Cotopaxi Climbing

Cotopaxi Climbing

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Cotopaxi National Park is the first area of tourist visit in continental Ecuador, is located south of Quito 50 km (31 miles), thousands of tourists seek to reach the top of this volcano a year, because it has several facilities in connectivity, climate, route. In this volcano we do not have walls to climb, we only walk to the top, we start from 4.800m (15.748.03 ft) here we have the José Rivas refuge, with the 4×4 transport we will arrive to the parking lot at 4.600m (15.091.86 ft).

If you are a beginner and really want to push your limits, why not climb the "neck of the moon"? Climb one of the highest active volcanoes in the world at 5897 m! Due to its perfectly symmetrical cone, covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice, the Cotopaxi is one of the tourist highlights in Ecuador and it’s most visited and climbed volcano.   The climb to the summit occurs during the night; this allows watching the sunrise from the summit and displays unsurpassed views of Quito to the North and Chimboroazo and Tungurahua to the south. At the top you have a magnificent view into the snow capped crater where it is possible to see steam emissions. The ascent departs from the refuge at 4800m normally and climbs through a mixture of volcanic sand, snow, and glacier to the summit. Although the climb is not classified as technically difficult, it is absolutely necessary to go with professional guides and specialized glacier hiking equipment like ropes, ice-axes and crampons.The climber must be in good physical condition and must already have had a good acclimatization. The ascent takes between 6-8 hours while the descent takes 3-4 hours.


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Ecuador Itineraries

2 Days & 1 Night
  • DAY 1: Departure from Quito at 9 am in private transportation to the Cotopaxi National Park. After a  2 -2 ½-hours-drive south you arrive at the parking lot of the refuge in the Cotopaxi National Park at 4500 m. From there you hike up for about one hour to the Jose Rivas Refuge at 4800m.  After lunch, you do some climbing exercises on the glaciers nearby. Back to the refuge you will have dinner and then rest until midnight.
  • DAY 2: You get up at midnight, have breakfast and get ready for the climb. Around 1:00am you leave the refuge. As soon as you reach the glacier, you put on crampons and rope up in teams. Each guide will take one or two persons. If all goes well, you reach the summit a 5897 m between 6:00am and 8:00am. The return to the refuge takes about 3 hours. When all groups have returned, you leave for Quito. Return around 1 to 2 pm.


Trip Outline

Inexperienced hikers begin their activity in Ecuador, their first high mountain attempts are in the Cotopaxi Volcano, we can observe a perfect conical shape covered with glacier that attracts the attention of millions of people who want to have a photo and much more in its crater, in our 2-day tour we go to the summit, the summit attack excursion is done from midnight to see the sunrise at the summit, the approximate time is between 7 to 8 hours.

  • Bilingual Certified ASEGUIM guide
  • Accommodation at refuge
  • Transportation from Quito to Cayambe and back
  • Entry Fee
  • Meals from Lunch day 1 until breakfast at 12 pm
  • waterproof hiking boots
  • waterproof pants and jacket
  • fleece pants and jacket
  • Gloves
  • balaclava cap
  • gaiters
  • crampons
  • ice ax
  • headlamp
  • sleeping bag
  • Breakfast second day
  • Additional snacks and drinks
  • bag
  • lining gloves
  • batterys for headlight
  • Tips