As an acclimatization program, my brother, my cousin and I followed by a german (Nina Zimpel) hiked up from the town of Lloa (7 hours) to the Refuge of "Defensa Civil" where we spent the night.
Three of us went down to the crater early next morning while Nina waited for us up in the refuge. Volcano activity wasn't high then, but fumaroles and sulphur odor were intense.
What Bill562 said...
Via Teleforiqo with Haliku and Tim (Axe) for acclimatization.
A little acclimitization walk/scramble. You need to pretty much walk around the mountain until you reach the easy class 2 scramble up. It takes a bit longer then it looks, but is a worthwile trip with nice vews.
Climbed Rucu Pichincha via the normal trail from the Teleferiqo. Class 1 trail with a small bit of Class 3 scrambling at the top. This trail is very very popular with locals and trekkers. So head out early (Teleferiqo opened at 10am) and you'll have the trail to yourself. On the return hike we must have passed 30 people who ended up getting soaked in an afternoon rain. Good thing we went early! We had partly cloudly weather with beautiful views of Quito. We got shut down the prior day on Chimborazo due to weather so this was a nice consolation summit just before our plane took us home.
I read somewhere that the neighborhood on the drive to this hike as being dangerous. Needless to say when 4 guys, one of whom had a shotgun, showed up at the hut, I was a bit apprehensive. Apparently they were just hunting rabbits. We tagged the little concrete marker on top because of a rapidly developing lightning storm. Ran down to our van while lightning strikes occuring all around us.
First Ecuador acclimation hike with Woodie Hopper in preparation for the bigger mountains. Hiked Rucu via the standard route from the Teleferico. The following day hiked Guagua Pichincha and Padre Encantado on the 23rd. The views of Quito from Rucu were stunning!
Climbed Rucu with Nord Sandstrom for acclimitization. 2 hours up and 1 down. Cloudy but comfortable weather. Saw Cayambe hovering over the cloudtops! Also climbed Guagua and traversed to Encantado to complete the trifecta 10/23/06. Great views of Cayambe, Antisana and Cotopaxi on the way up.
clear weather, amazing views on cotopaxi, illinizas and cayambe
some snow higher than 4400 m
A great way to get used to the altitude before tackling the mountains further south. We hiked the last 2 miles of the road to get a full day's workout rather than driving all the way to the refugio. Stopped along the road a bit below the refugio to take pictures of our altimeter watches as we passed through 14410 (elevation of Mt. Rainier)! Climbed in February 2002.
Hiked and ran Rucu/Guagua at least 10 times on various trips to Quito in May-June 2006. Mostly starting from the teleferico, summit traverse, descending to Lloa, then roads/trails directly back to the teleferico (~6 hrs).
I have climbed Ruco 3 times- 7/23/o5, 8/6/05, 2/19/06 and Padre Encantado once- 8/6/05. All of them great experiences. The first time we camped on the summit and rock climbed on some cliffs below in the morning. Ruco offers pretty descent rock- a rare thing in Ecuador. Did the ridge twice and the sandslide once. Have not done Guagua.
hiked up as an acclimatization day
December 28, 2005: After waiting for two days for the rain to stop (it had been constantly raining for the past 2 weeks in Quito; the rainy season that should have occured on October/November was delayed 'til December/January), DeeDee and I took the Teleferico up from La Comuna to Cruz Loma and started hiking at 10:00am towards Rucu Pichincha. The last 200 feet to Rucu' s summit was interesting scrambling on mixed class 3 rock/snow. Reached Rucu' s summit at 1:00pm. Then, we took our sweet time descending while talking to various other groups. Got back to the Teleferico upper station by 3:00pm.
December 29, 2005: Rented a small 4WD truck (a Chevrolet Vitara). Drove up to 3820 meters (12,533 ft). Couldn't drive any higher because of major mud on the dirt/muddy road. Started the Guagua Pichincha hike at 10:50am. Summited by 1:30pm. Talked to a Polish & a German guy at the summit. Left summit at 1:45pm. Back at the truck at 2:58pm (~ 4 hrs roundtrip). Then, we drove to Aloasi, Machachi and stayed at Hosteria La Estacion.
This was my first ascent outside of the United States, and quite an enjoyable hike.
Start at 0800 somewhere on the 4WD track (altitude 3700 m = 12000 ft)
Refuge at 1020 (altitude 4500 m = 14600 ft)
Summit at 1200
Smell of sulphur !
Nice view, the morning, then cloudy
Very easy (track)
The newly built cablecar 'TeleferiQo' from Quito makes this a nice daytrip.
Nice easy scrambling to the summit. Good acclimatisation hike
Nice hike. On the summit rather bad weather.
Soon it started to snow and it got cold.
Quick descent to hut for some hot tea!
Karl Nelson and I arrived in Quito at the height of the rainy season after hitchhiking down the Pan-American Highway from Utah forty-eight years ago. We started early in the morning from Quito and hiked up through paramo grass to the rocky crags that represent the edge of Pichincha's crater. Unfortunately clouds had already set in as we achieved the summit and we were denied any view. However as we were climbing the slopes immediately above Quito earlier that morning, we espied the snow cone of Cotopaxi rising to the southeast.
Wet weather discouraged us from attempting any other peak in Ecuador at that time. We went on to Peru and Bolivia where we summited El Misti and Huayna Potosi. We had planned to return to Ecuador later in 1958 but never realized it after I caught hepititus in Argentina and Karl was drafted into the U.S. Army.
In six months of travel by thumb from Utah to Argentina, we expended less than $300 each. It cost a weakened me more than that just to fly DC-4s back to Mexico City where I recovered my strength and took a bus back to Salt Lake City. It was far more adventurous and challenging to travel back then before the age of jet travel.