El Corazon


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1 or 3 days

Skill Level:

Max Guide Ratio:

Recommended Season:
All year

Prior Trip Suggestions:
Old Town Quito,

Follow Up Programs:
Iliniza North,
Iliniza South,
El Altar

Trip Highlights:
Beautiful views of Cotopaxi, Iliniza North and South, and Rumiñahui.

El Corazon

El Corazon (15,600 ft/ 4,788 m) is an extinct volcano located in the Western Cordillera, 40 km southwest of Quito. It is an ideal first acclimatization climb for travelers that have recently arrived to Ecuador. It is an easy peak that only requires some very easy scrambling and climbing towards the top of the peak. There are beautiful views of Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui and the North and South peaks of Iliniza.

The hike is through the beautiful páramo tall grass vegetation. It is rumored that Incan ruins were hidden on the very overgrown northeast slopes of El Corazon prior to the Spanish conquest; however it is yet to be investigated.

The name of the mountain is Spanish for ‘the heart’ and it is one of the few mountains with a Spanish name. Many think that it got its name because of the heart-like peak; others claim it is from the two gullies that form the shape of a heart.

For those climbers interested in following this program with an ascent of the peaks at Iliniza, there is an optional extension that takes you to the basecamp at Iliniza.

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trip itinerary

Day 1:
We will leave Quito early in the morning, and drive southwest to the base of the mountain. Here we will begin our climb, which will take us 3 – 4 hours. At the top we will enjoy our lunch and sweeping views of the Ecuador landscape. Then we have a 3 hour descent, and begin our drive back to Quito.

Iliniza Extension:

Day 2:
Hike from camp along the ridge between El Corazon and Iliniza. Then climb up to La Virgen at 12,792 ft (3,900 m). We will camp here at the base camp of Iliniza among the stands of polylepsi trees.

Day 3:
Refer to the Iliniza North Itinerary.

Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, but unforeseen circumstances may require last minute changes. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of climbers can all contribute to schedule alterations. Please be prepared to be flexible when necessary.

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