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Ecuador Seminar - Chimborazo

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $5600
    Deposit
    $900
    Duration
    15 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills
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Ecuador Seminar - Chimborazo

Ecuador Seminar - Chimborazo

dollar sign Price / Deposit

$5,600 / $ 900

Meter Difficulty

Level 3

Clock Duration

15 days

Climber on cliff Type

Skills

** Cotopaxi National Park is expected to remain closed to climbers for the 2023/2024 climbing season. We have adjusted our itinerary accordingly and will climb Antisana (18,875’). If Cotopaxi reopens, we will do our best to make the switch to Cotopaxi if time and availability allow.

Jump To…

Climb Ecuador's great high altitude volcanoes while establishing a solid foundation of mountaineering skills and techniques in order to prepare for bigger peaks in the future.

Ecuador’s remarkable concentration of high altitude volcanoes offers superb climbing and excellent opportunities to build your climbing skills. Climb three of the best - Cayambe (18,997'), Antisana (18,886'), and Chimborazo (20,703').

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Scale five Andean volcanoes over the course of one short climbing expedition.
  • Build a solid mountaineering foundation on high altitude Ecuadorian peaks while preparing for bigger mountains such as Denali, Aconcagua, or the Himalaya.
  • Climb with an experienced RMI Guide, benefiting from the background, training, and expertise of our guides as you venture to higher altitudes.
  • Experience the vibrant culture of Ecuador between ascents of three of the country's highest mountains.
  • Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

Our trip begins in Quito, the capitol city of Ecuador. Located fifteen miles south of the equator and at an altitude of 9,350’, it sits in a high altitude valley that is known as the "Avenue of the Volcanoes." We explore Quito’s mix of colonial and modern streets and hike in the surrounding hills to build our acclimatization.

Our acclimatization program continues over the next few days as we attempt to summit two volcanoes, each in excess of 13,000'. Rock scrambling skills will be introduced on these climbs. We then venture to Cayambe (18,997'), the third highest peak in Ecuador. We base out of the Ruales Oleas Bergé climbers' hut at 15,300' and access the nearby glacier to review basic mountaineering techniques. With an early alpine start, our summit climb of Cayambe attempts the only snow capped point on Earth sitting squarely on the Equator.

We continue to build our skills with training and summit attempts on Antisana (18,886') and then Chimborazo (20,703'). We utilize the glaciers of these two peaks to further our technical mountaineering skills including crevasse rescue, fixed line travel, ice climbing, as well as take on the challenge of reaching the summits of both iconic Ecuadorian peaks.

Our Ecuador Seminar program offers superb alpine climbing and is ideal for mountaineers looking to build their climbing skills for future climbing expeditions, climb to new elevations, and take part in the excitement of an international climbing expedition.

Climbing Cayambe, Antisana, and Chimborazo involves moderately steep slopes and prior knowledge of roped travel, crampon techniques, and ice axe arrest is required; review of these basic mountaineering techniques is built into the itinerary.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.

Our Ecuador climbs are led by RMI’s top U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience in not only Ecuador but on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide held to our standards cannot be understated. We climb in Ecuador with a 3:1 climber to RMI Guide ratio to provide the important individual attention during training and the climbs. Additionally, joining our programs is an experienced Ecuadorian guide with whom we have partnered for many years. Jaime Avila and Esteban Mena are accomplished guides who have climbed around the world, from Ecuador to the Himalaya.

We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. We’ve chosen our lodges and meals to keep our team comfortable, happy, and healthy throughout the climb. We use private vehicles to travel between the different peaks, minimizing our time spent on the road and allowing us to travel more safely. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.

SAFETY

Safety has always been RMI’s top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI’s experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Ecuador’s Volcanoes. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles, daily weather forecasts, and diligent attention are taken as we venture to high altitudes. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].

Climber Reviews

Filter By
03/02/2023
All of the mountains were great in their own way, but Antisana was my clear favorite. The way finding and crevasse navigation with all of the glacier features made it a really fun, new experience that I particularly enjoyed.
Alex H.

03/01/2023
I had a great time - at every point my experience was excellent.
Jean C.

03/01/2023
The accommodations far exceeded my expectations. It turned what I thought would be a tough seminar into a nice vacation
Perry E.

03/02/2022
The mixture of culture and climbing, but also the opportunities to build connections with the team.
Gregory P.

02/22/2022
Success in summiting all of the mountains!
Mark C.

02/05/2022
Our climbing team quickly became a very cohesive group. I attribute this to our guides organizing group functions early on and spending the time to get to know all of us. The local guides were outstanding as well - very knowledgeable, personable, and fun to be around. It was a great trip to be a part of.
Kevin K.

02/14/2019
I enjoy the camaraderie of the climbing experience. The physical nature of our suffering shared by all. Ecuador is a wonderful country with great people.
Ken M.

03/05/2018
The guides were terrific and the added aspect of exploring another country and culture made the trip very special.
Justin M.

02/27/2018
Well organized, highly skilled guides, and great people.
David G.

04/05/2017
I continue to be impressed with RMI as professionals from the front office to the management to the guides. I will continue to use RMI and to recommend to others.
James N.

02/20/2017
Well-organized and experienced guides who were committed to safety and who were also outstanding instructors and genuinely good people.
Jason J.

03/07/2016
It was an amazing life experience.
Rob T.

02/26/2016
This trip offered the perfect combination of culture, training, and of course climbing. Well organized and expertly planned.
Jerry B.

01/18/2016
The new friendships formed. When engaging in an activity like mountain climbing with others it creates a bond and I really enjoyed meeting these new people and forming new friendships.
Laura J.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!


  • Whittaker Mountaineering Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2024 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

Pack & Travel

Image of DUFFEL BAG(S)
2 DUFFEL BAG(S)

120+ liter bag(s) made of tough material with rugged zippers.

Guide Pick™

Image of LUGGAGE LOCKS
LUGGAGE LOCKS

Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.

Guide Pick™

Image of 65+ LITER BACKPACK
65+ LITER BACKPACK

Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and your share of group equipment. You will not need a separate summit pack.

Guide Pick™

Image of 25+ LITER DAY PACK
25+ LITER DAY PACK

A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on or while sightseeing.

Guide Pick™

Sleeping Bag & Pad

Image of SLEEPING BAG
SLEEPING BAG

We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.

Guide Pick™

Image of COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
Guide Pick™

Image of INFLATABLE SLEEPING PAD
INFLATABLE SLEEPING PAD

A full-length inflatable pad.

Guide Pick™

Image of CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD
CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD

A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.

Guide Pick™

Technical Gear

Image of ICE AXE
ICE AXE

The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.

Guide Pick™

Image of CLIMBING HARNESS
CLIMBING HARNESS

We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

Guide Pick™

Image of TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER
1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER

Used for clipping into the climbing rope.

Guide Pick™

Image of LOCKING CARABINER(S)
1 LOCKING CARABINER(S)

Used for clipping into anchors, etc.

Guide Pick™

Image of NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S)
3 NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S)

Used for pack ditch loop, etc.

Guide Pick™

Image of CRAMPONS
CRAMPONS

12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use.

Guide Pick™

Image of AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES

Bring extra batteries appropriate to the duration of the climb.

Guide Pick™

Image of TREKKING POLES
TREKKING POLES

We recommend lightweight and collapsible poles with snow baskets.

Guide Pick™

Image of MECHANICAL ASCENDER
MECHANICAL ASCENDER

For traveling on fixed lines. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.

Guide Pick™

Image of ' ACCESSORY CORD
12 ' ACCESSORY CORD

6 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR precut into two 4' sections OR two 13.5" Sterling Hollow Block sewn loops.

Guide Pick™

Image of ' ACCESSORY CORD
15 ' ACCESSORY CORD

7 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR one 240cm dyneema sling.


Head

Image of HELMET
HELMET

A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™

Image of WARM HAT
WARM HAT

Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™


Image of BUFF
BUFF

A Buff provides versitile head and neck protection. A neck gaiter is also acceptable.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEADLAMP
HEADLAMP

Start with fresh batteries and bring extra set(s) of batteries appropriate to the duration of the trip.

Guide Pick™

Image of GLACIER GLASSES
GLACIER GLASSES

Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

Guide Pick™

Image of GOGGLES
GOGGLES

Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

Guide Pick™

Hands

Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES

Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated mountain gloves.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS
HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency backups if you drop or lose a lighter-weight glove.

Guide Pick™

Upper Body

We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light, and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, softshell, down, and synthetic options.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY
2 LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY

Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
2 LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

One step up in warmth and bulk from a baselayer. A technical fleece makes an ideal light weight insulating layer.

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

A down, synthetic, or softshell hoody makes a great midlayer.

Guide Pick™


Image of INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD
INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD

Your expedition-style heavy parka must extend below the waist, have an insulated hood, and be able to fit over the rest of your upper body layers. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it also serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill.

Guide Pick™

Image of SPORTS BRA
SPORTS BRA

We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.

Guide Pick™

Lower Body

We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.



Image of SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS
2 SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS

Softshell climbing pants can be worn in combination with a base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)
RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)

Non-insulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and softshell climbing pants. Full side zippers or 7/8 side zippers are required so that shell pants can be put on while wearing boots and crampons.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANTS OR SHORTS
LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANTS OR SHORTS

A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.

Guide Pick™

Feet

SINGLE OR DOUBLE MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS

We recommend modern hybrid double boots for this climb because they provide the best balance of weight, comfort, and insulation. Insulated single mountaineering boots are also adequate but might result in cold feet. Bring one pair of chemical foot warmers per summit day if you are using single mountaineering boots.


Image of RAINIER AND 5000 METER SINGLE BOOT TEXT

SINGLE BOOTS: Insulated, full-shank, and crampon-compatible leather or synthetic boots designed for mountaineering. Single boots tend to be lighter and more comfortable than double boots at the expense of warmth.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAINIER AND 5000 METER DOUBLE BOOT TEXT

DOUBLE BOOTS: Insulated double boots designed for mountaineering. Plastic-shelled models are acceptable, though modern synthetic models are lighter and more comfortable.

Guide Pick™

Image of HIKING BOOTS
HIKING BOOTS

A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.

Guide Pick™

Image of CASUAL SHOES
CASUAL SHOES

Great for traveling and wearing around town or camp. A pair of tennis shoes or light hikers works well.

Guide Pick™

Image of GAITERS
GAITERS

A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing. Not needed if using a boot with an integrated gaiter.

Guide Pick™

Image of PAIRS OF SOCKS
4 PAIRS OF SOCKS

Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.

Guide Pick™

First Aid & Medications

MEDICATIONS

We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.

We require each climber to have the following medications:


ANTIBIOTICS

Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).


ACETAZOLAMIDE (DIAMOX)

125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 15 - 20 tablets.


DEXAMETHASONE

4mg tablets for the treatment of altitude illness. Recommend 12 tablets.


NIFEDIPINE

30mg slow-release tablets for the prevention or treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Recommend 8 - 10 tablets.


Image of SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT
SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT

Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.

Guide Pick™

Personal Items

Image of MEALS & SNACKS
MEALS & SNACKS

See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


Image of BOWL
BOWL

Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.

Guide Pick™

Image of INSULATED MUG
INSULATED MUG

Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.

Guide Pick™

Image of SPOON OR SPORK
SPOON OR SPORK

A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

Guide Pick™

Image of WATER BOTTLES
2 WATER BOTTLES

One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

Guide Pick™

Image of STUFF SACK(S)
STUFF SACK(S)

Bring as needed.

Guide Pick™

Image of LARGE GARBAGE BAGS
2 - 3 LARGE GARBAGE BAGS

Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.


Image of POCKETKNIFE
POCKETKNIFE
Guide Pick™

Image of READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
Guide Pick™

Image of PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG
PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.


Image of SUNSCREEN
SUNSCREEN

We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIP BALM
LIP BALM

We recommend SPF 15 or higher.

Guide Pick™

Image of EAR PLUGS
EAR PLUGS

SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.


Image of PAIRS CHEMICAL HAND WARMERS
4 - 6 PAIRS CHEMICAL HAND WARMERS
Guide Pick™

Image of PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)
PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)

Practice using this before coming on the climb!

Guide Pick™

Image of CAMERA (OPTIONAL)
CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.


Image of POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)
POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)

A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.

Guide Pick™

TRAVEL POWER ADAPTER

For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.


Travel Clothes

Image of TRAVEL CLOTHES
TRAVEL CLOTHES

We recommend bringing a selection of clothing to wear while traveling, site seeing and dining.  


SUNGLASSES

SWIMSUIT

Travel Documents

PASSPORT

Valid for six months beyond your return date.


COPY OF PASSPORT

The first two pages of your passport.


COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY

2 EXTRA PASSPORT PHOTOS

Pre-Trip Checklist

Purchase travel insurance.


Purchase airplane tickets.


Reserve rental equipment.


Be in the best shape of your life!



Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: huts, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, avalanche probes, shovels, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.

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Is it safe to travel in Ecuador?

We hold the perspective that travel to Ecuador (and any developing nation) includes risk, but not high risk. In order to safeguard our trips:

  • We have hired a professional tour operator to coordinate our in-country logistics.
  • We hire local guides familiar with the language, roads, customs, etc.
  • We follow popular tourist thoroughfares, using private vehicles (not public transportation).
  • We travel in groups and have tourist safety protocols in place (not flashing cash, not wearing expensive jewelry, etc.).
  • Our guides are well-versed with our program and are accustomed to travel in a foreign country.

Take some time to visit the consular and travel warning pages at the U.S. Department of State. These pages offer good information and should be revisited occasionally as trip departure dates approach.

How does RMI approach these climbs differently from others so as to maximize the probability of reaching the summit?

We approach the climbs in three notably different ways:

  1. Our tried and true "ascent profile" (i.e., our incremental increase in sleeping altitudes over time to allow for proper acclimatization) is a good match for the length of our trip. This allows the group to be in the best possible condition to go for the summit.
  2. We plan an appropriate amount of climbing and culture for the length of a trip.
  3. Our world-class guides: their leadership and experience make a huge difference and are the primary reason we have so many repeat customers. Check out the RMI Difference on the Description page.

What is the food like on the mountain?

Our mountain meals are hearty and include fresh local fare where possible. Please see our Food details for an example of meals while on the mountain.

Is the water okay to drink?

We strongly advise against drinking tap water in Ecuador. Both bottled and boiled water are readily available and should be used for drinking water. Personal water filters or water treatment tablets are not needed.

How much weight am I carrying in my pack?

Most days, backpacks should weigh approximately 20 to 25 lbs as we only carry the day's snacks, water, clothing, etc. as needed on our acclimating hikes or summit climbs. The approaches to high huts/camps are the only exceptions. Then we may carry up to 50 lbs depending on the amount of group gear needed for the summit attempt.

What is the pace like?

We use an easy to moderate pace throughout the trip, depending on whether we are on an acclimating hike or on a summit climb. While the distances we cover on a daily basis are relatively short, the altitudes to which we travel are very high and the days of hiking and climbing are still challenging. Overall, our guides set a reasonable pace - at the appropriate speed to cover the distance we need that day without going too quickly or too slowly.

What are the huts like?

The Refugio Ruales Oleas Bergé at 15,300' on Cayambe is set in a spectacular location, directly at the start of the climbing route. It has a cooking area/kitchens, as well as bathrooms away from the main sleeping quarters. The Cayambe hut is comprised of smaller, separated rooms with bunk arrangements. The Cotopaxi hut is comprised of larger dormitory style rooms with multiple bunks per room.

What are the toilets like?

Toilets are available near the hut on Cayambe. On our acclimating hikes and summit climbs, where no toilets exist, we use bio-bags to collect our solid waste so that it may be transported off of the mountain. We recommend that you bring hand sanitizer to use after visiting the toilets.

How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?

We suggest bringing a smart phone or a WIFI-enabled device and using it where WIFI and internet services are available, as in Quito. On the climbs, however, WIFI access is not available. Cell service is widely available across most of Ecuador, see below.

Should I bring a cell phone?

Sure, cell phone coverage is generally available in and around towns. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Ecuador and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.

RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.

Do iPhones function well at high altitude?

Yes. However, the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip.

Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?

Yes, but if you wish to take it up on the mountain you will likely need to recharge it once in a while. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Ecuador.

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