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Backpacker Magazine – November 2013

Ecuador: Top 3 Training Hikes

Got your eye on Cotopaxi? Work up to it on a series of acclimatizing hikes before tackling the big one. These trips, in ascending order of difficulty, are ideal proving grounds: close to Quito, tall enough to help your legs and lungs adjust, and all doable without a guide.

by: Kim Phillips

The northern rim of Volcan Imbabura. (Photo by Kim Phillips)
The northern rim of Volcan Imbabura. (Photo by Kim Phillips)
Sign on the ascent of Volcan Imbabura. (Photo by Kim Phillips)
Sign on the ascent of Volcan Imbabura. (Photo by Kim Phillips)

2. Volcán Imbabura 
Test out your high-altitude legs on this 6-mile out-and-back to the 15,190-foot crater of an extinct volcano 40 miles northeast of Quito. Climb west through gentle, rolling farmland and foothills covered in thigh-high grass. Crest a saddle at mile 2, then scramble up rocky outcrops to the summit crater. Trace the exposed rim south another .7 mile to hit the crater’s highest point.



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