Climb Cotopaxi


Dreaming of climbing Cotopaxi, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes in Ecuador. We have the team and service for you. Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador’s most majestic peaks. We have developed a unique Cotopaxi itinerary offering you more acclimatization and better service and support.  Cotopaxi 19,347 feet was first climbed in 1880 and the team famously slept on the summit.  Get in touch and find out more about this exciting mountaineering adventure. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.
High on Cotopaxi The volcanic crater on Cotopaxi
A view of Cotopaxi The stunning Cotopaxi

Join us on Cotopaxi

Ecuador’s second highest peak is one of the world’s highest active volcanos and an easier climb than Chimborazo. Packed with activity and variety, this expedition enables you to experience the landscape, culture and people of the smallest Andean country.

Our climb begins in Quito 9,350 feet, the capitol of Ecuador. Quito is surrounded by mountains and avenue of volcanos awaits you. We spend a few days exploring Quito’s mix of colonial and modern streets and hiking in the surrounding hills as we acclimatize in preparation for Cotopaxi.

This is where we are different. We will head to Cotopaxi and ascend using a network of lodges ending up at 17,000 feet for our final ascent. Check out our top 20 tips for climbing Cotopaxi.

Glacier Training

Having previous glacier experience is not required. We do recommend that you have joined one of our courses in Scotland or Colorado as previous mountaineering training helps you enjoy the overall experience. Is also important that you try out your mountaineering gear prior to joining this adventure. Our courses and our Mountaineering training courses provide good skills preparation for this expedition. We also recommend climbing Kilimanjaro prior to joining this trip.

Who Is this Trip for

If you have climbed Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus or Mera Peak this could be the trip for you. Continuing building your climbing experience with an ascent that combines high altitude experience with moderate technical difficulty in a exciting destination. This trip is more difficult than Kilimanjaro and does require excellent physical preparation.

Cotopaxi offers superb alpine climbing for intermediate climbers, involving moderately steep slopes. Prior experience using crampon, being roped up and ice axe arrest is required and a review of these basic mountaineering techniques is built into the itinerary.

Why Choose Us

Safety and acclimatization are always our top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. By having more acclimatization this increase safety and your overall enjoyment of the trip. Years of experience have given us a unique understanding of running high altitude mountaineering adventures. Our head guide is one of the lead mountain rescuers in Ecuador and we have highly qualified and experienced guides on every trip we run. Our unique itinerary offers you a safer and better chance of successfully reaching your goal. Finally we getting 100% success on most of our trips. Ian has climbed Everest to the top and Cotopaxi numerous times to date and recommends picking our unique itinerary.

Training Advice

Other than your doing a mountaineering training course, you do need take your physical training seriously. We highly recommend training 5 days a week building up to 1 hour 30 minutes per day in the gym on the stair master and treadmill. Along with building up to carrying 20lbs in your training sessions. You will also need to build up you hiking from 3 to 8 hour hikes with weight. You will also need to consider, weight training and flexibility training. We can help you have a fantastic climbing adventure

On signing up we will send you an itemized kit list for this trip. Over the years, we have gained an incredible amount of experience and expertise in outdoor equipment and clothing. We have applied this to each trip that we offer and recommend what we believe to be the most suitable items for your trip.

Climb Cotopaxi Stunning view of Cotopaxi Cotopaxi from Tambopaxi lodge The summit of Chimborazo

Join us

We invest in your teams on the ground so we have run sustainable safe adventures.  Ian Taylor Trekking have been running trips to this region for a decade and developed unique itineraries with acclimatization and safety at the forefront of the trip. We always have more guides on all our mountaineering trips and only run high quality adventure trips.  Prices start from USD $3,250.

What People Said About our Cotopaxi Climbs

“I have been wanting to climb Cotopaxi for a long time and I can say it is harder than I expected. I think Ian’s Itinerary offered the best experience possible to be successful. This trip was well layout, managed and executed. I had climbed Mera Peak and Kilimanjaro and this was a great next step.” Marta Lewis, Climbing Cotopaxi 2017

“I was coming for the glacier experience and the summit. I left with so much more. Ian’s approach to high altitude, acclimatization makes all the difference. This is my 3rd trip and the service, safety and experiences is priceless. The itinerary was great and gave our whole team the safety and success. The local guides were world class and they really took great care of us on this challenging summit climb. A great experience not to be missed” James Williams, Climbing Cotopaxi 2018

“I climbed Kilimanjaro and Elbrus with Ian team. Two great experiences, Cotopaxi was a step up. The service and itinerary where perfect for this adventure.  Ian has developed a professional team, set up, a very professional operation. I really enjoyed the mountaineering experience high on the mountain and will be back for more.” John Savino, Climbing Cotopaxi 2019

 Read more Testimonials     Read our Facebook Testimonials


Day 1

Arrive in Quito. We recommend flying in as early as possible to start the acclimatization process. You will be arriving into 9,350 feet. We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to our hotel.

Day 2

Acclimatization day. We will take you on a half- day Quito city tour and relax and enjoy this laid back city. Some years ago Quito was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Quito has an ancient Incan foundation, but you can clearly see the European impact and our city tour offers you a glimpse at this ancient city. We have the afternoon at leisure to relax or, alternatively, you may elect to recommence the exploration of this fascinating city by yourself or with other members of the team. This may take you to the old quarter or to the more modern shopping areas in search of something unique to take home. In the evening, our Ecuadorian Guide will give a presentation on climbing in the Andes. Night in Quito at Hotel Reina Isabel. Meals provided B,L.

Day 3

Today we drive of one hour before we start hiking from the village of Rumipamba located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 3,000m/ 9,842 feet. The trek follows a cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park. We will visit the majestic water falls of Rio Pita Close to the Hacienda Cotopaxipungo we will pass in front of a Shrine, a small religious place where locals come to worship the “Virgen de la Piedra”, the Virgin of the Rock. Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. You will spend
your first night at an altitude of 3,150m/ 10,335 feet . Night at Cotopaxipungo. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 4

Today we leave in the morning around 8am for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita. Pasachoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano which has been inactive since the last ice age. When the weather permits, from the summit, we will be able to take a good look at the crater. Inside you will see the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean Forest with more than 110
species of birds and 45 spices of trees, located between 2,700m/ 8,858 feet and 4,200m/ 13,780 feet. On a sunny day you normally can see condors ( the largest flying bird) flying. As we come down from the hike and will do a short drive to Chilcabamba lodge 3,500m/ 11,483 feet, our next Lodge for the night. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 5

From our lodge we do a short drive to Limpiopungo lake and start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The volcano is located
only 13km North West of Cotopaxi. Rumiñahui is named after a very well known Inca General who fought against the Spanish when they were looking for the Inca treasure This was around the year 1520. We will spend the night at Los Mortiños Lodge 3,600m/11,811 feet. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 6

From our lodge we drive to the car park of Cotopaxi 4,600m/ 15,091 feet. From there we walk for 45 minutes to the hut 4,800m/ 15,748 feet and later we reach the start of the glacier 5,100m/ 16,732 feet to acclimatize and get familiar with the glacier. After lunch at the hut we hike down to Tambopaxi Lodge for the night. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 7

Drive to Hacienda Guachala/Otavalo Market.  There are a few colorful Indian markets on the Cotopaxi province, depending on the day of the week we will be able to visit one of them, otherwise we will do a day-trip to visit Quilotoa lake. In the afternoon you can visit a stunning market. It sells woolens that make Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors look monochrome! You’ll overnight in a local hacienda, and can enjoy an evening of local folk music and dance. Return to Tambopaxi for the night.  Meals provided B/L/D

Day 8

After breakfast we repeat the short drive to the car park, have lunch at the hut, in the afternoon we will have the chance to review the glacier skills needed for the ascent and go through the basics of glacier travel prior to the climb. Night at the hut 4,800m/ 15,748 feet. Meals provided B/L/D 

Day 9

This is it summit night on Cotopaxi. We leave the hut at around 1am and climb to the top of the triangular scree slope directly above. A route, well marked with footprints and wands, is followed up the large featureless glacier, weaving between large, open crevasses. After passing below a large black rock we cut back left up a steep section to reach the ice encrusted crater rim. The summit lies a little further along the crater rim to the right. Ropes will be used throughout the climb to protect the team from hidden
crevasses and protect the steeper sections. Cotopaxi’s crater is a spectacular feature and the mix of ice and steam vents make an unusual combination. After the climb we drive to Baños for the night. Night at Isla de Baños. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 10

Today is a recovery day in Baños. Baños is known for the hot springs and subtropical
climate, in Ecuador is known as the gate of the jungle We spend the day in Baños enjoying the hot springs. Night at Isla de Baños. Meals provided B/L/D

Day 11

Return to Quito after breakfast. We will be back in Quito at around 12pm and you can go straight to do your covid-19 test.  We will have the afternoon for some last minute shopping. Meals provided B

Day 12

It is time to leave Ecuador, but we hope you will be back. In the afternoon we will be transferred to the airport. Meals provided B.

Ready to go?

All our guides are AMGA or IFMGA guides that will be leading these trips. We hope our unique itinerary is of interest to you. Our team prides ourselves in making sure that our clients have every opportunity to succeed on the mountains, including professional training advice, gear lists and video links on how to pack your bag, and much more. We are always available 5 days a week to answer any questions you may have by email, phone or skype, so contact us today!