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Ecuador and its new park rules

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Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby jm141302 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:23 pm

First Ecuador made it so it was illegal to climb above 5,000 meters without a guide, now foreigners can't even enter a national park without a guide, but up to 6 Ecuadorians can enter without a guide. Do the Ecuadorians stay safer in their parks than foreigners? Are they trying to kill their tourist climbing population? Living here just got a bit worse.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby ywardhorner » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:49 pm

They are killing off the revenue they would otherwise get from visiting climbers (hotels/restaurants/fees/souvenirs/transportation/whatever). There are many great countries in SA, many great mountains. I for one will avoid Ecuador unless and until this law changes, though I had future plans to climb there. There are many others who feel the same. I wonder if the govt there understands this.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby mountainsandsound » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:09 pm

I hardly contribute to SP forums anymore, but I was compelled to by reading this post. Ecuador has been a dream vacation for me, a place I could combine my two favorite activities, mountaineering and surfing. I for one have no plans for Ecuador anymore. I don't have anything against guides, I personally just don't want to climb anything where I can't lead or co-lead as part of a team. If they want revenue, can't they just have us shell out a volcano tax or something? I'd happily pay a reasonable climbing fee and support the local economy, just not by hiring a guide. Whoever is running the show in Ecuador doesn't realize that many people headed up their volcanoes are not simply trophy hunters. I hope the powers that be realize what a huge mistake this new policy is.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby Scott » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:33 pm

I don't like it being mandatory either, but on the other hand it is their country.

I think the rule probably has to do more with employment rather than for safety.

Most the people climbing the Ecuador volcanoes are guided anyway, so I don't know if it will have that much effect on the numbers. It certainly hasn't in places like Kilimanjaro, Ararat, Peru, etc.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby Damien Gildea » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:35 am

Scott wrote:I don't like it being mandatory either, but on the other hand it is their country.


Fair point, Scott. But just because they can do something doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it. They could instigate a small climbing fee that is turned back into the local community, rather than giving licence to outsiders to profit from a natural resource owned by all Ecuadoreans.

I think the rule probably has to do more with employment rather than for safety.


Yes, probably, or at least business if not employment. But if the real reason is money but the excuse given is safety then the policy is based on a lie, and such things rarely end well.

Most the people climbing the Ecuador volcanoes are guided anyway, so I don't know if it will have that much effect on the numbers. It certainly hasn't in places like Kilimanjaro, Ararat, Peru, etc.


1. But for Kili (and I guess Ararat) they are just one trophy peak and there is nothing else there to climb. These new regulations are across all the mountains, so other groups are affected.
2. It sets a precedent that other countries will see as an opportunity to introduce similar regulations, and in those countries there are many other peaks that are not guided but are attractive to independent climbers. They've already tried it in Peru, this will encourage them to push again, and Bolivia may not be far behind.
3. I don't have a problem with commercial guiding per se, but these new regulations are a dangerous example of commerce setting the agenda for climbing, the dog wagging the tail, not climbing being the basis on which someone can make a commercial activity.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby jm141302 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:19 pm

To share a personal experience, my Ecuadorian boss and his American wife(who hasn't gotten her official Ecuadorian residence yet) were denied entry into Cotopaxi park last weekend because she was a foreigner and they didn't have a guide. They just went home.

It probably won't effect me too much, but just as I was getting familiar with the trails and routes I now need someone to take me to a place I already know. I had plans of taking family members and friends on some easy trails in Cotopaxi NP, without the structure, time limits, massive amounts of people, and cost of a guided tour starting in Quito. Looks like that won't be happening. I hope that this rule will only be enforced at the major park entrances. I would like to do the hike from The Virgin down into Papallacta, but it passes though Coca-Cayambe NP. We'll see if I run into any troubles.
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Re: Ecuador and its new park rules

Postby phydeux » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:33 am

On the political side of things: Ecudaor's President Correa is from the Hugo- Chavez- far-left political mold, so expect more fees and taxes in the future.

On climbing: When I was there in 1989 (wow, that long ago already?) there were higher fees for foriegners to enter the park (and another fee for climbing), but you could do it on your own without guides. We weren't too concerned with that, as we always thought the fees went to help preserve the park and subsidized Ecuadorians getting to travel into the park, too. Last I heard from friends who went there in 2002 it was still the same great place where 'gringos' could get a first-time high altitude climbing adventure without the need to set up a full multi-week expedition. Actually quite a tourist-friendly place back in those days, easy to get around in the highlands, friendly people, good food and drink, and inexpensive, too. Sad to see its getting more expensive and more bureaucratic. :(
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