|By Elias |
From Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 20, 2012
I'm heading down to Ecuador to climb Cotopaxi and Chimborazo with a fellow MP-er (Is that the correct term?). Anyways I've been told by a local guiding company and a few sites that Ecuador requires having a climbing guide to enter the National Parks. So can anyone shed light on this? Any ways around it?
P.S. I'd prefer not to break the law and get chased down by mountain cops.
|By peicker |
Jan 2, 2013
Iīm down in Ecuador with a friend right now and we are definitely running into some trouble trying to access the Reservas where the volcanoes are located. I can write more in a week or so when we have more info but so far it seems as if you either need to hire a guide or provide proof that you are a certified guide in another country. This is somewhat troubling to us since we both have plenty of experience to climb these mountains but arenīt AMGA certified.
|By sanz |
From Raleigh, NC
Jan 2, 2013
A guide friend of mine was just telling me about this the other day. This is a recent policy change based on deaths that occurred on Chimborazo and Ilinizas last year.
I was under the impression that in order to climb without a guide, you only had to be a member of a mountaineering club - something like the AAC. However, I may have misunderstood. The entrances to the parks where the volcanoes are located have checkpoints, so you will have to get past some kind of screening to enter the park. If you have an AAC member card or something like that, it might work, but I'm not sure. I'll try to find the details and let you know.
Either way, paying a guide for a one-day push is very cheap. It makes the transportation aspect a lot easier and most guides are very cool folks who will be happy to respect the fact that you already have skills and experience. For guiding and transportation only (no food, lodging, or equipment rental) you should pay a total of $200 max. I would be happy to recommend some folks if you like.
If you need any other info about Ecuador, places to stay, eat, things to do, etc., PM me. If you can make the time for it, there's some good rock climbing down here too.
|By LJR |
Jan 2, 2013
I don't have a concrete answer, but I can tell you that I had a problem when I was in Ecuador two months ago (November 2012). At that time, I tried to enter the Reserva Los Illinizas to climb Illiniza Norte, a standard acclimation peak that is mostly 3rd class scrambling. I was solo but had the appropriate technical equipment (i.e., I hopefully didn't look like a totally clueless tourist). I was turned away at the park entrance by the gatekeeper. The reason given was that there were 2 deaths on Illiniza Norte several weeks prior, and so the government was mandating guides on all public lands. Now, the gatekeeper's English was poor and my Spanish was worse, so I'm not positive this is a hard and fast rule or if he was just trying to drum up business for a guide friend. I ended up just hiring a guide the following day for $80 since I didn't feel comfortable trying to bribe the gatekeeper ;). I also asked if I could just hike to the hut and sleep for acclimation purposes, but he wasn't buying that either. If you really wanted to sneak around on the Illinizas you probably could, either by passing the gatehouse early in the morning or creative route-finding through the maze of haciendas, but I don't know what your risk tolerance is there. I tried to look this up when I got back and see if it was an official policy, and had trouble finding anything formal from the Ecuadorian government or guide service websites.
For the bigger mountains I'm not sure either. Everyone I saw on Cotopaxi had a guide, but not sure whether it was mandated or not. If you actually have the skills to summit yourself you could just hire one of the cheapo guides out of Banos and do your own thing (I think a group of German/Austrian climbers was doing something similar). Hope that helps-
|By Alex-T |
Jan 4, 2013
You do have to have a guide accompanying you on the major volcanoes in Ecuador (Illinizas, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Chimborazo, Antisana, Altar).
There were 3 deaths on Illiniza Sur earlier this fall (all Ecuadorian nationals though) plus Chimborazo last year, which prompted the Ecuadorian government to require all climbers, foreign and domestic, to be accompanied by a certified guide.
I also heard that the huts on Chimborazo and Cotopaxi were under renovation, though there might be some kind of temporary shelter put up.
|By peicker |
Jan 22, 2013
To all who are wondering about the guide situation down in Ecuador:
I just returned from a three week mountaineering trip in Ecuador. As of November of 2012 the government is requiring tourists to hire a local guide. The government document to this effect was posted at the entrance station to the Illinizas. (My climbing partner took a picture of it so if you want to see the original document, in Spanish, let me know and I can try to get it to you.) However, if you are a recognized guide in another country you can sign a waiver and get access to the parks. My partner and I are not AMGA guides but we work for a school here in the US teaching climbing and mountaineering so our "guide" cards and a letter on letterhead from our boss in the US was enough to get us in the gate. They also had us sign a waiver at both the Illinizas and Cotopaxi.
The Illinizas and Cotopaxi refuges are up and running. We didn't go to Chimborazo but heard from other travelers that it is under renovation but that you might be able to bring your own sleeping pad and sleep on the floor.
Hope this helps!