Climbing

 

Lodge to Lodge Trekking

Introduction

Without doubt, Antisana is considered one of the most beautiful peaks of Ecuador. Due to its eastern location, it has one of the largest glaciers and in its region we still find native Andean wild life such as wolfs, deer, spectacle bears and the majestic condors. At the same time Antisana is one of the less visited peaks. The region has been untouched by time and well preserved due to the fact that for many years the only road that reaches the mountain used to be privately owned by the Delgado family. However in 2010 the Ecuadorian government created the Antisana Reserve and the access to the mountain became easier. Most climbers that attempt Antisana normally drive into the reserve, climb the mountain and leave again. But…Antisana and its surrounding areas offer much more, including excellent acclimatisation opportunities.

So we would like to offer you Antisana in a different way…

Instead of the normal Antisana climbing tour, driving in and out, you will be hiking towards the mountain during a couple of days. In this way, Andeanface offers you a fantastic chance to enjoy and experience the wonderful landscape of the remote Papallacta- Antisana region also known as the “lake district of Ecuador”.
During this trip you will enjoy the combination of camping in remote areas where the only sounds you will hear, will come from nature & relaxing in comfortable hotels. You will get inspired and reenergized in Ecuador´s most beautiful spa hotel where you will enjoy the hot springs.

Itinerary

After a five day hike in which we trek to the Volcano lake 3.500 m /11,480ft, hike up Chusolongo 4.600m / 12,300ft you will be well acclimatized to climb & summit Antisana. This itinerary has proved to be excellent for acclimatisation. It provides the best chance to summit Antisana 5.740m / 18,827ft in a short period whilst minimising the amount of driving.

 

Day 1Papallacta
Drive to Papallacta hot springs - 3.280m / 10,758ft. Night at the lodge

We leave Quito driving east, following the main road that goes into the jungle.  While crossing the Andes from the west to the east, at its highest point of 4.000m, we will stop to enjoy the wonderful view of the forest of Antisana. We will descend to Laguna Papallacta and will arrive to the hot springs where we visit the interpretation centre, have lunch and do a short walk in the afternoon. During the rest of the day we enjoy & relax in the hot springs of Papallacta. www.termaspapallacta.com.






Day 2Laguna Tumiguina
Hike to Laguna Tumiguina known as “Laguna Volcan” 3.400m / 11,152ft. Night camping

Today we leave in the morning around 9am. After a short drive on the main road we arrive at a location called el Tambo, where we meet the rest of our team and our horses. It is here, where our trek starts. Along the trail we need to cross a couple of small rivers and pass a small water fall. The hike to Laguna volcan takes 4 to 5 hours. Laguna Volcan is located at the beginning of a massive lava flow that descended from Cachaco Volcano a long time ago.
Once we get to the camp, the tents will already be there and during the rest of the afternoon we explore the lake and it´s north side, where the ancient lava flow starts.

Day 3Santa Lucia
Hike to Santa Lucia - 4.300m / 14,432ft. Night camping
We start the hike at 9am. Today´s hike is steep, especially during the first two hours. We walk through an amazing polilepis forest and some of the vegetation we will see are Chuquiraguas, Pumamaquis and Achupallas. There is a chance you will meet spectacle bears as they are fond of Achupallas.
The last part of the trek is easier as we get into the plateau, where we can appreciate the majestic of Antisana. The hike of today takes 6 hours. Once we get to the camp the tents will already be there and you will enjoy your well deserved rest.


Day 4Chusolongo
Hike to Chusolongo grande 4.600m / 12,300ft. Night camping
From Santa Lucia camp we start hiking towards Chusalongo Grande, also known as “Antisanilla”, a hill that stands out on the plateau in front of Antisana. We will hike as high as 4.650m and descent via a lake to our next camp on La mina camp 4.075m. This hike takes normally 5 hours.




 

 




Day 5Antisana
Hike to the Glacier of Antisana at - 5.000m / 16,400ft. Night at Hacienda Guaytara
We meet our driver and our 4x4 transport in the morning. After a short drive today we do a gentle 2 hours hike to 5.000m on Antisana to increase our acclimatisation and to enjoy good views of the surrounding peaks such as Sicholahua, Cotopaxi, Pasochoa and the Ilinizas. Afterwards we drive down to Hacienda la Guaytara at 3.500m for the night. Guaytara is a comfortable hacienda converted into a hotel, located at the base of Antisana. It is an excellent location to rest at a lower elevation before our summit push.
www.hosteriaguaytara.com


Day 6 Antisana
Antisana drive and hike to camp - 4.600 m / 15,088 ft. Glacier Practice

From Guaytara we drive one hour to the base camp on Antisana. After we set up our camp and have lunch we walk to the glacier where we will do some glacier skills review prior to the ascent. Also you will be briefed about the technical aspects of the ascent. Night camping.








 

Day 7 Antisana
Antisana Summit - 5.740m / 18,827ft - Return to Quito.

The long awaited day is there… we will be climbing Antisana. We leave the camp around 1am for a six hours climb. Along the way we will walk over complex crevasse patterns and snow bridges. Route finding makes the climb very interesting. After passing through a crevassed area, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 38-45 degrees snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the main summit of this beautiful mountain.
From the top of Antisana we hope to see most of the peaks of Ecuador and towards the east a sea of clouds over the amazon jungle. The view from the summit is one of the most spectacular one´s in Ecuador.
Technically the normal route is not difficult, but special care has to be given to potential hidden crevasses. The descent usually takes around two hours.

Important Note:
Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

lodge to lodge map

 

Expeditions - Climbing

Climbing Expeditions

Andeanface offers Climbing Expeditions exploring some of the most interesting ascents of the Ecuadorian Andes, including climbing Cotopaxi and climbing Chimborazo. These intensive climbing itineraries have been designed to allow a progressive elevation gain. We start with some moderate altitude hikes, to end with the summit attempt of Cotopaxi.

NOTE OF ADVICE: Due to its changeable conditions, we offer Chimborazo as a separate extension to our mountaineering expeditions. Since the summer of 2004, the amount of the snow that Chimborazo gets, does not allow safe ascents under the current commercial guiding ratio. Please let us know if you would like to include it in one of our programs and we will send you specific information.

Each one of the following options presents its own challenges, from long journeys to technical terrain. Please click on an image to select a mountain climbing expedition:

4 summits

Antisana treck and climb

Volcanoes

Glacier school

Volcanoes

 

 











 

Volcanoes Expedition

Volcanoes

"The volcanoes of Ecuador have given the country universal fame among the geologists of the world. They are the terror of the Indians, the admiration of the conquistadors, the study of the naturalist and the plague of the people who live near them."
Edward Whymper,
Travel Among the Andes of Ecuador, 1890.


Itinerary

Andeanface offers you a 13 day itinerary of volcano climbing in Ecuador, where you find high altitude climbing combined with moderate easy walking and cultural visits to historical places. During the Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition you will stay in country side farms (haciendas) which have been converted into hostels.
The Volcanoes Expedition is not only an excellent mountaineering experience, you will also see the real life of the Ecuadorian country side: it is a special and diverse mountain climbing expedition in Ecuador which we highly recommend.

Pululahua CraterDay 1
City Tour 2.800 m / 9,184 ft
Night in Quito
Andeanface staff will meet you at 09:00 in the morning for an introductory briefing about the program. As this is your first day at altitude 2,800 m / 9,184 ft, we will take you to do some easy walking and to see some of the main colonial churches in the old part of Quito such as Santo Domingo, the Basílica and the famous San Francisco, which was the first religious building constructed in South America by the Spanish, in 1538. Then we drive up to the hill of El Panecillo where an impressive statue of the Virgin looks after the city, and offers one of the greatest views of Quito. Exploring the city is a good way to begin your acclimatisation process! For the night we stay at Casa Hebling www.casahelbling.de or a similar hotel

Pululahua CraterDay 2
Pasochoa Hike - 4.200 m / 13,776 ft
Night in Quito
Having had a day to begin the acclimatization process in Ecuador, we now go for the first summit of a volcano. After a short drive we hike out into the countryside towards Pasochoa. This mountain is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last Ice Age. Perhaps one of the main reasons for this excursion is that Pasochoa is one of the few volcanoes where we may see condors flying - the largest flying birds in South America. We return for the night in Quito.




 

Pululahua CraterDay 3
Rucu Pichincha Hike 4.690 m / 15,400 ft
Night in Quito

Using the cable car we go as high as 4.000m / 13,200ft in a few minutes from where we start today´s hike. Pichincha is an excellent second acclimatization hike. Rucu (Quichua for “Old”) is one of the three major peaks that make up the Pichincha massive. Quito is actually built on a shelf on the eastern side of this massif.
The hike is again straightforward and will take 4 to 5 hours (round trip). After this hike we return to Quito for the night.



 

Hut of Iliniza NorteDay 4
Cayambe Drive and Hike to the Hut 4.600 m / 15,088 ft
Night at the Hut

We leave Quito at 08:30 am and drive towards the mountain. Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano. It is located about 68 km North East of Quito and is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the Equator directly passes. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. It is characterized by good climbing opportunities and interesting glaciers. With easy access from a comfortable hut, the glaciers of Cayambe offer an outstanding venue for our glacier school review. Huge crevasses, complex icefalls and seracs provide the ideal setting for learning ice climbing, crevasse rescue, and a variety of other basic skills.


Hut of Iliniza Norte

Day 5/6
Cayambe Glacier - Skills Review and Summit Attempt 5.780 m / 18,950 ft
Night at Refuge and Hacienda Guachala
During the glacier training on Cayambe on day 8 we cover the following subjects:

  • Snow climbing, ice axe positioning, and moving in balance
  • Self arrest techniques
  • Ice climbing (with top rope) and crampon techniques
  • Prussiking
  • Roped glacier travel
  • Discussions on high altitude physiology and other related expeditionary topics

After the session you return to the refuge for a hearty meal.
On day 6 there will be a chance to attempt the summit of Cayambe. The route to the summit follows diverse glacier terrain to near the summit crater. A gaping bergschrund presents a challenge in route finding and an exciting extra obstacle. The ascent normally takes seven hours and the descent three hours. After our summit day on Cayambe we descent to Hacienda Guachala for the night www.guachala.com

Day 7
Drive to Hacienda Guaytara 3.500 m / 11,480ft
On the western side of Antisana, above the village of Pintag, there is the Hacienda Guaytara. It was part of Pinantura farm, one of the largest farms of Ecuador, now converted into a mountain lodge. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Antisana reserve. Located at 3.500 m / 11,480ft, The hacienda is a place where we can often see condors flying, a good palce to rest before moving to Antisana www.hosteriaguaytara.com

 

AntisanaDay 8
Antisana 4.600 m / 15,088 ft Night camping
We drive to 4.000 m and then walk to the Camp of Antisana at 4.600 m / 15,088ft ft Having arrived at the camp at lunchtime, we rest in the afternoon and evening, preparing for a night time climb. Antisana is one of the most beautiful mountains on the Andes of Ecuador. The whole natural reserve is known for its rich wildlife and remoteness. Without a doubt it is one of the most remote peaks of Ecuador.






 

Antisana

Day 9
Antisana Summit Day 5.758 m / 18,886 ft.
We leave the camp at around 1am in the morning. First we walk for 1 hour to the start of the glacier where we put our crampons on and use the rope. A large featureless glacier is then followed, weaving between large, obvious crevasses. The final section is a bit steeper. Antisana's crater is located to the Eastern side of the mountain, during the ascent we have spectacular views of the south summit and of Cotopaxi, for now very active.
During the climb ropes will be used to protect the team from crevasses and also to provide protection on the steeper sections.
The ascent normally takes between five to seven hours up and two hours for the descent. Night at Chuquiragua Lodge: www.chuquiragualodgeandspa.com

ChimborazoDay 10
Drive to Chimborazo region 3.500 m / 11,480 ft Night at Urbina Lodge
We travel further down the “Valley of Volcanoes” and then move up onto the western flanks of Chimborazo where we spend an evening in a Lodge. This lodge sits in grassy plains below Chimborazo and allows us to rest and enjoy views of from the altiplano of Chimborazo and Carihuarirazo (also known as “Chimborazo’s Wife”). Night at Lodge.






 

 

ChimborazoDay 11
Chimborazo hike to camp 5.050m / 16,564 ft. Night Camping
Today we travel by jeep or van to the Plaza Roja (4,852m / 15,914 ft) located very close to the Carrel hut. From there, it takes us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m/16,564ft ) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb the next day. You will be involved carrying equipment to the camp. Porters will help carrying the tents and water.



 

 


ChimborazoDay 12

Chimborazo summit day 6.310m/ 20.696ft. Night camping or at the hut
We start the climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Ridge (5,450m / 17,876 ft.). This variant of the normal Castle route, free from rock fall, makes it a much safer line to the top. From the Camp it normally takes eight hours to get to the main Whymper summit, from where you will enjoy beautiful views of Ecuador. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes from two to three hours. After returning to the camp we have some rest and we descend to Plaza Roja.

 


Day 13

Chimborazo summit day # 2. Night in Quito
In case of bad weather, the climb can be delayed one more day.



Important Note: Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes. Also note that flying days are not included in this program.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

exp-volcanoes 2

 

4 summits express fot principal

Cayambe – Get high altitude experience & summit the highest mountain on the equator line during a 7 day program.

Cayambe is one of the most popular mountains of Ecuador not only due to the fact it is the only glacier on the equator line, but also because it is the perfect place for glacier training. Cayambe is ideal for fit trekkers that look for high altitude experience.


Glacier training on Cayambe – get the ins and outs of glacier travel

At just a short driving distance from the capital city Quito, we can easily get to the base of several four and five thousand meter peaks. Our main objective is Cayambe, Ecuador´s third highest mountain; without a doubt, one of the most beautiful mountains in our country.
During this expedition you will learn more about the ins and outs of climbing on a glacier. Remote, safe and at the same time accessible are the words that define the climb. This short mountaineering program offers you three wonderful nights at characteristic Ecuadorian “haciendas”: beautiful farmhouses converted into lodges. Beside you will have two nights of adventurous camping, and one night in a mountain refuge.
If you would like to get an impression of this unique expedition, please have a look at the itinerary below.


Itinerary

The Cayambe itinerary has proven to be very effective in terms of acclimatisation as it offers you the ideal altitude gain you need during the expedition, based on the principle “climb high, sleep low”. Therefore this program provides the best chance to summit a glacier peak in a short period. Leaving the capital city Quito we will start climbing Pasochoa 4.200m /13,777ft on the first day. The next days you will climb Corazon 4.850m/15,908ft and Iliniza North 5.125m/ 16,810ft. On the fifth day you will have a well-deserved rest day when we will visit either the indigenous market of Saquisili or Otovalo (depending which day your program starts). Later that same day we will travel to the Ruales Refuge at 4.600m /15,088ft on Cayambe. During the sixth day you will be very busy with your glacier training, where you either have your first experience of ice & snow climbing or you will improve your skills. All this will prepare you for the last day of the program when you will climb Cayambe.

Hike to PasochoaDay 1
Hike to Pasochoa – 4.200m /10,758ft
- 3.280 m / 10,758 ft
Today we leave around 08.00am for a short drive to get to Pasochoa, where a 4 hours hike to the volcano is waiting for you. First, we will be crossing the fields of Hacienda “Metler”. Pasochoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last ice age. If 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 species of trees, located between 2.700 m / 8,856ft and 4.200 m /13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can normally see condors.
At the end of the day we drive to a beautiful hacienda at the base of Corazon, where we will spend the night.

 

Day 2Corazon
Hike to Corazon – 4.850 m / 15,900ft

Corazon is another eroded and extinct volcano located about 40 km south west of Quito. The name Corazon means “heart” in Spanish and is said to refer to two gullies on the north west slopes which, when seen from the distance, appear to join together in the shape of a heart. The first recorded ascent was in 1738 by La Condamine and Boiguer. It is a good second acclimatization hike after Pasochoa and before the Ilinizas. You will return at the hacienda lodge and have a rest.



 

Day 3Iliniza
Iliniza Hike to the camp – 4.000m / 13,120ft

North and South Ilinizas are located about 55 km Southwest of Quito. Originally, there was one volcano. However during an eruption, a very long time ago, the mountain was split into two. Now the two peaks are separated by a saddle, about 2 km away from each other. Today’s hike takes 3 hours to the camp. This will be our first night of camping. Our camp will be at a lower elevation. You will be able to enjoy the silence and, if the weather permits, the endless view of the stars.




 

Day 4Iliniza North
Iliniza North – 5.125m / 16,810ft
We will leave the camp at around 5am in order to get good views of the avenue of the volcanoes. The route is from the west side of the mountain, with some easy scrambling below the summit. From the summit, there are spectacular views of Iliniza South, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Antisana and Chimborazo, the highest volcano in Ecuador. After the climb we return to the camp for some drinks and snacks. We spend our second night camping.





 

Day 5Saquisili
Saquisili or Otavalo market and drive to the base of Cayambe in the afternoon
According to a local economist, Saquisili has been for many years the largest indigenous market of Ecuador. It is famous for the way in which it’s seven “plazas” and most of its streets become packed with people, many of them local Indians of nearby villages. However some even come from other provinces attracted by the variety of products and good prices. If this day is not a Thursday, we will be driving instead to Otavalo to visit the other famous handicraft’s market Ecuador has and drive closer to the base of Cayambe. Night at Hacienda Guachala.



 

Day 6Cayambe
Cayambe – 4.600m m / 17,480ft
Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano. It is located about 68 km North East of Quito and is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the Equator directly passes. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. It is characterized by good climbing opportunities and impressive glaciers. With easy access from a comfortable hut, the glaciers of Cayambe offer an outstanding venue for our glacier school. Big crevasses, complex icefalls and seracs provide the ideal setting for learning and improving ice climbing and a variety of other basic skills.




 

Day 7 Cayambe
Cayambe summit day – 5.790 m / 19,024ft

The route to the summit follows a safe glacier terrain to the summit. A gaping bergschrund sometimes presents a challenge in route finding and an exciting extra obstacle. The ascent normally takes seven hours and the descent three hours.

Important Note: Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes. Also note that flying days are not included in this program.




Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

4 summits express map

 

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Climbing Difficulty Levels

The following scale reflects the difficulty of the climb considering the technical specifications, experience required, altitude and duration of the ascent. The grades are roughly estimated and you have to take into account the difficulty varies depending on your personal fitness and experience.

Intermediate - No previous mountaineering skills are required. Climbers should be in acceptable physical condition and it is highly recommended that participants have some backpacking experience. In some cases a rope may be used to belay some exposed places.

Advanced - Basic mountaineering skills required, experience in high altitude and use of climbing gear such as crampons, rope and ice axe is preferred, but not required. A moderate climb usually is on a glacier, you may have to cross some crevasses, the slopes are not so steep (max. 40%) and full gear is used on all climbs. Very good physical condition is required.

Strenuous - More than 6.000 m / 19,600 ft technical climbs with steep snow slopes and exposed ridges, you may encounter some crevassed sections. Experience in high altitude and proper use of equipment as well as some knowledge of mountaineering techniques are required. Climbers should be comfortable on snow and ice up to 50 degrees. An excellent physical condition is a must.

Ascension Success Rates

The following information is based on our own records since 2005. It represents the percentage of trips in which we have taken at least one client to the summit.
Besides the percentage, we also give you a brief description of the most common cause for not been able to reach the top.

Chimborazo: 50%
Icy conditions and lack of stamina from climbers

Cotopaxi: 85%
Strong winds.

Cayambe: 55%
Bad Weather.

Antisana: 60%
Not being able to cross the bergschrund around the summit.