Ski Ecuador-Last Descent

  • Dates: Nov 2-16
  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Level: Advanced
  • Client Ratio: 4:1
  • Cost:
    • 1-2 people – $4,500 Total
    • 3-6 people – $2,250 Per Person
  • Included: Ground transportation, all meals while on the mountain, tents, stoves, cook kits, group climbing equipment, and guide services- Group transport; Food and accommodation, all airport transfers
  • Not Included: Airfare, gratuities for guides, Personal insurance; Individual transfers.

Book Online Now!

Ski Ecuador’s Tropical Glaciers of Cayambe and Antisana  with the first company to ski them all! These are the vanishing tropical glaciers of the Andes Ring of Fire(http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/features/vanishing-tropical-glaciers/) which will be gone too soon. The opportunity to experience these peaks on skis with one of the pioneers of ski touring in Ecuador is a once in our lifetime chance before they are gone! Pablo’s father founded one of the first mountain guide services in Ecuador and Pablo became the first person to ski all the volcanoes and guide them. One of his clients a few years ago was a scientist doing research on the Vanishing Equatorial Glaciers. The recent findings place the life span of the remaining glaciers between 10 to 15 years based on a 1C predicted rise in global temperatures in the next 80 years. We want you to experience the amazing descents of Cayambe and Antisana, true high altitude ski touring in one of the world’s most beautiful and uniques places.This is a small, flexible ski mountaineering expedition in the Ecuadorian High Volcanoes. Enjoy the phenomenal skiing, beautiful scenery and a fantastic cultural experience.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANDES TREK EXPEDITIONS

The Ecuador Ski Mountaineering Expedition is operated in partnership with Andes Trek Expeditions, a small family guide service run by BCAG guide Pablo Puruncajas. Our partnership combines BCAG’s experience guiding backcountry skiing, remote ski mountaineering, and AIARE avalanche training, with Andes Trek Expeditions decades of experience leading successful expeditions in Ecuador and South America.

AndesTrek_Wp

Old Quito Tour: visit colonial churches with their grand altars made of Inca gold, sculptures and intricate carvings

Standing at the top of Cotopaxi, and looking down inside its crater at its sulfur fumaroles

Recuperating in the natural thermal springs that flow from the mountain side at Baños

Sweeping views from the summit of Ecuador’s tallest volcano, on a clear day you can see down into the Amazon jungle basin and the many neighboring peaks.

The straightforward, moderately angled routes are well-suited for those who seek an introduction to high altitude ski mountaineering. The elevation approaches 6,000 meters, and combined with the ease of access and comfortable mountain huts to launch from they are on the must-do list for the more experienced mountaineers as well!

Objective
Ski the three highest volcanoes in Ecuador, an epic adventure and special way to experience Ecuador’s peaks! Nevado Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. The numbers speak for themselves, the vertical drop from the summits are big! We will attempt to ski from these peaks, while enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery Ecuador has to offer. Our travel schedule will remain fully flexible to allow us to make the very most of snow and weather conditions.

What to expect
The key to a successful mountain adventure is preparation. Our 15-day program is aimed at providing the framework for success. We spend the first five days acclimatizing to the altitude by hiking through the high mountain terrain of the surrounding peaks. Then the last ten days we focus on our summit attempts.

Starting in the city of Quito, we’ll first acclimatize on Fuya-Fuya and Imbabura. After we have had a chance to acclimatize we’ll set our sights on Cayambe the 3rd tallest Ecuadorian volcano; which offers an outstanding ski descent. Then we head to Cotopaxi, which is famous for its perfect cone-shaped and snow-covered crater. Last up – we’ll check out Chimborazo, the tallest peak in Ecuador, an exciting ski descent from near or above 6000 meters!

The Skiing
In a typical day on the volcano, we will gain around 1.300 m of ascent – which means we also get to enjoy a 1.300 m descent. The snow conditions are variable, however it’s usually spring snow or fresh powder on a firm base. On occasion, strong winds can affect the snow, making it a more challenging ski descent.

Our ski objectives will be interspersed with driving and sightseeing, such as: enjoy the cultural heritage and night life of the capital city, Quito. Spend rest days at hot springs and Stay at mountain lodges close to our climbs.

The volcanoes of Ecuador are ideal objectives for ski mountaineers of advanced abilities. Though climbing in Ecuador isn’t technically challenging, ascending it with skis (sometimes on your back) can be a bit more challenging. We skin as much of the route as we can – usually with ski crampons on. However, there are times when it gets too steep or icy and we will need to carry the skis on our back. Being able to carry your skis, when coupled with the high altitude makes it imperative to have a high level of physical fitness and some prior ski mountaineering experience. As much work as it may seem, standing on top of Cotopaxi and overlooking the stunning snow-covered crater is truly remarkable!

If the weather is poor we can always be flexible with the schedule to so you can get the most out of your visit.

Weather
Expect the same variety of weather and temperatures similar to those encountered while ski mountaineering in Europe or North America – it ranges from wonderful weather, to rain, snowstorms and high winds. However whatever the weather brings us, we always have a fantastic time.

Day 1: Arrival in Quito (2,800 m/9,186 ft)
Overnight: Quito
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Hike around Cuicocha Lake (3,500 m/11,482 ft)
Overnight: Otavalo (2,550 m/8,366 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 3: Climb Fuya Fuya (4,263 m/13,986 ft)
Overnight: Otavalo (2,550 m/8,366 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 4: Climb Imbabura (4,630 m/15,190 ft)
Overnight: Otavalo
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 5: Explore the famous “Plaza de Ponchos” and visit the small village of Peguche
Overnight: Otavalo
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

Day 6: Transfer to Cayambe-Coca Reserva Ecológica Review glacier travel skills
Overnight: Bergé, Ruales, Oleas Refuge (4,650 m/15,257 ft)
Accommodation: Hut
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Ski tour day Cayambe
Overnight: Bergé, Ruales, Oleas Refuge
Accommodation: Hut
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Climb Cayambe (5,790 m/18,996 ft)
Overnight: Town of Cayambe (2,800 m/9,186 ft)
Accommodation: Hosteria
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 9: Soak in the famous Papallacta hot-springs or extra Cayambe summit attempt
Overnight: Quito
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

Day 10:Transfer to Reserva Ecológica Antisana (4,340 m/14,238 ft)
Overnight: Base Camp (4,610 m/15,124 ft)
Accommodation: Tents
Meal: Boxed-lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Ski tour day Antisana
Overnight: Base Camp (4,610 m/15,124 ft)
Accommodation: Tents
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Climb/Ski Antisana Sur (5,758 m/18,891 ft)
Overnight: Quito
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 13: Climb/Ski Antisana Sur (5,758 m/18,891 ft)
Overnight: Quito
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch

Day 14: Free day with city tour or extra  summit attempt
Overnight: Quito
Accommodation: Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

Day 15: Fly home
Meal: Breakfast

*Chimborazo Extension

Day 14: Transfer to Reserva de Producción Faunística Chimborazo
Overnight: Hermanos Carrel Refuge (4,800 m/ 15,750 ft)
Accommodation: Hut
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: El Castillo High Camp (5,400m/17,717ft)
Overnight: El Castillo
Accommodation: Tents
Meal: Breakfast, Boxed-lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Climb Chimborazo (6,310 m / 20,702 ft)
Overnight: Quito
Meal: Breakfast Note:
Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, but unforeseen circumstances may require last minute changes. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of climbers can all contribute to schedule alterations. Please be prepared to be flexible when necessary.

Equipment List
Touring Gear
  • Adjustable Ski poles with powder (big) baskets*
  • Skis or snowboard.Skis should be equipped with alpine touring bindings or telemark bindings. We prefer split decision snowboards w/ skins because you do not need snow shoes.
  • Alpine touring, telemark, or snowboard boots
  • Skins with glop stopper (skin wax)
  • Avalanche Beacon This needs to be Triple Antenna.
  • Shovel Small collapsible style
  • Avalanche Probe 265cm or longer
  • Harness Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing (e.g. Mammut Alpine Light, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • 1 Locking carabiner Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best.
  • Ice axe lightweight for glacier travel
  • Ski Crampons for skis & boards
  • Crampons with anti-bot plates – fitted to your boots
  • Helmet for riding and climbing adjustable to fit over hats
Upper Body
  • Lightweight base layer T-shirt or long sleeve polypropylene shirt
  • Soft Shell
  • 1 -2 Sports bra synthetic
  • 1 Down/synthetic jacket with hood
  • 1 Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable. roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1 pair light gloves
  • 1 pair warm gloves
  • Shell gloves or mitts
  • Warm hat Wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava or Buff
  • Shade hat or baseball cap
Lower Body
  • 2 pair heavy wool/synthetic socks Check boot fit with liner and wool socks on
  • 2 pair synthetic underwear
  • 1 pair lightweight long underwear
  • Soft shell pants
  • Shell pants Waterproof/breathable with full side zips, Gore-Tex or equivalent is best
Sleeping Gear
  • Sleeping bag Rated to at least 20º F. 
Backpack
  • Internal frame pack 3000 cubic inch capacity
In Town clothing for travel and evening
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, walking around town and hotsprings
Miscellaneous Equipment
  • Glacier glasses 100% UV  and wrap around protection
  • Personal first aid kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, etc.
  • Lip balm At least SPF 20,
  • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
  • Headlamp compact LED
  • 2 water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or
  • Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
  • Plastic mug Needs a snap-on lid, 16 oz. or larger.*
  • Multi-tool.
  • Toiletry kit Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
  • Nylon stuff sacks For food and gear storage (large Ziplocs are also useful
  • Bandana
  • Hand wipes
  • 1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional)
  • Lunch & snack food (no more than 2 pounds)
  • Camera
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WILL MY GUIDE (OR GUIDES) BE?

We are small company who enjoy working together in the mountains as well as highly skilled professionals who hold current Wilderness First Responder certification and are proficient in technical rescue and evacuation skills. Our guides are dedicated to the world of alpinism, many having first ascents and hold professional certifications with the AMGA in the rock, alpine, and ski disciplines. The AMGA is part of the IFMGA, which is the international body of certified mountain guides.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDES?

Tipping is considered standard practice in the guiding industry. Tipping amounts vary – so $15-20 per day per person/per guide is average that works well for the guides without a serious blow to your wallet. Often 10% of the course cost is a good rule-of-thumb. If you feel that the program was exceptional or substandard the tip can reflect that.

CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT FROM BCAG?

Yes, these items include crampons, ice axes, harnesses, helmets, avalanche transceivers, shovel, probe, a small amount of backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping pads, and trekking poles. Quantities are limited so please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested. We rent a limited number of rock climbing shoes.

HOW HEAVY WILL MY PACK BE?

Just day trips with hike into a base camp or hut, so 20-30 pounds max.

WHEN DO I NEED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF MY TRIP?

Scheduled International Trips:

  • At time of reservation – $500, which includes a $75 non-refundable registration fee.
  • 60 days from departure – Balance of trip cost.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY TRIP?

If you should decide to cancel your trip, BCAG must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date we receive written notice. You will be assessed a cancellation fee according to the following schedule:

90 to 22 days from trip departure – 50% of trip cost

30 days or less – 100% of trip cost

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WANT TO CHANGE THE DATES OF MY TRIP?

Schedule changes are subject to a $50 fee per person up to 2 weeks out and $100 less then 14 days from the start of the trip and may not be possible. If conditions or circumstances preclude running a scheduled program we reserve the right to make the decision as to whether the program will be canceled, rescheduled, or an alternative provided.

WHAT HAPPENS IF BC ADVENTURE GUIDES HAS TO CANCEL MY TRIP?

In the rare circumstance where we need to cancel a program you can reschedule without a fee or receive a refund on your deposit. If circumstances arise that force us to cancel a program that is already in progress we reserve the right to decide whether a refund or credit, at a prorated rate, will be issued. We are not responsible for cancellation fees or costs arising from your changed or cancelled flights, lodging, or other arrangements. We strongly recommend obtaining trip cancellation insurance from your travel agent.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRIP INSURANCE?

BCAG highly encourages the purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance on domestic trips and requires it on International trips. Europeans and Canadians use it because travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.

Several options include Travelex or Travel Guard International at (1-877-248-8992) & www.travelguard.com for protecting your investment, however there are many companies to choose from and you may wish to do some individual research regarding which policy is right for you. Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to climbing and riding  with you!

WHEN SHOULD I PLAN TO LEAVE A RETURN HOME?

We often get this question because most people need to know how much total time they need to take off work. Our International trips begin the morning on the first day of your arrival of your trip. Therefore, you will want to arrive the day before your climb or course begins. Our return home on the last day typically extends into the early evening with the descent and drive back. We suggest you make a hotel reservation for the night of the last day or a late red eye flight to return home on the day following the end of your course or climb. The itinerary indicates what time to arrive and depart.

WHAT IF I WANT TO ARRIVE EARLIER OR DEPART LATER THAN THE TRIP DATES?

No problem. There is a lot to see and do in Ecuador so we would be happy to recommend our favorite attractions, restaurants, and day trips.