2 or 3
Beginner to Intermediate
Old Town Quito & Teleferiqo,
Solitude of a less frequently climbed mountain.
Fantastic bird watching opportunities.
Spectacular views of the cloud forest and nearby volcanoes.
Sincholagua (16,053 ft/ 4.893 m) is an extinct volcano located 28 miles (45 km) southeast of Quito, on the northeast border of the Cotopaxi National Park. The climb up Sincholagua is mostly a scramble, and the access is more limited than other peaks in Ecuador. This makes it a less frequently climbed mountain, but those who make the effort to get to Sincholagua will be rewarded with a quiet acclimatization climb and spectacular views of the cloud forest and nearby volcanoes. Along the route there are breathtaking views of Cotopaxi, Ilinizas, Antisana, Rumiñahui, and the back side of Pasochoa. We may also be able to spot caracaras, falcons, eagles and the king of the Andes sky, the condor.
Its highest peaks are eroded chimneys, all that remains after the volcanic activity in 1877 and earlier. These are almost impossible to climb, as the scree just below the summit pinnacle is loose and the erosional forces on the chimneys have left mostly rotten rocks. We will climb the northwest route to a location just below the highest summits. This route was the same path taken on the first ascent of this peak in 1880 by Edward Whymper and the Carrels, however when they climbed Sincholagua it was still a well-glaciated mountain.
We will learn about the area’s natural history at the Mariscal Sucre Museum, the park visitor center. Here there is a 3-D model of the park and informative displays about the volcanic activity at Cotopaxi. The hikes around this area are great for bird watching, and visitors are often able to spot a herd of wild horses or lamas roaming along the Limpio Pungo Plateau.