My Experience Climbing Mt Cotopaxi


Mt. Cotopaxi is the highest mountain in Ecuador at about 6,000 meters above sea level. We stayed at a mountain lodge that looked straight at the mountain, and we all slowly got excited yet nervous about our upcoming trek on it.

We spent the day adjusting to the altitude because the air is very thin this high up. Even just walking around would wind us, and many people got sick with altitude sickness. I’m really happy I had no problems adjusting to the air. Plus, it is incredibly scenic in this region of Ecuador. I love it!! Waking up to the sun coming over the mountain was by far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all trip.


The next day the group woke up early to head to the mountain for a climb. At the top of Cotopaxi is a tropical glacier. Because of the high altitude, the glacier is able to survive year round. This activity was the one I had been looking forward to the most out of the whole trip, so needless to say, I was pumped when the day finally arrived. The climb began at about 4,000 meters, and we went up to 5,200 meters. The base lodge of Cotopaxi is higher than any mountain in North America, so this was the highest point I had ever been to.


Climbing in the thin air was easily the most difficult physical challenge I’ve ever done, but the exhaustion was completely 100% worth it. Me and my 2 girlfriends were the first to make it to 5,200 meter point, which is just over 17,000 feet. I felt so accomplished that I was able to make it up, and the feeling of the natural high from climbing was the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever experienced.

The views from the glacier were absolutely phenomenal!!! I wish I could properly capture what I felt at that moment in words, but nothing can ever truly explain the amazing feeling I had. Climbing the mountain was the most exhilarating moment of my entire life. I will never ever forget that experience.

climbing cotopaxi

Are you ready to volunteer abroad? Learn more about the project International Student Volunteers sponsors at their website.

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

There's Always More to the Story. Share Your Comment!