28 Oct Climbing Rucu Pichincha, Quito Ecuador
Last Saturday my legs were aching for hiking. My boyfriend and I couldn’t find anything closer than Rucu Pichincha, which is just a couple of minutes from our apartment in Quito. The volcano is over 4696 meters above the sea! You might think that is a crazy altitude, yes it is. However, Quito is already on 2850 meters above the sea, and I am already used to that altitude.
Altitude sickness can be a pain in the ass! When I first moved here in January 2015 I had altitude sickness for basically a month! I have no idea why, maybe it could be because I have always lived near the sea. I was nauseous, dizzy and tired. Luckily I have passed that now! This is a picture of the view from the Teleferiqo, which is a cable cart you can take to get to the volcano or just see the view. The cable cart cost $8,50 and you can’t lose your ticket, if you do, you risk of not getting down! You could walk the whole way and skip the cable cart, it might take you around three hours to get to the Teleferiqo.
Being followed by birds
I have taken the Teleferiqo many times, probably at least five times. I have not been fit enough to climb Rucu Pichincha!
So, this time I decided to try to climb it. This is the second time being at Teleferiqo and seeing this funny bird called Curiquingue, it is famous because it tend to dance and it even has it own song! This one was not shy at all. I could almost touch it and it came closer and closer. I think it is used to tourists giving them food.
The weather was not the best. Even though it was blue sky five days before our hike, this day, the clouds came of course! If it was not cloudy, we could have seen many different mountains and volcanoes like Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Chimborazo. The only one we could see was the one we were climbing on. Nevertheless, no point to be negative, we decided to hike anyway!
The landscape is quite brown in this altitude, although you can see funny bushes like this one, it is called Chuquiragua. If you look carefully, you might also see rabbits running around! I saw one, when we were walking down, but it was so quick I couldn’t snap a photo of it.
Can I make it to the top?
I didn’t stress that much by walking or running up and get there as soon as possible, I really enjoyed just walking in a normal pace and viewing the picturesque landscape.
That is a picture of the volcano. Not all active volcanoes burts out lava and are pointy and scary. This one is tiny and I am quite lucky to wake up to the view of this volcano every morning. Unless it is covered by clouds. That happens often. This is probalby the most clear picture I could get of the volcano. It was surrounded by clouds the rest of the day.
Mauricio said just before we came to the cave, that it was half way through! Are you serious, I said.. We had be walking for three hours already. Of course we stopped a lot on the way, snapping photos, eating snacks etc.. but half way? We saw a lot of people coming down from reaching the summit. One of them was the famous mountain climber Ivan Vallejo that has reached Mount Everest without oxygen mask! I am sure he climbs Rucu Pichincha less than one hour!
The reason we had a long break at the cave was because we saw another Curiquingue. This one was even more social than the other one! It came closer and closer to me and posed for the camera. Here he is doing his famous dance as well.
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When we walked from the cave we asked one tour guide if their group were going to the summit. The tour guide said they will not go that farther because at this time it starts to get wet and sloppy. We walked for maybe another 10 minutes and then we decided to go back because NO ONE was around, either walking up to the summit and down it. It was a bummer, I really wanted to reach that summit.
Oh well, it is not a big loss, at least I had a great time enjoying the walk, seeing lots of wildlife like rabbits and two Curiquingue-birds that danced and followed us.
Even though I didn’t reach the top this time, I still have a year to reach it and I will post another post from the summit 🙂 I live right next to it and I will live here at least one more year!
Three Tips for climbing Rucu Pichincha
- Start early! You should tkae the first cable cart at 8 am. Not at 10 am like I did.. You will not reach the top, at least not with a great view!
- Bring, snacks, water, lunch.
- Get ready for shit weather. The weather is incredible unpredictable in Quito, and a lot worse around a volcano! It can start raining at any time and also snow at the summit. Wear proper clothes. Use a good rain/wind jacket, beanie, gloves and scarf! On another hand, the sun can be quite strong on the equator, so use sunscreen and sunglasses as well!
Have you hiked on a volcanoe before? How was it? Write a comment below.
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