Climb Ecuador's Volcanoes with Berg Adventures International – Trip Description
Berg Adventures Trip Highlights on Ecuador:
- Explore the highest capital city of the world, Quito.
- Sleep in first class accommodations, historical haciendas, scenic mountain lodges, and at the remote refugios (huts) of High Camp. No camping necessary.
- Set foot on the equator.
- Discover various volcanos, including Cotopaxi, and the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo.
- Taste the natural splendor of Ecuador through delectable cuisines and fresh fruit.
- Navigate through the remarkable town of Baños and take in the active volcano of Tungurahua.
- Relax in the natural Hot Springs of Termas Pappallacta
Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean countries and still holds its own as one of the most ecological and culturally diverse countries in the world. Contained within the borders of this stunning country, which are no bigger than the state of Colorado, are the infamous soaring Andean peaks, the headwaters of the Amazon River, vibrant markets (ran by diverse indigenous peoples), ancient and mystical Incan ruins, the Galapagos Islands (made famous by Darwin), and some of the world’s mightiest volcanoes. Over the course of two exciting weeks, we will embark on an unforgettable journey to some of our most beloved sites in Ecuador and up and around its spectacular peaks. And if two weeks are not enough, we do have extensions to the Jungle, Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest available!
Our expedition begins in the city of Quito, high in the Andes, surrounded by beautiful valleys and a spectacular mountain range. You will notice a difference in altitude the moment you step off the plane as Quito sits at 9,350ft (2,849m). With a fascinating balance of history and innovation, Quito is truly one of the wonders of the world. UNESCO honored Quito’s historic center a World Heritage Site, the first city in the world to receive this accolade. In 2004, Quito was honored yet again as the Cultural Capital of the Americas.
After our short visit in Quito, we complete our first acclimatization hike on the active volcano of Rucu Pichincha 15,413ft (4,698m). We will then make our way to a serene hacienda (inn) outside of Otavalo, a town famous for its bustling market and a perfect location to further acclimatize. Otavalo is home to a number of scenic hikes that will help us stretch out our legs and get used to the thinning air. One of these day hikes will actually take us to the volcano of Imbabura 15,750ft (4,800m), our second scheduled climb.
Our next objective will be Illiniza Norte 16,818ft (5,126m), a volcanic mountain that shares its name with its pair on the volcanic mountain range of the Illinizas. These matching mountains stand in an ecological reserve in Ecuador, and are only separated by a saddle, approx. 1km in length. The higher peak is Illiniza Sur, measuring 400ft (122m) higher than Illiniza Norte, but both are excellent for acclimatization. Illiniza Sur is more challenging to climb, not due to the higher altitude, but because it is more technical. Illiniza Norte on the other hand, can be ascended as a trekking peak.
Before moving on, we will take a day of rest at the soothing Termas Papallacta, where we will soak in the bubbling hot springs and recuperate from Illiniza Norte. We will gather up our strength and energy to climb Ecuador’s second highest peak, Cotopaxi 19,350ft (5,900m). Perhaps the most celebrated mountain of the Andeans, Cotopaxi has a distinct symmetric appearance and memorable name.
In the end, we will attempt Ecuador’s highest volcano of Chimborazo, standing at a whopping 20,701ft (6,310m). Standing on the summit of Chimborazo also means that you will be standing at the farthest point from the center of the earth. As a result of the Earth’s bulge around its center, Chimborazo actually stands over 7,000ft (2,130m), and that makes it further from the center of the Earth than the summit of Mt. Everest!
Live Internet Broadcast
Your journey through the Volcanoes of Ecuador will be cybercast to the internet via satellite phone. Daily dispatches will be posted on the web on bergadventures.com. This is a great way for your group to share stories and photographs of your adventure while “on the scene”. In the past, our dispatches have been used by family, friends, and supporters tracking the progress of our groups, by classrooms learning about the remote places we visit, and by the media reporting stories of interest.
Qualifications & Physical Conditioning
In order to climb Imbabura, Illiniza Norte, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, you will need to be in excellent physical condition and be able to confront the challenges of high altitude. Prior mountaineering experience involving the use of crampons and basic ice axe technique is strongly recommended for Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, but not necessary. Imbabura and Illiniza Norte are trekking peaks and do not require any previous climbing experience. However, for all mountains, you will need to carefully monitor your body’s ability to acclimatize. This will require patience and good judgment. Your guides will help you to make sound decisions.