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Hike: Rucu Pichincha

Location: Start at the top of the Teleferiqo in Quito, Ecuador
Time: 5 hours (3 hours up, 2 hours down)
Distance: ?

We did this hike in order to prepare for (or in my case decide against) climbing Cotopaxi. It is at the top of the Teleferiqo in Quito. You take the Teleferiqo ($8.50pp) to the top and then start climbing. You can see the trail to the right of the building at the top. The trail is fairly straightforward for the first 1.5 hours. There is one point where the trail splits. Those who want to rock climb should go left (it’s a pretty serious rock climb and beginners need ropes), those who want the traditional route should go to the right. The trail is harder to see after about 30 minutes more on this part as it is basically up a rocky hill to the top. There are multiple trails but we recommend staying further to the right where there are some switchbacks through grassy/mossy parts that are easier to climb up. The last stretch requires a scramble up rocks. The rocks are pretty sturdy and it’s easy to pull yourself up (so long as you can still breathe at this altitude). The top is marked with a sign stating the altitude: 4696 meters.

Check out our photos of this hike on our photos page.

Some Tips:

  • Walk Slow. It went against our instincts but at this high altitude, you’ll need your strength at the end so don’t try to push it on the easier parts.
  • Take warm clothes. It got pretty chilly pretty fast and the top was downright cold. We were in and out of clouds the whole hike and it seems likely to rain although we were lucky enough to not have it rain.

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