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This expedition is an ideal choice for trekkers and mountaineers who wish to gain experience beyond the alpine altitudes and experience Ecuador’s spectacular volcanoes. We also combine the best of both worlds: trekking the humid Andean Forest – with one of the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the planet – and two spectacular high-altitude glaciated climbs. Despite a popular impression to the contrary, these are tough climbs and the effort required to climb all these mountains in one expedition should not be underestimated. Ecuador is without doubt the land of volcanoes, with more than thirty significant peaks in this small country.
Benegas Brothers uses only expert guides and our low climber to guide ratio (2:1) which translates into higher summit success and most important a safer climb. Our gradual acclimatization itinerary including the incredible Condor trek aloud us to explore in the deep of the Ecuadorian rainforest to the mystical altiplano giving us a plenty of time to prepare ourselves for this climb.
Day 1 – Arrival in the Capital City of Quito
Quito at 9,350ft/2,850m. South America’s second highest capital (after La Paz, Bolivia). Our guide will be waiting at the Airport for your arrival, transfer to our Hotel, a local family-run place close to excellent restaurants and the tourist center of the city. Our expedition begins in Ecuador’s capital of Quito sitting at 9,500 feet, so our acclimatization begins immediately.
Day 2 – Quito City and Gear Check
Today we explore the colonial section of Quito, enjoying fantastic food and hospitality. The old city is famous for its beautiful churches, president’s palace, and ever-present views of the 4 glaciated peaks that surround it. After touring for half the day, we spend the afternoon preparing for our climb of Rucu Pinchincha, practicing fixed line techniques, and organizing gear. This day constitutes an important foundation for our acclimatization. We also have a thorough equipment check and orientation. A welcome dinner follows in the evening. Overnight stay in Quito. 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Day 3 – Rucu Pichincha Climb
We will use the new telepherique cable car to get to an altitude of 3,966m / 13,012ft from the city. Two hours of hiking brings us to a technical knife-edge rock ridge, which we climb, conditions permitting, to Pinchincha’s 15,700-foot summit. This climb is important for our acclimatization and for practicing our rock technique and the use of fixed lines; it is also a decent peak on its own! Overnight stay in Quito. 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
Day 4 – Quito to Antisana Advance Base Camp
This morning we meet the rest of our climbing guides (our guide to climber ratio is 1:2) who will be joining us for the climb and take our bus and four wheel drive jeep up to the base of Antisana. Our Base Camp (13,500 ft) is in the remote highlands of a private ranch with wild horses, lamas, fox and raptors. Few people visit this area and we usually have Antisana all to ourselves. Our cook and staff prepare camp as we do an acclimatization hike up to advance base Camp at 15,500 ft and then return to Base Camp for the night – climb high and sleep low.
Day 5 – Glacier Training
Overnight at Base Camp. After breakfast we travel by road and 4 wheel drive up to our Advance Base Camp. From here we hike for an hour up to the glacier for a climbing skills review and to acclimatize. The lower glaciers on Antisana offer great cramponing and practice for running belays, etc. That evening we return to our Base Camp again where dinner is be waiting for us.
Day 6 – ABC
Today we move up to Advance Base Camp and make preparation for our summit climb. We spend the afternoon preparing our climbing gear and head to bed early so that we are well rested for an early departure on summit day.
Day 7 – Antisana Summit Day, Antisana to Termas de Papallacta
We rise before midnight where our cook will have breakfast waiting in the dining tent. At midnight we head out with our guides on our summit push. Antisana has challenging glaciers where we climb small steps to avoid the larger crevassed areas. We wind around towers of glacier ice and as the sun rises to a most spectacular of a dozen volcanoes throughout all of Ecuador! We later descending to Base Camp and prepare drive to Termas de Papallacta where we will enjoy our well deserved rest!! (And someone said something about hot springs… )
Day 8: Drive to Cayambe
Cayambe is Ecuador’s third highest peak. It stands at 18,997 feet, looking out over and over the Amazon Basin. Cayambe’s glaciers are large and among the most active of all equatorial ice flows, and the varied glacial terrain here provides an excellent training ground and a rewarding summit climb. Today we drive for several hours to finally to reach a point within a half-hour hike of a large stone hut which serves as our base on the slopes of Cayambe at 15,290 feet!
Day 9: Summit Day Cayambe 18,997ft (5,790m)
We rise very early this morning and prepare for our ascent of Cayambe, Ecuador’s third highest volcano. The climb to the summit follows moderate to heavily crevassed slopes northwards past the occasional rocky outcrop, before turning east and climbing a tricky bergschrund to the summit. From the summit, if the weather is clear, we should be able to see Cotopaxi erupting to the south. After the climb we return to Quito to a well earned celebration dinner!
Day 10- Return Home
Flights home today with some big smiles! Chimborazo Extension team enjoy a Quito rest day.
Chimborazo, our next objective (6,310m /20,702ft) is the highest mountain in Ecuador. This old volcano is considered extinct although some recent studies show that it might still be considered active(!). Its main summit has the distinction of being the farthest point from the center of the earth making Chimborazo, in its own way, the tallest mountain in the world. It does not matter from which side you look at Chimborazo, it will impress you by its size and beauty.
Quito to Chimborazo Stubel Camp
Today we travel to Plaza Roja (4,852m /15,918ft.) located close to the Carrel hut (4,862m / 15,951ft). From there, it takes us about two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (5,050m /16,567ft) where we spend the afternoon preparing for the climb the next day.
Day 12: Chimborazo Summit Day (6,310m)
We start our climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Saddle (5,500m /18,044 ft.). This new variant to the normal Castle Ridge route is free from the danger of rock fall making it a much safer line. From the Stübel Camp, it normally takes eight hours to get to the Whymper summit from where you will enjoy one of the best views in Ecuador. To the east and south- east: El Altar which is the most difficult mountain to climb in Ecuador and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay. To the north and north-east: mountains like the Ilinizas, Antisana and the famous Cotopaxi. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes three hours. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Plaza Roja and travel to back to Quito!
Day 13: Fly Home
Fond farewells to our Ecuadorian friends and flights home.
Several U.S. airlines offer daily flights to Quito, Ecuador (UIO). Flights generally arrive late in the evening on Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights departing Quito may be booked for any time on the final day of the program.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Ecuador. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Travel Advisories/ Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
In Country Transportation
The provided transportation in Ecuador as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Upon arrival at the Quito airport, follow the signs to the Arrivals Building. Proceed to the Immigrations desk for foreign travelers. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay. Please check the date to ensure it covers your complete stay in Ecuador.
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep all your bags together.
After you have gathered your baggage and passed through Customs you will find a desk in front of the exit gate where you can ask for a taxi. Take a taxi to our hotel. A fixed price of approximately $25 to $30 is in place.
The current currency of Ecuador is the U.S. Dollar. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You should find that $200-$300 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Cash machines are readily available in Quito, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of urban areas.
Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 5 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Ecuador, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Breakfast and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.
During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style. You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!
Nov 20 – Nov 29 2016
Dec 4 – Dec 13 2016
Jan 2 – Jan 11 2017
Backpacking experience; very good physical condition; basic Level of snow and glacier travel skills.
Acquire climbing skills on steeper snow and ice. Developed a good sense of glacier travel. Aclimatize in Ruco Pichincha 4,698m /15,413ft, summit Antisana 18,874ft/ 5752m. Cayambe 19,000’/ 5,790m
Aconcagua Expeditions, Khumbu Climber, Mexico Volcanoes, Bolivia Alpinist, Elbrus.
$3,050 (minimum of 4), $3,800 with Chimborazo extension
Private Guide Cost:
Included are the following:
Not included are the following:
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
What a feeling to stand on the top of an Ecuadorian Volcano! This was my third climb with Benegas Brothers Expeditions, and my greatest achievement yet. I can honestly say I wouldn't have made it without the expertise of Willie and Damian Benegas. Our acclimatizing process, the intimate size of our group, and the special training my girlfriend and I received was once again, the best in the industry.
BBE has never failed to provide me with anything but the best journey, understanding and chance to become a part of the local environment and people, as well as focusing on the continued growth of my physical abilities, climbing knowledge and experience while participating in successful, safe, and fun climbs. I feel so fortunate to have Willie Benegas as my guide. He has made climbing actually possible for me, who at 56, only began climbing two years ago. With his training I am pursuing a dream I never thought possible and it has positively changed my life forever. Additionally, BBE cares so much for the environment and Leave No Trace Principles, and all their staff are amazing individuals... I am so happy to now have you all as a part of my life. Thanks BBE!
Nov 20 - Nov 29
Dec 4 - Dec 13
Jan 2 - Jan 11
$3,050 (minimum of 4), $3,800 with Chimborazo Extension