Volcán Cotopaxi (5897m)

cotopaxi_zigeiner cotopaxi

Starting point: Quito, Ecuador.

Parque Nacional Cotopaxi (entry fee is U$10 for foreigners and U$1 for Ecuadorians) is about 3 hours or some 75km south of Quito. A dirt road leads to a parking lot 300 meters below the Refuge Jose Ribas (4800m). There are basic cooking facilities and dorm beds (U$23) available.
From there it´s a steep 6 hours climb on glacier and (deep) snow to the summit. Crampons, ice-axes and ropes are a must and (apparently a new law) a local climbing guide is required too.

If you are thinking about climbing the vulcano and hiring a guide, don´t bother contacting one of the (at least) fifty different tour operators in Quito. They will only tell you what ever you want to hear: That, of course, all their guides are certified, it´s an easy mountain for everyone to climb, no experience is necessary and yes, right now is the best time to summit.. You pay in advance but no refund is payed in case you “misunderstood” a few details…
Climbing Cotopaxi is tough. You need appropriate gear (and know how to use it!) and, in my eyes, you should have previous (extreme) altitude experience.

To get some decent advice have a cup of coffee (and some serious good food) @:
Café Montaña (Corner Luis Cordero E12-141 and Toledo, Tel.: 3227-567, mountain_refugeecuador@yahoo.com) in Quito´s New Town.
It´s the place where the local climbing community meets and there you will find all necessary (and neutral) information regarding all Ecuadorian mountains.


cotopaxi3 I climbed Cotopaxi together with Juan Carlos Bastidas Sánchez (Instructor de Andinismo and also the owner of the café).
For the two day trip (including transport, food, private guiding and about 15 years of experience) he charged U$150. If you ask nicely he might also take you out for a glacier course or trips to pretty much all other Ecuadorian summits.
He is more a climbing buddy than a guide, an “amigo”. I really enjoyed my times in the mountains with him.All kind of gear can be hired at various places in Quito: For crampons, ice axe and gaiters it cost me U$12 for 2 days.

My altimeter stats:

Date Time Altitude (Meters) Place Notes
25.04.2009 08:07am 2840 Quito Departure Café Montaña
25.04.2009 11:06am 3663 Parque Nacional Cotopaxi Arrival at the gate
25.04.2009 12:45pm 4578 Parque Nacional Cotopaxi Arrival at the parking (Refugio J. R.)
25.04.2009 13:50pm 4803 Refugio Jose Rivas Arrival at the Refugio Jose Ribas
25.04.2009 15:29pm 4971 Glacier Cotopaxi Acclimatisation hike
26.04.2009 00:28am 4803 Refugio Jose Rivas Start climbing
26.04.2009 02:54am 5306 Glacier Cotopaxi 20 mins break
26.04.2009 05:41am 5897 Summit Cotopaxi Arrival
26.04.2009 06:12am 5897 Summit Cotopaxi Departure
26.04.2009 08:35am 4803 Refugio Jose Rivas Finish climbing

April 26, 2009  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Ecuador Views: 8588

Leave a Comment


One Response

  1. Prinki - May 3, 2009

    You are crazy!! you know that right?

    Will send you some pictures of MT. EVEREST from an “Everest Experience Flight” hehe