Ecuador’s Volcanoes

ECU-35 / 12-day trip International Shared Group Departure / GradePD

PEAKS: Pasochoa (4164 m) – Corazon (4791 m) – Iliniza North (5126 m) – Cotopaxi (5897 m) – Chimborazo (6268 m)

Ecuador's Volcanoes

Chimborazo (6268 m), the highest, and Cotopaxi (5897 m), the second highest, both situated on the tropical belt close to Quito in Ecuador, are very accessible volcanoes to mountaineers.

The surrounding Andes region with its numerous volcanoes at different altitudes, gorgeous nature and exotic indigenous villages and cultures, makes the acclimatization and climb the experience of a lifetime.

On this 12-day itinerary we offer you an excellent acclimatization program, while ascending other mountains like Pasochoa, Corazon and North Iliniza. We provide excellent professional guides, equipment, good accommodation, transportation, food, etc. Also, we recommend that you take a look at our extensions trips–these will add to your adventure and show you some of the natural wealth and variety a small country like Ecuador has to offer.




Feb. 2 - 13, 2019CONFIRMEDSpaces availableBook Now
Jul. 20 - 31, 2019Not confirmedSpaces availableBook Now
Nov. 30 - Dec. 11, 2019Not confirmedSpaces availableBook Now


NOTE: The departure will be guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons and can have up to 12 people.
Day 1 Arrival to Quito
Day 2 Quito – Full day City Tour (2850 m)
Day 3 Climb Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m)
Day 4 Climb: Corazon Volcano (4791 m)
Day 5 Ilinizas – Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m)
Day 6 Climb North Iliniza Volcano (5126 m)
Day 7 Cotopaxi – Glacier training (4990 m)
Day 8 Climb: Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m)
Day 9 Town of Baños de Santa Agua (1820 m) – Rest Day
Day 10 Chimborazo – Carrel hut (4800 m)
Day 11 Climb: Chimborazo Volcano (6268 m)
Day 12 Departure
Day 1

Arrival in Quito
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Quito: Full day City tour with “Mitad del Mundo”
Full day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. We leave the hotel by our private transport and will see the transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. We will make some stops during the tour and visit all the interesting churches, plazas etc., but also will have time to simply soak up the local atmosphere, the many shops and sellers. Afterwards, we continue to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the center of Quito overlooking the city and the historical center. From here, on clear days, we may observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito.
 After lunch, visit to “Mitad del Mundo” where you can stand on the equatorial line and do some fun experiments.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Climb: Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m)
Pick-up at hotel in Quito and transfer (2 h) to the head of trail, located at an altitude of 3848 m. From this point a very well marked trail will lead the way by farm land up to the a paramo area. Here the trail heads southwards ascending progressively until the base of the crater. The last section is the steepest, following a mountain trail up to the crater rim. The last meters to the summit are done by the edge of the crater with nice views down to the valley of Machachi also known as the “Volcanoes Avenue” and the highlands to the west. On clear days there is a perfect view to the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and Artisana volcanoes. The descent is following back the same trail. Back at the starting point the group will be transferred (2 h) to the outskirts of the Machachi (2930 m).
Night in mountain lodge.
Ascent: 516 m / Descent: 516 m / Highest altitude: 4164 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Climb: Corazon Volcano (4791 m)
The lodge is located just at the foot of the Corazon Volcano a short drive to the trailhead from where the team will follow a well marked trail on the Eastern side of the mountain. During the ascent there are excellent views down to the volcano Avenue and the town of Machachi. This is a very pleasant hike and an perfect complement to the acclimatization. Another advantage is that this volcano is much less visited than other acclimatization mountains and this provides a very different atmosphere. The last few meters before reaching the summit go over an easy scrambling section. The summit is just in the crater rim and has a panoramic view to the Western flank. The descent is done by the same trail.
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 890 m / Descent: 890 m / Highest altitude: 4791 m / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 5

Ilinizas – Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m)
The climb starts after an 1 hour transfer from the mountain lodge up to the parking place located at 3680 meters. From here, the group will follow a trail by the “paramo” (Andean highland), which changes as it gains altitude into a rocky moraine. The terrain gets steeper reaching a well marked ridge that ascend to a valley that divides the twin peaks and where the Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m) is located. After arrival the mountain guide will give the pertinent instruction for the next day’s climb and will help to prepare all the needed gear. The Nuevos Horizontes hut is a very, very basic accommodation with one big area, where both the bunkbeds and the kitchen are located. The hut has the basic services as kitchen, dinning tables and toilets.
Night in dormitory with bunkbends.
Ascent: 817 m / Highest altitude: 4677 m / Activity duration: 3-4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 6

Climb: North Iliniza Volcano (5126 m)
This morning’s goal is to climb the North Ilinza, one of the twin summits of the Iliniza massive. The north summit is the easier of the two from a technical point of view, but still a demanding physical ascent. The climb starts from Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m), the hike heads towards the col and then up to the north. The climb in it self is very panoramic, as it follows the southern ridge of the mountain with spectacular landscapes on both sides. During the ascent there will be short easy scrambling sections before reaching the summit. Depending on the logistics, weather conditions and the physical shape of the team, the descent can be done by the same trail or following the northern ridge, down a big scree area making it into a circular route. Back at the parking place, the team will be transferred (3 h) to Cotopaxi National Park for a good rest after the climb.
Night in dormitory with bunkbends.
Ascent: 449 m / Descent: 1266 m / Highest altitude: 5126 m / Activity duration: 8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Cotopaxi – Glacier training (4990 m)
After a good rest and a well deserve breakfast, a 2 hours transfer will take the group to the Cotopaxi’s Parking area (4587 m). Then an 1-hour hike to Cotopaxi’s mountain hut (4847 m), a short break, and then continuing the hike for another 45 minutes up to the low part of the glacier (4990 m). Once there, the team will gear up and follow the guide’s instruction in the use of crampons, ice axe, rope and all the appropriate technical gear for the climb. This is in no way an alpine course, just a brief introduction into the technics need for the ascent. This activity will also improve the acclimatization due to the physical activity in altitude. After the training, the team will head back down to the hut for the night (4847 m). The rest of the afternoon is for the climb’s preparations. The guides will do a detailed briefing about all the aspects of the ascent and help with all the gear. An early dinner will be serve and then rest, until the guides call for breakfast, usually around midnight.
Night at the hut in dormitories with bunk beds.
Ascent: 403 m / Descend: 143 m / Highest Altitude: 4990 m / Distance: 1.2 km one way / Activity duration: 4 – 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 8

Climb: Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m)
The summit day starts very early; departure time will be set by the mountain guides, according to the team’s physical condition and the weather-forecast, usually in the range between 11 PM and 2 AM. Breakfast will be served 1 hour before the scheduled departure. The team will begin the ascent from the hut following a well marked trail that gently ascents over a fine stoned moraine for about 1 hour. Once on the edge of the glacier (4990 m), the group will gear up and divide, in case of a big group, into smaller teams in a range of 2 clients for 1 guide. The Cotopaxi’s climb requires endurance and a good deal mental strength. Cotopaxi’s glacier is quite save and the climb not technically difficult, but there are a few crevassed areas and some few icy slopes that make the route interesting.
The first section of the glacier is a gentle slope that gets steeper as it goes higher, there is a series of switchbacks know as “Heart Breaker”, being the toughest part of the ascent due to its demanding steepness and continuity. After this a very nice ridge gradually gains altitude, passing close to the prominent rock face know as “Yanasacha” at about 5630 m. From this point a relatively long traverse to the right before another set of switchbacks that lead up to the crater’s rim and few meters later to the main summit. The climb takes an average time of 7-8 hours. Cotopaxi’s summit is one of the most spectacular ones, looking down into the double rim crater and, on clear days, it is possible to see most of the neighboring volcanoes as: Antisana, Cayambe, Ilinizas, Chimborazo, El Altar and the active Tunguragua. The descent is done following back the same way, taking between 3-4 hours. Once back at the huts and after the whole group reunites, a short hike down (20 minutes) to the parking place and drive to the town of Baños (3-4 h).
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 1050 m / Descent: 1315 m / Highest Altitude: 5897 m / Distance to the summit: 2.47 Km & Distance from summit to parking place: 3.22 Km / Activity duration: 10-12 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 9

Town of Baños de Santa Agua (1820 m) – Rest Day
The town of Baños, as it if locally know, lies in the Tunguragua province just at the foothills of the active Tunguragua Volcano (5023 m). Baños is called the “Gateway to the Amazon” as it’s the last andean town before reaching the Amazon basin. Due to its privileged location, this town offers a great deal of activities. The best known are the hot-springs (baños), which one can enjoy many places around town. Adventure sports are also widely spread like mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, etc.
Baños also have some great scenery with the famous waterfalls that lie few kilometers down the valley. The best known are “El Pailon del Diablo” (Devil’s pot) and “El manto de la Novia” (the Bride’s veil), which can be visited taking a local taxi. The “Tarabita” (Cable-car) to cross over the Pastaza River and on the other side of the valley, it is possible to hike through the orchards and gardens of the local peasants.
In few words, there are plenty of options to do or just take a easy going day to enjoy the nice temperature and beautiful surroundings.
Night at hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Chimborazo – Carrel hut (4800 m)
After a day of leisure and a relaxing morning in the town of Baños, the group will pack and drive (3 h) back to the highland towards Chimborazo National Park. On the way, there will a couple of short stops and time to buy the last snacks before leaving “civilization”. Chimborazo volcano is an impressive mountain that stands out from the “Volcanoes Avenue”. The indigenous farmed land that surrounds the mountains are all traditionally worked and very colorful during the harvest season. While driving up to the main entrance, it is possible to see very dramatic landscapes were the actions of the old eruptions have shaped the geography of the place. After crossing the park borders, the landscape turns very arid, like a desert, where it is possible to see one of the rare South American camelids: Vicuñas. These animal are difficult to see because they life in quiet inaccessible areas. They are master to survive in difficult conditions. The ones living in this park are not originally from the area, but introduced many years ago and over time became permanent residents.
The road goes all the way to the door of the lower hut “Refugio Hermanos Carrel” (4800 m), where an 1 hour acclimatization hike starts by a moraine valley up to the Whymper hut (5000 m) and then back down to the Carrel hut. The rest of the afternoon-evening will be to prepare the climb and have an early dinner. The mountain guides will provide all the information and help to assure the best logistic for such a demanding climb.
Night in dormitories with bunkbends.
Ascent: 200 m / Descent: 200 m / Highest Altitude: 5000 m / Activity duration: 1.5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 11

Climb: Chimborazo Volcano (6268 m)
Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador and also the highest in the world measured from the center of the earth, due to is location on the tropical belt. The mountain has five mayor summits all linked by a ridge called the “Arista del Sol” (Sun’s ridge), which probably is the main reason of its Quichua name, which translates “Ice braid”. The main summit is the Whymper (6268 m), named after the British mountaineer Edward Whymper who has the first person to climb it on 1880 along with the Swiss Carrel brothers.
Climbing Chimborazo by its normal Southwest route is a challenging affair, is a long 1468 meters ascent and descent in one push at a considerable altitude. The terrain is also complex, as it changes from an easy moraine trail to ice, snow and rock sections, with some easy scrambling at some specific spots. Even though it is not a technical climb, it is physical demanding. The climb starts between 10 PM to 1 AM, according to the team fitness, acclimatization level and meteorological conditions. The mountain guide will decide the departure time and wake up the clients up, 1 hour before, to have some breakfast and get ready for the activity.
The first part of the route is no longer the normal route, but a variant known as the “Marco Cruz route”, named after the legendary Ecuadorian mountaineer who first ascended it. This variant joins the normal route after “El Castillo” rock pillar, making the ascent much safer and more scenic.
Once on the march, the first part (1 h) is basically a flat moraine until it begins to get steeper, with some few scrambling sections, before reaching the top of the ridge. After a short while walking on the ridge a bit exposed section hiking around the “El Castillo” rock before a flat area where the variant route joins the normal route. The glacier rises on a wide ridge that goes up to an approximate altitude of 5850 m. From this point a gentle traverse elevates westwards reaching 6000 m and then a relative strait up climb to the first summit: the Veintimilla (6230 m), then descend few meters to cross a col and then back up to the main summit: Whymper (6268 m). This is a memorable ascent to a summit above 6000 meters and a test of physical and mental endurance.
The descend is done by the same route back to the Carrel hut and, after packing, there will be a transfer ready to take the group back to Quito (4 h).
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 1468 m / Descent: 1468 m / Highest Altitude: 6268 m / Activity duration: 10-12 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 12

Time to leave the volcanoes of Ecuador!
Pick up at hotel and transfer out to Quito’s Airport (1-2 h) – End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

ECU-35 - Prices per person in USD / valid until 31.12.2019.
Price per person traveling in a shared international group2550
Single room supplement - Only in hotels, not possible in mountain huts/refuges145
NOTE: The departure will be guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons and can have up to 12 people.


  • Local English speaking mountain guide during the entire program
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in hotels in the city of Quito
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in the town of Machachi
  • 1 night in shared dormitory at Iliniza’s mountain hut – Nuevos Horizontes
  • 1 night in shared dormitory at Cotopaxi’s low mountain hut – Tambo-Paxi
  • 1 night in shared dormitory at Cotopaxi’s high mountain hut – Jose Rivas
  • Entry fee to the National parks and natural reserves
  • Entry fees to museums and sights mentioned in the program
  • Pack animals for group’s equipment and personal equipment to and from Ilinizas’ hut
  • Climbing assistant guides: for Pasochoa ratio 1:5, for Iliniza ratio: 1:4 and for Cotopaxi ratio: 1:2
  • Cook during the trek
  • Meals as specified in the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic and international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Personal climbing and camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra 1 & 2 or similar

MACHACHI: Hacienda La Estacion or similar

ILINIZAS NATIONAL PARK:: Mountain Hut Nuevos Horizontes (no website)

COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK: Low Mountain Hut Tambo-Paxi  or similar

COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK: High Mountain Hut Jose Rivas (no website)


Tags: Climbing, Ecuador, Volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Iliniza, Pasochoa, PD, PD grade, Cotopaxi’s National Park, Corazon, Machachi, Fixed Departure Climbing