Antisana is the 4th highest volcano in the fascinating wild region of Ecuador. It is infact one of the largest stratovolcano of the northern Andes. Antisana is completely covered with snow and glaciers which makes it one of the most daring climbing expeditions in the world. This is the primary reason why Antisana remains a pretty rarely explored and climbed peak and not many climbers have climbed it yet. Having said that, the peace and captivating calmness along with splendid views of Sincholagua and maginificent beauty of Cayambe and Cotopaxiare are some features that have always attracted people to this mountain peak. One also gets to see wolves, wild horses, condors and llamas all along the Antisana expedition.
The Antisana consists of two generations of large volcanic structures, which are genrally referred to as older volcano and younger cone. The older volcano edifice covers around two-thirds of the entire Antisana complex and is mostly composed of various lava flows, pyroclastic flows and volcanic breccia deposits. This structure was eroded by glacial action. There were 2 big explosions at the older volcano which actually led to the formation of craters along the Southern and Eastern parts. The north-west edge of Antisana forms the cone structure and is called the younger volcano. It covers the remaining one-third of the Antisana complex.
Altitude – It is at the ht 5,704 metres (18,714 ft).
Latitude – 0.481°S 0°28’53″S
Longitude – 78.141°W 78°8’27″W
Location – 50 km SE Quito, Ecuador, It lies along the eastern margin of the Cordillera Real.
Antisana has had only one major volcanic eruption in the years 1801- 1802. At that time, a lava flow erupted from two lateral fissures NNE of the massif.
Planning a trip
Antisana trip is not for weak hearted. It offers quite a difficult and challenging climb and therefore it is advisable for climbers that they have high cardio-vascular fitness levels and prior experience in climbing Scottish grade II/Alpine PD/AD.
To get to Antisana Volcano from Quito
It takes around 3-4 hrs from Quito to reach Antisana Volcano, 1.0 hrs to Pintag from Quito (by bus) and then around 2.5 hrs to L. Santa Lucia (by camioneta/truck).
One has to take prior permission from land owners in Quito who own lot of private property there to cross through their property including some fee per climber. The permit has to be shown at the first guard post and than at the second post it has to be surrendered.
Favourable months to climb
December to February are suitable months to climb as they are “dry” . However it is cloudy lot of times.
The Camping being more in undeveloped and inhabited rural area there are no facilities. And like so many of the other high volcanoes, there are no climbers hut and one has to spend nights in tents .
Its not always possible to give accurate information about weather conditions on the mountain. Also one cannot rely on the standard route given by climbing guides because of active glaciers, long distance and very deep and narrow roads and passages. But some SAE’s do update about climbing conditions on volcanoes from time to time.