For the adventurous tourist and the lover of mountain climbing, this climb offers an opportunity to ascend to the top of the volcano at 4,939 meters above sea level. This climb crosses volcanic rock and snow as well as the flora and fauna that is native to the highlands, offering the visitor a spectacular view of the “Avenue of the Volcanoes” and of all the province of Imbabura. Not many people climb the mountain.
The volcano is near Otavalo in Imbabura province, 68 miles northeast of the capital Quito. It's part of the Cotacachi/Cayapas Ecological Reserve. You start climbing at 3200m. After a 5 hour climb you reach 4200m were we camped. The next morning we went up till 4750m where we had to stop because we didn't carry crampons with us and it became too dangerous.
You don't need a permit. The Cotacachi stems from the Pleistocene and is heavily cut due to past glacial activity. This makes climbing a long and relatively difficult task. We climbed the mountian with Runa Tupari Native Travel (http://www.runatupari.com) and payed 60US for 2 days (native Guide, food, transportation, tents, mats). Very cheap and good service altough they don't have the equipment to go all the way to the top (final 50-100m). This is also the reason I can't give a detailed route description.
Summertime (June - September). This mountain is often covered in clouds and frequently has poor weather.
Camping is allowed (free), no huts.