|Volcán Pasochoa (4199m) a popular acclimatisation hike
in the Ecuadorian Andes
AVENIDA DE LOS VOLCANES – Volcan Pasochoa (4199m) is a popular first acclimatisation hike before doing the big mountains like Cayambe, Chimborazo, or Cotopaxi. I went straight for Pichincha and Illiniza Norte – but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to climb another mountain in Ecuador so I went anyway.
This time I had some companions who were also doing a hiking program with the same company I booked my hikes with. From our basecamp in the Avenida de los Volcanes (Avenue of the Volcanoes), we went to a rather long and circuitous road to Pasochoa, taking 1.5 hours. Along the way we had views of Corazon and Ruminhaui.
The hike is basically like the ascent up Mt. Pulag’s summit from Camp 2 – easy trails and gentle slopes. It eventually gains some incline, but still very easy – I didn’t miss my trekking pole that got wrecked in Illiniza Norte!
Eventually we reached a saddle, and there was a choice between two peaks. Our guide led us to the higher one, and we entered a short but nice section of mossy forest, before emerging at the summit. This forest was a refreshing sight after seeing mostly steppes, prairies, grasslands, scree slopes, and boulders!
The summit, though taking us just over an hour to reach, was wonderful! Unlike the other peaks I’ve reached where a ravine is just a step away, there were actually some flat ground where one can sit or even lie down.
A little bit past the summit proper, there’s a ridge, beneath which lies the collapsed caldera of the volcano. It is breathtaking, with views of Ruminhaui, and occasionally, of the mighty Cotopaxi and Antisana. Given its rewards and its ease, I can understand why Pasochoa is a good first hike in the Ecuadorian Andes. And even if it were already my fourth, it was still a worthwhile activity.
HIKING IN THE ECUADORIAN ANDES
Hiking matters #456: Volcán Rucu Pichincha
Hiking matters #457: Volcán Quilotoa
Hiking matters #458: Volcán Illinizas Norte
Hiking matters #459: Volcán Pasochoa