Many people dream of climbing the highest volcanoes in Ecuador such as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. To achieve these goals requires physical and technical preparation on smaller mountains. The ascents are differentiated between mid-mountain treks (4000 to 5000 meters) and high mountain climbing (5000 meters and more), so it is essential to plan a few days of acclimatization before going for the big one.
Here we reveal three mountains that will help you prepare and avoid altitude sickness!
1. Pasochoa, 4200 meters
Through easy trails and moorland you ascend to the caldera of the extinct volcano. The last steps to reach the summit are somewhat rocky but easy to climb. Because of its location in the inter-Andean valley, you can enjoy beautiful views of snowcapped volcanoes in the neighborhood.
2. Rucu Pichincha, 4696 meters and Guagua Pichincha, 4776 meters
Because of its proximity to the city and easy access by cable car, the Rucu Pichincha has become a very popular mountain, it is a beautiful summit and a very good training. By well-marked paths you can climb up to the rocky part below the summit. Through easy rocks you climb to the highest point. People with a good physical and technical level can make the traverse of the Rucu to the Guagua Pichincha – a classic and demanding hike. In this case we suggest to have a car with driver waiting at the refuge of the Guagua Pichincha to return to the city.
3. North Iliniza, 5126 meters
This volcano can be your first 5000 meter mountain. After having successfully climbed Pasochoa and Pichincha you can take the next step and climb Iliniza Norte which is more demanding – physically and technically.
The ascent to the summit begins at 4000 meters. You follow a trail to the small refuge. At this altitude the aspect of the mountain changes completely. Through rocky terrain you follow the ridge to the summit. There are some exposed and more demanding routes where your guide will secure you with a rope. Reaching the summit of Iliniza Norte requires physical and mental effort.
From our experience organizing these tours we recommend you to go with a certified guide for any hike or climb. He knows the terrain, the routes and guarantees you a safe and satisfactory experience.
The best season for climbing is undoubtedly the summer or dry season in Quito from May to October and December/January. However, it is possible to practice mountaineering all year round but it is important to start hiking early in the morning to be back before the afternoon rains.
We have more than 20 years of experience in mountaineering, if you have any question, please do not hesitate to write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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