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With 10 peaks that exceed 5,000 m in height, in Ecuador there are countless opportunities to climb the mountains. Mountaineering is another great reason to visit Quito, for fans of this fascinating activity. With a little preparation and acclimatization to the altitude, you can enjoy ascents and climbs in the fascinating mountains, most of them very close to the capital. We always recommend doing it in the company of a certified guide, check

Easy ascents

Ilaló 3,185 m (10,450 ft) simple ascent through trails and paddocks. Ideal for beginners. You can go up from La Merced (Valle de los Chillos) or from Tumbaco, and cross from one valley to the other. Separate 5 hours to do it.

Corazón 4,788 m (15,708 ft) Crowning the mountain requires about five to six hours of sustained walking from the railroad tracks west of the town of Aloasí. It can also be climbed from El Chaupi parish. A mountain to begin the acclimatization in the height and to enjoy the Andean panorama.

Intermediate ascents

Rumiñahui 4. 712 m (15.459 ft) It has three peaks: north; the highest, and south and central require some experience in rock climbing. The entrance is through the Cotopaxi National Park and it takes between 6 – 8 hours to reach the top.

Ilinizas Norte 5.126 m (16,817 ft) the ascent begins in the parking lot of La Virgen, at 3,900 m (12,800 ft), after two hours you will reach the Nuevos Horizontes Refuge, which is 4,700 m (15,420 ft), through a simple walk that crosses the paramo and the “enchanted forest”, full of polylepis or paper tree. Thereafter there are another two hours of steep terrain, sand and rock, which, depending on how the conditions are, may require the use of rope and technical equipment.

Rucu 4,690 m (15,387 ft) and Guagua 4,784 m (15,695 ft) in the Pichincha

Relatively simple climbing that requires some preparation and experience. For the Rucu or Ruco, it is best to start from the cable car and follow the signposted path to the summit, it takes approximately 6 hours. For the Guagua, start at the viewpoint of the Lloa – Refugio route, the plan will take about 4 hours. You can connect both summits from the refuge of Guagua Pichincha, in an exhausting and well-used day of 8 – 10 hours that comes from west to east (towards Quito), in the cable car station.

Advanced Ascents

Atacazo 4,457 m (14,622 ft), fun and simple ascent. One can get close enough by car, one hour climbing slowly to the top from the antennas. Take the road that goes to the military’s antennas, south of Quito.

Quilindaña 4,878 m (16,000 feet) is also known as the “Cervino” of Ecuador, it is located southeast of Cotopaxi. It’s a technical climb that includes climbing on rock. You can enter through the Cotopaxi National Park, from the north or through Mulaló, from the south. It takes at least two days to climb it.

Sincholagua 4,890 m (16,043 ft), before the northern control of the Cotopaxi National Park, turn left, you have to cross the Pita River and arrive in a 4×4 vehicle to the ridge, at the bottom of the mountain. It is a long journey of 7 – 8 hours through paramo and rocks.

South  Iliniza 5,263 m (17,267 ft), mixed technical climbing that requires experience and preparation, has vertical sections. Definitely not for beginners. You have to sleep in the Nuevos Horizontes shelter the night before and the climb day should start at 3 in the morning.

Cotopaxi 5,897 m (19,347 ft) is perhaps the most iconic mountain in the country, although it is not the highest. If you do mountaineering, you will not want to leave without climbing it. It is the second highest active volcano in the world and its ascent takes 6 – 8 hours from the José Ribas Refuge, which is 4,800 m (15,748 ft), where you must sleep the night before going up. The climb usually starts at midnight. It takes two days to climb this beautiful mountain and at least 5 more acclimated to the altitude.


It is a complete sport activity that is developing more and more in the country, find gyms to train within the city and also places where there are equipped tracks or for traditional climbing, we recommend.

In Quito:

– Climbing Complex Ciudad de Quito, climbing wall. Ave. Ladrón de Guevara and Toledo. The Vicentina
– Monodedo, in La Floresta. Rafael León Larrea and La Coruña Ave.
– Field 4, to the north. Calle Barón de Carondelet and Veracruz.
– El Muro, km. 2 via Cumbayá – Lumbisí.
– Vertigo, La Primavera – Valley of Tumbaco. Interoceanic Ave. and Siena
– The Diedro, Selva Alegre – Los Chillos Valley. Calle Francisco Guarderas and Ramón González.
– La Cueva, La Vicentina. Equinoccio Street and Queseras del Medio.


– Guagua Pichincha, behind the shelter. Vía Lloa – Guagua Pichincha
– Polytechnic Zone, Cruz Loma. It arrives by means of the cable car.
– The quarries, an old interoceanic highway, enter just after leaving the Guayasamín tunnel, in the south.
– Sigsipamba, 5 km. (approx.) Pifo highway – Papallacta
– Peñas Blancas, 15 km. (approx.) Pifo – Papallacta highway
– Santa Clara (high and low area), Selva Alegre – Valle de los Chillos
– Cuyuja, 10 km. approx. on the Papallacta highway – Baeza
– El Hueco, Pifo. 1 km. north, by the bypass of the road E – 35 to the airport.
– The Rodadero, Pifo. 2 km. north by the bypass of the road E – 35 to the airport, from there follow the dirt road another 5 km.

To review the updated topo (detailed routes), check and the book Rutas de Escalada en Ecuador, by Felipe Proaño

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