By elevation, Antisana (5753 m / 18.875 ft) is Ecuador´s number four, but when it comes to challenging, off the beaten track climbing, it is number one. Located in remote moorlands on the eastern edge of the Cordillera Real, this is territory of Andean condors, wild horses and wolves. The time spent in the basecamp before the ascent, is a very worthwhile experience in itself!
Antisana is a stratovolcano with two cones and four summits. A clear example of how a younger volcano was constructed over the ancient volcanic edifice, that was cut by calderas and eroded by glaciers. The ascent is demanding and requires glacier climbing skills. You will be rewarded with fabulous views of surrounding volcanoes and the Amazon rainforest.
Antisana has very active glaciers, resulting in frequent changes in the climbing route. This climb includes steep sections with snow and ice, crevasses and seracs. You need to have previous glacier skills, including front pointing, as well as sufficient acclimatization and physical fitness.
This volcano is influenced by the humidity of the Amazon, and the weather conditions are subject to variations.
Departure from Quito at 10.00 to Antisana Ecological Reserve. It takes about 2 hours to arrive at the camping area (4500 m / 14763 ft.) After installing our Base Camp, you will have time for an optional short hike on the paramo. You can see herds of wild horses and, with a bit of luck, the Andean condor. The mountain guide gives an introductory briefing, checking out the expected mountain and weather conditions. After early dinner, tuck into your sleeping bag for some sleep.
At midnight we take a light snack and gear up for the ascent. From the Base Camp it is a short hike to the glacier. We climb through large snowfields, with several – sometimes big – crevasses, and our expert mountain guide will carefully navigate the best route considering the conditions. Some of the steeper slopes before the summit require front pointing crampon techniques. Summit time around 7.00 a.m. – with clear weather you will have wonderful views of Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Ilinizas and Cayambe, and the Amazon rainforest to the east. Descent to the basecamp takes about 3 hours. Return by car to Quito, with a stop on the way for lunch. Arrive at 14.30.