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Cotopaxi logistics


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Mashanya · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

I'm planning a trip to Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in December and trying to understand some logistics. Is it possible to acclimatize without a guide? We are going in a group of climbers with some mountaineering experience, so issue will be getting permission to get in, not actual experience or gear. We were looking at Pichincha and Iliniza Norte. I know I don't need a guide for Pichincha, can we get on Iliniza without a guide? Will AAC membership or something similar be enough of a proof that we are experienced?  Is there any other mountains over 5000m that don't require a guide? Anyone has guides to recommend?
TIA

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 322

You don't *really* need a guide for Illiniza North, as in nobody will stop you from climbing it once you get to the hut.  The issue will more be booking the hut, which you will probably need a guide to do.  If you do plan to be at the hut without a guide, note that unlike the other huts the Illiniza Hut is staffed by one single lonely person.  If you want things to be smooth once you arrive there sans guide, be cool, treat the staff member like a buddy, and bring him some token of appreciation (chocolate or whatever).  Also, don't grab a top bunk, the condensation in the hut can "rain" at night.

My buddy Ignacio "Nacho" Espinosa Andrade is a great guide out there.  He's an Ecuadorian guide who spends a lot of time doing technical climbs in South America.  He is in charge of the IFMGA alpine school in Ecuador as well.

Nacho's profile: https://aseguim.org/guia/iespinoza/
A bunch of climbs I've done with Nacho: https://gethighonaltitude.com/tag/south-america/

Roots · · Redmond. OR · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

Ecuador is a 3rd world country. My advice is to hire a guide...it won't cost you much, you'll be helping the economy and your trip will go much smoother logistically.

!Buena Suerte!

Mashanya · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Chris, thank you for all useful information and great blog! I will contact Natcho to see if he's available.
Roots, thank you, not only I try to save money, but I also hate guided trips and only use guides if absolutely necessary. THat's why if legally mountain is accessible without  guide and if we are skilled enough (and I think we are) to do it without a guide I would prefer not to deal with it. 

Roots · · Redmond. OR · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

^you're contradicting yourself there Mashanya….but glad you're considering giving Nacho some biz.

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

We just went for a hike on El Corazon before heading to Cotopaxi. No guide needed, just had to drive to the trailhead. After Cotopaxi we went to Chimborazo. Worked fine.

Mashanya · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
Roots wrote: ^you're contradicting yourself there Mashanya….but glad you're considering giving Nacho some biz.
 
Where am i contradicting myself? I'm planning to hire a guide to Cotopaxi and other glaciered mountains since it's required by law, that's why I will contact recomended guide. Still not planning to hire a guide for acclimatisation hikes




Mashanya · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Allen, did you get there from 0 elevation? I live in NY, so according to my experience will need at least 3-4 days, that's why I was thinking about 2 acclimatising climbs, something like 4500-4700 m and something over 5000m.

Roots · · Redmond. OR · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

Mash - sorry, I have originally misread your post.

!Buen Viaje!

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187
Mashanya wrote: Allen, did you get there from 0 elevation? I live in NY, so according to my experience will need at least 3-4 days, that's why I was thinking about 2 acclimatising climbs, something like 4500-4700 m and something over 5000m.

Me, no. My partners yes. Fly into Quito, hang out there for a few days, and play tourist. When you feel good head out for a hike. We did a little day hike on Cotopaxi the day before going high. Mostly to figure out the route for the next morning for gaining the glacier. 

Will s · · Salt Lake CIty, UT · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Here’s a second endorsement for Nacho... can confirm  the illiniza hut is only staffed via reservation   

Stephen Cummings · · Pittsburgh, PA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

If you fly into quito you can hike up Rucu from the telefecrico. Its a fast taxi ride from downtown. . Its like 15000 feet. You can do it as a day trip and be back for dinner.  I met a guy who did it like every day for a week or something to help with acclimatization.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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