This challenging volcano is climbed far less than others in Ecuador, but is one of the most beautiful. 

Antisana is the 4th highest peak in Ecuador, after Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Cotopaxi. However, due to it's access restrictions and remote location, it is climbed far less than the others. East of Quito, surrounded by an ecological preserve, you won't find a cushy refugio here to start your hike. However, I'm of the opinion that this is one of the most beautiful mountains I've ever climbed.

You'll start your trip by driving into the reserve through several checkpoints. As you are required to climb glaciated peaks with a guide in Ecuador, they'll have taken care of all the paperwork. You'll drive up near the base of the mountain to set up camp with sweeping views of the plains below and the mountain rising above.

After an early start, probably around 11pm, you will head through the rocky landscape to the base of the glacier, where you'll don your crampons and rope up.  Antisana has an extremely glaciated peak, requiring careful navigation of crevasses. The glacier is constantly shifting, so don't be surprised if your guide is blazing a brand new trail amongst the deep cracks in the ice and overhanging seracs. If you've got clear weather, enjoy a sublime sunrise with views of Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.

Your first goal is the saddle between Antisana's 2 peaks. The south peak to your right is a much more technical objective, although shorter than the north peak. Depending on the conditions, you'll likely drop back down onto the glacier before regaining the ridge and making your way up the summit ridge to the top of Antisana, at 18713 ft (5,704m)! If the weather is clear, you can see all the major volcanoes in Ecuador from here. 

Pack List

  • Insulated jackets (2x, one midweight fleece, one warm puffy, highly dependent on your comfort/body type)
  • Softshell mountaineering pants
  • Baselayers (bottoms and top)
  • Thick, warm socks
  • Wool/synthetic hat + buff
  • Headlamp + extra batteries
  • Gaiters
  • Sunglasses (glacier style)
  • Gloves (2x, one lightweight, one heavyweight)
  • Waterproof shell jacket
  • Mountaineering boots (available for rental in Quito, most companies will recommend plastic double boots)
  • Climbing Helmet (available for rental in Quito)
  • Ice axe (available for rental in Quito)
  • Crampons (available for rental in Quito)
  • Harness/rope/carabiners (likely provided by the guide company, but you can bring your own)
  • Backpack will depend on your travel style. For summit days, you won't need more than a 35L, but talk to your guide beforehand.
  • NOTE: This is by no means a complete list, be sure to consult with your guide/guide company beforehand and tailor it to your experience and comfort.
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Activities Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Year Round


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