Avg: 3 from 1 vote
|Type:||Trad, Snow, Alpine, 2210 ft (670 m), Grade II|
|FA:||Edward Whymper, Jean-Antoine Carrel & Louis Carrel Feb 23rd, 1880|
|Page Views:||326 total · 10/month|
|Shared By:||Harvest Mondello on Feb 19, 2019|
The climb is mostly easy scrambling on loose scree and snowfields. The may be marked by cairns from the local guides and is all on loose andesite & basalt scree & boulders on the way up. There's a false summit spire that looks tough. Pass this on the SW side and scramble across exposed scree to the true summit spire.
The crux is at the summit block of the true summit. There’s a short 20 foot section of class 4 on rotten rock a followed by a 60 feet of class 4 on solid rock, as long as you stay on the main route, but be aware this is loose rock if you're even a few feet off the standard - both pitches are PG13 and can easily be linked into one long pitch. The entire pitch for both sections is only 80 feet / just under 25 meters so a 50 meter rope for one rappel or a 30 meter rope for rappels. Use route finding skills to stay on course. Most parties opt to protect with webbing set up for dividing the 80 feet into two pitches. There's horns for slinging rap anchors on the way down.
Begin at 12,100 feet 1/2 mile before Cotopaxi National Park entrance where buses sometimes park with guided climbers. None of the approach and climb is in the National Park. There's a shorter alternative approach from the North but I was told by locals that it's on private property and the farmer that owns it will shoot all trespassers including climbers. They were not joking! Be sure to get an early start of hiking the approach and the climb in one day because thunderstorms & fog are common in the afternoon.
Go cross country East (downhill) ) from where you park along the road and you'll drop to 11,600 elevation as you reach the Rio Pita, a small river, below the road. Follow the road south (towards the NP) to a bridge next to a hydro station.
Once across the bridge look for a faint trail, avoiding cows. The trail immediately crosses directly over one small stream and straight uphill (East). The trail will intersect with a dirt road shortly after. If you miss the trail just bushwhack uphill away from the stream until you intersect with the road. Take a climbers right on the dirt road and note your return location (it's hard to miss).
Follow this dirt road as it winds uphill past a radio station.
When the dirt road ends a distinct trail begins. Soon you'll be at an open area that can be used as a base camp at 13,800. There is where the climb begins.
For a high camp follow this road towards a ridge and then along the ridge. Where the road ends a climbers trail begins. Follow this to the high camp on the ridge 14,450. There may be snow to melt but you're unlikely to find flowing water.