Are you an experienced and passionate mountaineer looking for new challenges off the beaten track? Then look no further, this epic adventure in Ecuador was made just for you!
According to the weather and mountain conditions we will be able to climb technical and classical routes at PD to D+/TD grading levels on the lesser known peaks of the Ecuadorian Andes. This is your chance to truly challenge yourself as a mountaineer in the unspoiled, high altitude environment that is the Andes mountains of Ecuador. During this trip we will acclimatize gradually with a few more known and accessible peaks like Rucu Pichincha and Rumiñahui, but we will go by routes a bit harder and lesser known than the normal ones. Then we will attempt the summit of the notorious Iliniza Sur peak as the first big, difficult mountain on the trip and later the wild and stunning Antisana, which is so remote that we will form our own tent-based basecamp at the bottom of the mountain.
However, the most remote that we will get is when we head out for the mysterious and truly breathtaking ‘El Altar’ area of southern Ecuador. Here we will have to trek to a beautiful spot above a turquoise lagoon with the 9 towering peaks of El Altar all around where we will create our own tent basecamp again. This is a remote and extinct volcano inside of the Sangay National Park and it was the last of the major peaks in Ecuador to be summited (1963) due to its difficulty and challenging access. This place is truly Ecuador’s gem of technical climbing and the scenery is out of this world.
If you just can’t get enough of the epic Andes (which is very understandable), we offer an optional extension of 3 extra days providing you with the chance of summiting the highest peak of Ecuador; Chimborazo at 6.270 meters above sea-level. (20,571 feet)
Soon you will feel the Summit Stoke of the magical Andes!
Arrival day. Our guides will pick you up at the Quito airport at 9,500 ft (2.896 m.) and transfer you to your lodge where we will be staying: An intimate, beautiful, family-run lodge located on the slopes of the Ilaló volcano in one of the lush valleys in the outskirts of Quito.
We will spend the morning climbing at some local rock walls around 13,000 ft. (4.000 m.) close to Rucu Pichincha that we will be climbing tomorrow. We will prepare and fine-tune a bit of rope technique and climbing skills for the upcoming climbs. In the afternoon we will visit the interactive Middle of The World museum in Quito, where you can experience the powerful forces of being exactly at the equator. We will be back at the lodge for dinner, some rest and a short briefing about Rucu Pichincha for the next day.
Today we will go on an acclimatization hike and climb towards the summit of Rucu Pichincha. We will go by the climbing route, which is an awesome way to get our skills warmed up for the coming climbs. Rucu Pichincha sits at 15,728 ft (4.794 m.) so it also helps us acclimatize our bodies slowly. In the evening we will follow a guided yoga session with emphasis on stretching, releasing tension and relaxing. We will also do a pranayama (breathwork) session which will help us to learn different breathing techniques for resistance in the mountains.
Today we will do another beautiful acclimatization hike and climb. We are heading towards the southern summit of Rumiñahui’s three dramatic peaks, which is a climb to 15,489 ft (4.721 m.). Rumiñahui is located inside of the Cotopaxi National Park and the mountain is right in front of The Cotopaxi volcano. So, if the weather allows it, prepare for some epic views! After climbing we will return to our lodge where we will do a slow, guided yoga session focusing on stretching and releasing tension.
We will enjoy a slow morning of yoga focusing on awakening our muscles and the nervous system before we drive to the Ilinizas mountains, where we will hike until the refuge located in between the two peaks at 15,416 ft. (4.700 m.). Here we will rest, enjoy the stunning scenery and spend the night before attempting the summit of Iliniza Sur in the night.
Around 3 am we will start our summit attempt of Iliniza Sur. The climb towards the summit takes around 4-5 hours and the descend another 3-5 hours depending on the conditions. If everything goes according to the plan, we will reach the summit of Iliniza Sur at 17,267 ft (5.263 m.) around sunrise and be back down at our lodge around midday to get some rest after the big climb.
Today will be a rest day used to travel to the Antisana volcano. We will drive to the beautiful Antisana Ecological Reserve, where we will set up a tent-based basecamp at the foot of the mountain. We will get to rest in the most pristine surroundings and underneath a thousand stars in the night.
After breakfast we will hike to the glacier of Antisana where we will do an advanced glacier school focusing on fine-tuning our technical skills before climbing the very demanding Antisana volcano. The Glacier School will also get us used to the surroundings and the conditions of the volcano. After the glacier school we will hike back down to basecamp to rest.
Around midnight we will start our climb toward the summit of Antisana at 18,891 ft. (5.758 m.). The climb usually takes between 6-8 hours and the descent around 3 hours. After the climb we will drive back to get some well-deserved rest at the lodge.
Today is the beginning of our unique El Altar adventure. We will spend most of the day driving down south to La Bocatoma which is where we will start the hike to the base of the mountains. We will set up tents at Bocatoma and spend the night before starting the trek next morning.
We will start the trek towards the Italian Basecamp at around 15,000 ft. (4.600 m.) early in the morning. When arriving we will put up tents and get comfortable. This will serve as out basecamp for the next 3 days, where we will attempt two of the majestic peaks.
Early in the morning we will start our summit attempt of Monja Grande at 16,929 ft. (5.160 m.). This will be a long and technical climb with mixed rock, snow, ice and some crevasses. After the climb we will return to basecamp to rest.
After a hard climb and trek the past few days we will spend the day just resting before attempting El Obispo next day.
Early in the morning we will hike towards the mountain the same way as when we approached Monja Grande. We will climb in steep snow and mixed rock in order to reach the top of the hanging glacier. After climbing all the way, we will be standing at 17,450 ft. (5.319 m.) at the summit of El Obispo. We will return back to basecamp to pack up most of our things and rest before trekking out in the morning.
Today we will trek out from El Altar and if you didn’t choose the extension we will drive back to Quito. If you have chosen the extension we will drive to Baños to rest before attempting the highest mountain of Ecuador: Chimborazo!
End of trip, we will say our goodbyes after an amazing adventure together. (Rest day in Baños if with extension)
Optional Extension (+470 USD (at least 2 pax))
- Chimborazo High Camp
- Chimborazo Summit
- Quito and end of trip