| Climbing near Quito|
|North of Quito lies a rocky peak heaven that appears to touch the sky which has a series of antennas sticking out from it known as "Las
Antenas" allowing on good days scenery up to 52 km long of the central Quito valley although as with any remote mountain area go with a group for safety when visiting either Cruz Loma or the higher peak Rucu Pichincha (4627m) both around 4-5 hour ascents to the summits with 2 hour declines.|
The pre-mentioned ascent times also involves taking either a bus or taxi to the foothills of these mountains and should be arranged early morning with of course ample waterproof and warm attire with plenty of food and water supplies.
After three and a half centuries of lying dormant Guagua Pichincha (4794 m) awoke from its slumbers in the latter part of 1999 and although it is current safe to climb, access into the inner depths of the crater are not recommended and indeed prohibited. Before climbing even to the refuge do check prior to ascending with either
the local El Comercio newspaper (front page) or the Geophysics Institute of Escuela Politécnica Nacional which houses daily reports on their website at www.epn.edu.ec.
To get to the volcano which stands at 4794m, you can either rent a jeep, take a guided jeep tour for around US$50.00 with the owner of the Friendly volcano Hostel on Foch street (groups of 3-4) or take a bus to Mena (check the local bus station), or to Lloa, you may also take a taxi costing around US $12-15 but always set off at the crack of dawn as the final hike to the refuge and back down in order to get your return bus journey back.
The Refuge (refugio) has beds and water for overnight stays but no cooking equipment, heating or blankets so, come prepared, it is run by the Defensa Civil and has an on sight warden.
The normal waterproof and warm clothing must be taken as it can be very chilling to the bones at this level of altitude. From the
refuge the ascent to the summit is only 20 minutes but do walk slowly to the craters edge as dizziness and shortness of breath affecting balance is likely to occur.
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