There are many different approaches to climbing Cotopaxi. Our approach is the less traveled route. We have more acclimatization, use the best lodges, and have added some cultural and adventure tours to our Cotopaxi trips. Check out our upcoming trips.
Make Sure you Pick the Right Itinerary
Avoid speed ascents! One of the most important things you must consider when choosing your Cotopaxi climb is how many days you will spend. In our opinion you should never make a summit attempt on Cotopaxi until day 9. CONTACT US for more information.
This additional acclimatization offer you a safer and more successful ascent and descent. The more days the better. Any less than this and you are running the risk of falling into that 40% of people who do not make it to the summit because of serious altitude related issues.
How Challenging is it Climbing Cotopaxi?
Although the major of our Cotopaxi trip is trekking, the summit night has some steep mountaineering involved. We climb Cotopaxi Alpine style roped up in small teams of 1 guide to 2 clients. Cotopaxi has some potentially dangerous sections high on the mountain.
Cotopaxi is a challenging trek with a seriously tough summit night and day. We consider Cotopaxi a tougher challenge than Kilimanjaro. The trail to the summit of Cotopaxi is tough, leading through steep glacial mountain terrain. You will climb under the rock face, Yanasacha which leads to even steeper terrain above 5,700m/ that leads to the crater rim and summit of Cotopaxi.
The question how difficult it is to climb Cotopaxi is a very tough one to answer! There are a few factors to consider, but if you are a hiker used to carrying weight and walking up and down hills you may find Cotopaxi challenging but manageable. The more comfortable to you moving on a rope, moving in snow and using technical equipment will help you on the mountaineering peak.
Also, due to high altitudes and steep ascents, it’s vital to prepare oneself before climbing Cotopaxi. We’ll talk more about the preparing for Cotopaxi below.
Food on Cotopaxi
You will be served 3 course meals for Breakfast and dinner each day and we will provide you with a packed lunch and clean water before we start each of our acclimatization hikes. These lodges ensure you get all the energy and nutrients necessary to complete a full day’s hike. We can accommodate for all your dietary needs.
Accommodation on Cotopaxi
We use the best accommodations available on route to Cotopaxi. We stay at Cotopaxipungo, Chilcabamba, Los Mortinos lodge and Tambopaxi lodge. The service, food and experience is one you will remember for a long time. Check out our TOP 20 TIPS for climbing Cotopaxi.
What Is the Best Time to Climb Cotopaxi?
When you’re thinking about booking your Cotopaxi climb, remember Cotopaxi can be climbed year-round. In saying that, traditionally there are a number of better months for climbing Cotopaxi. We recommend making an attempt in May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December or January.
Two Big Considerations
1). The season for climbing Cotopaxi is long, but there are months traditionally with less wind and they months are November, December and January. I have to say in recent years these months have also been windy and most months have high winds and can have challenging weather conditions.
2). Timing, it is important to make a summit during the week and stay away from the refugio on weekends when it can be extremely busy.
Preparing for your Cotopaxi Climb
If you think that you can hike up and down Cotopaxi in trail shoes, without any preparation whatsoever, think again. First, keep in mind that only around 60% of people who attempt the summit, make it.
This comes down to two things. Bad weather and lack of physical preparation. Once you are prepared, everything comes down to the steep and challenging summit ascent and descent and you need to be prepared for both. Read more.
Secondly, bear in mind you’ll spend the entire trip in very high altitudes. The highest camp is at 4,900m/ 16,000 feet and the summit lies at 5,897 meters or 19,500 feet above sea level. Such altitudes mean lower oxygen levels. Being able to withstand this stress, requires training and proper acclimatization.
And lastly, there’s the case of preparing high-quality equipment. So yes, there’s a lot to consider when preparing for your Cotopaxi trip. Why not watch our packing video.
On signing up we will send you a full expedition dossier with an itemized kit list. This kit list will help you fully understand the clothing, gear and equipment needed for your Cotopaxi Expedition.
Get a Fitness Test
We highly recommend a fitness test or Vo2 Max test at the start of your training so you can map out your heart rate training zones so you can train correctly. It is important to benchmark your training so you can improve your lactic threshold and make sure the training you are doing is measured and you can gauge improvement.
Without Acclimatization you Have Nothing
If you fail to acclimatize well, then you run the risk of getting altitude sickness higher up. And trust us when we say it’s not the most pleasant thing to experience climbing Cotopaxi. We recommend doing some hypoxic training in the weeks leading up to the trip.
How to be Successful When Trekking at Altitude
Breathing techniques, low heart rates, excellent hydration, and pacing are all extremely important in order to be safe and successful. Also, you need excellent physical conditioning to be able to walk up and down thousands of feet with a weighted backpack at high altitude.
We can help you with this. Drop us an E-MAIL today and get access to our Cotopaxi professionals. Most of our office staff have personally climbed Cotopaxi. Pick up the phone and speak to us. We have the trekking team, experience, and knowledge to help you come fully prepared for your Cotopaxi climb.
What to Pack for your Cotopaxi Tour?
And finally, you need to know what to pack for your Cotopaxi Expedition. We cover that in more detail in our video. As said, you will find a full list in our video guide. We will also send you a dedicated 35-page Cotopaxi dossier, a full itemized list of necessary items to pack, and other information regarding the Cotopaxi climb.
Our Cotopaxi Staff
At Ian Taylor Trekking, we provide the best possible service to our customers and are proud of the experience our team bring to the table. We have high quality guides, food, communication systems developed the best itinerary and service so you can be safe and successful climbing Cotopaxi.
Why Climb Cotopaxi with Ian Taylor Trekking?
Since you can only Climb Cotopaxi with one of the approved tour operators, you need to choose the right tour company. We can help with that. By choosing Ian Taylor Trekking for your Cotopaxi climb, you can take advantage of an experienced team of mountaineering professionals.
Along with better lodges, better food and professional IFMGA mountaineering guides on the best Cotopaxi itinerary. Support a company that has invested in their staff. We have raised funds to build a school in Uganda, four schools in Nepal, support an orphanage in Tanzania, and also help support local children in Peru.
In addition, we have our own full-time staff on the ground in Nepal, Tanzania and Peru and we run a quality service on all our trekking trips to Kilimanjaro. CONTACT US, and we can explain how we operate our adventures in Ecuador.
Climbing Cotopaxi will be the highlight of any mountaineer’s career! Thus, you need to make sure you put in the right training and preparation to make this journey a success. Let our team help you to reach your goals today!
Climbing Cotopaxi – FAQ’s
Where to get water on Cotopaxi?
You don’t need to worry about your drinking water when with Ian Taylor Trekking. Each day you will need to carry water for the full days hike. We recommend waking up and slowly drinking a liter of water before you start hiking.
On certain days you will need to carry 3 liters of water so you can bring a 2/3 liter water bladder along with 2 Nalgene bottles. Once you arrive in our nightly accommodation clean water will be provided.
Each morning a barrel of clean water will be available, and you can refill your water bladder and water bottles as needed.
Insurance Cover and Rescue for Climbing Cotopaxi?
Although you’ll be guided by the best professionals possible, there’s always the risk of something going wrong while trekking or climbing. For example, if you fall sick or injure yourself and are unable to hike, you will need to be evacuated.
Without proper evacuation cover in place, evacuation will be more than expensive. We always encourage our customers to purchase a dedicated travel, medical and rescue insurance policy, whether it’s for Cotopaxi or any other of our trekking trips or expeditions.
How Much Money to Bring to Ecuador?
That depends entirely on you. Practically all the most significant costs will be covered up-front, so you won’t need to worry about permits, lodges, hotels, food or water. Still, it might be a good idea to bring some USD to buy meals in Quito and some tours after the expedition in Banos and Quito.
We hope you will consider tipping the guides. Finally, there are the costs of any souvenirs you wish to purchase and meals in Quito. We recommend having $500. You can use a credit card in most places in Quito and lodges in use on route to Cotopaxi.
Is Quito Safe?
Be very careful! we have had some instances of theft on the streets in Quito and best to keep phones and cash well hidden. Do not wander the street alone late night and be very mindful of this when we are doing any city touring.
How Much Does an Cotopaxi Expedition Cost?
That depends on which offer you choose. As covered, we prefer a longer itinerary using the best lodges with the best service for climbing Cotopaxi. Our cost will cover the airport pickups, accommodation, quality hotel in Quito, food, water, logistics, guides and all meals on the trip itinerary.
The cost of climbing Cotopaxi on our service start from $3,700. The only things you will need to cover yourself are some meals in Quito, drinks and souvenirs and tips at the end of the trip.
Respect the Guides on Cotopaxi
One of the first things that we emphasize to people wanting to go to climb Cotopaxi is that we have to respect the local guides who work on the mountain. We have been building our expert team for 10 years, therefore making sure our team gives only the highest quality service.
This costs a bit more, however most companies cut corners in the areas of staff costs and service. Safety is our team’s number one concern. READ SOME REVIEWS.
How Important is Acclimatization
You need more time for the body to adapt to the lack oxygen, especially in the critical zone of 3,500m/ 11,482 feet to 4,000m/ 13,123 feet. You cannot force this. Yes, everybody adapts differently to altitude, however you still need to be safe and careful and take your time going to new heights each day.
Ideally, when going to altitude, you do not want to have jumps of more than 700m/ 2,300 feet, in one day. Above 3,500m/ 11,500 feet, you don’t want to make a jump of more than 500m/1,640 feet per day. The only exception to this should be for a summit night, when you reach the high point, then get out of high altitude quickly.