Women’s Ecuador Climbing Expedition

16 Days in / (Skill level: Intermediate)

Price per person

$5,050
  • Next Available: Aug 07, 2021 - Aug 22, 2021
    Sell out risk: High
  • Upcoming: Aug 06, 2022 - Aug 21, 2022
  • Aug 05, 2023 - Aug 20, 2023

About this trip

Climb technical routes on the high peaks of Ecuador on this all-female expedition in Ecuador. This expedition is led by Carla Perez, the first South American female to summit Everest without oxygen. This is an excellent opportunity to climb big, beautiful mountains as part of an all-female crusher team.

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    16 Days

Ecuador is an incredible country with rich culture, vast beauty, and stunning mountains. This expedition is tailored for and led by women, with the intention of bringing strong female climbers together to adventure in the mountains. This expedition will start off with more technical, lower elevation mountains in El Altar and finish on the summit of Chimborazo, giving us the full Ecuadorian climbing experience.

Expedition Leader 

This expedition is led by Alpenglow Expeditions guide Carla Perez. Carla is an extremely experienced mountaineer and guide. She has made multiple successful summits of Everest, including an ascent without the use of supplemental oxygen. She was also the first woman from the Americas to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen, and was the first woman to summit Everest and K2 in the same year. 

She was born and raised in Ecuador, and knows the mountains there like the back of her hand. She loves showing others the vibrant Ecuadorian culture and its beautiful mountains, and has a deep passion for empowering other women in mountain environments. Alpenglow Expeditions is incredibly lucky to have her as the lead guide and curator of this expedition.

Expedition Itinerary 

This 16-day Itinerary is packed with climbing, starting with rock climbing and skills practice the day after we arrive in Quito. We’ll then spend a day acclimatizing and hiking Ruco Pichincha before heading to our base camp in Sangay National Park where we will make attempts of Pulpito, Monja Grande, and El Obispo. After our successful ascents of these three incredible peaks, we’ll make our way to Chimborazo. Chimborazo is the tallest mountain in Ecuador, and it will take us two days and all of the skill that we have dialed in as a team throughout the expedition to reach its summit. Upon a successful summit of Chimborazo we’ll make our way back to Quito and wrap up the expedition.

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.

  • Altitude

    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'.

  • Technical Experience

    Prior roped climbing, cramponing, and ice axe skills are required.

    • Day 1 — Arrive in Quito

      Leave your home for Ecuador, arriving 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.

    • Day 2 — Rock Climb and Skills Day

      We'll spend the day climbing at one of the local crags near Quito and working on skills. This will give us a chance to dial in our rope skills for the climbs to come.

    • Day 3 — Trek Ruco Pichincha

      Today we'll go on an acclimatization trek to the summit of Ruco Pichincha (4,784m, 15,696'). This hike will help us acclimate and keep our fitness. Tomorrow we'll leave Quito and make our way to mountains.

    • Day 4 — Trek to Base Camp

      Having spent the last few days preparing in Quito, it is time to head into the mountains. We'll start the day with quick drive to Sangay National Park and "El Altar", where will will then start trekking to the "Italian Base Camp" at around 4,600m, 15,000'. This will serve as our base camp for the next four days as we make our summit bids on Pulpito, Monja Grande, and El Obispo.

    • Day 5 — Climb Pulpito

      Today will be our first full day of climbing as we set off for the summit of Pulpito, a secondary summit to El Obispo. We'll ascend slopes of ice and snow to the summit just below 5,000m. This will be a great introduction to the climbing that we will be doing for the next several days, as the subsequent peaks are on the same ridgeline. We'll return to camp and prepare to climb again the following day.

    • Day 6 — Climb Monja Grande

      Having had a successful ascent of Pulpito yesterday, we will once again leave Base Camp for a summit bid. Today we will be climbing Monja Grande (16,929', 5,160 m). Monja Grande is a technical peak with mixed rock, snow, and ice that shares a saddle with El Obispo.

      The approach is long but fairly straightforward, moving through some crevasse fields to the El Obispo - Monja Grande Col. From here there are several steep pitches of soft ice and snow before reaching the summit. After summiting we'll descend back down to base camp. We will climb +/- 700m, 2,200' today.

    • Day 7 — Rest Day

      After two hard days of climbing, we'll take the day to rest our bodies and prepare to climb El Obispo tomorrow.

    • Day 8 — Climb El Obispo

      Today we'll make our way to the summit of El Obispo. We'll start by retracing our steps to the Obispo - Monja Grande Col. From here there are several pitches of steep snow and mixed rock to reach the top of the hanging glacier. From here two pitches of class V rock climbing protect the summit.

      After we finish the last two rock pitches, we'll find ourselves standing at 5,319 m, 17,450' and the summit of El Obispo. We'll descend back down to base camp and get ready for the trek out of El Altar.

    • Day 9 — Trek out/ Estrella del Chimborazo

      Today we will hike out of El Altar and drive to Estrella del Chimborazo.

    • Day 10 — Rest day

      We'll spend the day getting some much needed rest in Estrella before we start our climb of Chimborazo.

    • Day 11 — Hike to the base of Nicolas Martinez.

      Today we'll have a short drive to the base of Chimborazo and then we'll begin our climb by trekking to the base of Nicolas Martinez, a secondary peak on Chimborazo resting at 18,274', 5,570m.

    • Day 12 — Climb Nicolas Martinez and Polictenica

      This will be the first day of our two-day ascent of the east ridge of Chimborazo. We'll start by climbing to the summit of Nicolas Martinez at 18,274', 5,570m, before continuing on to the summit of Polictenica at 19,094', 5,820m. We'll continue to the far side of Polictenica and set up high camp on the Polictenica col.

    • Day 13 — Summit Chimborazo

      Today we'll start up the east face and work our way to the summit of Chimborazo. The day will see us climb 800m, 2,600' to the summit. We'll have a quick celebration atop Ecuador's tallest peak, and then start our descent down the "Normal" Route of Chimborazo.

      After our successful summit of Chimborazo we'll load up the van and return to Quito.

    • Days 14-15 — Extra Summit Days

      We've built in two extra days in case there is poor weather or other factors that are holding us back throughout the expedition.

    • Day 16 — Fly Home

      Depart Quito for home. Flights are generally late the night before (after 11pm) or early in
      the morning.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Grey AEX Classic Trucker

        Affectionately referred to as the "dad hat", this mesh backed hat boasts a classically curved bill that is a bit more traditional than our other hat options. For those of us that prefer a classic look, this one is for us. The mesh back provides ample ventilation for those sunny days spent on the mountain keeping our heads cool and our face shaded. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Classic Mesh Backed Hat

        $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 Gloves

        These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation. Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight WoolTech Gloves

      • 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

      • Warm Socks

        A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. NO COTTON. Recommended: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew 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

      • Mountaineering Boots (5,000m-6,000m)

        Should be warm single or double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking. (If your feet run cold, we would recommend a double boot like the La Sportiva G2 Evo) Recommended: La Sportiva G5 Evo

      • Waterproof Gaiters

        GORE-TEX® or Schoeller® calf- high gaiters, insulated supergaiters recommended. *Gaiters not needed if your pants and/or boots have built-in gaiters. Recommended: Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile Gaiters (required if your boots do not have integrated gaiters)

      • 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

      • 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

      • Climbing Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 50 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

      • Trekking Pole(s)

        Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. Recommended:Black Diamond Trailback Trekking Poles

      • 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

      • Plastic Bowl, Mug and Spoon

        A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You'll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon. Recommended Kit: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit

      • Inflatable Sleeping Pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad. Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm

      • 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

      • Ice Tool (2)

        Two technical ice climbing axes. Best is to have one with an adze and one hammer. The tools should be approx. 50cm. long. These should be modern curved tools with waterfall ice picks. *Spinner leashes are required (Black Diamond or Grivel leashes are excellent) Recommended: Petzl Quark

      • 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

      • 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?

    • I don’t have all the required equipment. Do you rent gear?

      Yes, we provide the following gear at no charge for our climbing schools. Helmet, harness, crampons, ice axe, boots and carabiners/ cord. Please note- this equipment is available on a first come, first served basis, so please make your reservations early!

    • Do I really need to buy trip and rescue insurance?

      We require purchasing trip insurance, and we also require 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.

    • Would you consider organizing a custom expedition?

      Yes, custom expedition requests are always welcome. Give us a call or send an email!

    • 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.

Meet your guides

Carla Perez

Carla has been on the pursuit of her climbing dreams for most of her life, she started climbing as a teenager and her love to the mountains took her to the french Alps, where she studied geology and got a masters degree on geochemistry. In 2007 she decided to become a full time climber, which also put her the path of becoming a mountain guide. Carla has trained with and is pursuing UIAGM/IFMGA certification with the ASEGUIM (the Ecuadorian mountain guides association).

Carla has made multiple successful summits of Everest, including an ascent without the use of supplemental oxygen in 2016. She was the sixth women in history to accomplish this feat and the first Latin American woman to do so. She was also the first woman from the Americas to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen in 2019, and was the first woman to summit Everest and K2 in the same year..

In 2008 she did a biking trip from Ecuador to Argentina and had the opportunity to understand and learn more about her home: the Andes.

Today she splits her time between speaking about her climbing experiences all around the world, chasing new missions with her parter “Topo” and guiding big mountains.

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM

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    Women's Ecuador Climbing Expedition

Women’s Ecuador Climbing Expedition

Climb technical routes on the high peaks of Ecuador on this all-female expedition in Ecuador. This expedition is led by Carla Perez, the first South American female to summit Everest without oxygen. This is an excellent opportunity to climb big, beautiful mountains as part of an all-female crusher team.