Ecuador's 2nd Highest Mountain









FATMAP difficulty grade



Cotopaxi is an iconic Ecuadorian active volcano with an altitude of 5897m, making it the second highest mountain in the country.

It is also a very popular adventure offered by lots of adventure tourism companies. It is important that before you consider this mountain you check your level of acclimatisation as many local guides and companies seem to give misinformation to get you to sign up.

If you are not acclimatised properly you run the risk of not enjoying your adventure, not summiting but more importantly you will be putting yourself at risk.

Check out the acclimatisation process I went through here: The actual summit attempt of Cotopaxi starts from the Juan Rivas refugio, which is located at 4864m.

You guide will bring you up here the afternoon of you summit attempt.

We organised to arrive a day early for better acclimatisation.

You can buy water and snacks here though it is expensive.

Depending on weather and time of year (we did it in February), you will start your ascent to the summit following a steep path up to the Glacier.

Here you will fix your crampons to your double/triple boots and be roped to your fellow climbers.

The next 5 hours will be spent following your guide up the snowy trail to the summit of the active volcano.

If timed correctly, you should arrive here at sunrise.

For this climb you will either be using your own kit or that provided by your guide.

Essentials include, double boots, ice axe, trekking poles, crampons, harness, carabiners and helmet.

For a better idea of kit needed, check out the mountaineering section of We would recommend Andean Summit Adventure - For weather monitoring, we would recommend -