Day 1: Acclimatization Pichincha (4.794m/15.724ft). We leave from Quito at 9.30am after breakfast, and travel to Teleferique in Quito to make an initial height gain. We take our first acclimatization ascent on the 4.794m (15.724ft) peak of the active Volcano Rucu Pichincha. Quito is nestled on the slopes of this active volcano. Our primary goal here is to help each team member begin testing his or her response to higher elevation and to give our bodies a chance to get used to altitude, while enjoying the many photographic opportunities. Afternoon return to the hotel.
Day 2: Refugio Ilinizas (4.600m/15.092ft). After breakfast a mid-morning departure from Quito to Ilinizas parking lot. We will leave Quito on the Pan-American Highway southbound where we cross a rich green and fertile valley, commonly referred to as "The Valley of the Volcanoes". After one and a half hours we will arrive at a remote Paramo in an area called la Virgén. From here it is a 3 hour hike up to the refuge with our full back packing on us, the refuge is situated at 4.600m. Dinner and sleep in the refuge.
Day 3: Iliniza Norte (5.125m/16.815ft). Wake-up early in the morning at 5:00am breakfast, and departure for our 5.125m summit day attempt on Iliniza Norte. This peak is normally a fairly straight forward climb that sometimes requires acclimatization days. The trail on the mountain is sound and easy for most of the way, if the weather condition is bad, cloudy it is very ease to lose your bearings last the person too. On one part of the route we will use a fixed rope to pass or negotiate "Death Pass." After this pass we make the summit. The average time to the summit is three hours. Pictures time, Lunch. Descend for one 1,5 to reach the refuge, resting before going down to the parking lot. Our private car 4x4 transportation will take us in one hour to a hotel near the Cotopaxi National Park for a good night rest. Hotels, La Estacón, La Ciénega o Volcano Land.
Day 4: Quito - Cotopaxi Refugio (4.800m/15.744ft). Mid morning departure from Quito on the Pan-American Highway southbound where we will cross a rich, green and fertile valley, commonly referred to as "The Valley of the Volcanoes". After one and a half hours, we head east into the Cotopaxi National Park, where we reach our driving destination, the Cotopaxi car park, situated at 4.550m (14.924ft). Or if staying at one of the hotels from the previous days acclimatization on Iliniza Norte it is an 1 hour drive to the Cotopaxi car park. From here we have a forty-five minute hike with full packs up to the Jose Rivas Refuge on the Cotopaxi flank north West at 4.800m (15.744ft). After arrival at the hut, we will enjoy hot tea and a short rest before climbing training with ropes and familiarization with knots, and the use of Prussick loops. Also focus on good practices for safe climbing in the mountains, rest, delicious dinner and relaxing evening.
Day 5: Cotopaxi climbing school. Cotopaxi Glaciers School day. Wake up at 7:00am for breakfast. We continue with altitude acclimatization. We go onto the glacier at 8:30am and work on the moderate glacier section a good area to familiarize ourselves with the various climbing techniques and equipment. Your guide will ensure you have the necessary glacier skills and all the techniques for climbing the high peaks like Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo and other mountains, too. You'll learn and practice rope-handling, glacier travel snow climbing and basic crevasse rescue skills and safety techniques, the general procedures for high peak mountains. After 5 hours training we will return at the refuge for delicious lunch and a resting afternoon, of course need to prepare our mountain gear for a midnight departure for Cotopaxi day summit. Early dinner and early to bed, usually by 6:30pm.
Day 6: Cotopaxi-summit (5.897m/19.427ft). Wake up at midnight. Breakfast and equipment check-up. We leave the refuge at 1:00am. We will pass a group of uniform slopes and ice ramps of 30 and 35 degrees before reaching a glacier platform. We will enjoy one of the most spectacular color displays in the Andes. From this point we will see the valley below us where the morning sunrise welcomes us with incredible colors. Our route will pass under a base of rock 400 feet wide called Yanasacha. The quichua name says it all, its a black wall of impressive size. The Indians called it the route of the moon. Here we start climbing glacier slopes of 35 and 45 degrees, at the top of which we will only have 15 more minutes climb to emerge onto Ecuador's second highest summit: Volcano Cotopaxi at 5.897m (19.427ft.) Our approximate climbing time will have been 7 hours. Return to the refuge around 9 or 10:00am. Rest and hike back down to the 4 x 4 where we'll return to your next destination trip or back to Quito for a restful night.
Note: The client is responsible for additional expenses incurred due to changes/variations in the above itinerary (food, gas, hotels, guide, etc.).
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