Cotopaxi and the Avenue of Volcanos (12 days)
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• Experience every mountaineer´s paradise, The Andes of Ecuador
• Ecuador is known for its many high peaks, easy accessibility, unique cultural heritage and diverse cuisine
• Climb to the summit of Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanos in the world at 5,897 metres
• This trek includes a careful programme of acclimatisation and time for skills training to help your mountaineering expertise
• No camping – stay in haciendas with great food in-between the climbs, as well as lodges and mountain huts
Exciting news, in October 2017 The Ministry for Tourism in Ecuador announced that the summit of Cotopaxi at 5,897metres, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes and Ecuador’s most iconic volcano, was declared safe and reopened again for climbing since August 2015.
Cotopaxi volcano is also considered as the most beautiful and symmetrically perfect mountain cone in the world. The name Cotopaxi is of Quichua origin (Inca language still being spoken among the Indians of Andes) and means “the neck of the moon”. This expedition tackles the best volcanos in Ecuador famously renowned as the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ with a careful program to assist acclimatisation and ensure you the best chance of success.
Packed with activity and variety, this expedition enables you to experience the landscape, culture and people of the smallest Andean country in less than two weeks from the UK. Ecuador is now one of the easiest of South American countries in which to travel. Its capital city, Quito, has a beautifully preserved colonial character and, at an altitude of 2,850m, it enjoys an invigorating spring-like climate. During this expedition, you will have time to explore Quito and its enchanting native Ecuadorian markets, as well as the famous hot springs at Baños.
The use of crampons and ice axe is required on Cotopaxi ascents although this trip is designed as a non-technical climb. Some winter walking experience is recommended before joining this trip, but it’s not essential. You should however be an experienced summer walker and ideally have been to over 4,000 metres in altitude on a previous trek. Any concerns, please contact the Adventurous Ewe team.
- Adventurous Ewe Mountain Leader for groups of 8 or more trekkers
- IMFGA Qualified Local Mountain Guides
- All ground crew per your itinerary
- Hotel and other accommodation on as detailed per your itinerary
- Equipment training sessions
- Road transfers within Ecuador per your itinerary
- Three meals per unless stated in your itinerary
- Drinking water during your trek
- Medical safety equipment and supplies
- All logistical and safety management whilst in Ecuador
- International Passenger Protection
- Flights, airport taxes and any fuel surcharges
- Personal insurance, visas if applicable,departure tax and inoculations
- Visa – please refer to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador
- Vaccination/s. Please refer to: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/
- Clothing and equipment on your Kit List
- Travel to and from UK airport
- Transfers to and from the in-country airport if flights NOT booked within main group arrival/departure timing
- Climbing equipment hire ie. crampons, ice axe, harness & karabiner, helmet
- Drinks and hotel or guest house meals, unless specified
- Personal snacks and water flavouring
- Personal medical supplies and personal use of communication equipment if supplied
- Excess baggage
- Tips for local guides and crew
- Costs associated with an expedition finishing early
- Costs associated with you leaving an expedition early
- Costs associated with extending a trip due to severe weather or other circumstances
- Personal spending money
- Any other items not listed in your Trip Notes
Weather & Safety
In common with other tropical countries, Ecuador does not experience the four seasons known in other parts of the world. Instead there are wet and dry seasons. The best months for climbing are from October through to April. During summer (June, July & August), the winds tend to be very strong which impacts on climbing and your expedition experience. However, conditions can change very quickly in the mountains. What can start out as a good day can soon become very poor. It is very important to be well equipped and prepared for all conditions. Trekking in the mountains can be precarious and although we take important steps to manage and minimise this risk, we can never eradicate it altogether. Your Mountain Guide reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Mountaineering can be dangerous and although we take important steps to manage and minimise this risk we can never eradicate it altogether. The main danger is injury from avalanche or falling then sliding down a snow slope.
Although the guides can assist you in becoming accustomed to the use of ice axes and crampons the trip is not a winter skills training course. If you have not used ice axes or crampons before it is essential that you feel confident in picking up the necessary skills.
Adventurous Ewe prioritises the safety of all of their trekkers and staff, and as such have developed a thorough safety management system. This encompasses comprehensive risk assessments and procedures together with audits of all aspects of your challenge from vehicles to accommodation to the trek activities. Your health and safety is our top priority.
In terms of your Cotopaxi traverse, there are some important points outlined below:
- This expedition involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4,000 metres and trekking above 5,000 metres. Before joining this expedition, you should read visit this website to gain a better understanding of acclimatisation and altitude sickness: traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4,000 metres you should consult Adventurous Ewe before embarking on this expedition. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.
- You will be trekking along glaciers and near crevasses. Training and equipment will be provided. This includes the use of a safety harness, ropes, crampons, ice-axes, carabiner and a helmet (all of which will be supplied)
- All our guides are qualified and first aid trained and carry fully equipped medical kits for serious medical emergencies
- For your Cotopaxi and Cayambe climbs there will be a trekker:guide ratio of 2:1
- For the all other mountain ascents there will be a trekker:guide ratio of 6:1
- You will be trekking in a mountainous environment where temperatures can drop significantly. You should be prepared for all weather conditions with adequate clothing.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for Ecuador but we recommend you consult your GP before departure. A good level of fitness is required for this trip.
You will be staying in a mixture of hotels, lodges and mountain huts during your expedition. Whilst on the trek you will be staying in comfortable mountain huts in dormitory style rooms of which you will need to provide your own sleeping bags. The huts have basic toilet facilities and running water however shower facilities are not provided. These huts range in size but are all staffed and catered.
Passport & Visa
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity.
We recommend that you check with the relevant embassy for the most up to date information regarding visas. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and obtain your own visa, if one is necessary. Adventurous Ewe is not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise. Please visit the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office website, or your respective nationality governing website, for the latest travel information on Ecuador at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador/entry-requirements
It is a condition of this trip that you are insured against medical and personal accident. Adventurous Ewe require documentary evidence of your insurance prior to departure. We also recommend that you enrol with Global Rescue prior to embarking on your trip (optional). Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical & security advisory and evacuation services.
Trekking Experience and level of difficulty
To complete this challenge comfortably, it is preferable that you have previous trekking experience in varied and irregular terrain carrying a 35-litre day-pack. Whilst climbing Cotopaxi is not considered difficult, it is considered a technical climb due to the use of technical climbing gear for the ascent, such as: crampons, ice axe and crevasse rescue gear. Previous experience of using crampons, ice-axes, harnesses and ropes is not required. Full instruction, support and practice sessions will be provided by your guides. During the trek you will be required to carry your own kit and equipment including crampons, ice-axes, harness, packed lunches & snacks, drinking water, wet weather gear, additional warm layers and personal items such medication.
Your Mountain Guide will hold the IFMGA carnet, the highest qualification in the world for leading people in the mountains, be it skiing, climbing or mountaineering. In short, Mountain Guides are recognised internationally as mountaineering experts and your safety is paramount. All our Mountain Guides are carefully selected to ensure you have the best experience on your traverse and summit climb with a bit of humour thrown in for good measure.
How to book your challenge
The easiest way to book your trip is online via the Adventurous Ewe website at simply click Dates and Availability. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £295.00 at the time of booking. It is possible to reserve a place on this trek by email to email@example.com, however you will need to pay your deposit of £295.00 to confirm your place on this trek together with completing a booking form. The full balance is required to be paid no less than 4 weeks prior to departure.