Illiniza Doppelgipfel (5248m / 5126m)

Volcanoes in Ecuador: Cotopaxi & Chimborazo


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Technical skills: Hiking


Technical scale: Mountaineering skills required for our expeditions, alpine tours and demanding trekking.
1 - easy
2 - quite difficult
3 - difficult
4 - very difficult
5 - extreme
Mountaineering is the underlying ability to climb any mountain. On classic expeditions, many exposed areas are secured.

1 - easy / simple

"Easy" on expedition already includes mountaineering in alpine terrain or on glaciers up to grad ZS/AD "quite difficult" according to alpine scale. Exposed areas and crevasses are fixed if possible. Basic knowledge in handling ice axe / crampons and rope is required.

2 - quite difficult

Route with extensive passages in the grad ZS/AD: Safe handling with an ice ax, crampons and rope are required. Exposed places or crevasses are fixed if possible or walked in rope team.

3 - difficult

Persistent suspended passages must be managed. These will be insured if possible. Mountaineering on the alpine scale S/D "difficult" with exposed climbing passages (up to IV. UIAA degree). Good use of crampons and rope is required, as well as safe climbing in combined terrain.

4 - very demanding

Exposed and demanding route. The difficulties range up to the alpine scale SS/TD "very difficult" and are mostly insured. Dealing with fixed rope and climbing clamps, increased demands on climbing technique, physical conditions and experience are required, as are all the demands of "difficult" mountaineering.

5 - extreme

Very demanding mountaineering, even without the possibilities of protection. The terrain will rarely exceed the alpine difficulty SS/TD, but can reach the requirements of the alpine scale AS/ES "extremely difficult". Above-average ability and a lot of experience in alpine mountaineering are expected.
Danger Warning: For safety reasons, your personal skills and sufficient experience are required for each expedition and ascent (specific description under Information / Requirements).

Stamina - Endurance

A mountain athlete needs endurance above any other specific fitness skill. Cardiovascular fitness is of course always subject to the movement (as climbing rocks or steep ice, you will not be able to transfer your triathlete or running fitness to mountains without being solid in the required mountaineering skills).

1 - Active Tour
Easy treks to EBC or on top of Kilimanjaro. You should be an active person.
2 - Sportive Tour
More demanding treks, simple climbs, like the climb of Elbrus. You should be a sportive person regularly exercising (at least 2-3x per week).
3 - Demanding Trek / Expedition
Very demanding treks like to the top of Aconcagua, or expeditions at the physical lower level like Ama Dablam. You should be an endurance athlete wit mountaineering experience. You should train endurance at least 3x/week.
4 - High Endurance - Expedition
To climb Everest (with oxygen-support) or some of the "easier" 8000m peaks you need a strong endurance. You should train specifically at least 4-5x per week.
5 - Very high Endurance - Expedition
Some of our special self-supported 8000m+ peak climbs as on Makalu, or to climb Everest (without oxygen-support) fit into this category. Your endurance should be near the level of a professional mountain athlete. 

Similar Climbs and Treks - Overview:

Reiseerfahrungen aus unserem Blog

Volcanoes in Ecuador: Cotopaxi & Chimborazo

Selected dates:

Full service:
5.485,00 €

Airport of departure:

Berlin, Frankfurt, München, Wien oder Zürich

Services - Ecuador trek

​​​​​​Included services:

  • Organization of the entire trip
  • SummitClimb expedition leader with a group of 8 to max. 12 participants
  • For smaller groups tour led by our Ecuadorian / South American UIAGMA mountain guides
    • departure guaranteed for 4 or more participants
    • additional mountain guide at Cotopaxi and Chimborazo per each 2 guests
  • Detailed briefing for the preparation of your trip and equipment
  • International flight to Quito from various European airports
    • Economy fare (non-flex.)
    • Free baggage allowance 23kg + hand baggage (additional baggage can be booked at an extra charge)
  • Airport transfers in Quito
  • 3 nights in Quito in a ***hotel with breakfast (double room) 
  • Transfers according to the itinerary
  • Group material (ropes etc.)
  • National Park Fees 
  • 3 x overnight stays in Hazienda / Lodge at Corazon (acclimatisation)
  • 1 x overnight stay in Mortiños Hazienda / Lodge at Cotopaxi
  • 2 x overnight stays / full board in a hotel in Banos
  • 2-3 x overnight stays in the camp at the mountain (Rose Ribas and Carrel hut)
  • On the mountain: three meals (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner)
  • 1-2 x overnight stays in Estrellas / Chimborazo Lodge at Riobamba
  • Full first-aid kit

Not included:

  • Travel insurance
  • visa fee (most nationalities are exempt)
  • dinner and lunch in Quito
  • personal equipment (rental available in Quito)
  • snacks, alcoholic beverages
  • gratitudes (aproxx. USD 100 to USD 200)

Scheduled itinerary - volcanoes of Ecuador

Day 1 • Flight to Ecuador
Departure from your destination arriving in the evening in Ecuador's capital Quito. You will be picked up at the airport by our driver. The international airport is 50km away from Quito. The group will meet at the airport and will be transferred to the hotel in Quito (45 minutes). Depending on the day of the week, there may be a lot of traffic and it may take longer to get to the hotel. Hotel Finlandia is very well located in the center.
Accommodation: Hotel Finlandia, double room, breakfast.

Day 2 • Acclimatization in Quito (2850-3100m)
In Quito's old town, since 1979 UNESCO World Heritage Site, we visit the Plazas de la Independencia, Santo Domingo and San Francisco. These three squares are home to the most important monuments from the colonial period. From the short volcanic hill "El Panecillo" (the name means "the breadbun") we can admire the beautiful view over the city - and in clear weather - on the snow-capped Cotopaxi. In the afternoon we return to our hotel and have the evening at our disposal.
Accommodation: Hotel Finlandia, double room, breakfast.

Day 3 • Rucu Pichincha (4700m) - Avenida de los Volcanes 
We reach the local mountain of Quito comfortably with the cable car (mountain station on 4000m height). The hike of about 6 hours (4 in the ascent, 2 in the descent) offers a wonderful view of Quito and the surrounding volcanoes: Cayambe, Antisana, Cotopaxi. In the afternoon we drive south on the Avenida de los Volcanes, the "volcano road". On the way, in sunny weather, the radiant peaks of Cotopaxi, Illiniza Norte and Illinaza Sur appear on the horizon. Overnight at the hacienda-like Huerta Sacha Lodge.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, overnight stay, full board.
Trekking: 5-6h; Ascent: 800 m; Descent: 800 m.

Day 4 • Ascent of El Corazón (4700m)
After we have collected our first impressions of the country and its people, we go for a day hike in the region of El Corazón. The 4788 m high volcano lies in the west cordillera in the northwest of Machachi valley and is part of a massif with three mountain peaks, rarely covered in snow. Early in the morning we leave our accommodation and hike to the pre-summit of El Corazón at an altitude of about 4500 m. Overnight stay at the Huerta Sacha Lodge.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, overnight stay, full board.
Trekking: 6-7h; Ascent: 1230 m; Descent: 1230 m.

Day 5 • Ascent of Illiniza Norte (5126m)
Early in the morning we set off to climb Illiniza Norte (5126 m). The ascent is technically not difficult, except for the last part shortly before the summit. During this first climb at a higher altutide we should "take it easy" in order to acclimatize well. After a short block climb (II), we reach the highest point of Illiniza Norte and deserve a break. The view from the summit over the Andes is fantastic! Cotopaxi, our next destination, grows into the sky directly opposite us. After the summit rest we descend quickly. After the climb we can relax in the beautiful Huerta Sacha Lodge. 
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, overnight stay, full board.
Trekking: approx. 8-9h; Ascent: 1250 m; Descent: 1250 m.

Day 6 • Hazienda - rest day at the foot of Cotopaxi (3600m)
We drive 1.5 hours along the volcano road to the foot of Cotopaxi. The day is free to relax, to write postcards or to use Wifi. The hacienda is beautifully situated, if you wish, we can organize a horse ride. Pablo, our landlord and hacienda owner, takes care of his guests with full commitment. 
Accommodation: Hazienda Mortiños, B&B, full board.
Rest day. 

Day 7 • Cotopaxi National Park, José Ribas Hut (4860m)
We enter the Cotopaxi National Park, which was established to protect the Páramo vegetation. We take time to visit one of the beautiful lagoons before continuing to the car park below the José Ribas hut at an altitude of about 4500 m. From there, the ascent to the José Ribas hut at 4800 m takes about 1 hour. We rest, put our equipment in order and prepare ourselves for tomorrow's summit ascent during a glacier training. We spend the short night in a warm sleeping bag in the José Ribas hut situated below the edge of the glacier.
Accommodation: Mountain hut José Ribas, full board.
Car transport: 1h; Walking time: 1h; Ascent: 350 m.

Day 8 • Ascent of Cotopaxi (5897m)
Cotopaxi was first climbed in 1872 by the German geologist Wilhelm Reiß and the Colombian Angel Escobar. The biggest eruption of this volcano took place in 1877, the lava flow extended to Latacunga 35 km away. Cotopaxi (5897 m) is one of the highest active volcanoes of the world and with its 5897 m of height - the second highest mountain of Ecuador. We plan a very early departure (midnight) to the summit. In clear weather we can see the volcanic peaks of Cayambe, Antisana, Illiniza and El Altar, as well as our next destination - Chimborazo located 100 km away. In normal conditions the ascent is technically not very difficult, but long and exhausting. The snow line and the glacial boundary lie at about 5000 m. We climb with ice axes and crampons right past the rocky crater structure that is already visibile from a distance. Depending on the conditions, we may have to bypass crevasses. After climbing up the last steeper slope we reach the crater edge (walking time from the hut to the summit approx. 6-8 hours, the descent takes 2-3 hours).

After returning to the hut we walk the short way to the parking lot and drive out of the national park onto the Avenida de los Volcanes. A scenic drive brings us to Baños. Depending on time we have luch on the way or after arrival in Baños.
Accomodation: Hotel Spa Sangay (or similar), full board.
Volcano climb: 10-11h; Ascent: 1080 m; Descent: 1380 m
Car transport: approx. 3-4h.

Day 9 • Rest day in Baños de Agua Santa
The city of Baños de Agua Santa (Spanish for Baths of Holy Water) is named after the hot springs so you can guess what the activity of the day will be. Our bus takes us to the Pastaza Valley. We can admire the Rio Verde waterfall and the "devil's pan" (el Pailon del Diablo). The afternoon is at our free disposal in Baños. The cosy seaside resort is located at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua. If you like, you can stroll through the streets, hike or bathe in the hot springs. Overnight stay at Hotel Spa Sangay.
Accomodation: Hotel Spa Sangay (or similar), full board.
Active rest day: car transport approx. 1h; short walks.

Day 10 • Carrel Hut - Chimborazo Base Camp
The village of Ambato is the starting point of our climb. To get there we drive on a winding road through a picturesque landscape along deep gorges. We pass through a beautiful plateau and reach the Carrel Hut (approx. 4800 m) at the end of the slope. Chimborazo is an extinct volcano with many individual craters and five peaks. Alexander von Humboldt, who unfortunately failed to climb it, was convinced that Chimborazo was the highest mountain in the world. And indeed it is, but only if you measure its height from the centre of the earth and not from the sea level. The first person who managed to conquer this peak was Edward Whymper in 1880, also the first person to have reached the summit of the Matterhorn. Overnight stay in the hut.
Accomodation: Carrel Hut, full board.
Car transport: 2h.

Day 11 • Ascent of Chimborazo (6330m)
We set off for the summit around midnight. We follow the normal route, climbing first through "El Corredor" towards "El Castillo" (at approx. 5500 m) and we continue on the wide glaciated ridge to reach the Veintemilla peak (approx. 6300 m). From there a traverse leads us to the actual summit at Point Whymper (approx. 6330m). Due to the melting of the glacier, glare ice and falling ice are to be expected, especially when crossing "El Corredor" below the actual glacier. The ascent requires mountaineering experience and a sure foot in a difficult terrain. It takes about 7 to 10 hours from the hut to reach the highest point of Ecuador. From the summit we can admire a wonderful view; deep below us lies Riobamba. We need about 4-5 hours for the descent to the hut. In the afternoon we take the bus and drive to the Chimborazo Lodge, the hacienda "Las Estrellas".
Accomodation: Chimborazo Lodge, half board.
Trekking: approx. 10-14h; Ascent: 1300 m; Descent: 1500 m.

Day 12 • Experience Ecuador!
This is our reserve day for the Chimborazo ascent but if we are successful on Day 11, we may return to Quito today or enjoy spontaneous activities in the southern highlands: a train ride from Alausi (2350 m) past the foot of the Devil's Nose at a pace of 500 meters in zigzag turns (possible on three weekdays, partly closed in case of damage) or a horseback ride to explore the surroundings.
Accomodation: Guesthouse / Hotel, breakfast.
Reserve day for Chimborazo climb / free day.

Day 13 • Drive to Quito
We drive to Quito, where we still have enough time to stroll through the streets and shop.
Accommodation: Hotel Finlandia, double room, breakfast.
Car transport: approx. 8h.

Day 14/15 • Quito - flight home
Flight home or further journey to the next destination in South America (Amazon, beach or Galapagos Islands are possible). The return flight and arrival at home in the late afternoon/evening.



Ecuador Trek & Climb

This trip is suitable for experienced climbers as well as sporty beginners and active travelers, as the summit challenges increase over the course of our two weeks and all ascents are made as day trips. You should be well prepared, but you can easily drop out if you realize in Ecuador that one of the climbs is too demanding. Experienced mountain guides supervise our Ecuador tour, on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo ascents with a 1:2 guide-client-ratio.


Cotopaxi at night down to - 5°C
Chimborazo at night down to - 10°C
with wind chill factor down to - 15°C / - 20°C

General conditions of the climb:

Demanding trekking, 6000m, glacier tour, alpine tour, warm to cold, windy, changeable weather.

Comfortable trip: 

Cozy haciendas and hotels, tasty food, only 2-3 nights in mountain huts (sleeping bag down to 0°C is enough).

Ecuador trekking - preparation

General requirements: A good level of physical condition and endurance are required. You should be fit and healthy. Experience of easy glacier tours should be brought along, preferably from 3000 m or 4000 m ascents in the Alps. Experience in higher altitudes would be an asset.

Technical skills: The normal routes on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo are easy glacier routes and do not present any major technical difficulties. However, you should not underestimate the effects of altitude at around 6000 m. According to the French Alpine scale, the route on Cotopaxi is rated PD and the route on Chimborazo PD+. You need to know how to walk on glacier with crampons.

Fitness requirements: With over 1000 meters of altitude difference from 5000 m to over 6000 m, the ascent of Chimborazo is physically the most challenging climb in our program. Also on Cotopaxi we climb about 1000 meters, but during the preparation tours on smaller volcanoes we acclimatize and test ourselves slowly for these two challenges. You should be in good shape and train regularly for endurance sports.

Covid-19-rules for Ecuador

  • Negative PCR test within 72h before entry to Ecuador.
  • OR: Proof of vaccination (EU vaccination certificate, min. 3 doses or vaccinated+healed)

More information from Ecuador on the Covid-19-situation:

All travelers need a completed digital for boarding flights to Ecuador, and the entry form for Ecuador:

Information valid since several month (lastest update 27. Sept. 2022).

"A great trip: All team summited Cotopaxi! We attempted Chimborazo on 2 occasions. Unfortunately, the mountain had too much snow and it allowed ascent to 5900m maximum and for safety, we came down. Thanks to all."

(Tom Bradley, USA - 05. February 2018 )


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Full service
5.485,00 €


Volcanoes in Ecuador: Cotopaxi & Chimborazo

26. Dec - 09. Jan 2025

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You can call us at:
+49 (0)30 774 9034

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Single Supplement - SummitClimb Equador Cotopaxi & Chimborazo Tour

Experience Galápagos

The Galapagos Islands (Spanish: Islas Galápagos; officially Archipiélago de Colón 'Columbus Archipelago') are an archipelago in the eastern Pacific Ocean, about 1000 km west of the Ecuadorian coast. The extraordinary nature of the islands are part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and are protected by the Galápagos Islands National Park. The word Galápago (Spanish for 'beaded saddle', among others) refers to the turtle shell, which in some subspecies of the Galápagos giant tortoise is bulging in the neck area like a saddle. It was the Galapagos that had a profound impact on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. As fascinating to visitors as it was to Charles Darwin in the 19th century and the early explorers of the 16th century is the fearlessness that the animals have retained due to the lack of natural enemies on the islands. Sea lions, marine lizards, pelicans, penguins, birds - a huge range of animals can be observed in their species only in the Galapagos.

Tourism is now the biggest source of income in the Galapagos, but at the same time the biggest threat to the sensitive ecosystem and wildlife of the archipelago. Entering the islands and navigating the waters are strictly regulated and controlled by the National Park Administration based in Puerto Ayora. The following types of travel are suitable for visiting:

Galápagos Cruise / Sailing

There are approximately 80 vessels authorized for tourist traffic in the waters of the Galapagos. The cruises are more economical and cheaper than the more ecological and exclusive choice of a sailing tour.

Galapagos island hopping

Island hopping involves the use of public speedboats to travel from island to island. The exact cost depends on still available places and desired class and form of the trip.

Galapagos Experience

Services: Travel/flight from mainland Ecuador to Galapagos (Baltra), program with full board, accommodation in double room, transfers.

Not included: Entrance fees (approx. USD 100,- p.p), island fees (approx. USD 10,- p.p.) drinks in hotels, accloholic drinks.

Galapagos - Nature Tour (plus 5 days / 4 nights)

Galapagos adventures and trips, prices per person (double room/cabin, min. 2 persons) - typical tours:

Galapagos - Intensive Experience (plus 8 days / 7 nights)

Galapagos Experiences and Travels, each price per person (double room/cabin, min. 2 persons) - typical tours:

Contact us: If you are interested, please click on this option. Ideally, you should book your trip at least 6 months before the planned date. We then clarify the still open places with the respective providers (ships / hotels) and calculate the exact price of the additional program to send you our special offers.

Request / Book
+49 (0)30 774 9034