Ecuador - Land of Volcanoes

Ascent of Pasochoa, 4500m - 11 Jul 2015


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2015. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.


Pasochoa is an extinct volcano on the "Avenue of volcanoes", an hour or two's drive southwest of Quito. It is a broken crater, open on one side, with rainforest in the caldera. What remains of the mountain is a high point on the crater rim. To climb it is an easy day hike up the outside of the caldera to the summit. We did not enter the forest reserve on the inside of the crater.

I climbed this peak as an acclimatisation hike in preparation for higher peaks.



Trip Report

Pasochoa was the first day hike in a 9 day itinerary with High Summits, a trekking and climbing tour operator based in Quito. The aim of this 9 day itinerary is to start with lower and easier peaks, gradually working towards higher and harder peaks, culminating in ascents of Cotopaxi and CHimborazo towards the end of the 9 days. Today was an easy but scenic acclimatization hike to the summit of the Pasochoa crater.

I was one of two clients on this trip, and we were led by Abraham, a mountain guide provided by High Summits. We drove to an altitude of about 3700m where we left the car, parked on the side of a farm road. We followed a trail gently up through alpine grass, and only the last few metres became rocky and steep, with some basic rock scrambling needed. Once the summit was easily reached there were spectacular views down into the rainforest carpeted caldera, it was much steeper on the inside of the crater than the outside where we climbed. We shared the summit with another group and 3 dogs. We headed back down to the car via a slightly different route and then made our way back to Quito where we arrived at about 3pm. So it was a very easy day hike to this volcano.


This photo was taken from where we parked the car.
Approaching the rocky summit block.
Approaching the summit climbing gentle alpine grassland.

A little steeper once closer to the top.

The final easy scramble to the top.
Summit scramble.
On the summit of Pasochoa, 4500m.
View around the crater rim from the summit.
View into the forested caldera.
The inside of the caldera is much steeper than the outside.
On the summit.
An easy descent back down.



All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2015. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.

Page created 12 Dec 2015, last updated 21 Dec 2015.