Our standard Ecuador Volcanoes expedition is a 12-day program that includes climbs of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. We also offer a 9-day Chimborazo climb and a 16-day program that includes climbs of Ecuador's three highest peaks: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe. See below for prices and itineraries for these exciting alternative programs.

The Ecuador Volcanoes offer fantastic climbing on high altitude glaciated peaks with wonderful accommodations along the way. The volcanoes are located just outside Quito, the capital city, making for short travel days in between climbs. Our program offers climbs on the two highest peaks in Ecuador: Cotopaxi (5897m/19,347ft) and Chimborazo (6263m/20,549ft), both with heavily glaciated summits. During the program, we have ample time for a technical skills review. With Quito as our base, we ascend these Ecuadorian giants and rest between climbs in Hacienda style lodges that provide an outstanding relaxation and dining experience. Our camps on these volcanoes are either European style mountain huts or tent camps. The combination of these beautiful climbs with first-rate lodging throughout makes this program very enjoyable!
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Climbs of Cotopaxi & Chimborazo

Date(s)
  • November 18 – 29, 2020
  • December 12 – 23, 2020
  • January 2 – 13, 2021
  • January 24 – February 4, 2021
  • February 13 – 24, 2021
  • February 20 – March 3, 2021
  • June 1 – 12, 2021
  • June 13 – 24, 2021
  • July 4 – 15, 2021
  • July 25 – August 6, 2021
  • October 31 – November 11, 2021
Cost USD 3,800 (min. group size of 4)
Deposit USD 1,800

Day 1: Arrive Quito (2850m/9,350ft). Airport pick up and transfer to Hotel Mercure. Overnight at Hotel Mercure. [no meals included]

Day 2: Acclimatization hike to Pasochoa volcano (4200m/13,779ft) – El Chaupi. We’ll leave from Quito early in the morning and will drive southeast for about 1,5 hour through the Andean highlands until getting to the trail head (3500m/17,388ft). As we gain elevation we’ll be able to see the surrounding snow-capped mountains, such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illiniza, Cotopaxi and even Chimborazo far away to the south in clear days. Once nearing the summit, will be hiking by the ridge of the deep forest-covered caldera which takes us to the true summit soon after. It will take us about 5 hours round trip. Back at the car, we will drive to the small village of El Chaupi, which is located near to the foothills of Ilinizas. Here we will spend the following nights in a nice Mountain Lodge. [B/BL]

Day 3: Climb Corazon (4790m/15,715ft) – El Chaupi. “El Corazon” is another eroded and extinct volcano located about 40 km southwest of Quito. The name Corazon means “heart” in Spanish and is said to refer to the two gullies on the north west slopes which, when seen from the distance, appear to join together in the shape of a heart. It is a good second acclimatization hike after Pasochoa and before the Ilinizas. We drive up to 3800m/ 12,467ft to small valley where we start the hike to the summit. It is quite an arduous walk and normally takes 5 hours up and 2-3 hours down. On a clear day you have a beautiful view of the so-called “Avenue of the Volcanoes” including Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Ilinizas and Antisana. Drive back to the same Lodge in El Chaupi. [B/BL]

Day 4: Transfer to “La Virgen”, Hike to the “Nuevos Horizontes” Refuge (4750m/15,580ft). After a relaxed breakfast, we will drive towards the base of Ilinizas and we will stop on a place named “La Virgen” located at 3900m/12,792ft. When we arrive, there will be waiting horses for carrying our gear up to the refuge. Once there, we’ll start a 3-hour hike up to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge”, where we will relax the rest of the afternoon. Dinner will be served by late afternoon. Overnight in the hut. [B/BL/D]

Day 5: Climb Iliniza Norte (5126m/16,813ft) – El Chaupi. Our climbing day starts at 05:00 AM. We will have a light breakfast, pack our climbing equipment and leave the refuge an hour later. We will continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks and then to Iliniza Norte summit (5126m/16,818ft) soon after. The approach to the top involves an easy 3 hours of scrambling. Once at the summit, we will enjoy and admire the beautiful surroundings. We ascend for about 3 hours to La Virgen parking lot and drive back to the same mountain lodge in El Chaupi. Once again, horses will be waiting to bring our gear down to the parking lot. [B/BL]

Day 6: Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park, hike to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4800m/15,748ft). We will leave from the Lodge in the morning and drive to the Cotopaxi National Park entrance. There we will have lunch and registration. From there we’ll drive east to the Cotopaxi parking lot (4500m/14,764 ft) and then hike up for another hour to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4800m/15,748ft). Once at the refuge, we will store our belongings and rest in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in the hut. [B/L/D]

Day 7: Cotopaxi summit day! (5897m/19,347ft) – Transfer to Chugchilan (3200m/10,498ft). Midnight will be our wake up time, and our departure to the top (5897m/19,347ft) will be shortly after. Before our ascent, we will have a hot drink and get our gear ready for the ascent, which will take us about 6 to 8 hours. Each climber will get a box lunch for the climb. Once at the summit we’ll take our time to take pictures of the crater and surroundings, and then we’ll head down back the refuge (3 to 4 hours). Once at the refuge we will pack our belongings, have something to eat and drink and go back to the parking lot where our transportation will be ready to take us to Chugchilan, close to Quilotoa Lake. In the evening, we will celebrate the success of our climb. Overnight: Mountain Lodge Mama Hilda. [B/BL/D]

Day 8: Visit Quilotoa Lake (3814m/12,513ft) – Transfer to Banios (1900m/6,233ft). Free day to recover and enjoy the atmosphere of the Ecuadorian countryside. Quilotoa is a 3 km/1.9 mile-wide water-filled caldera and has accumulated a 250m/820ft deep crater lake. After visiting the Crater Lake we will drive about 3 hours to the south, the subtropical town of Banios. Overnight: Hotel in Banios. [B]

Day 9: Free day in Banios. Enjoy “Banios de Agua Santa” and its charming atmosphere. On this day, we have the option to take an excursion to the waterfalls. There are many options, activities and lots of fun! Free afternoon. Overnight: Hotel in Banios. [B]

Day 10: Banios – Refuge Carrel (4800m/15,748ft) – High Camp on Chimborazo (5300m/17,388ft). From Banios we drive about 3 hours through picturesque fields and bizarre gorges, the road winds to the plateau on the slopes of Chimborazo. We see llamas, vicunas and alpacas. We drive to the Carrel Hut and there we will start marching to the high camp at 5300m/17,388ft. In the high camp we will expect the complete logistics with tents, kitchen etc. We need about 3 hours. Early dinner and rest. [B/BL/D]

Day 11: Chimborazo summit day! (6263m/20,549ft). We will get up before midnight to begin our ascent on Chimborazo. After 8 hours, we will reach the first summit named Veintimilla and then to Chimborazo’s high summit called Whymper (6263m/20,549ft). Around noon we will have completed our descent back to the refuge where our transport will be waiting to drive us back to Quito. Total walking time between 10 to 14 hours. Overnight at Hotel Mercure. [B/BL]

Day 12: Depart Quito. Transfer to the airport and flight back home. [B]

Meals stated in itinerary [B=Breakfast, BL=Box Lunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner]. Vegetarian or special diets can easily be arranged in advance.

Cotopaxi & Chimborazo Expeditions

  • November 18 – 29, 2020
  • December 12 – 23, 2020
  • January 2 – 13, 2021
  • January 24 – February 4, 2021
  • February 13 – 24, 2021
  • February 20 – March 3, 2021
  • June 1 – 12, 2021
  • June 13 – 24, 2021
  • July 4 – 15, 2021
  • July 25 – August 6, 2021
  • October 31 – November 11, 2021
Cost: USD 3,800 (min. group size of 4)
Deposit: USD 1,800

Costs Include:

  • Airport Pick up
  • 3 star hotels in Quito
  • Park entrance fees
  • Climbing permit fees
  • Hut fees
  • Hacienda lodges
  • All meals while climbing
  • Guide service from our finest Ecuadorean guides

Costs Do Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Personal Items
  • Meals in Quito
  • Option to upgrade to single room
  • Fees for early departure
  • Trip cancellation insurance or the required medical evacuation insurance
  • Bank wire transfer fees, if applicable
  • Airport taxes
  • American mountain guides

Cancellation/Refund Policy

  • There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching or making progress towards expedition objective(s) (for example, the summit) due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering.
  • Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts towards reaching expedition objective(s) within our margin of safety.
  • Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
  • Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
  • Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
  • Deposit due with registration materials
  • All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
  • Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition

Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.

Print Gear List


Base Layers

  • Synthetic Short Underwear (1-2 pair): non-cotton style underwear
  • Lightweight Long Underwear (1-2 pair): long sleeve shirt and long pants
  • Heavyweight Long Underwear (1 pair)
  • Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt (1-2)

Mid Layers

  • Soft Shell Jacket: to be worn over other layers
  • Soft Shell Pants: very breathable and water repellant
  • Mid-Layer Top: lightweight layer for use over base layers
  • Lightweight Nylon Pants

Windproof/Rain Layers

  • Hard Shell Jacket with hood: waterproof and breathable shell jacket
  • Hard Shell Pants: waterproof and breathable shell pants

Insulation Layers

  • Heavyweight Insulated Down Jacket with hood
  • Insulated Pants

Headwear

  • Warm Hat: synthetic or wool hat (ski hat)
  • Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds
  • Baseball Cap or other sun hat: to shade your face/neck from the sun on a hot day
  • Bandana or Buff: to protect your neck/face from the sun

Eyewear

  • Glacier Glasses: full protection with side covers or wrap around
  • Ski Goggles: to be worn in the event of high winds – (2nd pair optional)

Gloves

  • Lightweight Synthetic Base Layer Gloves (2 pair): for wearing on warm days
  • Soft Shell Gloves: to wear for moderate cold/wind
  • Shell Glove with Insulated Liner: to wear for severe cold/strong wind
  • Expedition Mitts: large enough to fit a liner glove inside

Footwear

  • Liner Socks (3 pairs)
  • Wool or Synthetic Socks (3 pairs)
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Hiking Shoes/Boots: comfortable hiking boots
  • Gaiters

Sleeping Equipment

  • Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20°F
  • Self-inflating Sleeping Pad: full length is preferred
  • Closed-cell Foam Pad: to be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
  • Earplugs

Mountaineering Gear

  • Expedition Backpack: approximately 65L
  • Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing the volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc. in your pack
  • Trash Compactor Bags: to line backpack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear
  • Backpack Rain Cover (optional)
  • Trekking Poles with Snow Baskets: adjustable
  • Ice Axe: general mountaineering tool (65cm)
  • Crampons: general mountaineering crampons
  • Climbing Helmet: must be able to fit over your warm hat
  • Alpine Climbing Harness: mountaineering harness, with adjustable leg loops. Not a rock-climbing “sport” harness
  • Carabineers: 2 regular, 4 locking
  • Belay/Rappel Device
  • Headlamp: with 2 extra sets of new batteries

Travel Items

  • Large Duffel Bag with Lock: for transporting gear
  • Small Duffel Bag with Lock: to store items in the hotel(s) while on the climb
  • Travel Clothes and Shoes: for days in cities and towns
  • Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen
  • U.S. cash: for currency exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise in cities and towns

Additional Food Items

  • Snack Food: bring a few days supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. variety of salty and sweet is good

Other Equipment

  • Cup: plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
  • Bowl: large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast
  • Spoon: plastic spoon (Lexan)
  • Water Bottles (2): wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
  • Water Bottle Parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
  • Water Treatment
  • Thermos (optional): 1 liter
  • Hand and Toe Warmers
  • Sunscreen: SPF 50 or better
  • Lip Screen (2 sticks): SPF 30 or better
  • Toiletry Bag: include toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer (2 small bottles)
  • Pee Bottle: 1-liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
  • Female Urination Device (FUD)
  • Knife or Multi-tool (optional)
  • Small Personal First-aid Kit: include athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, etc.
  • Medications and Prescriptions: bring personal medications, antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), altitude medicine such as Diamox, etc.
  • Handkerchiefs/Bandanas (optional)

Optional Electronics

9-day Chimborazo expedition

Cost: USD 3,240 (min. group size of 4)
Deposit: USD 1,000

Day 1: Arrive Quito (2850m/9,350ft). Airport pick-up and transfer to Hotel Reina Isabel. Overnight at Hotel Reina Isabel. We will conduct a brief orientation and equipment check. [no meals included]

Day 2: Acclimatization hike on Pasochoa (4200m/13,779ft). This is a beautiful day hike and we have box lunch along the way. We drive to the village El Chaupi to the nice Mountain Lodge Chuquiragua where we will overnight. [B/BL/D]

Day 3: El Corazon acclimatization hike. Easy acclimation climb passing through Paramo grass and an ascent up the extinct volcano El Corazon (4791m/15,718ft). Overnight in El Chaupi at the Chuquiragua Lodge. [B/BL/D]

Day 4: Illiniza Hut (4700m/15,420ft). After a relaxed breakfast, we drive to the parking lot “La Virgen” located at 3900m/12,792ft where we start our 3 hour hike up to the Iliniza hut. Horses assist in the gear carry up to the hut. Overnight at the hut. [B/BL/D]

Day 5: Illiniza Norte summit day! (5125m/16,814ft). We begin an early morning 5am climb of “Tioniza” as the locals call it. The IIliniza Norte peak is perfect for getting used to physical exertion at altitude and for more acclimation. After 3 hours we reach the summit. The horses will carry our gear down to the parking lot. We drive back to El Chaupi. Overnight at the Chuquiragua Lodge. [B/BL/D]

Day 6: Chimborazo Carrel Refuge Hut (4800m/15,748ft). Arrival and short acclimatization hike to the higher Whymper hut at 5000m/16,404ft and return. Overnight in the Carrel hut. [B/D]

Day 7: Chimborazo High Camp (5300m/17,388 ft). Hike along the “Guargualla” route to our high camp on Chimborazo. Rest in a mountain tent before our alpine start for the summit. [B/BL/D]

Day 8: Chimborazo summit day! (6310m/20,702ft). We start out just after midnight and the climb to the furthest point from the center of the earth – the summit of Chimborazo. Descend back to the refuge hut and return to Quito for a celebration dinner. Overnight at Hotel Reina Isabel. [B/BL/D]

Day 9: Depart Quito. Transfer to the airport and flight back home. [B]

Meals stated in itinerary [B=Breakfast, BL=Box Lunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner]. Vegetarian or special diets can easily be arranged in advance.

 


16-day Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo expedition

Cost: USD 4,850 (min. group size of 4)
Deposit: USD 1,900

Day 1: Arrive Quito (2850m/9,350ft). Airport pick up and transfer to Hotel Mercure. Overnight at Hotel Mercure. [no meals included]

Day 2: Drive to Otavalo where we will visit the famous handicraft market. Acclimatization hike around Cuicocha Lake (3500m/11,482ft) in the north. This is an easy day hike in beautiful surroundings. Afterward we drive to our mountain lodge near Otavalo. Overnight at La Luna. [B/BL/D]

Day 3: Acclimatization hike on the Fuya Fuya volcano (4275m/14,025ft). After breakfast, we drive 30 minutes for our next acclimatization hike at lake Mojanda. Drive back to the same mountain lodge close to Otavalo. [B/BL/D]

Day 4: Acclimatization hike on the Imbabura volcano (4621m/15,160ft). Overnight at same mountain lodge close to Otavalo. [B/BL/D]

Day 5: Drive to Cayambe hut (4648m/15,250ft). After breakfast drive to the Cayambe hut, settle in and review glacier skills. Overnight at the hut. [B/BL/D]

Day 6: Active rest day. An easy day with just a small hike, rest in the afternoon, and preparation for the early morning alpine start of our summit attempt. [B/L/D]

Day 7: Cayambe summit day! (5758m/18,891ft). After our attempt on the summit, we descend to the hut, pack up, and return to Quito. Overnight at the Hotel Reina Isabel. [B/BL]

Day 8: Rest day in Quito with optional city tour. [B]

Day 9: Drive to Quilotoa (3 hours), visit the crater-lake Quilotoa (3814m/12,513ft) and enjoy the atmosphere of the Ecuadorian countryside. Overnight at Mountain Lodge Mama Hilda, 30 min from Quilotoa (3200m/10,498ft). [B/D]

Day 10: Travel to Cotopaxi. Today we drive to the National Park Cotopaxi and hike to the Jose Ribas Refuge (4800m/15,748ft). Overnight at the hut. [B/L/D]

Day 11: Cotopaxi summit day! (5897m/19,347ft). After our attempt on the summit, we descend to the hut, pack up, and drive to the Tambopaxi mountain lodge. Overnight at Tambopaxi Lodge. [B/BL/D]

Day 12: Travel/Rest Day. Today we travel from Tambopaxi Lodge to the nice subtropical town of Banios and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Overnight at Hotel La Floresta [B]

Day 13: Waterfall tour in the morning with free afternoon where you can enjoy the hot springs in Banios. Overnight at Hotel La Floresta [B]

Day 14: Banios – Refuge Carrel (4800m/15,748ft) – High Camp on Chimborazo (5300m/17,388ft). From Banios we drive about 3 hours through picturesque fields and bizarre gorges, the road winds to the plateau on the slopes of Chimborazo. We see llamas, vicunas, and alpacas. We drive to the Carrel Hut and there we will start marching to the high camp at 5300m/17,388ft. In the high camp, we will have the full amenities of private tents, a kitchen, etc. About 3 hours of climbing. Early dinner and rest. [B/BL/D]

Day 15: Chimborazo summit day! (6263m/20,549ft). We will get up before midnight to begin our ascent on Chimborazo. After 8 hours, we will reach the first summit named Veintimilla and then to Chimborazo’s high summit called Whymper (6263m/20,549ft). Around noon we will have completed our descent back to the refuge where our transport will be waiting to drive us back to Quito. Total walking time between 10 to 14 hours. Overnight at Hotel Mercure. [B/BL]

Day 16: Depart Quito. Transfer to the airport and flight back home. [B]

Meals stated in itinerary [B=Breakfast, BL=Box Lunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner]. Vegetarian or special diets can easily be arranged in advance.

Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in leading high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. We have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun! Safety is always our number one priority.

Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.

Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are highly competent experts in our field and love what we do!

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