Pichinchas: hiking at 4.500 metres high

I found that the summit of Guagua Pichincha was a ridge of lava about one hundred and fifty paces long, mainly firm rock, though strewn with loose, decomposing blocks, amongst which there were a number of lumps of pumice, up to a foot or rather more in diameter.

Edward Whimper, 1892.

The Pichinchas are two volcanoes known as Guagua and Rucu located some 10 km due west of Quito and easily visible from the capital. This is a good trek to do in order to be in good shape before trying some of the higher mountains.

Pichincha's eruption
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. Departure from Quito early in the morning. After passing a little village placed in a beautiful valley, both of which are called Lloa, we will drive up a dirt road until we reach a place called “La Ensillada”. From this point we will hike until we reach the Defensa Civil Refuge (4,600 m – 15,093 ft). Here we will have lunch and later try for the Guagua’s summit (4,874 m, 12,380 ft), two hours round trip. Dinner will be served, and a brief explanation about what we will do the next day will be given by our guides.
Day 2. After an early breakfast we will leave the refuge.  First, we will follow an old trail which will
lead us to “Padre Encantado”, from which point we will hike up to the Rucu’s summit (4,787 m, 12,159 ft). From the Rucu we will go down hill to a place called Cruz Loma the where our car will be waiting to take us down to Quito.