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Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:25 pm

Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby brendanmagee13 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:09 pm

I will contribute my thoughts and experience on this subject because I just got back from Ecuador a week ago after spending two weeks there climbing. The story of needing a guide is 100% absolutely true. You will run into some red tape and hassle if you try to climb/enter the parks without a guide. My friends found this out after we booked our flights and our original intention was to climb as independent as possible. We originally just thought the guide companies were trying to get us to part with our money but upon further research we learned it was due to some recent (within the past year) climbing accidents/deaths, one in particular on Iliniza Sur. We were originally really upset with the idea of having to use a guide (and I felt it was a tax on climbers), because we wanted to climb as independent as possible.

However, being all competent and experienced climbers, it was not a horrible experience to have to use a guide. We were able to arrange everything and pay for everything even before we left the US. From who our guides would be, transportation to and from the mountains (even schedule a time for pick ups, and they were on time when picking us up from our hostels), arrange where we would stay when not on the mountain, food for on the mountain (the huts have cooking facilities and are better than the hut at Camp Muir on Rainier). The costs of all this was about the same as trying to arrange just transportation to and from the huts and was more reliable as well. In my opinion it worked out really well just to have the transportation arranged ahead of time rather than trying to do this while we were in Ecuador and who knows how reliable it would have been.

As far as the guides themselves, we saw them with clients with very little to no experience, but we also saw them with clients who seemed to have a lot of experience. Our particular guides knew we all had climbing experience, and particularly glacier climbing experience, so they were more relaxed and carefree with us, than the clients with no experience. In one instance, there were 3 clients, 1 guide, and we were climbing as two rope teams; one team of 2 clients, another team of 1 client and 1 guide, and the two teams were 30 minutes apart. They would let us lead as well and make our own climbing decisions. I can't say this for every guide, if they would be as relaxed and carefree with other experienced climbers.

In hindsight, even with the new regulation/law, I would still climb in Ecuador again. The costs of hiring a guide is small compared to guides in other parts of the world, particularly the US, Europe and even Kilimanjaro. It was nice to have the transportation, food, entrance and hut fees, lodging in town (hostels) all arranged for us even before we got there. With that being said, before you spend money, make sure the guide company is a reputable company.

If anyone would like to talk in greater detail about my experience in Ecuador just send me a PM and I'd be happy to talk.

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Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 9:21 pm
Location: Moab, UT/Glenwood Springs, CO

Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby kaiman » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:57 pm

brendanmagee13 wrote:I will contribute my thoughts and experience on this subject because I just got back from Ecuador a week ago after spending two weeks there climbing.


Just out of curiosity what guide company did you use and how much did it cost?
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:25 pm

Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby brendanmagee13 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:51 pm

kaiman wrote:
brendanmagee13 wrote:I will contribute my thoughts and experience on this subject because I just got back from Ecuador a week ago after spending two weeks there climbing.


Just out of curiosity what guide company did you use and how much did it cost?


The company we used was Gulliver Expeditions which can be found here at www.gulliver.com.ec. The costs for using Gulliver was around $1000, but that included 4 mountains (Iliniza Norte, Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Chimborazo). It also included all of our lodging for the entire trip whether we were on the mountain or staying at the hostel. Also included some food (particularly on the mountain meals) and transportation from various hostels and huts. Pretty good deal in my opinion considering a guided trip up Rainier is around $1000.

Ecuador is really cheap as well. Our meals when we ate out would be $3-4 (including a bottle of water) or $4-5 if you got a beer. Groceries were cheap as well when we would stock up on food at the super market. Taxis didn't cost more than $5 in Quito.

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