To participate in this adventure, you must have experience in mountains higher than 4,000 meters; you must also be in top physical condition.
Day 1: We arrive in Quito, and drive to Hostal Aleida, in La Floresta’s area. We spend our first night at 2,800 meters.
Day 2: We walk through the historical center, and go up the Panecillo (“Little Bread Loaf, at 3,000 meters). We visit “La Mitad del Mundo” (“The Half of the World”), a museum situated over the equatorial line dividing the Northern and Southern hemispheres. We dine at the typical Equatorian restaurant La Ronda.
Day 3: We take a cable car to Cruz Loma, at 4,050 meters, and climb the Rucu Pichincha (4,794 meters). Our acclimatization improves little by little.
Day 4: We are driven to Cotopaxi National Park, and stay at the Tambopaxi Hut, at 3,000 meters. At 22 hours, we take breakfast, and board our van towards the parking lot. At midnight we start walking. One hour later, we put on our crampons and walk over the glacier. We arrive to a section called “the heart-breaker” (la rompecorazones in Spanish), an interminable climb which takes over one hour and consumes much of our energy. Finally, we cross a hidden crevasse over an ice bridge, and take our real first break of the night.
We go on climbing; two hours later, the sun comes up, and the final section appears before our eyes: the last 250 vertical meters. There is even a short section that requires us to climb with the help of our ice-axes.
We finally reach the summit of Cotopaxi, at 5,897 meters. At our feet lies the huge crater of this volcano. We take pictures and enjoy the amazing view.
The descent is comparatively much faster. At eleven am we are back at the entrance of the park, and drive (a three-hour ride) the base of the Chimborazo. We stay at a fantastic private hostal, the Chimborazo Lodge, a true alpine museum. It belongs to Mr Marco Cruz, a myth of local alpinism. He is an affable man who goes about his hostal in a typical South Tyrol attire.
Day 5: Active rest. A five-hour walk (some 1,000 vertical meters) to a famous cave, which was considered sacred by the local Indians. Great food and plenty of rest at the lodge.
Day 6: We rest during the day. At 15 ours we enter the Park, and stay at a hut at 4,700 meters. With us is Raúl, our charming local guide (in Ecuador is mandatory to have an autoctonous guide). We dine and go to bed.
Day 7: We rise at 22 hours, and leave shortly afterwards. At midnight we are over 5,000 meters; at two am, above 5,300 meters. We go up a seemingly unending glacier, hour after hour of suffering and cold. Finally, the sun comes out and fills us with encouragement.
We reach Ventimiglia, the pre-summit. Brief rest, and we go across the glacier, in less that one hour, through a beautiful labyrinth of crevaesses, to the Whymper summit of Chimborazo, at 6,267 meterss. We are at the point closest to the sun on Earth!!!
We force a rapid descent, to avoid the frequent stone fall. We are back at the hut around midday. Mission accomplished!!! On the way back, we have a hearty meal at Chimborazo Logde, say goodbye and leave for Quito. Celebration dinner, shower, and ten hours of sweet dreams!
Day 8: Visit to the “Misty Forest” or flight back home.