Volcán Pichincha

Quito’s closest volcano is Pichincha. Our first day in Quito, we hiked to the Rucu Pichincha summit. We started the hike from the top of the TelefériQo, which is just a short taxi ride from central Quito. The TelefériQo is a gondola that takes passengers on a 1.5 mile ride up Volcán Pichincha.

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the TelefériQo

 

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on board

 

From the gondola, there are panoramic views of Quito, and you can see how the city sits in a valley, surrounded by mountains.

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views of Quito from the gondola

 

 

At the top of the gondola, we took a photo together before starting the hike up to the volcano’s summit.

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at the spot where the gondola lets you off

From the gondola, the hike starts at 13,287 feet elevation. From there, you climb over 2,000 feet to reach the summit (15,407 feet). The first half of the trek has nice rolling hills, but what makes it difficult is the altitude.

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hiking away from the Quito skyline

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Volcán Pichincha, here we come

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view towards Quito

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view away from Quito

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we’ve got a long way to go still to get to that summit behind me

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beautiful wildflowers along the way

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wildflowers

 

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and butterflies as well

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getting closer

As you get closer to the summit, the trail gets steeper, and in the final stretch, you are scrambling up rocks to reach the summit.

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it’s getting steeper

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we traverse the back side of the volcano

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we climb some more…

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and climb some more…

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…until we reach the summit! 4696 meters (15,407 feet)!

From the top, we had excellent views of the surrounding volcanoes, including the snow capped Volcán Antisana.

 

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made it to the top!

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we eat lunch on the summit

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seats with a view

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our lunch spot

 

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at the other end of the summit

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incredibly scenic

On the way back down, we scrambled down some rocks and then slid down the sandy part of the volcano. It was easier (and more fun) than trying to walk down, since it was so steep.

 

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the sandy part we slid down

The hike took us almost 5 hours round trip. We’ve hiked up 14ers (14,000 ft+ summits) in Colorado, but this was the first time either of us had hiked to a summit over 15,000 feet. The best word to describe the experience…BREATHTAKING!

7 responses to “Volcán Pichincha

  1. The flora at that elevation is surprising considering the landscape in general. Seeing it through your eyes and words is the only way I’d ever have the chance, so I am thoroughly enjoying it all from the comforts of home! (When you’re home, I have a question for you about your trips that I keep forgetting to ask!)

  2. Imagine it was breathtaking in more than one way. Beautiful scenery and the wildflowers are so colorful. Glad there weren’t any “snags” in the sand when you were sliding down. Lv. Grandma

  3. Wow again. Terry and I loved doing gondola rides. We did many around the world. You and Jay can do the hiking and climbing. The photo at the top you took is not taken by many. A moment to treasure.

  4. Beautiful day on the mountain!! Love that all the wildflowers were in bloom for you to enjoy along the way!

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