The Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano situated in central-northwest Ecuador. It has an altitude of 5,897 m, making it the second highest volcano in the country and it is still active. It is located 50 km south of Quito and is part of the Andes mountain range.
As the geographer and explorer Alexander von Humboldt said, the Cotopaxi Volcano is the most beautiful of all the huge mountains of the Andes. Being a conical shape, that is covered by a white glacier that shines with the sun, contrasting with the blue of the sky it is hard to disagree with von Humboldt!
This itinerary allows the opportunity to summit Cotopaxi within 2 days. This climb begins at the José Ribas Refuge (4,500 m) The ascent begins just after midnight on the second day, and most of the duration of the trek is during darkness as this allows the best glacial conditions and makes the climb easier.
In order to make the summit, you’ll cross stretches of volcanic sand, glaciers, and snow trails. At a decent pace, you’ll reach the summit after 4 to 6 hrs of mountaineering. A great climb for beginner to intermediate mountaineers & adventurers!
Leaving early in the morning you’ll take private transport from your hotel in Quito and make your way to the Cotopaxi National Park. On arrival, you’ll get ready and hike up to the José Rivas Refuge taking a few hours.
In the afternoon, there will be time for some mountain training (knots, rope, ice-climbing). Returning back to the refuge, you’ll take dinner and rest for the evening.
Leaving early in the morning at 1.00 AM, after breakfast, you’ll start your hike to the top of Cotopaxi. The climb overall takes between 6 to 8 hrs. The first section is an hour’s hike to the base of the glacier, where you’ll fit your crampons to your boots and then begins the glacial ascent.
Arriving at the summit after an incredible hike, you’ll take your time for some landscape photos, afterward begin the descent to the refuge, taking a few hours to arrive back to the warmth.
At the refuge, there will be time for something to eat, recharge batteries, then return to our transport to head back to Quito.