Ecuador Ring of Fire Ski Expedition

9 Days in Ecuador / (Skill level: Intermediate)

Price per person

$2,850
  • Next Available: Nov 06, 2021 - Nov 14, 2021
    Optional Extension Through Nov 21, 2021
  • Upcoming: Nov 26, 2022 - Dec 04, 2022
    Optional Extension Through Dec 11, 2022
  • Nov 25, 2023 - Dec 03, 2023
    Optional Extension Through Dec 10, 2023

About this trip

7 day extension available for 19,347' Cotopaxi and 20,564' Chimborazo for just $2200! See itinerary for details. Learn high altitude climbing and skiing skills and progress from backcountry skier to ski mountaineer through the skills you learn on this trip. Experience the rich Ecuadorian culture in Quito and Otavalo. Ski all of Ecuador's largest peaks by adding the extension!

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    9 Days

Alpenglow is thrilled to be offering the Ring of Fire Ski Expedition. Our high altitude guides are also big mountain ski mountaineers. The combination of their expertise and high-end logistics that have been a priority of Alpenglow’s for over a decade, has us uniquely positioned as the first guide service to offer international, high altitude ski expeditions. We created this program as a perfect segue for backcountry skiers looking to gain the skills that will enable them to ski higher and more technical mountains. This program is for the backcountry skier who wants to become a ski mountaineer, and the ski mountaineer looking to progress to high altitude peaks.

Ideal Place to Take the Next Step in Big Mountain Skiing

Alpenglow Expeditions’ guides have been climbing and guiding in Ecuador since 1994 and believe it is unparalleled for learning the essential skills of high altitude climbing while also exploring a friendly and interesting culture. These mountains are also the ideal place for bringing your backcountry skiing to the next level. On the Ring of Fire Expedition, we focus on teaching you technical skills that you might not have needed in the backcountry settings you’ve previously experienced. You will be utilizing ropes for glacier travel and on exposed terrain, while also managing the effects of high altitude. Incorporating these elements and skills with your backcountry skiing experience is a significant step in your progression from “backcountry skier” to “ski mountaineer.” Throughout our attempts to summit and ski both Cayambe at 18,997 feet (5,790 meters) and Cotopaxi at 19,347 feet (5,897 meters), we will be preparing everyone on the team with the skills and knowledge needed not just for these peaks, but for bigger peaks around the world.

Start in Quito

Our ski expedition begins in Ecuador’s capital of Quito. The city, surrounded by four glaciated peaks, sits at 9,500 feet (2,896 meters), so your acclimatization begins immediately upon arrival. We spend the first day exploring the old colonial center of Quito and enjoying fantastic food and hospitality. We continue our acclimatization by riding the local telepherique to 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) on Rucu Pinchincha and then hiking to its 15,700 foot (4,785 meter) summit.

Head to Cayambe

After spending time in Quito, we move to the town of Otavalo, which is known for its local markets and beautiful culture full of textiles and amazing food. We base out of Otavalo for a couple of days as we continue our acclimatization on day hikes, before we move up to the base of Cayambe.

Once we are settled into the hut at the base of Cayambe, we spend a full day discussing and practicing high altitude climbing and skiing skills on Cayambe’s lower glaciers. This day is essential in becoming a competent team member on this ski expedition. We will cover crampon and ice axe techniques; traveling on a rope team; snow and ice anchor placement; companion rescue; and advanced skinning techniques.

Time to Ski

At this point, we are ready to put our skills to use on Cayambe. We wake early to begin our climb and ski. We’ll scramble on scree, skin on mildly glaciated terrain, beginning with low angle touring, and progressing in steepness to the point of transitioning to crampons for the final section to the summit. Cayambe’s terrain will push everyone to utilize their complete skill set, while still allowing us to take in the beauty of the glaciated volcano. Once we ski down, we head back to Papallacta and visit the natural hot springs in the cloud forest of the Eastern Cordillera. If you are continuing on with the extension, we will rest and get ready to make our way to Cotopaxi. If this is the end of your expedition, we’ll wrap up and say our goodbyes having had an incredible experience skiing in Ecuador.

Head to Cotopaxi

Once we settle into the lodge inside Cotopaxi National Park, we prepare to wake early for our climb and ski descent of Cotopaxi. This is a long day of climbing during which we will spend more time in crampons than we did on Cayambe. This also means that on our descent we will be able to put our more technical ski mountaineering techniques into practice, including belayed skiing. The climb and ski on Cotopaxi are much more demanding than on Cayambe and the team is rewarded with a long technical descent and unmatched views.

Head to Chimborazo

After a successful ski decent of Cotopaxi, we’ll head to the tallest peak in Ecuador; Chimborazo. This 20,564′ volcano is the perfect objective to cap off an epic ski expedition. It is a two-day climbing, and see our team build a high camp on day one before the final push to the summit. We’ll start our day with an early alpine start, moving up the glacier as we make our way to the summit. After a short celebration at the summit, we will start our ski descent. This technical and exhilarating ski descent will see our team weave down the snow slope as we get incredible turns at 20,000′. After a long and hard day, we’ll return to Quito and prepare to depart the following day.

Certified Ski Guides

One or more of Alpenglow’s AMGA/IFMGA certified lead/ski guides will guide our Ring of Fire Ski Expedition. The AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have also traveled and climbed extensively in South America and know the Ecuadorian volcanoes intimately. Our guide’s knowledge of Andean culture and mountains, and their passion for teaching others to become competent mountaineers, guarantees that your experience will be one to remember.

We combine our ski guides’ experience with the local expertise of our close friend, guide, and expert Ecuadorian logistics operator, Gaspar Navarrete. Gaspar is one of Ecuador’s only ski guides, and he guides with Alpenglow around the world. Our small team size and low ratio of skiers to guides (3:1) ensures that you stay healthy and strong, and are able to enjoy each component of this unique experience.

Preparation

  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

  • Technical Experience

    Skiers must be competent on a variety of terrain and snow conditions. Skiers must be able to link turns in steep terrain (up to 45 degrees) while maintaining control. Skiers must also have basic snow climbing experience including use of ice axe and crampons.

  • Altitude Experience

    It is required that climbers have prior experience at altitudes up to 14,000' and it is strongly recommended that climbers have prior experience at altitudes over 15,000'.

    • Day 1 — Arrival

      Arrive into Quito (9,500 feet/2,896 meters) in the evening. Our guides will pick you up and bring you to our hotel, a local family-run place close to excellent restaurants and the tourist center of the city. (Saturday)

    • Day 2 — Explore and Organize

      Explore the colonial section of Quito. This historical city is famous for its beautiful churches, president’s palace, and ever-present views of the glaciated peaks that surround it. After touring for half the day, we spend the afternoon preparing for our acclimatization climb on Pinchincha, practicing fixed line techniques, and organizing all our ski and climbing gear.

    • Day 3 — Acclimatization Hike

      Our first acclimatization hike. We ride the telepherique from the center of the city to 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) on Rucu Pinchincha. Two hours of hiking brings us to the rock ridge, which we climb, conditions permitting to Pinchincha’s 15,700-foot (4,785 meter) summit. This climb is a proud peak on its own and it is also important acclimatization for bigger peaks.

    • Day 4 — Move to Otovalo

      Leaving Quito behind, you head north towards the town of Otavalo and the ancient stratovolcano known as Mojanda. Towering above the lake that fills the old crater of Mojanda lies the craggy summit Fuya Fuya (4,263m/13,986ft). This marks another wildly beautiful acclimatization hike on our path to the glaciated giants to come. Descending down to the famous textile town of Otavalo, you will be treated to historic luxury at the 18th century Hacienda Pinsaqui.

    • Day 5 — Drive to Cayambe and skills practice

      You are now ready to head to the bigger mountains. Driving east from Otavalo, you will wind up the lower flanks of the massive Cayambe (5,790m/18,996ft). The rugged stone edifice of the Refugio perched on the ridge will give you shelter and warmth during the days to come. After settling into our bunk rooms, you will spend the afternoon up on the glacier learning about the fundamentals of footwork, balance and other techniques needed to climb these big peaks. You’ll be welcomed back to the refugio with hot drinks and fantastic food prepared by the wonderful staff.

    • Day 6 — Skills day on the Glacier

      We spend the morning reviewing the skill set that we will need for climbing and skiing Cayambe. This day includes instruction on crevasse rescue, advanced glacier travel, and ski touring techniques. We spend the afternoon resting, hydrating, eating, and getting to bed early for the summit of Cayambe.

    • Day 7 — Summit day, return to Otavalo

      Your training and preparation are ready to be put to the test. After an early wakeup and hot drinks and snacks (typically around midnight), you’ll find yourself moving up the rock steps and onto the vast glaciers above. The rhythmic crunching of crampons, the sway of the rope, the first inklings of morning light from high above the clouds are all classic aspects of mountaineering, and will frame the first several hours of your climb. Pushing higher still, the glacier becomes complex and challenging, your team will navigate around huge crevasses and drop offs on your way to the top. Cresting just shy of 19,000ft (5,790m/18,996ft), the summit of Cayambe is a proud achievement and offers commanding views of the surrounding mountains. Off to the south, you can make out the glaciated summits of Cotopaxi, Antisana and Chimborazo. The ski line typically follows the climbing route, and arcs through crevasse and along sweeping glaciers. After the wild descent back to the refugio, you’ll head back down to Otavalo and the welcoming gardens of the Hacienda Pinsaqui.

    • Day 8 — Recovery Day

      After a casual morning and tasty breakfast we depart the Hacienda and head back to Quito. No visit to Otavalo is complete without a stop at the famed Saturday market. Otavalo is renowned for its colorful textiles, and the kaleidoscope of vivid color at the Saturday market is the place to see them. You’ll see a vast number of different vendors selling everything from textiles and clothing to spices and other foods. This is a fantastic place to find a few keepsakes from your time in Ecuador. After you’ve seen the sights and sounds of the market, it’s time to return to Quito and your flight home. For those staying on for the extension, the fun is only getting started!

    • Day 9 — Fly home or drive to Cotopaxi

      Any remaining Cayambe-only team members depart Quito for home. After breakfast, climbers staying on for the extension head up to the flanks of Cotopaxi and prepare for their climb in the coming days.

    • Day 10 — Skills Day

      Waking up in the beautiful Tambopaxi lodge, you’ll be treated to incredible views of Cotopaxi rising across the valley. Today you’ll hike up the flanks of Cotopaxi and receive training in more advanced climbing and rescue techniques and ideas. Returning for an early dinner and warm bed, it’s time to climb the second big peak of the trip.

    • Day 11 — Summit Day

      Waking up around 1am, you’ll have some hot drinks and snacks and set out for the summit of Cotopaxi. This climb will use all the skills you learned on Cayambe as we travel on snow and ice up to the rim of the volcano. The final section of climbing will be the most difficult before you are rewarded with a stunning summit. Like Cayambe, the ski descent typically follows the ascent route. After the massive ski descent you’ll find yourself driving to the beautiful Hacienda La Cienega.

    • Day 12 — Drive to Chimborazo

      After a morning of breakfast at Hacienda La Cienega, we drive south to a wilderness lodge below Chimborazo called the Chimborazo Lodge. The lodge is owned by one of Ecuador’s original mountain guides – his stories, home, and excellent food will prepare us for our final climb.

    • Day 13 — Move to High Camp

      Today we’ll move to the El Castillo camp at the base of Chimborazo’s glacier, 2 hours hike from the car. This camp is perched high on the mountain, and gets its name from “El Castillo”, the castle-like rock formation adjacent to the camp. From camp, you will see the glaciated route to the summit rise up in front of you, giving the team plenty of time to scout a good ski descent for the next day.

    • Day 14 — Summit Day

      Your final, and most challenging, climb. The route quickly climbs the glacier, on which the ice is often broken by many crevasses as well as almost vertical ice steps. Eventually you will reach the Castillo ridge and follow it over moderate ground to the summit. After taking photos and enjoying the views from the tallest point in Ecuador, it’s time to click into your skis for the highest ski descent in the country. Evening finds the team back in Quito for a final celebration dinner.

    • Day 15 — Weather Day

      We've built in an extra day for weather etc.

    • Day 16 — Head home

      Fly home from Quito.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Slouch Beanie

      • Neck Gaiter (Buff)

        A multi purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Buff

      • Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours. Recommended: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Julbo Shield

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O MAG

      • Hands and Feet

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Heavyweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON. Recommended: Ice Breaker Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Ski Socks

        Your everyday ski sock, good for ski tours and day hikes. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Merino Wool Ski Socks

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Soft Shell Jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation. A windshirt is an option for this layer. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Sandstone

      • Down Parka (5-6,000 Meter Peaks)

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Downlight Hooded Jacket

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

      • Soft Shell Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot. Recommended:Outdoor Research Cirque II

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Insulated Pants (optional)

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is optional. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Ski / Splitboard Equipment

      • Skis w/ Touring Bindings

        A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions. Recommended Skis: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis Recommended Bindings: Dynafit Speed Radical

      • Splitboard

        A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions. Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard

      • Ski/Splitboard Crampons

        While these are optional, they are strongly recommended by our guides. These will be used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer. Recommended: Dynafit Ski Crampons

      • Skins

        Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred. Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

        Adjustable ski poles with powder baskets. Recommended: Black Diamond Expedition 2 or Expedition 3 Poles

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Shovel

        A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended. Recommended: Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel

      • Probe

        A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm. Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Tour Probe 280

      • Backcountry Touring Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 30 and 40 liters and is designed to carry skis or a splitboard. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Recommended: Black Diamond Cirque 35 or 45 Pack

      • Ski Touring Boots

        These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains! Recommended: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro or Zero G Tour Scout

      • Snowboard Boots

        The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they're comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots! Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Duffle Bags

        2 Duffle Bags - At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big - between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don't recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It's common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Sleeping Bag (0°)

        Rated to 0º F. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. Recommended:Mountain Hardwear Phantom™ 0F/-18C Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended:Black Diamond Revolt 350

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle

        Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle. Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene

      • Coffee

        While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains! Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

      • Technical Equipment

      • General Mountaineering Axe

        One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. Recommended: Petzl Summit

      • Mountaineering Crampons

        Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Black Diamond Sabertooth Crampons

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. Recommended: Petzl Altitude *Harnesses are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis.

      • Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best. Recommended: Petzl Attache

      • Non-Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine. Recommended: Petzl Spirit

      • Accessory Cord

        25’ of 6mm nylon accessory cord. This will be used to make prusiks and cordalettes. Recommended: Sterling Ropes

      • Belay Device

        Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes. Recommended: Petzl Reverso

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        -Passport (with visa, if necessary

        -2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)

        -Non-cotton underwear

        -Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace

        -Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4)

        -Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear

        -Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)

        -Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)

        -Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)

        -Toiletries

        -3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)

        -Hand Warmers

      • In Town Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Optional Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Travel wallet pouch (waist or neck)

        - Leatherman/ Swiss Army Knife (Recommended: Leatherman Juice C2)

        - Zip lock bags (large size, for organizing small items and waterproofing)

        - Pee Funnel (optional for women) One popular model is the Freshette.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Packing Note

        For your international flights we recommend that you pack all of your equipment in your two duffle bags. Do not simply pack your backpack (since its straps can be damaged by baggage handling machines). It is important to lock these bags for their trip. Depending on airport, you may be able to put your travel locks on after they have been searched. If not, lock the bag with zip ties. If the TSA cuts off the zip tie to search your bag, they will replace it. You will still need travel locks to lock your bags in the hotel and in Basecamp. Generally, you will take one duffle to Basecamp, and leave one in the hotel with your belongings for town.

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • Would you consider doing a custom Ecuador Ski expedition?

      Absolutely. We always consider doing custom itineraries. Call or email to get started!

    • What sort of experience is needed for the Ring of Fire?

      This trip is suitable for advanced backcountry skiers and riders only. You must be very comfortable on steep terrain, and have significant touring experience. While having mountaineering experience is preferred, there will be time on this expedition devoted to learning the necessary skills to travel in the high mountains, on glaciers, and on steep terrain.

    • What level of fitness is required?

      Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • Do you rent gear for the Ring of Fire?

      For a trip of this magnitude, we recommend and find that most climbers already own personal climbing and skiing gear. If needed, Alpenglow can provide harness, helmet and crampons, reservations required. Participants must have their own backcountry ski equipment, and be very familiar with its’ use.

    • Do I really need to buy Travel and Rescue insurance?

      We require trip insurance and rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance.

Gaspar Navarrete

Gaspar hails from Ecuador, and has been guiding for over 18 years, and climbing since he was 12. He has extensive experience in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, Aconcagua, the Himalaya, the Cascades, the Alps and the Pyrenees. Gaspar has established new routes in both Ecuador and Bolivia. As an active instructor with the Ecuadorian School for Mountain Guides, he has trained in Ecuador, Bolivia and France. He is a Wilderness First Responder, and has spent a great deal of time working at high altitude.

Gaspar joined one of Quito’s oldest climbing clubs at a young age, which gave him the opportunity to mentor under very experienced climbers. He considers the Andes, including Patagonia, his home, and he love to share his enthusiasm for the mountains, the Andean traditions, food and culture with his guests.

Gaspar is an ASEGUIM/IFMGA mountain guide

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 150 in the USA) and more than a fifteen summits of 8,000 meter peaks (17 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen, as well as an ascent of K2 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for over twenty years and has led over 130 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu (the 8th tallest mountain in the world) from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has successfully led more than 100 clients to the summits of Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons, Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Europe, and of course closer to home in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Blizzard, Tecnica, Hiball Energy, and Favre Leuba.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Ray Hughes

Ray is an IFMGA / AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide. His passion for the mountains ignited while growing up in Northern California, exploring the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, followed by years honing his mountain skills in Colorado and Switzerland. As one of our core guides, Ray brings the same excitement to guiding and instructing in Lake Tahoe as skiing and alpine guiding in Europe to expeditions anywhere in the world. Sharing experiences, culture, and beautiful places with others blurs the line between work and play.

He is an AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and an American Avalanche Association professional member. Ray also works as a snow safety consultant for professional winter sport athletes and photographers.

He was a 4 x All American in Track and Field and the 250th American to ever run the Mile under 4:00, but now enjoys being an average trail jogger.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Ecuador Ring of Fire Ski Expedition

Ecuador Ring of Fire Ski Expedition

7 day extension available for 19,347' Cotopaxi and 20,564' Chimborazo for just $2200! See itinerary for details. Learn high altitude climbing and skiing skills and progress from backcountry skier to ski mountaineer through the skills you learn on this trip. Experience the rich Ecuadorian culture in Quito and Otavalo. Ski all of Ecuador's largest peaks by adding the extension!