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Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

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Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

Postby Cissa » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:03 pm

I wasn´t sure about writing this, but since there´s a lot of quite experienced people in the forum who climb independent and are weary of the mandatory guide policy in Ecuador, I may add something that will maybe help in decisions to climb or not, in Ecuador.

I spent three weeks there in January. I traveled by myself but was able to join a group for my first two climbs.

I attempted Cayambe, and summited Cotopaxi with one company: Andean Face, owned by Javier Herrera (highly recommend, very high level of service), with Nacho Espinoza (UIAGM) as a guide, also, highly recommend him. Had Cesar as assistant guide (don´t know his last name) and met Gaspar Navarrete (UIAGM, guides for several top tier american companies). All these I can recommend.

For Chimborazo and Antisana, I decided to book with Gulliver. Even though I requested to be in touch with the guides to discuss details previously, I was utterly ignored. I had Rodrigo, from Baños, to guide me on Chimborazo. Not only extremely lazy (because of Chimbo´s conditions, he wanted to go only to a viewpoint at 5400m), but harassed me the entire time, to the point I felt scared of being around him, and was glad that once we got to the refuge there were more people there.

For Antisana, my main goal, I had Fernando Iza, manager of the Illiniza refuge. I figured this time I´d let the guide know ahead of time I was there to climb and nothing else, but he seemed professional at first so I felt I didn´t need to do that. I´m a beginner, I worry a lot about safety and I observe and question a lot so that I learn, and I made that pretty clear. But by the time we got to base camp of Antisana, he was already making passes at me, and worst of all, this time it was me and him in the mountain, no other groups.

I´ve also met a German whom Gulliver was taking to Cotopaxi only 2 days after he had arrived at Quito, and read some comments on travelers forums with similar complaints regarding uninterested guides. I made a complain to Gulliver but they seemed only to be worried about it until they managed to remove my negative review from Trip Advisor.

I realize some people do travel seeking sex-partying-etc, but in my perception, a mountain climb is no situation for that, and a mountain guide needs to know that as well, and behave accordingly. The difference in professionalism and commitment between Nacho and Cesar to Rodrigo and Fernando was immense. The good guides in Ecuador are awesome, but stay away from anyone but them.

I was pretty disappointed with the second half of my trip, and quite traumatized even though I had traveled alone before. But I wish I did have good recommendations before hand (I tried...), and would be really pissed off if I was an experienced climber, forced to hire a guide to climb a mountain, and then had to go through something like this and pretty much ruin my experience. So there´s my piece of advice.
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Cissa

 
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The following user would like to thank Cissa for this post
Buz Groshong, chailee1968@yahoo.com, Fletch, Jesus Malverde, JHH60, Luciano136, rgg

Re: Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

Postby athom110 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:23 pm

I was in Ecuador for 2 weeks with my wife January 27-Feb 11 and hired the services of Diego Cumbaijin, the founder and owner of Andes Climbing (www.andesclimbing.com), SP username 'andesclimbing'. He was very polite, encouraging, accomodating and most importantly - was VERY safety conscious. He even drove like a sane person, which is a rarity on some roads in Ecuador.

I'm more of a beginner at mountaineering myself, at least when it comes to high altitudes. I noticed that some of the other guides would keep their clients' interests and needs at an arm's length, while the odd guide would completely ignore them. I was extremely pleased with Diego's services, as we had customized the trip to include many different contingency plans throughout the entire trip in case conditions were bad on any of the routes. For example, we ended up giving up heading for Chimborazo due to the extremely icy conditions and went for an amazing 3 day excursion to the Amazon rainforest at no extra cost (although I had gone to Ecuador with the sole intention of climbing, this little trip was 110% worth it!). All told, the mostly all inclusive trip was between 15-30% less cost than anything I had quoted to me by other expedition companies like Gulliver, Sierra Nevada Trek and almost 50% less than RMI, Jagged Globe, Mountain Madness... even when factoring in a 2 day Honeymoon package at the Papallacta Spa.

There are excellent guides in Ecuador - hopefully people will do their research into guides and companies beforehand to avoid unfortunate cases like the one above. If anyone wanted any further info or feedback on my trip with Andes Climbing feel free to shoot me a PM.
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Re: Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

Postby Luciano136 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:31 pm

Anyone used World Bike before (http://ecuadorbikeclimbhike.com/en/) ? I was planning on using them this upcoming June? Owner is Rafael Martinez. I came across this the other day and now I'm a little worried:
http://www.ripoffreport.com/world-bike- ... -04120.htm
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Re: Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

Postby mountain goaty » Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:32 pm

Hello Climbers,

This was the email I sent inbehalf of Gulliver expeditions right after we got this complain.

Dear Cissa,

My name is Eran and I'm the owner of Gulliver Expeditions,

We had short talk in PapaGayo before you left to Antisana and it was
a pleasure to get to know you and hear about your prior experiences in Ecuador.

First I want to thank you for booking trips with Gulliver and I'm happy to hear you had good communication with Katherin and liked
your stay in PapaGayo.

We put a lot of work and effort in order to give personal good quality service to each one of our clients.

In the last two years we have more and more people coming from Brazil to climb volcanoes in Ecuador and make adventure trips.
This fact is very positive and make it even more important for me to make sure we solve your problem in a way that you will be satisfied.

It is important for me to mention that we do take climbing in very serious manner,
Personally I have reached the summit of these volcanoes several times and both volcanoes Antisana and Chimborazo are beautiful huge volcanoes, which are difficult to climb and summit is definitely not guaranteed.

Unfortunately on the start of this year we had only few people summit Chimborazo due to the amount of rock falling and as I understand it was the same case on the night you attempted to summit this mountain.

After you finished the climbs is normal procedure of Gulliver in order to guarantee our quality of service we had talked with you,
Me personally in PG and Katherine through phone call and emails.
All this information had passed to our weekly meetings and according to that decisions been taken.

Our clients are very important for us. After hearing your experience ,first I want to apologize for the behavior of the guides.
This kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable, it is out of moral codes of Aseguim & Ministery of Tourism and both guides
will need to pay for it in order that this wont happen again.

As tour operator we own the patents and permissions, organize the itineraries, vehicles, equipment, rescue in case of necessary and have the obligation to choose well the Aseguim guides we contract for each trip. In your case obviously I apologize for the bad choice.

Gulliver in the last 8 years had many successful climbing operations through the country and your personal experience is definitely an exception that we
take very seriously in order to learn form it and avoid it to happen again.

As owner of the company I know personally all the mountain guides that we contract and I'm very disappointed to hear about their behavior.

I want to know if we can talk by Skype in order to offer you a kind of compensation explain you the action been done by Gulliver after receiving your complain and ask you to take out your review.
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Re: Some advice on hiring guides/agencies in Ecuador

Postby Luciano136 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:03 am

Just got a notification of new activity on this thread and realized I never posted an update on my experience. I did end up going with World Bike after being a little worried because of a few bad reviews. Rafael Martinez himself joined us on our acclimatization trips and he was great; very experienced and knowledgeable. His wife working the front office is very nice as well. So, some bad reviews are definitely legit but you can't always believe all of it...
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