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Ecuador Volcanoes Cayambe (18,990'), Cotopaxi (19,347'), Chimborazo (20,561')
FAQ

Ecuador Volcanoes Frequently Asked Questions

This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: office@mountainguides.com

  • Route and Climbing
  • What is the route like?

    All climbs involve cramponing on moderately steep slopes and a great deal of glacier travel. The snow level is reached between 15,000' and 16,000' and each of the ascents will require several thousand feet of snow climbing. Crevasse problems should be no more difficult than those encountered in climbing Mt. Rainier. The routes are very exciting and much more involved than those on the Mexican volcanoes. You should expect summit days to average around 12 hours round-trip from the high camps.

  • How should I train?

    You cannot over train for high altitude climbing. Concentrate on your heart, legs and lungs. You will enjoy the trip more if you are properly prepared. An aerobic program of either running, stair climbing or bicycling, plus a conditioning program for the thigh muscles is strongly recommended starting at least three months before your trip. Although climbs of Cayambe and Cotopaxi do not require carrying an excessively heavy backpack, training with weight can help increase your aerobic stamina and endurance. You owe it to your team mates to be in excellent condition for the trip.

  • What skills do I need?

    Ecuador offers a great opportunity for climbers to test their abilities at higher elevations, but previous mountaineering knowledge of ice axe arrest, cramponing and rope team travel are required. Everyone needs to be familiar with these climbing skills.

  • What is the weather typically like?

    Historically, November through February have proven to be reasonably stable weather periods. We should, however, be prepared for both cold and wet weather. Conditions on the mountains should be comparable to those encountered on Mt. Rainier. Temperatures in Quito and neighboring towns should be mild with the possibility of an afternoon shower. A light jacket or sweater will likely be needed in the evenings.

  • Travel and Insurance
  • Is a visa required?

    No visa required for entering Ecuador for visits less than 90 days at this time. A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity is required. A "well-traveled" passport should have extra blank pages available for visa stamps. We suggest that you make a copy of your passport and keep it with you during your travels. Familiarize yourself with Travel Advisories and entry requirements available on the U.S. State Department website.

  • How do I get there?

    You are responsible for booking your flight arrangements. Flights typically arrive late in the evening on Day 1 of the itinerary. We encourage you to book your flights early if possible, we will share your Guide's itinerary once booked. For best service and support, we recommend that you work with a knowledgeable travel agent that can assist you quickly should you need help while traveling.

  • What kind of insurance do I need?

    Travel Insurance is required, minimum evacuation and medical expense coverage. Trip cancellation/interruption coverage is strongly suggested due to IMG's no-refund policy.

  • What's included in the expedition fee?

    Costs Included in Trip Fee:

    • IMG Leadership & local guides
    • Group climbing equipment
    • Double occupancy in 4-star hotel & hacienda for dates indicated in itinerary
    • Shared accommodations in refugios and in tents while climbing
    • Group transportation in-country as indicated in itinerary
    • *NEW* All meals for the trip during the published itinerary with the exception of snacks while climbing
    • Sightseeing in itinerary
    • Permit fees and park entrance fees
    • Papallacta hot springs
    • *NEW* Tip pool for local guides and staff
    • IMG buff

    Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:

    • International airfare/tax/baggage fee
    • Taxi to/from airport
    • Single supplement accommodations in hotel/hacienda
    • Snacks while climbing
    • Alcoholic beverages and personal sundries
    • Personal gear/climbing equipment
    • Travel Insurance
    • Covid tests (if required for travel)
    • Any Covid-related expense resulting in delays or quarantine
    • Evacuation, hospital or medical costs
    • Optional but customary guide gratuities

  • Packing and Food
  • How should I pack?

    Most of us will pack our gear in two duffle bags. We put our climbing pack in one of these bags. Most airlines limit checked luggage to two pieces each weighing no more than 50 lbs. Use zip ties to close the bags or purchase TSA approved locks. TSA approved locks really are a good idea. These are nice for your peace of mind and they help to prevent pilfering. In addition to these two bags, we like to use a small backpack as our carry-on. You then have this small backpack available for day hikes, shopping, etc.

    We also suggest that you purchase one of the many light money belts that are available or get one of the pouches that you can hang around your neck and place inside your shirt. This is a little safer way to carry your money and travel documents. Carrying a couple of extra passport photos with you as well as a copy of the first pages of your passport is a prudent idea while traveling abroad. These should be carried in a place separate from your passport. Having them available will greatly facilitate the replacement of your passport if you ever lose it.

    Travelling with a change of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on is always a good idea just in case your luggage gets delayed.

    Get to the airport early and make sure your luggage gets checked through to the correct destination. Also, make sure that your flight connections aren't too tight. Lost luggage is a pain. Try to keep the number of connections to a minimum when you are making travel plans and use the same airline as much as possible.

    Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. We would like everyone to have a wrist watch with an alarm. They are quite handy. It's convenient to have a pen with you for filling out travel forms.

  • What kind of clothing is appropriate?

    There is down-time in between climbs. Make sure to bring some comfortable clothes for hanging out and going out to dinner. Leave the black tie/dress at home, but classier attire is appropriate at some of the haciendas where we will be dining. Don't forget a bathing suit for soaking in the hot springs in Papallacta.

  • How much cash will I need?

    Plan to bring $300-$500 USD in cash, small bills in excellent condition. Major credit cards are typically accepted at many establishments. You'll need money on hand to pay for expenses not included in the cost of your program, and it's nice to have a little extra for souvenirs and gratuities.

  • What will the food be like?

    Breakfasts and dinners will be provided while you are climbing; this includes hot drinks and coffee. These meals will consist of "quick preparation" foods brought from the United States, as well as local foods. We ask that each climber supplies their own lunches/snacks for the climbs. This gives us a lot more flexibility and this way you'll always have something handy to munch on. Bring things like candy, nuts, granola bars, GORP and powdered drink mixes. Breads, fruits and some other items are available in Ecuador and we will make a stop before each climb to buy these perishable items. If you're looking for tips on climbing snacks, check out what IMG guides are eating.

  • Medical Info
  • What immunizations will I need?

    Requirements are subject to change. Currently Ecuador requires proof of a complete series of Covid-19 vaccination, proof of a negative RT-PCR test and a declaration of Traveler Health. We encourage you to refer to cdc.gov for the most up to date requirements and recommendations.

  • What medications will I need?

    Please consult the required equipment list. Of note, we want everyone to bring a course of the prescription antibiotic azithromycin ("Z-Pak"). Please consider this to be part of your required equipment. You should also bring some Imodium for treatment of traveler's diarrhea. We do not recommend the automatic use of Diamox for altitude sickness but you can also discuss this with your physician and he/she can make this available to you if deemed appropriate. Any medication should be used only if necessary and use should be discussed thoroughly with your physician and with your guide beforehand. We also recommend that each participant brings a small bottle of a hand disinfectant such as Purell. Anything that we can do to stay healthy is worthwhile.

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