by PROJECT CORDILLERA
Cordillera Central, Ecuador
The Cotopaxi expedition gives travelers the chance to experience the second highest volcano in Ecuador up close.
Furthermore, standing at 5897m, it one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. In the local language of Kichwa, Cotopaxi means “Throne of the Moon”
Similar to Mount Fuji in Japan, Cotopaxi has a perfectly symmetrical shape.
Cotopaxi has two stunning, nested craters. They are both beautiful vestiges of volcanic activity. As a result, the volcano has erupted fifty times since 1738.
The volcanic activity has seen a sharp increase since 2003. For instance, Cotopaxi became more active in 2015 and began to spew large amounts of ash, steam, and even some fireworks!
Therefore, climbing to the summit of the volcano was banned for over two years.
In October 2017, Cotopaxi opened up its doors to climbers again. Climbers looking for a demanding yet visually striking climb flock to one of Ecuador's best-loved volcanoes.
The route caters to all levels and can be completed over various lengths of time.
Travelers already acclimatized to the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' can choose to climb Cotopaxi only.
However, climbers looking to prepare themselves for the hike can combine different treks and volcanoes into their itinerary.
An excellent route includes Pasochoa, Corazon, Ilinizas North, and finishes with Cotopaxi. This mixture gives adventurers an epic adventure through the heart of the 'Avenue to Volcanoes'.
It is highly recommended you do rush your journey on the Cotopaxi expedition. There are a plethora of other volcanoes waiting to be explored, and they are right on Cotopaxi's doorstep.
Quito- Pasochoa Volcano
Depart form Quito and follow a trail to the Pasochoa volcano. This is an easy and very scenic Paramo that offers great views of Cotopaxi, Sincholagua and Rumiñahui volcanoes.
Hacienda- Corazón Volcano
Head to the village of El Chaupi and walk the Páramo until you make it to the summit of Corazón volcano. Return to the hacienda for a well deserved dinner and rest.
Hacienda- Iliniza North
Get to “La Virgen” (4,000m) and continue on a trail to enjoy the sunrise and amazing views of Cotopaxi. After passing the refuge, head north towards the rocky edge, which is rather easy and fun to climb to the summit (5,125m).
Quito/Hacienda- Cotopaxi Hut
Head to the Cotopaxi National Park, and after a short hike, reach the Jose Rivas Hut at 4,800m. Get ready with a short technique's review and get the details for the climb.
Cotopaxi Summit- Quito
At midnight you will get ready for the ascent. It will take you about 6hr. Pass some crevasses and snow passages to reach the summit. From the edge of the crater you will enjoy breathtaking views of this active volcano.