Sangay: a remote and living volcanoe

Upon the few occasions that we saw it (Sangay), there were outrushes of steam at intervals of twenty to thirty minutes which shot up with immense rapidity five or six thousand above the top of the mountain.

Edward Whimper, 1892.

In many ways, Sangay is the most exciting and dangerous mountain to be climbed in Ecuador. It is said to be the most continuously active volcano in South America. It is also situated in a very remote region and several days of hard hikes are required to reach its base.

Altar inside crater
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. We will depart from Quito in the direction of Riobamba, driving until we reach the village of
Alao and later the Indian community of Eten, where we will set up our campsite. Dinner will be
Day 2. After breakfast we will pack our backpacks onto mules and start our trek following the edges of
Quebrada Azashuaycu. It will take us about seven hours to reach our next campsite in an area known as Escaleras. Dinner will be served.
Day 3. It will be a very active day hiking along a very up and down trailess way, and constantly climbing rises and crossing rivers, until we reach a flat low area known as Plazabamba, where we will set up our campsite. Dinner will be served.
Day 4. Today we will head southeast on a terrain that becomes increasingly rugged and difficult. Late in the afternoon we will reach a place called La Playa, where there is a red lava flow flanked by streams where we will set up our camps. Dinner.
Day 5. Ascent to the summit which will take us about eight hours. At the beginning the vegetation is thick then slowly changes into a sandy and snowy slope, which will take us to the summit. Return to the campsite and dinner.
Day 6  to 8 The next three days will take us along the same route taken to reach La Playa.
If the stars are with us we will reach Eten by the third day.
Day 9. Breakfast and departure from Eten. There are several Indian markets which may be possible to visit. Late in the afternoon we will be in Quito.