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Pasochoa (4.200 meters) is an extinct volcano located outside of Quito in the Ecuadorean Andes. This hike is both perfect for acclimatization and to get a good view of multiple volcanoes in the vicinity, including Cotopaxi.

I got in touch with a friendly driver (Antonio) at Casa Helbling in Quito. I was happy to pay him 70 USD for the 1-2 hours drive to the trailhead, including waiting time (4-6 hours) and the return trip to Quito. Antonio has a red Toyota Hilux (1996) which is Japanese quality. The 4WD was not necessary, but a high clearance vehicle is definitely a must on the final stretch of the road. I doubt you can rent a yellow taxi in Quito to take you up there.

The parking and trailhead is next to a small hydroelectric plant. The route initially follows a road, then it continues on a trail through farming land and alpine pastures. See the map below for my exact GPS measured route, although there are many other possible variations of trails to follow.

As soon as you leave the road, one representative of the farmers will normally approach you on horse and charge you a small fee for walking on their land (5 USD per person). I suggest you pay this fee, just to keep them happy with foreign hikers also in the future. The land is afterall private property and there are multiple "private property, no entrance" signs. So if you pay the fee you will be allowed to trespass on their property and also be under their protection. If you don´t pay, they might turn you around, or send a nasty dog after you. Also beware of the grazing bulls, they can and will charge if you get too close. Bulls in a group are normally safe to approach, while a single bull can be extremely dangerous. This was the advice from Antonio before he waved me goodbye with the words "Atencion, atencion !!"

I hiked both summits of Pasochoa, which took me about 4 hours return. If you hire a guide for this popular hike, it is likely he will only bring you to the first summit (north summit) and claim it is the highest even if it is slightly lower than the south summit. The ridge traverse between the two summits is the most direct and it culminates in a steep and funny scramble just below the south summit (somewhat exposed). An easier trail goes well below the ridge. I did the direct ridge route up and the easy route down again (see map and photos below).

Pasochoa at EveryTrail

Photo Album

Posted by gfg on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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