high camp depending on group and snow conditions ***

Day 11 • Summit Day • Chimborazo • 20,702 ft

With a midnight alpine start, we follow a new climbing route to the west-northwest to avoid dangerous rockfall. We pass the base of a rock formation called El Castillo or “Castle Saddle” (18,044 feet) and then climb on toward the Whymper Summit. The ascent from Stübel Camp normally takes eight hours. It ends at one of the best views in Ecuador. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Riobamba town. Return to Quito.

Vertical gain climbing: 4,135 feet

Accommodations: Hotel in Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 12 • Depart Quito

Transport to Mariscal Sucre International Airport for flights home. Many flights depart Quito (UIO) in the late evening.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

DETAILS

Price

$3,200

Chimborazo Climb: $1000

An American guide is based on a minimum of 4 or more climbers.

Deposit and Payments

  • $700.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
  • Balance due 90 days prior to departure

Price Includes

  • Park fees
  • Scheduled land transportation in Ecuador
  • Hotels in Quito
  • Haciendas, refuge and tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide. Groups of 4 or more are accompanied by an American guide in addition to a fully certified local guide
  • All group equipment for the expedition (tents, stoves, group climbing gear)

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Hotel accommodations near the airport
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Snack food during the expedition
  • Personal gear
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $500
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees
  • Tips and gratuities

TRAVEL & FITNESS

Travel

Program Location:
Begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Ecuador. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Ecuador.

Flight Travel Information:
Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UOI), Quito, Ecuador

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the country’s destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

Gear:
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Ecuador Volcanoes Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Beginner   

Our ascents will start at high altitude huts and lodges allowing us to acclimatize and rest between summit days. Because we will be climbing at high altitudes, we recommend that climbers should be in good physical condition with previous climbing experience.

Prior to the expedition we recommend climbing a Cascade volcano to master the skills essential for reaching the summit.

Here is a suggested progression of climbs before attempting the Ecuador Volcanoes:

  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
  • Glacier Mountaineering Course
  • Expedition Training Course
  • Mexico Volcanoes
  • Peaks of Peru
  • Mount Elbrus
  • Island Peak

GEAR LIST

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated jacket
  • Insulated Jacket: 700+ fill down.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated to 0ᵒ fahrenheit).

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 60-70L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal.
  • Duffel: One large duffel for transporting gear.
  • Liner Bags: Two large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-locking Carabiners: (2) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Nylon Sling: (2) 60cm nylon slings

Hydration

  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is this climb and what technical skills do I need?

Climbers should have basic snow and mountaineering experience. We recommend taking our 3 Day Intro Mountaineering Course or 5 Day Glacier Mountaineering Course.

When is the best season to climb?

Ecuador’s main climbing season lasts from November to February.

How much will my pack weigh on summit day?

Generally, pack weights will range from 20-25 lbs. You will carry extra layers of warm clothing, food, and water on your summit push.

What is the guide to climber ratio?

Local IFMGA certified guide’s lead our Cotopaxi expeditions. We strive to maintain a 2:1 climber to guide ratio on summit day. Additional assistant guides or American guides will be present for larger groups.