I made it!
Sweaty and puffing and I could see my breath and the air was cold and dry, and the clouds immediately rolled in and the hail fell in big chunks onto my hat and clothes, but I made it! 4710m altitude…. (and only about 5km of walking uphill to get there and a few incredibly steep sections) just a taster of what is to come later in this adventure.
This was my first experience at this height and I was surprised to say I actually enjoyed myself. I didn’t get any headaches as I had been warned would happen, but I did feel very out of breath after doing very minimal exercise. It has never been so hard for me to walk 5km then climbing Pichincha had been. I followed all the advice:
– take it slowly
– drink a lot of water constantly (I went through 3litres during the hike)
– take copious breaks
– eat snacks along the way
– take it slowly (this time it wasn’t by choice)
I would say go for it, take the teleferiQo up the mountain and start hiking the volcanoe. It was good fun and the best views of the city! For those who are curious, the TeleferiQo is a cable car that goes up the side of Quito and has viewing platforms and out the back the beginning of a hiking trail that follows a ridge line out to Pichincha. It costs $8.50 for a return trip and it’s best to go in the morning before the afternoon smog and clouds arrive and block the amazing view of…. well…. everything!
You can catch a taxi there (easiest option) from anywhere between $3 and $5us depending on where you begin! There is also a cafe up the top but I would suggest taking your own food from the markets as it is over priced and not that delicious (even after a strenuous 10kms).
Head down promptly if a storm rolls in as they are likely to close the cable cars in the event of wind rain hail and lightning….
It’s free to hike there and you can even hire a horse to take you up, however all I found was the horses But nobody to hire them from….
Some pictures of the hike and my face drunk on the altitude:
I think it is the sort of hike where you need someone pushing you along, so company is good, but you can complete it on your own as I did, it feels very safe up there and most other hikers are very friendly and up for a chat and some encouragement !