As mentioned in a previous post, Pichincha consists of 2 peaks, Rucu (meaning old person) and Guagua (meaning baby). Guagua Pichincha is the higher of the two peaks at an altitude of ~ 15,728 ft. and is active with its most recent eruption in 1999.
It's easiest to reach the rim of Guagua because you can drive to the Refugio, from which it is just a short walk (30 minutes) to the crater. However, because the road reaches altitudes of 15,000+ feet, the drive itself can be a challenge given the lack of oxygen needed for your vehicle's combustion. The trick for us was for Julia and our 2 hitchiker friends to dismount the car at the steeper portions of the road in order to make the climb. Once the road leveled off, Julia climbed back in and we were able to complete the drive. The 2 hitch hikers graciously decided to walk the rest of the way allowing us to reach the Refugio.
The dry season here afforded us a clear view of the three snow capped volcanoes, Cayambe, Antisana, and Cotopaxi. This year, the dry season has also resulted in an abundance of forest fires which was evident in the views.
On this clearest of days, and while I remembered to pack the camera, yours truly left the battery in the charger at home. The pictures below were taken with my trustee iPhone 6.
To view the entire album click here.
Guagua crater with lava domes.