Between 14th and 17th November, 2013, we will be taking on the mighty Cotopaxi (5897m), warming up with Volcano Pasachoa, Guagua Pichincha and Volcano Illinizas beforehand.
Our first day, and our first step towards acclimatisation, the team will be summiting Volcán Pasochoa. At 4200m, once glacier capped its crater is now covered with rich Andean forest and inhabited by many protected plants and animals, including the Andean Puma.
We will be dropped of at around 3,500m and start a 4 hours accent to the crater top where we will be able admire the view down into the crater and the forests and lakes below.
That evening we will relax at ‘El Auberge Cuello de Luna’ our base for the next couple of nights and just outside Cotapaxi National Park.
Right on the edge of Quito, is Volcán Guagua Pinchincha. An active volcano, (the last eruption was in 1999), it is a popular trek for those visiting Quito and those starting the acclimatisation process.
We will start our day at a town called Lloa at 3,500m and ascend to the summit at 4794m. It will take approximately 5 hours to reach the summit from which on a clear day offers fantastic views of Quito and of the volcanic smoke activity coming from the crater.
We will again return to Cuello de Luna for the evening.
After breakfast we will head south to Cotapaxi National Park ready to tackle Volcán Illiniza. An intense hike, we will aim first for the New Horizon Refuge nestled at 4,600m in between the north and south summits.
After a short break we will continue upwards for another 3 hours to the north summit. Here we will, weather permitting, be able to appreciate the spectacular views across the Avenue of Volcanoes, and the snow capped peaks of Cayambe, Antisana, Chimborazo and of course our next target – Cotopaxi.
This day is our ever so essential rest day to recoup our energies for our final day and challenge! The majority of the day we can relax, eat, stretch our tired legs and enjoy the surroundings.
In the afternoon we will head off into Cotopaxi National Park and up to the José Ribas Refuge where we will regroup and be briefed fully by our guides in preparation. We will spend the first part of the night at the Refuge – setting our clocks for midnight and our glacial climb!
Cotopaxi is what is termed as a non- technical climb and with crampons and the appropriate weather this is the ultimate challenge.
At the summit we will have views into its steaming crater and hopefully outwards across the Andean Highlands.
The climb down should take approximately 3 to 4 hours where transport will be waiting to take us back to our hostel.