Ecuador Adventure Tour – Climbing the Cotopaxi Volcano

by on Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador (c) used with permission, ISV

Having lived all of my life in tropical America, it never crossed my mind that I would get the chance to visit a Glacier.  All of that changed when, in 2009, ISV allowed me the great opportunity to head down to Ecuador and lead ISV groups on the Adventure Tour for this amazing country.

Never had it occurred to me that right along the equatorial line in my own continent could there be a mountain where I could come and play in the snow, but furthermore, have to actually put on “cramp-ons” and several layers of clothing to head into one of the few equatorial glaciers of the world; One of the most amazing experiences of my life! When the bus stopped at the parking lot for Cotopaxi Volcano I looked up at the massive mountain thinking “WOW!”

I did not get much of a chance to be amazed before we had to start our ascent to the Jose F. Rivas refuge.  Although we were climbing only 300 vertical meters (about 1000 feet), it was not surprising that at this altitude my steps were only moving me about a foot at a time.  It took me a full hour to get to 4800 mts (15750 feet).  I was glad to have a little break and a snack once at the refuge; but this was a small stop.

From the summit of Cotopaxi the caldera can be seen (c) used with permission by Narelle Webber

The next part of the adventure was to gear up for ice and head to the glacier proper. Although the weather varied from snowing to sunshine and back in a matter of minutes, the experience of being surrounded by magnificent ice formations is something that not even the worst weather will ever take away from me.

Since taking over the position of ISV Ecuador Tour Manager in December of 2010 I have had a few other opportunities to admire this striking mountain, even having thought about trying to reach the summit one day.

I invite you to join ISV on our Ecuador program and experience Cotopaxi, among the many other wonders this country has to offer; I promise it will give you memories for a lifetime and change the way you see the world.

Daniel Fernandez
ISV Tour Coordinator for Ecuador

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