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Climbing Sincholagua: Ecuador’s Lonely Mountain

Sincholagua doesn’t welcome visitors with open arms. The trailhead is far from any main roads, and the approach is a poorly marked meander through untamed foothills. Much of the ascent is over loose boulders and shards of volcanic rocks; both of which have a nasty habit of barreling down the mountain’s gravel slopes when disturbed. The final stretch to the peak is steep, technical climb that can get dangerous in bad weather.
Moreover, to attempt this mountain you’ll either need a guide from Quito, or an IGM map with your own climbing gear and private transport – all this for a peak that’s almost a kilometer lower in altitude than nearby Cotopaxi. So why the hell would anyone want to disturb Sincholagua’s solitude, when Ecuador has so many other more accommodating peaks?

Simple: because nobody else wants to.

Sincholagua gets onto so few hikers’ hit lists that if you make it out to this far flung peak it means you’re probably well on your way to becoming a veteran of the Ecuadorian wilderness (or so my ego tells me). Apparently, its peak also offers some decent views of Antisana and Cotopaxi during clear weather.

Thanks to the afore-mentioned lousy weather, we didn’t hit the summit, and couldn’t see anything from the upper half of the ascent onwards. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

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