|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2013
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.
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.