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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)

3. Iliniza Norte  
Round out your training on a 7.3-mile lasso loop with an overnight at 15,420 feet. Ascend a sandy ridgeline 3 miles to the Refugio de Los Ilinizas ($15/person). Day two, traverse the Paso de la Muerte (Pass of Death)—only death-defying when it’s icy—and scramble up boulder-strewn gullies and ledges to the pinpoint, 16,818-foot summit (there’s only room for two people to stand there at once).

4. Volcan Cotopaxi
Now tackle this 19,347-foot summit.
 




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