Route
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Normal Route, Cotopaxi (5 897 m / 19 347 ft)

Mountain: Cotopaxi (5 897 m / 19 347 ft)
Activity type: Mountaineering
Activity level: Moderate/ Challenging
Elevation: 4 850 m / 15 912 ft
Duration: 12 Hour(s)
Expenses: from$ 2 000

Overview

Route Name:
Normal Route, North Face, Северная Стена, Стандартный Маршрут
Activity type:
Mountaineering
Activity level:
Moderate/ Challenging
Type of Climb:
Snow & Ice
Location:
South America, Ecuador: (Provincia de Cotopaxi)
Starting Point:
Parent Range:
Mountain:
First Ascent: Please update
Duration:
12 Hour(s)
Max. Elevation:
4 850m / 15 912 ft
Vertical Gain:
1 047m / 3 435 ft
Length:
7km / 4 miles
Climbing Season(s):
01 Jan-31 Dec;
Nearst
Airport(s):
Convenience Center(s):
National
Park(s):

Location

South America, Ecuador: (Provincia de Cotopaxi)
Guided Tour

Location: Ecuador

Price: $1440
8 Day(s)

Activity type:Mountaineering

Difficulty: Challenging

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Guided Tour

Location: Ecuador

Price: $540
3 Day(s)

Activity type:Hiking

Difficulty: Moderate

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Guided Tour

Location: Ecuador

Price: $230
2 Day(s)

Activity type:Mountaineering

Difficulty: Easy/ Moderate

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  • Your Chance To Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Cotopaxi can be considered as a benchmark among volcanoes that poses full set of accompanying attributes - the ideal cone, round crater rim and massive snow-white ice cap. According to all of these reasons the Cotopaxi ascent is considered by the mountaineers as a unit of measurement, "litmus test" by which all others volcanoes are compared. Well-developed tourist infrastructure, proximity to the capital city and numbers of clear days per year - everything here does to try your hand at the one of the most classic volcano of our planet. None of the routes to Cotopaxi can be called boring - each of them required crampons, ropes and ice axes that can help you to climb steep ice slopes and traverse deep crevasses.
  • Description Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    The route varies from year to year due to the fact that it takes place on the glacier, which is constantly moving. Way to the summit goes along quite steep snow and ice slopes, which are often intersected by large crevasses. Sometimes to pass them the local guides use metal ladders and fixed ropes. The first part of the route starts from the hut "Jose Rivas Refuge" on a gentle scree, that sometimes can be snow-covered. In an hour after leaving the hut you'll reach the glacier tongue where you need to put on you crampons and rope up. Then you have to climb on snow and ice slopes of the volcano aiming to the left side of a rock band called Yanasasha - it usually takes up to 5 hours. From here the route goes straight up to the summit slope where you have to keep left and upwards until you reach the volcano dome. Usually this part of the route takes about 1 hour. Climbing to the dome is complicated because of very steep 20-meter snow and ice wall - usually local guides place here some fixed ropes and ladders. After the wall move upwards and to the left on the easy snow slope which in an hour takes you to the summit situated on the northern part of the crater rim. The descent is the same route. Keep in mind that before arriving in Ecuador you have to find out whether the route is open or not. Due to the threat of the ice fall this route may be temporary closed by local rescue services.
  • Getting There Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    From Quito by car to the city of Machachi and further to the North Entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. Follow the road to the "Jose Rivas Refuge" up to the big parking lot. From here you have to walk to the hut about 0,7 mile.
  • Red Tape Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Since the end of 2012 climbing all the volcanoes of Ecuador are not allowed without hiring an accredited local mountain guides. There is a lot of travel agencies in Quito that can help you with the organization of the climb.
  • Are You Ready? Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    The cramponing skill is required as well as good endurance and high-altitude tolerance. During your climb you'll carry you day-backpack only but it doesn't mean that gaining up to 1000 meters will be the easy walk especially on steep snow and ice slopes. Pay extra attention to your acclimatization - overnight stay at an altitude of 4850 meters, as well as reaching the summit of 5897 meters are possible only if you have an excellent acclimatization. The acclimatization process usually takes 5-7 days. As a rule, before Cotopaxi climbers do an ascent to the Illiniza Norte.
  • Tips Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Usually climbers have an overnight in a hut "Refuge Jose Rivas". Go to bed early and wake up at midnight and be on the route at 1 am. During the night the snow is firm and it's easy to climb. The snow bridges are also more reliable in the night and early morning than after mid-day. Usually climbers reach the summit in 8 hours. The descent back takes up to 4 hours.
  • Parameters Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Base Camp Elevation: 4 850 m / 15 912 ft
    Summit Camp Elevation: Please update
    Accommodation in Base Camp: Both - huts and tents
    Accommodation above Base Camp: Both - huts and tents
    Number of Camps: Please update
    Avg. Cost: 2 000 USD
    Age Restrictions: At least 21 years old
    Soloing: No, at least 0 people
    Avg. Descent Time: Please update
  • Key Points Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Name (Elevation) Description
    Jose Rivas Refuge
    4 850 m / 15 912 tf
    A big mountain hut that can accommodate up to 50 climbers.
    Crevasse 5500
    5 500 m / 18 045 tf
    Huge crevasse at 5 500 meters. "Normal Route" and "Rompe Corazones" Route join here.
    Yanasacha
    5 600 m / 18 373 tf
    External northern crater walls known as Yanasacha (black rock in Quechua language).
  • Agencies Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates


    Guided Tours

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  • Did You Know Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

    Despite the common opinion that the "Normal Route" to the Cotopaxi volcano is considered as an original one, in fact it is not. November 28, 1872 the first conquerors Wilhelm Reiss and Angel Escobar reached the summit via another route on the southern slopes of the mountain called "Southwest   ... Read more
  • References Edit •  Add / Share you knowledge with mates

Last update: (13 Feb 2016) • History
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Hour 1


The route starts right at the Hut Jose Rivas (4 800 meters). The ascent route is usually clearly visible. First part of the route is on scree and takes up to 1 hour before you gain the glacier. Here you have to rope up and put on your crampons. During your climb you will pass some big crevasses using snow bridges.

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