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Food

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners are included. Breakfasts are generally fruit, bread, butter and jam, often served with eggs. While trekking all food is prepared by the local staff and will generally consist of three courses (soup, main and dessert) and boiled drinking water for your water bottles is provided each morning and evening. There will be plenty of soft drinks available during the trek. Lunches when hiking are packed and consist of sandwiches with snacks and chocolate. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, although as is the case in much of Latin America, vegetarian meals often involve substituting meat with more vegetables. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance so that we can advise the local staff of your needs.
  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners are included. Breakfasts are generally fruit, bread, butter and jam, often served with eggs. While trekking all food is prepared by the local staff and will generally consist of three courses (soup, main and dessert) and boiled drinking water for your water bottles is provided each morning and evening. There will be plenty of soft drinks available during the trek. Lunches when hiking are packed and consist of sandwiches with snacks and chocolate. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, although as is the case in much of Latin America, vegetarian meals often involve substituting meat with more vegetables. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance so that we can advise the local staff of your needs.

Activities

  • Trek: summits
  • Food

    • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners are included. Breakfasts generally consist of fruit, bread, butter and jam, often served with eggs. While trekking all food is prepared by the local staff and will generally consist of three courses (soup, main and dessert) Boiled drinking water for your water bottles is provided each morning and evening and there will be plenty of soft drinks available during the trek. Lunches when hiking are packed and consist of sandwiches with snacks and chocolate. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, although as is the case in much of Latin America, vegetarian meals often involve substituting meat with more vegetables. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance so that we can advise the local staff of your needs.

    Activities

    • Accom: camping
    • Accom: hotel/lodge
    • Adult group
    • History
    • Serious adventure
    • Walking & Trekking
    • Wilderness
    • Guided Group
    • Small Adult Group
  • 1

    Start Quito.

    Those on group flights will usually arrive this evening.

  • 2

    Quito city tour and equipment check.

    This morning you'll have the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers as we have a welcome briefing and take a guided tour of the main sights in Quito. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, standing at 2800m on the western cordillera of the Andes. It is one of the smaller and more attractive of the colonial capitals of South America. As the city is at an altitude of approx 2850m, you should take it easy. Your tour leader will do a full briefing about the trek today, inclduing a thorough check on everyone's mountaineering equipment for the later parts of the trip. Luggage not required for the Pinan trek or Imbabura climb on day 9 can be left at the hotel in Quito. We will need a list of any rental equipment that you require at least 2 weeks before your arrival to prepare it for you.

  • 3

    Acclimatisation hike at Cuicocha Crater Lake.

    We head north from Quito along the Pan American Highway and after three hours reach Cuicocha Lake. This beautiful caldera (volcanic crater) is about 3km wide and was formed about 3100 years ago by a massive volcanic explosion. The undulating 14k trek around this lake will take about 5 hours. At approx 3050m - 3500m altitude it provides excellent acclimatisation for the days ahead. We then head northwards to Tumbabiro where we overnight in a stunning converted hacienda at the much more comfortable altitude of 2050m in Quito. Luggage not required for the Pinan trek can be left here as you will be returning to the hacienda after the trek.

  • 4

    Start Pinan trek; walk to a small Indian village.

    A short drive this morning brings us to the small village of Pablo Arenas (2400m) from where we start our trek towards San Francisco situated at 2900m. We begin on a wide track that affords spectacular views of the surrounding fertile countryside. Later we pass through typical mountain forest. The path is well marked and involves a series of steep ascents and descents with a final climb which leads us to our campsite, next to the village of San Francisco. Today's 12km walk should take around 5 to 6 hours. A packed lunch is included.

  • 5

    Camp beside Yanacocha Lake.

    Today our path begins with a steep ascent and soon leaves civilisation behind. We pass through beautiful, moss-clad polylepis mountain forests and paramo landscape. With a bit of luck we may even spot a condor. The highest point today is the pass at 4030m from where we gain views down to our lakeside campsite with Mount Yanaurco towering behind. Our overnight camp will be next to Yanacocha Lake at 3930m. Today's walk is 15km. Walking time approximately 8 hours.

  • 6

    Climb the extinct volcano of Yanaurco (4530m).

    Today we start our 7 to 8 hour 10km trek to the top of the extinct volcano of Yanaurco passing unique highland vegetation. The ascent is not technical but is steep with some light scambling near the top. The final part is a rocky ridge and the summit (4535m) is a striking natural garden with a pre-Inca altar. The descent affords incredible views towards the valley below. We will contunue to follow the trail down which then curves round the mountain towards the next campsite at 4000m.

  • 7

    End Pinan trek; relax in hot springs.

    From our camp at the Cucharo crater we walk over an oasis at 3960m to drop down to a valley. The path gradually becomes more defined as we trek through forest and continue descending to the next village, passing lush meadows where we'll stop to have our packed lunch. On a clear day Cyambe volcano can be seen in the distance. We end the trek at the welcoming medicinal hot springs of Chachimbiro (2500m) where we can relax and soothe any aching limbs. There is also a café at the springs where cold drinks and beer can be purchased. Our bus will meet us here for the drive back to the small village of Tumbabiro and our hacienda. The 20km hike will take 6 to 7 hours, most of which is a steady descent.

  • 8

    Visit the Otavalo Indian Market.

    A leisurely start at our hacienda this morning and then drive to Otavalo (about 90 minutes) to enjoy the famous and busy Saturday market, one of the most important and well known in the region. It is a fantastic place to watch the world go by as indigenous people from the surrounding villages dressed in pristine striking traditional costume frequent the market on a Saturday. Women wear embroidered blouses and long wool skirts whilst the men proudly parade their felt hats, navy blue ponchos and calf- length trousers. There are plenty of souvenirs to buy such as Panama hats, exquisite weaving and jewellery or you can relax at a café. Later we'll continue onto another hacienda just outside of the town with free time to rest.

  • 9

    Summit Imbabura Volcano (4600m).

    An early start as we leave our hacienda at 5am and drive south to the cloud forest and farms at the foot of Imbabura Volcano. This 4630m peak towers over the city of Ibarra and can occasionally be snowclad. Nonetheless, the ascent is straightforward but very steep in places. It involves a scramble towards the top where it becomes rocky. Our target is the North Peak at 4600m, separated from the slighty higher South Peak by a dramatic, jagged caldera ridgeline. Please note in wet weather the final 200m can be extremely slippery and on occasion we might have to abandon this last section. After the ascent we return to our hacienda just outside Otavalo. Total hiking time is approximately 9 hours/15km.

  • 10

    To Antisana National Park; ice skills class on glacier (approx 4700m).

    Enjoy breakfast at the hacienda before driving to Antisana National Park, a journey of approximately two and a half hours. Antisana Volcano rises to a height of 5704m - Ecuador’s fourth highest - and is surrounded by striking lagoons which reflect the peak in their still waters. From an altitude of 4150m we walk to our campsite at 4550m, where we stop for lunch before hiking up approximately one hour to the lower glaciers (if the weather is reasonable) on which we start honing our ice-skills. We'll be practicing on the ice at about 4700m and this combined with spending the night at our camp (4550m) will give our lungs a good test and provide excellent acclimatisation. Today's walking distance is approximately 4km.

  • 11

    Ice skills training; to Quito.

    Today's practice session begins at 5am so that we are used to walking on snow in the dark for the Cayambe climb. After breakfast we'll head out onto the ice to explore the peak's beautiful glaciers. As well as continuing with our ice skills the plan will be to walk up to 4900m - 5000m on the glacier today. We'll then walk back down to the campsite for lunch and afterwards drive back to Quito. Today's total walking distance is approx. 5km. After a tough couple of days at around 5000m, a night in Quito will give our bodies time to rest, recover and prepare for the final push on Cayambe.

  • 12

    Free day in Quito to relax.

    Today is a free day in Quito. There are many optional day excursions in and around the city, some of which require prior organisation with your leader at the beginning of the trip. The museums, cathedrals and old town can easily keep you occupied inside the city, or you may want to consider trips to the equator line or the nearby cloud forest reserves.

  • 13

    To Cayambe N.P.; hike to mountain hut (4700m).

    Drive to Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve today. Close to the park entrance we will meet the guides who will accompany us on Cayambe. We drive to the Ruales Oleas Berge Refuge at 4700m for a detailed briefing about the climb, supper and a very early night! Any clients choosing not to climb will travel to San Pablo where alternative activities can be organised, but please be aware that the group leader will continue on with any climbers to the refuge.

  • 14

    Climb Cayambe (non climbers hike in N.P); to Quito.

    Our climb begins from the refuge on the west side of Cayambe at around 01:00am - bring a good torch for the ascent. After a light breakfast we begin the 8 hour climb to the summit at 5790 metres. First of all we hike on the andesite rocks toward the glacier, using our hands at times to negotiate the rocks. After around one and a half hours hiking we reach the glacier where we use our crampons and rope. After hiking for a further two hours we pass by the Jarrin rocks which are protruding boulders emerging from the glacier. On the right hand side of the rocks there are a few crevasses which can be avoided by walking to the left hand side. At an altitude of 5700m there is a large crevasse that surrounds the summit, we pursue on the right hand side of the crevasse untill we reach an ice bridge which allows us to cross. The last snow pitch is about 10m long and 45 degrees steep - after this we are on the summit at 5790m. After a short (and often very cold) stay on the summit to admire the remarkable views into the 500-metre-wide smouldering crater and out across the highlands, it takes about 3-4 hours to descend to the hut. Back at the refuge we will have some light refreshments and relax for half an hour or so. At this point we say farewell to our guides and then drive down the mountain and on to Quito. Any clients who chose not to climb will have the opportunity to hike amongst the beautiful Mojanda lakes before returning to Quito with the group. There will be time this afternoon to rest after the climb before our farewell group dinner this evening.

  • 15

    End Quito.

    Free transfers to Quito airport are available today.

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