Cotopaxi – Information about Refuge

There is a lot of wrong and outdated information available on the net about the Cotopaxi North Face Refuge José Ribas. We went up yesterday and found the following:

– No cell phone signal
– No land line available in the refuge

This means, as soon as you enter the Cotopaxi National Park there is no means of communication with the outer world: Plan your drive out in anticipation or depend on your luck or ask one of the guides on the parking lot to give you a ride.

– price per night: USD 22.40
– There are rudimentary bunks, only bring a sleeping bag
– Water, gas and stove, cutlery and dishes available and included in the price
– big lockers available (USD 3 deposit for locks)
– Park entry fee is USD 10 (USD 2 with cedula or censo)

How to get there:

– Park Entrance: Lasso (on Panamerica south of Quito)
– Go to Terminal South Quitumbe with the TROLE line
– In Quitumbe take whatever bus goes South (for example: to Latacunga, Ambato, Baños, etc)
– Ask the bus driver to kick you out at the “Entrada del Parque Nacional Cotopaxi” OR in Lasso
– In Lasso, the pick-up trucks are cheaper, at the Entrance to the park, you might be able to hitchhike, though.

Ascent to the summit:
– Going up to the Cotopaxi peak is a 5 to 7 hour climb
– there is an unofficial trail (the only way up)
– talk with the guides in the lodge (Spanish only)

You cannot go without:
– previous glacier experience
– technical equipment: rope, crampons, ice axe, carabiners, harness, anchor stake (estaca) etc.
– know how to handle it
– know rescue and self-rescue techniques
– wands (if you don’t know what this means hire a guide)
– you can only go without a guide if visibility is good

If you don’t feel confident about one of the above bullet points, hire a guide.