I have summited my fair share of peaks in the past few years, but my decision to go up one of the world’s active volcanos was in a class of its own.

I have never doubted myself on a climb before, but when you are looking at a summit that sits at 19,347’ you start to think of other variables such as altitude, and the common dangers of hiking on ice and snow.

It was clear that I had to hire a guide, not only because it is required by the Ecuadorian government, but more importantly because I had no idea of the route. To add to this you have to climb at night because it is safer(during the day the sun loosens up the surface of the glacier, and there are much higher risks of avalanche).

An amazing outfit by the name of Mountain Legends, based out of Quito, was recommended to me by my friends the Modern Gypsies. Mountain Legends is a first class operation and is serious about getting their guests safely to the top of Cotopaxi.

My guide and I summited way ahead of schedule, so we missed the sunrise, but we saw electric storms over the Amazon, and the stars were so close I felt like I could touch them!

Needless to say I did make the summit and I am still alive to write about.

Here is a snapshot of what the hike looks like:

10:00 PM – Wake Up at Tambopaxi Acclimatization Centre @ 12,303’

12:00 AM – Ascent Begins @ 15,088’

12:30 AM – Reach Jose F. Rivas Refuge (Closed) @ 15,784’

12:45 AM – Reach the Glacier (Add Crampons & Ice Axe) @ 16,404’

04:15 AM – Reach Summit @ 19,347’

04:20 AM – Begin Descent @ 19,347’

07:00 AM – Return to Tambopaxi Acclimatization Centre to Rest @ 12,303’