Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Ecuador Climb/Mountaineering Schools Good or Worth the $$$?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for South America. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the South American Climbing Partners section.
 

Ecuador Climb/Mountaineering Schools Good or Worth the $$$?

Postby deep6 » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:40 pm

hey guys: i was also thinking of taking a climbing class or school while i was in ecuador before i make any attempts on some acclimation peaks and before i make my attempt on cotopaxi...are the climbing classes or schools any good in ecuador? i figured it would be cheaper than in the U.S. and more practical to learn if i'm already in the area but, wanted to know if these operators are legit, safe, worth the money, and knowlegeable enough to teach beginners beyond ice axe use & walking in crampons?

Safari's Andes Climbing School: http://safari.com.ec/climbing/climbing_school.htm

Mogglely Glacier School: http://www.moggely.com/mountain-climbing-tours-ecuador/glacier-school.html

Gulliver's climbing and glacier course: http://www.gulliver.com.ec/content/blogcategory/18/30/lang,en/

most of these climbing guides or outfitters claim that they are french certified etc, but, wanted to hear from those that actually have taken these courses and what were your experiences with them? any help or info. would be much appreciated and feel free and post up here or send me a PM...thank you.
Last edited by deep6 on Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
User Avatar
deep6

 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:28 am
Location: san francisco, California, north amercia, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby blazin » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:13 pm

I don't know anything about climbing schools in Ecuador, but--from what I saw there this January--I'd be very careful in choosing a guide/school.

When on Cotopaxi we saw a guide--who looked to be about 5'5" and maybe 130lbs--taking up a woman who had never been on a glacier before and was a good 6 inches and 60 pounds bigger than him. My partner and I joked about the strange pairing, but figured that the guy was probably strong and experienced enough to arrest her fall if it came to that. We didn't go up that day, but as we were lounging around the hut one of the first teams to make it down told us that they saw the small guide and his client above them glissading well off the normal route. A short while later the small guide himself came running into hut, pretty banged up and calling for help. Turns out they had been glissading in crampons, she couldn't control the slide and went on a ride of about 200m, he tried to self-arrest but couldn't hold her and went down after her, finally her crampon caught and her leg snapped right above her plastics. He had to leave her at about 5600m and come down to the hut for help. A bunch of the guides went back up with him as well as as a team from the University of Vermont (I think) among whom, fortunately, were several EMTs who treated her once we had carried her (basically lowered on a stretcher at some points) back down. No ambulance wanted to come to Cotopaxi, so she had to be taken to Quito in the back of a Jeep.

A day later, in the same hut, I heard another guide telling a new group of Americans how they would have no problems getting up Chimborazo and that it's no harder than Cotopaxi. Now perhaps that's true, I didn't go to Chimborazo and can't verify personally. But the reason I didn't go is because I met some climbers who had been and said that Tungurahua (the erupting volcano to east of Chimbo) had coated the entire glacier with so much ash that the normal route was basically undoable. Yet the guides are happy to tell clients that everything is fine, take their money, and then apologize when it "just so happens" that conditions are bad.

Later on, some friends who live in Quito told us that there are only two UIAA-certified guides in Ecuador and that while many others are competent, there are many of whom that cannot be said.

It's not my intention to bad-mouth all Ecuadoran guides, but rather to draw attention to the need of being very careful who you tie-in with and gathering as much information for yourself as you can.
User Avatar
blazin

 
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:02 pm
Location: Washington, DC
Thanked: 17 times in 11 posts

Postby kheegster » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:59 pm

If you want to take a course in Ecuador/Bolivia but with American guides (and American pricing), check out Mountain Madness.

http://www.mountainmadness.com
User Avatar
kheegster

 
Posts: 487
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:29 pm
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Thanked: 6 times in 2 posts

Postby Haliku » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:17 pm

bird wrote:I've stayed with Freddy at hotel sierra nevada in quito. He runs a guide service and I would say they are pretty reputable...


I'll second Bird's comment and go even farther. Freddy is one of the grandfathers of mountaineering in Ecuador. He trained in France 15+ years ago. I used him on Cayambe with his guide-in-training Estalin. They were safe. If anything I thought they were being too safe on what was a pretty easy mountain. They were good cooks also. They will also provide mountaineering instruction--Cayambe is a good mountain for that. Cheers!
User Avatar
Haliku

 
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:42 am
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 2 posts

Good topic for discussion

Postby Pete Castricone » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:15 pm

I have a girlfriend who lives in Guayaquil, Ecuador (although she is not a climber). I just wanted to point out that not all Ecuadorians are backwoods illiterate farmers who don't know a crampon from a rucksack. I'm also not sure what difference size makes at 5000m. I'm a big American, and maybe I could carry a small woman down an Andean peak. I probably would not enjoy that experience. Also, I was thinking that you should take a class or whatever it is you need to do to learn mountaineering before you go to the Andes and attempt a 5 or 6000m peak. Ecuador is on the US dollar, but Ecuadorian guides will run about 1/4th of the cost of an American outfit; as they say, you get what you pay for.
User Avatar
Pete Castricone

 
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:04 pm
Location: Lakewood, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby deep6 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:42 am

blazin thanks so much for posting up your experience while on cotopaxi...i agree it's always better to tread on the side of caution when going w/ any guiding or climbing school when you put your life into the hands of someone or some outfit that claims they're qualified on the mountains...scary stuff! :shock:

kheegster: i did look into them and i would love to go w/ mountain madness in s. america w/ their mountaineering school but, unfortunately i don't have the funds as their cheapest option1 is over 3K!

freddy/Haliku: thanks for sharing your experience w/ freddy the ecuadorian guide from hotel sierra nevada. is there a way to contact him such as email? i wanted to see how much he would charge and what skills would be taught on a mountaineering instruction/class on a mtn. such as cayambe? that's a big plus that they're good cooks as i'm looking forward to trying some of that tasty ecuadorian grub!

castricone7: yeah i hear ya about learning this stuff before i make a 5K meter peak attempt but, was hoping to kill two birds w/ one stone and save some moola while i was traveling through ecuador. i've done a 4K meter winter mountaineering peak recently though i know its not the same but, i was just hoping to continue the learning process and do it safely so i'm cool with not doing cotopaxi if its beyond my skill level. however, it sounds like from your experiences that the climbing schools/instruction are not so good in comparison to US standards?

anyways, thanks for sharing all your comments and thoughts about climbing classes/mountaineering schools in ecuador so far but, please continue posting up any experiences you've had with any outfitters,etc. or feel free and shoot me a PM...thank you.
User Avatar
deep6

 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:28 am
Location: san francisco, California, north amercia, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby deep6 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:59 am

bird--hellz yeahhaaa! i tried cuy in peru before...whiskers and all! hey, do you know if freddy/sierra nevada hotel has a website w/ info. & prices on his guiding services or do you know what kinda prices he charges for his guiding services/mountaineering instruction? also, i think i saw your post bout your madrocks boots you used on your trip so how are those kicks holding up for ya?
User Avatar
deep6

 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:28 am
Location: san francisco, California, north amercia, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby Woodie Hopper » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:10 am

bird wrote:
deep6 wrote: that's a big plus that they're good cooks as i'm looking forward to trying some of that tasty ecuadorian grub!.


Make sure you try Cuy! It's delicious!


Yeah, you should, but if you're not sure I would recommend a mixed plate! :lol:
User Avatar
Woodie Hopper

 
Posts: 423
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:06 pm
Location: Denver & Leadville, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 20 posts

Postby Haliku » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:31 pm

deep6 wrote:thanks for sharing your experience w/ freddy the ecuadorian guide from hotel sierra nevada. is there a way to contact him such as email? i wanted to see how much he would charge and what skills would be taught on a mountaineering instruction/class on a mtn. such as cayambe? that's a big plus that they're good cooks as i'm looking forward to trying some of that tasty ecuadorian grub!


Easy enough: http://www.sierranevada.ec/en/index.php and info@sierranevada.ec. Cheers!
User Avatar
Haliku

 
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:42 am
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 2 posts

Postby tjbst47 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:57 pm

The guides I saw on the mountains there were very dangerous. They would give their clients inadequate food/water, use poor rope techniques, and take breaks under icefalls. I hired a guide from Gulliver only because my partner left. He tied me in with an overhand (I don't know if he knew what a figure 8 is). Then he tried to short rope me (maybe about 3 meters), so we surely both would have fell in a crevasse together if one did first.

On the other hand, I do recommend staying at Papa Gayo, with is a B&B in the mountains and owned by the same guy as Gulliver. I think the guides have good knowledge of the routes, but otherwise it is an accident waiting to happen.
User Avatar
tjbst47

 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby Woodie Hopper » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:05 pm

I used Moggely for Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. They use 3 or 4 guys, and our guides were very professional, friendly and used good technique. Patricio Salazar who works for them is fairly well known in S.A. I have his personal info if you would like to contact him- who knows, you might be able to get him cheaper than if you go through Moggely? PM or E-mail me if you are interested.

Woodie
User Avatar
Woodie Hopper

 
Posts: 423
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:06 pm
Location: Denver & Leadville, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 20 posts

Postby deep6 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:35 am

Haliku: thanks for the web link/email for sierra nevada as i'll definitely contact freddy and see what are his rates, accomadations, etc...

tjbst47: dayammm! that's what i was afraid of and reason why i started this tread as i wanted to hear about acutal experiences with these type of guiding/mountaineering schools...that's pretty scary what you described! :shock: i know each co. and guides are different but, i guess you have to do your homework beforehand and really check up on these outfits before you sign your life away climbing a volcano! is papa guyo located near the base of cotopaxi? and did you end up staying at the jose rivas hut before making the summit attempt on the volcano? thanks so much for sharing your guide experiences and helping me narrow down my search for a knowledgeable/reputable/safe guide.

woodie: cool! good to hear that you had a successful and safe climb with moggely on 3 of the big peaks in ecuador--congrats! according to their site they seem to have a pretty comprehensive 4-day glacier school that i was interested in furthering my skills with before making any summit attempts. i would like to contact Patricio Salazar from moggely so i'll drop you an email...gracias!

bird: glad to hear that your madrocks are holding up for ya as i was thinking about getting a pair of the madrocks alpinists since i'm worried that my reg. backpacking boots wouldn't cut it in terms of keeping my toes warm but, dont have the funds for a pair of plastics and problem is i don't know of any shops in the SF BayArea that has these in stock that i could try...do you guys know if its easy or good to rent them say in quito?

also, do you guys think that 5 days of acclimation hikes to surrounding peaks like illiniza would be sufficient before attempting cotopaxi?...i know you can't rush these things but, just trying to figure out a battle plan right now. thanks to all so far for sharing your experiences and thoughts please cont. posting up here or feel free and shoot me an email.

thank you.
User Avatar
deep6

 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:28 am
Location: san francisco, California, north amercia, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby Haliku » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:16 pm

deep6 wrote:also, do you guys think that 5 days of acclimation hikes to surrounding peaks like illiniza would be sufficient before attempting cotopaxi?...i know you can't rush these things but, just trying to figure out a battle plan right now. thanks to all so far for sharing your experiences and thoughts please cont. posting up here or feel free and shoot me an email.


Our schedule was reworked once we arrived in Quito with Freddy's input. Especially with you coming from sea level you need the time to adjust. We did:
Day 1 Travel
Day 2 Quito
Day 3 Pasochoa
Day 4 Rucu
Day 5-6 Norte
Day 7-8 Cotopaxi
Day 9-10 Banos
Day 11-12 Chimbo (we did Cayambe instead)
Day 13 Otovalo tour
Day 14 Quito (museums, shopping, etc.)
Day 15 Travel

Feel free to drop a email/PM if needed. If you haven't checked already look at the SA forum as there are plenty of good Ecuador threads. Cheers!
User Avatar
Haliku

 
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:42 am
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 2 posts

Postby eferesen » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:32 pm

This is my itinerary http://www.eferesen.org/ecuador.html

When are you going?

Ahsan
User Avatar
eferesen

 
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:05 pm
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby deep6 » Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:25 pm

bird/haliku: thanks for posting up your ecuador/cotopaxi itinearies...this definitely will be very helpful in planning my trip and yes...i've been researching other people's past trip reports, etc...here on sp as well to figure out the best number of acclimation days and peaks plus try to fit in some training classes as well within a two week time period that i could take off on vacation from work.

eferesen: i'm shoot'n for possibly in july but, i understand that it's the peak season in ecuador/climbing cotopaxi so i may delay my trip to later month but, what do you guys think are the best month(s) to climb cotopaxi and the surrounding peaks?

thank you.
User Avatar
deep6

 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:28 am
Location: san francisco, California, north amercia, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Next

Return to South America

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.