Barefoot Expeditions: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Peru Travel Adventures

Climbing Cotopaxi: 8 Important Facts You Should Know About the Mountain Refuge

[singlepic id=147 w=320 h=240 mode=web20 float=right]Here are some facts you should know to help you prepare before visiting the Cotopaxi volcano and the refuge:

  1. Entrance Fee: The entrance fee to the Cotopaxi National Park is $10 for foreigners and $2 for Ecuadorians.
  2. Entry Times: Admission to the Cotopaxi National Park (through “control norte” and “control caspi”) is allowed only before 4pm (16h00).
  3. Parking areas: There is a parking area at 4600 m, you have to walk around 30-45 minutes to get to the refuge.
  4. Refuge Altitude: The refuge “José Ribas” is located in the north face of the Cotopaxi Volcano at 4800 meters (15750 feet) of altitude.
  5. What would you find at the refuge? In the refuge there are two kitchen rooms, 4 stoves, plastic dishes, running water (if it is not frozen), bathrooms, electricity from 6 pm to 8 pm, beds with mattresses, lockers.
  6. Staying the night at the refuge: If you plan to stay in the refuge you should bring your sleeping bag, warm clothes, food, pure water, headlamp, toilet paper, if you want you can bring your own lock.
  7. Shopping (Supplies): There is a small shop where you can buy snacks and hot chocolate or tea.
  8. Price per night at the refuge: The price per night per person is around $10 for Ecuadorians and around $20 for foreigners.

To see videos of the Cotopaxi please click below.

5 comments

  1. My friend and I will be doing our first climbing expedition on Cotopaxi in August. We are both avid backpackers, cyclists and runners but have never climbed. We're spending 10 days prior at a research project in the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve, and will do acclimatizing climbs on Pinchachoa and Illinza Norte. Will that be a safe enough acclimatization process?

    We chose a guide on the internet, Compania de Guias de Montana. Does anyone have recommendations, references about them they could share? Also, we're a little concerned about gear– he tells us it will be 10-20 degrees below zero, farenheit. Is that accurate??
    He's also told us not to be concerned that we have no experience with technical equipment — crampons, harnesses, ropes, ice axes– that we can learn all we need to know in the afternoon before the climb.
    We don't want to be stupid tourists and do something foolish. Any insights would be helpful. We've read everything here but would love some feedback from some experienced climbers. thanks!

    1. Hi,
      I am supposed that you will acclimatize either in the Ruco Pichincha (4700 m), very close to Quito, or in Pasochoa (4200 m) which is a little further from Quito (i am pretty sure there is not such Pinchachoa). If you can climb both, wonderful. Illiniza norte is a great mountain to acclimatize. I think that with your level of physical activity and those acclimatization climbs you may be ready for Cotopaxi.
      Cotopaxi is not a technical mountain, it is very touristic, and therefore, the route is obvious, and very walked. That is why you were asked not to worry about the use of the gear, the most you should learn would be to get used walk wearing those rigid plastic boots and crampons.
      The company you chose “Compañía de guías de montaña”is a really good one, it is specialized in climbing tours, and has a solid background. Furthermore, one of the founders is one of the seven persons on earth that climbed the 14 highest mountains of the world without supplemental oxygen.
      I hope this information was helpful and I hope you reach the summit of Cotopaxi!

      1. thank you so much! And yes, i meant Pasochoa — :+)

        Your comments were very helpful and very reassuring!
        As to the weather: I had planned on a polartec base layer, midweight polartec powerstretch mid-layer, and a goretex performance shell, and carrying an extra midweight fleece if needed. Do you think that's adequate or do i really need to also take a down jacket?

    2. I forgot one more thing..
      Temperature is not as cold as you were told, maybe it was a misanderstood between farenheit and celious. The coldest it woud get in a very windy night would be -15 celciouls (something around5 farenheit).

    3. Hi,
      I am supposed that you will acclimatize either in the Ruco Pichincha (4700 m), very close to Quito, or in Pasochoa (4200 m) which is a little further from Quito (i am pretty sure there is not such Pinchachoa). If you can climb both, wonderful. Illiniza norte is a great mountain to acclimatize. I think that with your level of physical activity and those acclimatization climbs you may be ready for Cotopaxi.
      Cotopaxi is not a technical mountain, it is very touristic, and therefore, the route is obvious, and very walked. That is why you were asked not to worry about the use of the gear, the most you should learn would be to get used walk wearing those rigid plastic boots and crampons.
      The company you chose “Compañía de guías de montaña”is a really good one, it is specialized in climbing tours, and has a solid background. Furthermore, one of the founders is one of the seven persons on earth that climbed the 14 highest mountains of the world without supplemental oxygen.
      I hope this information was helpful and I hope you reach the summit of Cotopaxi!

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