Cotopaxi: the way of the condor

… As there is not much probablility of considerable error in any of the determinations, it would seem that Cotopaxi has materially increased its elevation in the course of the last century and a half.

Edward Whimper, 1892.

The history of Cotopaxi’s activity is the most dramatic in Ecuador, it has caused the most death and destruction. Records of its eruptions date back to 1534, 1742, 1743, 1744, 1766, 1768, 1853 and the last one in 1877.


Near to the summit of Cotopaxi
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. We leave Quito early in the morning and arrive at a recreation area within Cotopaxi National Park
called “El Boliche”. From this point we will start to hike upwards towards a ridge which we will follow until the base of Rumiñahui. Here we will take a brief lunch break and afterwards turn south along a gentle ridge and eventually reach our camp where we will spend the night.
Dinner will be served.
Day 2. After breakfast we will cross over flat plains for approximately 3 hours. We will arrive at some
archeological ruins called Pucara Salitre where the guides will give a description of the ruins. Lunch will be served, and from this point we will drive up to the parking lot (4,600 m –
15,093 ft) and start to hike up to the José Ribas Refuge (4,800 m – 15,749 ft) which will take approximatly one hour. Dinner will be served, and a brief explanation about what we will do the next day will be given by our guides.
Day 3. Summit attempt. Midnight Breakfast. Following the standard route it will take us about six hours to reach the summit. On a clear day we will be able to see the spectacular crater of Cotopaxi and most of the Ecuadorian peaks above 5,000 m (16,405 ft). It will take us about three hours to return to the refuge. In the afternoon we will be back in Quito.