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:

Volcanoes

Cotopaxi Trek & Climb expeditions

Glacier school

Antisana treck and climb

Volcanoes

 

 











 
 

Cotopaxi Trek & Climb

Cotopaxi Trek & Climb

Cotopaxi is considered without a doubt one of the most beautiful peaks in the world.

It is the most popular mountain of Ecuador and due to the fact it has the highest number of clear days in our country, it is perhaps the most frequently climbed in all the Andes.
Often people drive into the park, climb the mountain and leave again. But Cotopaxi and its surrounding areas offer much more. The National Park has several other smaller volcanoes and peaks that are wonderful to climb, and at the same time offer great acclimatisation opportunities.


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

Instead of the normal Cotopaxi climbing tours with drive in and out, you will be hiking. In this way, Andeanface offers you a fantastic chance to enjoy and experience intensively the beautiful landscape around the mountain.

If you would like to get an impression of this unique expedition, then watch the movie made by Andeanface clients Anna & Robert Higgins: “Cotopaxi Trek and Climb Expedition 2011”.


Itinerary

After a four day hike in which we climb Pasochoa 4.200 m /13,776 ft, we get into Cotopaxi National Park. Once within the park we hike up to the central summit of Rumiñahui at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft, then have a rest day and later continue towards the Jose Rivas Refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. This itinerary has proved to be very effective for acclimatisation.
It provides the best chance to summit Cotopaxi in a short period whilst minimising the amount of driving.

Santa Rita CampDay 1
Hike to Hacienda Santa Rita
- 3.280 m / 10,758 ft
After a short drive of only one hour, we start hiking from the village of Santa Clara located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 2.750 m / 9,020 ft. The trek follows cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park.
Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the "Virgen de la Piedra", the Virgin of the Rock.
Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. When you get to the Hacienda the camp will already be set up. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.

 

Day 2Pasochoa
Hike to Pasochoa - 4.200 m / 13,776 ft

Today we leave in the morning around 8 a.m. for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita.
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 / 8,856 ft and 4.200 m / 13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can normally see condors. We return to Santa Rita camp site for the night.


Day 3El Porvenir
Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir - 3.600 m / 11,808 ft or Los Mortiños

Today we hike towards the hacienda El Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see hummingbirds.
El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Cotopaxi Park. Located at 3.600 m / 11,808 ft, El Porvenir is surrounded by four volcanoes: Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Here you will be able to enjoy your stay in a comfortable, functional and beautiful traditional Andean hacienda. The "casa de hacienda", or farmhouse, is built with materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. If Porvenir is not available we will use Hacienda   Los Mortiños

Day 4
Central Summit of Rumiñahui - 4.600 m / 15,088 ft
From Hacienda El Porvenir we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The rock on this mountain can be a bit loose underfoot, so we have to take care, but the views from the summit are really worth it. The volcano is located only 13 km North West of Cotopaxi and it is named after Atahualpa’s general, who was the last Inca Emperor. After the emperor was murdered, Rumiñahui led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua his name means "stone face". We spend the night at Tambopaxi.

Cotopaxi From TambopaxiDay 5
Hike to the hut and to the Glacier - 5.000 m / 16,400 ft
www.tambopaxi.com
Today we do a gentle 2.5 hours hike to 5.000m on Cotopaxi to increase our acclimatisation, have lunch at the hut  and drive down to Tambopaxi for the sencond night there, it is a beautiful hostel, located inside the Cotopaxi National Park. It is a great place to rest and acclimatise at the same time! It has excellent facilities such as good and clean showers, including the luxury of warm water, and the food is good.

Day 6
Cotopaxi Refuge - 4.800 m / 15,750 ft
From Tambopaxi we drive the short distance to the car parking at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft in only 45 minutes. From here we hike for another 45 minutes to the Jose Rivas refuge at 4.800 m / 15,750 ft. After lunch, we provide a good glacier skills review. Also we will brief you about all the technical aspects of the ascent. After a couple of hours we return to the refuge for a hearty hot meal.

Day 7 Cotopaxi Summit
Cotopaxi Summit - 5.897 m / 19,300 ft - Return to Quito

This is the day in which you will actually be climbing Cotopaxi. We leave the refuge around 1 a.m. for a six hours climb. From the hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes to the summit. Along the way however, complex crevasse patterns and snow bridge crossings over crevasses will make the climb very interesting. After passing through a heavily crevassed area, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 35-40 degree snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the crater rim of the World's highest active volcano.
At the top of Cotopaxi you can look inside the crater and see its sulphur fumaroles. The crater rim measures approximately 800 m / 2,600 ft in diameter. The view from the summit is indeed one of the most spectacular 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.

Cotopaxi Trek and Climb

 
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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.