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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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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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