If you’ve spent any time in Quito you will have been aware of the old volcanic peak of Pichincha as it is the highest point close to the city and marked by the cable car which takes you on to the plateau below the summit.
It is possible to catch the cable car up Pichincha and walk for a couple of hours to reach the scramble to the summit. However offered the option of the full traverse of the volcanic ridge I wasn’t going to turn that down.
It’s taken me a while to get around to writing about Cayambe. For some in our group it was their first alpine ascent, for some their first 5000m peak. So I didn’t want to take anything away from that achievement for them. It’s certainly an epic achievement, a great volcano/mountain to climb and a wicked view from the summit. There’s not many places you can climb a volcano and see others surrounding it which are still active.
But for me, it was the first guided ascent I’ve done in 6 years and reaffirmed why I hadn’t done any sooner.
After a few days in Quito we headed out for acclimatisation walks and Lake Cuicocha was a beautiful place to have on the list.
We’d spent the night in Otavalo, a nearby town which was very friendly and laid back. After a morning wandering round the market and having coffee in a cafe we drove to Lake Cuicocha.
Lake Cuicocha is a 3 km wide caldera lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. The name comes from the Kichwa, a variety of Quechua language and means lake of the guinea pigs – referring to the two humped islands.