Skill Level: Advanced skiing
Old Quito Tour: visit colonial churches with their grand altars made of Inca gold, sculptures and intricate carvings
Standing at the top of Cotopaxi, and looking down inside its crater at its sulfur fumaroles
Recuperating in the natural thermal springs that flow from the mountain side at Baños
Sweeping views from the summit of Ecuador’s tallest volcano, on a clear day you can see down into the Amazon jungle basin and the many neighboring peaks.
The straightforward, moderately angled routes are well-suited for those who seek an introduction to high altitude ski mountaineering. The elevation approaches 6,000 meters, and combined with the ease of access and comfortable mountain huts to launch from they are on the must-do list for the more experienced mountaineers as well!
This trip will be guided exclusively by lead guide Pablo Puruncajas.
This is a small, flexible ski mountaineering expedition in the Ecuadorian High Volcanoes. Enjoy the phenomenal skiing, beautiful scenery and a fantastic cultural experience.
Ski the three highest volcanoes in Ecuador, an epic adventure and special way to experience Ecuador's peaks! Nevado Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. The numbers speak for themselves, the vertical drop from the summits are big! We will attempt to ski from these peaks, while enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery Ecuador has to offer. Our travel schedule will remain fully flexible to allow us to make the very most of snow and weather conditions.
What to expect
The key to a successful mountain adventure is preparation. Our 15-day program is aimed at providing the framework for success. We spend the first five days acclimatizing to the altitude by hiking through the high mountain terrain of the surrounding peaks. Then the last ten days we focus on our summit attempts.
Starting in the city of Quito, we'll first acclimatize on Fuya-Fuya and Imbabura. After we have had a chance to acclimatize we'll set our sights on Cayambe the 3rd tallest Ecuadorian volcano; which offers an outstanding ski descent. Then we head to Cotopaxi, which is famous for its perfect cone-shaped and snow-covered crater. Last up - we'll check out Chimborazo, the tallest peak in Ecuador, an exciting ski descent from near or above 6000 meters!
In a typical day on the volcano, we will gain around 1.300 m of ascent – which means we also get to enjoy a 1.300 m descent. The snow conditions are variable, however it's usually spring snow or fresh powder on a firm base. On occasion, strong winds can affect the snow, making it a more challenging ski descent.
Our ski objectives will be interspersed with driving and sightseeing, such as: enjoy the cultural heritage and night life of the capital city, Quito. Spend rest days at hot springs and Stay at mountain lodges close to our climbs.
The volcanoes of Ecuador are ideal objectives for ski mountaineers of advanced abilities. Though climbing in Ecuador isn't technically challenging, ascending it with skis (sometimes on your back) can be a bit more challenging. We skin as much of the route as we can - usually with ski crampons on. However, there are times when it gets too steep or icy and we will need to carry the skis on our back. Being able to carry your skis, when coupled with the high altitude makes it imperative to have a high level of physical fitness and some prior ski mountaineering experience. As much work as it may seem, standing on top of Cotopaxi and overlooking the stunning snow-covered crater is truly remarkable!
If the weather is poor we can always be flexible with the schedule to so you can get the most out of your visit.
Expect the same variety of weather and temperatures similar to those encountered while ski mountaineering in Europe or North America – it ranges from wonderful weather, to rain, snowstorms and high winds. However whatever the weather brings us, we always have a fantastic time.
Like all snowcapped peaks in Ecuador, avalanches are common during the day due to the more direct angle of the sunlight characteristic of regions this close to the Equatorial Line. As a safety measure, we will climb at night and reach the summit by 7:00 a.m., this will enable our safe return to base camp before the snow pack becomes too warm and soft.