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Avenue of the Volcanoes, Ecuador

December 2009/January 2010 - A journey in Ecuador's high altitude páramo grasslands, with ascents of five of the country's volcanoes, including Iliniza Norte (5126m), Antisana (5753m) and Cotopaxi (5897m).

Avenue of the Volcanoes


Rucu Pichincha - Cable car to high grasslands above Quito and ascent of rocky summit
Rumiñahui - A walk across paja grasslands of the páramo with volcano backdrop; another rocky summit scramble
Christmas Day on Cotopaxi - Comfortable lodges looking out at Cotopaxi; trekking up to the glacier for a leg stretch
Iliniza Norte - Eerie view of volcanoes across cloud blanket; scramble up rocky summit into cloud
Hacienda La Estacion - Beer and relaxation in peaceful hacienda on slopes of Corazon
Antisana Approach - Crossing wide páramo grasslands to pleasant camp on flanks of Antisana
Antisana Ascent - Intricate night time ascent of glacier laden mountain with impressive seracs and ice formations
Antisana Departure - Wandering in the broad páramo grasslands between volcanoes Antisana and Cotopaxi; llamas
Hacienda La Carriona - New Year celebrations at posh, if quiet, hacienda in eucalyptus grove near Quito
Laguna Quilotoa - Dramatic turquoise lake formed in deep crater after volcanic eruption
Cotopaxi Ascent - Ascent of glacier laden conical volcano with impressive crater
Quito - Equator monument, churches, plazas and statues of Ecuador's capital; Pichincha volcano backdrop


In the Footsteps of Whymper
In the Footsteps of Whymper
Climbing Ecuador's volcanoes


Quito - Sites of Ecuador's capital city, including Basilica del Voto Nacional, its towers and gargoyles, Plaza Grande, Plaza San Francisco, and El Panecillo and the statue of La Virgen de Quito. (3:18)
Rucu Pichincha
Rucu Pichincha - Scenes from an ascent of the 4680m volcano overlooking Quito, travelling up on the teleferiQo cable to the paramo grasslands. (3:39)
Rumiñahui - Scenes from an ascent of the volcano 4634m Rumiñahui Central in Ecuador, with views out over the paramo to Cotopaxi, Antisana and Iliniza. (3:27)
Christmas Day on Cotopaxi
Christmas Day on Cotopaxi - Heading up onto Cotopaxi's glacier for a spot of ice axe and crampon practice before Christmas dinner. (2:37)
Iliniza Norte
Iliniza Norte - Scenes from an ascent of 5126m Iliniza Norte, including camping introduction, views of Cotopaxi and Corazon across a blanket of clouds, a break at Refugio Nuevos Horizontes on the col between Ilinizas Sur and Norte, and summit pics. (6:49)
Antisana - Scenes from an ascent of the 5753m volcano on the edge of the Amazon rain forest: trekking across, paramo grasslands, wild llamas, camping on its flanks, ascending through crevasse fields, and the view from the summit including Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. (8:44)
Feliz Año Nuevo!
Feliz Año Nuevo! - The gang see in the New Year in the bar at Hacienda La Carriona, Quito with a game of charades and a wee dram of Talisker whisky. (2:43)
Cotopaxi - Scenes from an ascent of the 5897m active volcano, including a paramo panorama from the car park, sightseers and screaming babies, conversations at Refugio Jose Rivas, and the view from the summit, including Antisana, Chimborazo, and down into the crater. (5:27)
Ecuador's Volcanoes
Ecuador's Volcanoes - A slideshow of panoramas from Ecuador's central highlands. (3:30)

[Avenue of the Volcanoes]

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Exhaustion and hypothermia (Knoydart, Scotland)
Falling off the Banana Ridge (Pakistan)
The wild side of Elbrus (Russia)
Volcán Pacaya (Guatemala)