Thanks for the adddition to the Caymabe page.
Visit the Ecuador’s Map Grid System to the check the maps you may need when climbing here. This grid follows the Instituto Geografico Militar grid system. The sheet for Cayambe is CT OII E3
We tried to climb Cayambe on March 4 and 5, it is very icy, crevasses are open, there is barely any snow, we did it until "picos jarrin" (5000 m). Conditions change rapidly. On november/2005 it was covered by compacted snow, so the climbing was easier, we did it in 5 hours.
As of November 2013, the refuge is being renovated. One of the kitchens had been torn out and the place was taken over by the workers. Not sure if climbers can sleep there until the renos are finished. Best to check ahead.
Safari Tours, which is one of the outfitters offering guided climbs on Cayambe, employs unqualified, inexperienced amateur guides with no business leading climbing expeditions. Our itinerary included a certified English-speaking mountain guide for Cayambe and Cotopaxi, which Safari Tours failed to provide. Our guide, Christian, who worked for Condor Trekking, sub-contracted by Safari Tours, spoke no English and proved dangerously reckless by failing to adhere to basic mountain safety protocol (i.e. did not employ snow/ice anchors on steep glacial terrain). Moreover, he was uncommunicative (even in Spanish), unapproachable, and blatantly rude. The owner of Safari Tours, Eduardo seemed unwilling/unable to address the situation in any meaningful way. As such, anyone considering climbing in the Ecuadorean Andes should avoid Safari Tours and Condor Trekking on safety grounds, no matter how competitive their price may be. Your life is not worth it.
There are a couple out there with similar names, so I'll give the link of the one to avoid. http://about.me/condortrekk We had two guides and they were both questionable. One told us not to drink water so that we "wouldn't sweat or go to the bathroom", this advice was offered when climbing up to 19,300ft on Cotopaxi, and they both left clients alone in the dark on the hike up because they could not keep up. They later denied having ditched anyone. Both guides were uncommunicative and plainly argumentative. Ecuador needs to improve certification and therefore safety. In 2013, a Canadian woman died with Condor Trekk, but I was not aware of that until after I'd already hiked with them. Careful when choosing a guide, price is not always indicative of quality.
Since the Cotopaxi is closed at the moment, the Cayambe is the perfect substitute for this volcano. It is not very technical and just a little bit lower than the Cotopaxi. So if you plan to go to Ecuador and cannot to the Cotopaxi, then the Cayambe is a very good alternative. And the view from this volcano is spectacular!!!
Climb in Ecuador (and world wide) can be dangerous, please be sure to find a safe and reasonable prices Travel Agency for example: www.andesclimbing.com
For what its worth Cayambe is not extinct but in Active status per Ecuador's Geophysical Institute. I've personally smelled sulfur above the refuge building. Happy trekking.