Climb Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

The summit of Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the earth.
We have the team, service and set up to climb two in one trip. The volcanoes of Ecuador are well known among mountaineers. The country’s highest, Chimborazo 20,702 feet, was first climbed in 1880. Due to our planet’s equatorial ‘bulge’, it is the furthest point from the center of the earth. The same expedition also climbed Cotopaxi 19,347, famously sleeping on its summit. Get in touch and find out more about these two exciting mountaineering adventures.
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 16,000 feet for our final ascent.

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 in two weeks. During this expedition, you will have time to explore Quito and its enchanting native Ecuadorian markets, as well as the famous hot springs at Baños.

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 $4,350.

Tips and Advice

1). Acclimatization

Without good acclimatization you have nothing. After 20 years of going on and leading trips. There is one thing that needs your highest consideration and that is the itinerary and the approach to high altitude. We always have additional acclimatization built into all our itineraries.  Check out our itinerary and the best route to climb Cotopaxi. Acclimatization is a critical component for safety and success on any high and extreme altitude expedition.

2). Training for Cotopaxi

Can you carry a 12kg/ 26lbs pack for 4 to 6 hours at sea level?  Can you carry 12kg/ 26lbs pack up and down 1,000m/ 3,000 feet back to back? You do not need to carry this weight in every training session but important to build slowly over months of preparation. You also need to supplement longer hikes, training sessions with daily training focused on building strength and endurance.

We can not emphasize how important your physical preparation is for this challenging trip at high and extreme altitude. We have climbed Cotopaxi and Chimborazo many times and always happy to help you develop the training plan. Do not underestimate the training needed to be safe and successful on Cotopaxi.

3). When Is The Best Time To Climb Cotopaxi?

Ecuador has a great climate that allows year round climbing on Cotopaxi and surrounding volcanos.  Climbing to the summit can be done at any time of the year. Cotopaxi has the highest number of clear days in the Ecuadorian Andes. June and July are the dries months, but it can be extremely windy. Two of the best months to climb are December and January and less windy than the June and July timeframe. Alternatively, August and September are also good months to climb but expect to have a lot of wind.

4). Bring the Right Equipment

On any Cotopaxi expedition, you have to make numerous ascents up and down the mountains in a wide range of terrain and conditions. One reason for this is to help the body adjust to the lower levels of oxygen as we move higher.  Make sure you have all items on the gear list and know how to use them. Having lightweight clothing and equipment will make a difference in how much weight you are carrying. Also, practice using your gear and equipment and make sure it fits comfortably. Having lightweight equipment and clothing means you will have to carry less weight up and down the mountain. Having prepared your gear and using each piece before the trip, helps you become mentally prepared.

5). Get a Fitness Test

Schedule a physical with your doctor to make sure you are in good health before you start training. You should then consider getting a fitness test. The results should indicate your current level of fitness and provide a road map for the way ahead. Use the results to develop a proper training plan, so you are not guessing how your fitness is developing. You need to know at what heart rate your body produces lactic acid in your muscles. Knowing your lactic threshold helps you develop a training plan best suited to your needs. Training in the right heart rate zone and building the right training is important for your safety and success.

6). Understand Altitude Sickness

If you have been on a number of altitude expeditions with us you will know all about altitude related issues and problems.  Read and understand the principles of acclimatization and altitude illness.  By picking an itinerary with more acclimatization, you give yourself a safer journey into extreme altitude. You also need an itinerary with built in contingency days for bad weather especially if you decide to climb in windy months.

The altitude along with physical fatigue are usually the downfalls of many climbers on Cotopaxi. A lot of climbers get altitude sickness and struggle with the physical effort high on Cotopaxi. The sad thing is you can control both of these issues by training correctly and picking an itinerary with the best acclimatization.

7). You Should Consider Taking Diamox

If you are taking prescription drugs, make sure you bring a sufficient supply to last more than the length of your trip. We highly recommend taking Diamox for the duration of the trip. Our high altitude specialist doctor recommends 125mg in the morning and 125mg in the afternoon. Make sure your Diamox is in tablet form. You will also need to bring a number of antibiotics. There are alternatives to taking Diamox and you most certainly should bring ibuprofen on this trip. Ibuprofen will aid with sleeping at high altitude.

8). Be Upfront With Your Medical History

Make sure our guides and staff are informed of any previous conditions or medical situation you may have. Don’t keep any issues to yourself, altitude sickness can kill. We implement a slow pace for all trekking and acclimatization days on the trip, however, you can still have altitude related issues. Make sure that your guide knows your medical history.

9). Conserve Energy Early in the Trip

The pace of your trip is critical to recovery each day on a multi-day adventure. Moving too quickly at altitude often leads to altitude illness and does not aid in your recovery. Fatigue is not your friend on a multi day trekking expedition. Good recovery is critical for a safe and successful trip.  A slow pace and slow movement to high and extreme altitude is very important.

10). Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

One of the most important tips we will give you is to make hydration a priority. Hydration at high altitude is extremely important. When you wake up you need to drink 1 liter of water before breakfast. You need to drink 2 liters before lunch and another 1 to 2 liters in the early afternoon. Using a water bladder system is ideal because you can then drip feed water into your body on a regular basis. This will be used on the trek in and lower on the mountain, however during the summit attempt it can not be used as it will freeze. Forcing water in, is not a good idea as you will just pee it out. You will need hyper hydration sachets, multi-vitamins and electrolytes while on this Cotopaxi trip.

11). Separate all Your Gear into Dry Packs

Manage your gear well and keep all items separated in dry packs. Alternatively, you can keep your clothes in plastic bags. While you are on the mountain you will need to manage your gear.  Having a good routine is very important, keeping separate bags for gear is very useful. The dry bags are useful to keep your gear organized when you do gear drops up the mountain.

12). Make Sure you Eat as Much as Possible

We always have quality food on our trips and this is critical to your expedition. Sometimes at altitude, your appetite can dwindle, but you need to try and finish every meal. It will give you the strength and energy for each day on the trip. You do not want to over pack snacks as you have to carry everything up and down the mountain. You should have some recovery and protein bars in your duffel bag.

13). Bring a Lightweight Sleeping Bag

You need to have a lightweight warm sleeping bag. We recommend a 0 or 10 degree Fahrenheit sleeping bag or similar Cotopaxi. You need to be comfortable throughout the whole trip. Sleep is a key ingredient to acclimatization and essential for success. Also, make sure that you have tested out your sleeping bag.

14). Come With a Climbing Partner

Working as a unit and team is important in achieving the groups goals. High on the mountain you will be roped to a guide and one other climber. Climbing with someone of the same ability is really important for safety and success. Communicate with the guides if you are having problems. They can only help if they know that you are struggling. Cotopaxi requires you to be a team player and maintaining a positive mental attitude at all times throughout the expedition. Encourage others and others will encourage you. We are much stronger as a group, not as individuals.

15). Bring Multi-Vitamins

We recommend taking multi-vitamins on a daily basis before and during the trip. These can either be the type that we dissolve in our water or as a tablet to take daily. You need to consider a range of supplements to maintain a strong immune system. Bring hydration tablets for your water to take daily. If you sign up with Ian Taylor Trekking for your Cotopaxi expedition, we will send you a trip Dossier, that includes a complete kit-list for the trip.

16). Only Bring Essentials

Have a small medical kit that is easy accessible while climbing. This medical kit should have Ibuprofen, blisters plasters, tape, sunscreen, lip protection, medication, plasters and personal items. Also, make sure you have your personal medication you take with you at all times. You need to streamline your medical kit, in the same way you would on any trekking and mountaineering trips.

17). Come With the Correct Mental Training

Having the experience in harsh weather conditions, will be essential in your preparations. Also carry a weighted backpack in your training, in order to be physically ready for the summit. Mentally prepared for your Cotopaxi experience, for example, pushing the limit in your training sessions helps. Additionally, the more comfortable you are in a mountain environment, the more mentally prepared you will be. Staying positive with a good mental attitude on the mountain, is important for you and the people around you. High on Cotopaxi is a mental and physical challenge. Staying positive in the face of harsh, challenging conditions is needed to be successful. Mental preparation starts at home in the hard training you do before the climb.

18). Expect Harsh Weather Conditions

Be ready to cope with diverse weather conditions. You may experience drastic changes in the weather from warm/dry conditions to freezing and windy weather.  High winds are usually the biggest challenge on Cotopaxi, similarly freezing temperatures can cause you pain and discomfort. Understanding that some factors are beyond your control, and weather being a big one of these. Focus on the elements of the trip you can control, for instance you can come with the right attitude, gear and physical preparation.

19). Know Your Limits

Know your limit on any mountain. One of the ways to achieve this is to hit the wall in your training at home. Remember your safety and the safety of others should be your number one concern on the mountain. Make sure that you have pushed yourself hard in your training and have prepared correctly before stepping foot onto the mountain. While you are on Cotopaxi, don’t push yourself to the point of putting your life or the life of others in danger.

20). Respect the Team and the Mountain

Respect other climbers. You are climbing as a part of a team and therefore, you have to be aware that timelines have to be kept and differences have to be accepted. An expedition can be a multicultural experience with people joining our trips from all over the world. That means different cultural backgrounds with different religious ideals or philosophies. Everyone in your expedition is struggling to reach the same goal, so respect the team. If you see your team member struggling on any given day, be there to help them. It could be you the next day that needs the extra support! Team work and relaxed attitude will be valuable assets on a trip like this, finally respect the mountain and extreme altitude.

1). IFMGA Mountain Guides

Our mountain guides are qualified professionals with years of mountaineering experience in Ecuador.   We believe that to succeed in our expeditions, professionals with experience and the ability to offer the highest level of safety is everything. All of our guides hold professional IFMGA or AMGA mountaineering qualifications and wilderness First Aid Certificates. They can manage any emergency that could arise.  We want to make sure all of our teams have the best chance at safely reaching their goal. With more guides with your team, they will be able to more efficiently manage your safety on the mountain and also give you a better experience along the way. We have 1:2 guiding ration on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.

2). Acclimatization

Over years of running trips to Cotopaxi we have changed our itinerary to offer you the best experience in Ecuador. We know that acclimatization is the key to everything on a high altitude adventure. That is why we have designed this itinerary, with optimal acclimatization so you can have the best possible experience.

3). Expert Training Advice

We offer personal service with training advice for our clients, 5 days a week. A lot of people underestimate the physical preparation needed to climb Cotopaxi. Please do not show up under prepared as you will be roped to another climber and this can ruin someone else’s trip.

We want to make sure that you have the best information on how to complete this adventure safely and successfully. There are some long 8+ hour days, with over 1,000m/ 3,280 feet of up and down hills on steep terrain while on mountain trails and glaciers. We look forward to speaking with you about preparing for this trip.  We also provide you with a trip dossier with a lot more information on how to prepare for the trip.

4). Check out our Top 20 Tips

After years of leading and running mountaineering trips here are our top 20 tips for climbing Cotopaxi.

5). We Climb in the Best Months

Although Cotopaxi has clear weather year round, there are definitely some better months than others. Rain is common on Cotopaxi from March to May and again from September to November.  Rain means less chance of observing the volcano at it best, so it’s best to avoid visiting during these months.

The busy months are January to May.  We like to run trip to Cotopaxi from November through March. June to November is considered the quiet season for tourists, so this can be a great time to visit.  Keep in mind, that from September to November the weather may be wet and can make summit attempts more challenging.

6). Our Itemized Kit List

We have developed an extensive itemized kit list for you. Making it simple, clear as easy to come fully prepared with the right gear, clothing and mountaineering equipment.

7).  Quality Hotels and Equipment

In Quito we use the Reina Isabel in Quito. This hotel is centrally located. On the mountain we use the best lodges available in the region.

8). Small Group Sizes

We only work with small group sizes. The maximum number of people per team will be 12 people. Some of our groups are even less people with only 6 or 8 team members. We also run private groups trips to Cotopaxi. This will therefore give you are more personalized experience.

We believe the journey is far more valuable than the destination. Building a team throughout our program so you can acclimatize well and experience the best of  this region of the world.  Our guides will monitor your heart rate and oxygen saturation morning and night to make sure you are acclimatizing correctly to the lack of oxygen.

9). All Inclusive Packages

We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the Hotel in Quito. Our staff will process all the permits and park fees.  All transport will be in high quality private vehicles. All of our trips include city tours and the best mountain guides and service throughout.

On the mountain portion of the trip we serve 3 meals a day. Therefore, you do not have to worry about bringing extra food. We can guarantee quality food throughout the trek.

10). Expert Office Support in Colorado

We have highly experienced team members available 5 days a week in support of your trip. They have all climbed Cotopaxi numerous times, and always happy to chat and answer any questions you may have. Get in touch and learn from our experience.

Preparation and Training

Are you a Hiker?

When deciding to climb Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, you need to consider your current ability, access to training facilities, and how much time you have to dedicate to training. All of these things will determine if you are successful on the climb. If you think running and walking on the flat with a weighted backpack are enough, you need to think again. Leg strength and endurance training are important for safety and success.

Plain and simple, spend more days acclimatizing on the mountain and build up specific physical training. This will give you the best chance at safely reaching the summit and getting back down again without guides having to carry your backpack. These are the two main reasons why people are not successful reaching the summit of Cotopaxi. We can help your understand this specific training.

The Two Main Factors

Firstly, In my opinion you need a nine day itinerary for Cotopaxi.  Taking nine days will give you the best acclimatization process and the best experience possible. Climbing Cotopaxi is truly one of the great mountain experiences. So why not spend more days on the mountain to get the most out of your experience. I know it costs more, but you will come away with a much richer experience.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you are coming with the right training and preparations.  We are available 5 days a week, to make sure you are getting the best information on the climb.  We want to make sure that you have the tools to be safe and successful.

Consider The Following

When you think about these elevation gains and long steep descents you need to review the daily distances, elevations gains up and down. Consider the incline on ascent and descent and think how you train for low oxygen environments. We can help you understand the key elements to this and how you can map out a training plan for climbing Cotopaxi.

Hiking up and Down Hills is the Best Training

Hiking up and down hills with weight is by far the best training you can do. Try to build up from 3 hour to 8 hour hikes once a week. Taking regular and increasingly longer hikes will help develop the muscles that you need when you arrive on the side of Cotopaxi. This can not be on the flat. You need to trying to gain 500m/ 1,640 feet, building up to 1,000m/ 3,280 feet ascents and descents. However, very few people are lucky enough to have access to hills every weekend.  Try to find some local hills or stairs to walk up and down if possible. Gradually increasing the duration of your walks will help to develop your stamina and also assist in preparing you for being on your feet over long distances.

When out on training hikes, ensure that you always wear the trekking boots you intend to take to Cotopaxi and try and ease your way into the Mountaineering boots. It is also good to train in the same backpack you will be taking with you on the climb.  This will help you feel at ease with it and gradually add weight to the pack to build strength. Building up gradually from 6kg/ 13lbs to 12kg/ 26lbs over a 6 month period. Read more.

Not everyone will have access to hills, but this is the best way to train your body and legs for down hill hiking. Depending on your chosen adventure you do need to assess the level of downhill. We have elevation gains available for all of our key trips. I encourage you to review the daily elevation drops and what type of terrain you will be walking on.

For example, on our Inca trail treks you will be drop 700m/ 2,296 feet to 1,000m/ 3,280 feet on different days all on steep rocky stairs. On Kilimanjaro you will drop 2,800m/ 9,186 feet in one day on scree and rock and this is very challenging on your legs and joints.

You have just walked for days on end you have reached your goal but not you have to retrace your steps, often in a quicker time frame. Hiking downhill will take its toll on your joints.  Fore sure, the downhill hike will take more wear and tear on your joints and muscles than the uphill.

You do need to use effective training techniques to minimize the impact on your body.  Descending using good technique means that you move faster and feel lighter. Remember, 80% of accidents happen on the way down.

Keeping Knees Healthy

We live in Eagle-vail Colorado with amazing access to altitude and a wide range of mountain terrain to train on. In Colorado we can train all year round on hilly terrain preparing for Kilimanjaro, Himalayan trekking and mountaineering trips. I know most of you are joining our trips from sea level and with minimal access to hill training. I encourage you to get out to Colorado doing some multi-day hiking in preparation for your chosen adventure.

If you do not have access to hills and mountains, you must figure out other ways to prepare your knee joints to handle downhill stress. From a knee perspective, downhill hiking means eccentric loading and typically thousands of repetitions of it. Eccentric loading (the lengthening phase of a contraction) is especially challenging to what is called the patellofemoral joint of the knee. This is where the knee cap, meets the femur. Inadequate strength, poor mechanics and lack of exposure to this type of loading can turn downhill forces into injury producing stress. Prior to your trekking trip you need to start implementing sport specific training into our general preparedness programming.

Hiking Uphill and Downhill

Hiking uphill is all concentric muscle action (muscle active while shortening) at the knee joint without any eccentric loading (loading while muscle is lengthening). Concentric only exercises tend to cause less mechanical stress, load and pain to joints and tendons than do exercises that have eccentric phases. What goes up must come down.

You must prepare our body and specifically your knees to handle downhill hiking. Depending on the trip, you really need 6 months of some sport specific training into our general preparedness programming.

The strength movements below are similar but slightly different in specific ways. We purposely only hit each one once per week because too much volume of these exercises could quickly lead to an over training injury, so be careful. I would recommend adding in additional hip flexor and quadriceps mobility work at the end of your training sessions as well to maintain good length tension relationships and to protect your spine.

The Point of These Exercises

Increase vertical loading volume of the knees with a sight posterior to anterior (back to front) force vector. Get exposed and accustomed to decelerating the vertical and forward forces using primarily a knee strategy.  Transition from doing most lunges and squats with a 3 points of contact foot position to a more heel elevated position where we contact and press through the forefoot.

The 3 points of contact foot position is the most stable position for the foot and encourages a balance of hip and thigh musculature – great for general preparedness training. Transitioning to a heels elevated position where the forces are applied through the forefoot places most of the stress on the quadriceps and knees – optimal for downhill hiking training.

Exercises for Downhill Hiking

You should consider adding these movements into your weekly training 2 times per week. Add 3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions (per leg)

1). Heels Elevated Goblet Squat
2). Forward Alternating Lunge with Farmers Carry Loading
3). Forward Alternating Drop from Box Lunges
4). Banded Posterior to Anterior (PA) Forward Lunges

Carrying Weight

One of the best ways of mitigating the risk of musculoskeletal issues is by carrying a light pack. Then build up the weight you carry over time. An overly heavy backpack is not recommended in the early stages of your training.

Extract its biggest toll on your body during steep and/or long downhill sections, so a hiker should always aim to travel as lightly as the dictates of their skillset and the environment into which they are venturing allow.

If you are carrying weight on longer hike you should slowly build up the weight you carry. You should also consider carry water uphill and dump as much water/ weight as possible for your downhill. Always assess the weight you are carrying for each hike and always build up slowly over time. You do not want to get injured.

Daily Distances

Day 1 Quito 2,850m/ 9,350 feet

Try and arrive in as early as possible on this day to allow for additional acclimatization. Quito sits at an altitude of 2,850m/ 9,350 feet. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to our hotel for the night. It is important to rehydrate, relax and start adjusting to high altitude. If you feel up to it, you explore the city and you will find a wide range of dinner options.

Day 2 Quito City Tour 2,850m/ 9,350 feet

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 Hike to Cotopaxipungo 3,150m/ 10,335 feet

After a drive of one hour, you’ll start hiking from the village of Rumipamba located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 3,000m/ 9,842 feet. The trek follows some cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which flows from Cotopaxi National Park. You will visit the majestic waterfalls of Rio Pita. Close to the Hacienda Cotopaxipungo you’ll 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 takes around 5 hours. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3,150m/ 10,335 feet. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 4 Ascent of Pasochoa 4,200m/ 13,780 feet

You’ll set off early for the ascent of Pasochoa. The grassy trails winding to its summit are reminiscent of the garden of Ireland, apart from the common swirling mists, which can bring the sulfurous smell of simmering lava from below! From the summit you may see condors - Pasochoa is one of the few volcanoes where these huge birds glide. Overnight at Chilcabamba lodge. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 5 Ascent of Rumiñahui 4,500m/ 14,763 feet

From the lodge it's a short drive to Limpiopungo Lake where you will start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, which leads 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. After the trek you spend the night at Los Mortiños Lodge 3,600m/ 11,811 feet. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 6 Hike to Cotopaxi Glacier 5,100m/ 16,732 feet

From our lodge the team drives to the car park for Cotopaxi 4,600m/ 15,092 feet, where you will hike for 45 minutes to the hut 4,800m/ 15,748 feet. When you step out onto the volcanic dust of a moonscape, you’ll find the thin air has a cold freshness, which gives a sense of vigor and vitality. From above the refuge, you will continue to walk, arriving at the edge of the glacier. After lunch at the hut, you will descend to Tambopaxi lodge 3,700m/ 12,139 feet, where you'll spend the night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 7 Visit Inca ruins & Technical training 3,700m/ 12,139 feet

Today is considered a rest day. We will take a short bus ride to some Incan ruins and explore these ruins at the base of Cotopaxi and we can take a short walk before returning to Tambopaxi lodge. In the afternoon we will do more technical mountaineering training and crevasse rescue training.

Day 8 Ascend to Cotopaxi Hut 4,800m/ 15,748 feet

The team will return to Cotopaxi and walk back up to the refuge, where you'll have lunch. The afternoon will be spent reviewing the glacier skills needed for the ascent, prior to the climb. Overnight mountain hut. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 9 Ascent of Cotopaxi 5,897m/ 19,347 feet

The team will leave around 1am. You’ll rope up to protect the team from hidden crevasses and steeper sections. The crater rim is ice encrusted - Cotopaxi's crater is a spectacular feature and the mix of ice and steam vents make an unusual combination. After soaking in the awesome panoramic views from the second highest point in Ecuador you’ll descend to the hut. From below the hut our vehicles will meet us and you’ll drive to Baños, famous for its hot springs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 10 Hot springs of Baños

A day to relax and explore this wonderful town at the base of Tungurahua volcano. You can eat some great food, visit the neo-Gothic style basilica and enjoy the hot springs. Overnight hotel. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 11 Continue to Chimborazo

It's time to focus on Chimborazo and climb the highest mountain in the country - Chimborazo 6,310m/ 20,207 feet. Drive to Carrel Hut 4,800m/ 15,748 feet on Chimborazo and hike to our Camp 5,350m/ 17,582 feet. You can hire a porter to carry your gear up to camp and back down the next day. Overnight camp. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 12 Summit Chimborazo 6,310m/ 20,702 feet

We start the climb at about midnight following the rocky section of the Castle ridge until it joins the Castle Saddle 5,500m/ 18,044 feet. From the Castle Camp, it normally takes six to seven hours to get to the Whymper summit from where you will enjoy one of the best views in Ecuador. To the east and southeast are El Altar, the most difficult mountain to climb in Ecuador, and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay. To the north and northeast are mountains such as the Ilinizas, Antisana, and the famous Cotopaxi. After enjoying this amazing summit, we will return back to camp, pack up all our items and return to Quito for a night of celebration. Overnight hotel. Breakfast and lunch included.

Day 13 Depart of Quito

You can sleep in, get out on the town and pick up some souvenirs. We will transfer you back to the airport for your return flight home. It is best to schedule your flight for an evening departure if possible.

  • 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. 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.


Q). When is the best time to Climb Cotopaxi and Chimborazo?

A). The equator passes through Ecuador and Cotopaxi sits just south of the equator. The key is to avoid rainy season. There are a number of months for climbing Cotopaxi. Our favorite months January, February, May, June, July, August, September and November and December. There will be minimal rainfall and high wind, but this is never guaranteed in any month.

Q). Where is these mountains?

A). Cotopaxi is in Ecuador and south of the capital city Quito.

Q). Are these mountain dangerous?

A). Cotopaxi is a relatively safe climb on the routes we climb. The biggest challenges are the high altitude and people not coming physically prepared. Some groups try to ascend too quickly and do not take the time to acclimatize. We do not have this issue because our itinerary has been carefully planned over years of experience working in low oxygen environments.

Q). How do I prepare for high Altitude?

A). Firstly, there is some very specific training you should be doing. Learn moreLets be clear, always pick the itinerary with more acclimatization built in. After that, you need to focus on mapping out a training plan that focuses on strength and endurance. We will pace the trip at lower heart rates so we can perform for longer periods of time. You still need to be comfortable hiking for 6+ hours. We know that building up the weight you carry in your backpack for hours at sea level builds endurance, strength and cardio which stress tests your body for high altitude. We can help you learn more about how to prepare for your high altitude adventure.

Q). What kind of gear, clothing and equipment do I need to bring?

A). We will provide you with a full detailed itemized kit list so that you

Q). Can I leave a bag of cloths at the hotel?

A). Yes, You can leave a bag of items not needed at the hotel. You can also leave valuable items in the safe. You can even leave your passport at the hotel.

Q). What route do we climb on?

A). Depending on the glacial conditions we will follow the safest route to the top. We also leave from the refuge at 16,000 feet for all our summit attempts.

Q). Do you have training advice?

A). If you sign up to one of our trips we can give ongoing advice. We also have training courses in Colorado that you can sign up to.

What people said about our Cotopaxi Climb

  • Marta Lewis

    Climbing Cotopaxi 2017

    “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.”

  • James Williams

    Cotopaxi Climb 2018

    “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”

Ready to go?

We hope this information excites you to take the next step towards achieving your goal of climbing Cotopaxi. If so, get in touch today.

We pride ourselves on making sure that our clients have every opportunity to succeed in the mountains, including professional training advice, gear lists and video links on how to pack your bag, and much more. We are always available to answer any questions you may have by email, phone or skype, so contact us today!

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