Cotopaxi – Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering

Cotopaxi photo


Photo credit: Gerard Prins

  • Elevation: 5897 m
  • Difficulty: Basic Snow and Ice Climb
  • Best months to climb: December, January, February, March, April
  • Convenient center: Quito, Ecuador

Cotopaxi Climbing Notes

Ian Ray from SWITZERLAND writes:

Tambopaxi is a great base prior to climbing Cotopaxi, offering good food, wifi, dormitory accommodation ( private rooms currently being constructed) and outstanding views of Cotopaxi. It is 1 hour from the parking for Cotopaxi. <br/> <br/>I have climbed Cotopaxi twice - the first time 8 years ago and the second, this week ( March 2012) <br/> <br/>The mountain is very different now and a lot harder and more dangerous than previously. <br/> <br/>We left the refuge at 0100 and summited at 0645 <br/> <br/>The current route as used by all the local guides follows the obvious snow cone behind the refuge and then works rightwards along a vague, crevassed ridge passing a small summit at about 5600m before climbing the summit slopes. <br/> <br/>Once on  the glacier you meet a very large crevasse at about 5400m. The route follows down into this enormous crevasse, ice blocks, bridges, seracs. The crevasse takes about 5 minutes to pass, moving quickly with a rope of 3. It is apparently very changeable ( on a weekly basis) and is dubbed by the local guides as &#39;khumbu paxi!&#39; It is a dangerous 5 minutes - <br/> <br/>On exiting the crevasse, the route traverses rightwards, passing quite close to a number of seracs, with a couple of steep traverses ( one in particular with very serious consequence if someone slipped). This whole traverse section follows between and along the edge of some large crevasses and the section ends when you pass the small peak. This whole section from 5400-5600 is the crux of the climb as is currently quite dangerous. <br/> <br/>The slopes above are currently quite straight forward with one 5m ramp crossing a crevasse/ serrac just below the summit. <br/> <br/>8 years ago the climb was a straight forward glacier hike - currently it is an alpine AD which when you add in the altitude and the big dangerous crevasse make it quite a serious objective! We had quite good conditions underfoot and there was a trail -  in fresh snow or ice the route would be very challenging. <br/> <br/>It is however a stunning mountain! <br/>


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Cotopaxi Location Map

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10 other mountain peaks closest to Cotopaxi:

1. Rumiñahui (4712 m) 14.2 km
2. Pasochoa (4199 m) 27.7 km
3. Iliniza Sur (5248 m) 29.5 km
4. Iliniza Norte (5126 m) 31.0 km
5. Illiniza (5248 m) 31.0 km
6. Corazon (4791 m) 31.8 km
7. Antisana (5758 m) 39.4 km
8. Chacana (4643 m) 39.5 km
9. Atacazo (4463 m) 41.3 km
10. Quilotoa (3914 m) 55.1 km


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