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Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby TomPierce » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:47 am

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/mandatory-guide-policy-for-all-high-volcanoes-in-ecuador-t63863.html

I'm not sure whether this has already been posted here, but I came across this link this morning which states that to climb a volcano in Ecuador you must now hire a guide, regardless of experience. What a shame for independent, competent mountaineers. Just my opinion.
-Tom

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby jbchalk » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:55 am

Whoa! Thanks, for posting, Tom. That is so unfortunate. Guess Ecuador won't be receiving my vacation dollars then.

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby TomPierce » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:01 pm

There's some dialogue over on summitpost to that effect:

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/gov-t-restrictions-in-ecuador-t63791.html

Personally I'm not a fan of being guided, I like the independence of going without and I think learning from my own mistakes is invaluable. But there are good reasons for hiring a guide too, I just don't like the mandatory nature of this new law. I suspect once this gets out a lot of climbers will head instead to Bolivia or Peru. Just a hunch.
-Tom

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby jblyth » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:04 pm

I was just looking at flights last night for a trip in November....this changes things. I'm curious if this is just on Cotopaxi or if the rangers wanted some extra money....guess we'll see over the next few months what people are saying. Just surprised there isn't more of a discusion on this considering it's prime climbing season down there.

Thanks for the heads up.

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby Scott P » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:11 pm

But there are good reasons for hiring a guide too, I just don't like the mandatory nature of this new law.


I don't like it being mandatory either, but on the other hand it is their country.

I suspect once this gets out a lot of climbers will head instead to Bolivia or Peru.


The rule is already (or was a few years ago) in place in much of Peru (though I don't think that it is strictly enforced). I'm not sure about Bolivia (haven't been for 5+ years or heard anything about mandatory guides). Most the people climbing the Ecuador volcanoes are guided anyway, so I don't know if it will have that much effect on the numbers. It certainly hasn't in places like Kilimanjaro, Ararat, Peru, etc.

I'm curious if this is just on Cotopaxi....guess we'll see over the next few months what people are saying.


I think it's for all the glaciated volcanoes. I'm guessing that like in Peru, you can waive the requirement if you are doing a difficult route that isn't guided.
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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby GregMiller » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:22 pm

I'm curious about climbing in Central and South America someday, and that's my only qualification to speak on this, but I wonder if they won't end up with a bunch of 'accredited guides' who end up just being climbing bums who for $50 or $100 plus food and stove fuel will climb along with you. I have no clue what their accreditation process for guides is, so I don't know.
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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby TomPierce » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:23 pm

It's not clear to me if this applies to Ecuadorians as well, I haven't researched that issue (I don't plan to go down there again). The stated rationale apparently isn't jobs (although I suspect that's the real reason), but rather that there was an accident on Illiniza that claimed 4 lives, all Ecuadorians from what I understand.

-Tom

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby Scott P » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:24 pm

The stated rationale apparently isn't jobs (although I suspect that's the real reason)


Yes; that's almost always the real reason.
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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby TomPierce » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:32 pm

Out of curiosity I dug a little deeper and, at least according to recent anecdotal reports (Lonely Planet), the requirement applies only to foreigners.
-Tom

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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby GregMiller » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:37 pm

TomPierce wrote:The stated rationale <snip> that there was an accident on Illiniza that claimed 4 lives, all Ecuadorians from what I understand.
-Tom


TomPierce wrote:<snip> the requirement applies only to foreigners.
-Tom


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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby shredthegnar10 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:27 pm

On one hand, when undertaking an international climbing trip, I don't know that an extra $500 or so to hire a guide just to satisfy the requirement would break most people's budgets. On the other hand, mountaineers (especially experienced ones) tend to be fiercely independent and really turned off by the idea of having a guide, even if it's just for show.
Also, for those who haven't been, the standard route on Cotopaxi (from the Jose Rivas Refugio at 15k) is analogous to the DC route on Mt. Rainer -- it's very well marked and easy to navigate, even in the off-season -- so requiring a guide seems a little ridiculous from a safety standpoint. I'm sure it's about the economy/jobs for Ecuadorians.
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Re: Guides Required for Ecuador Volcanoes

Postby cheeseburglar » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:31 pm

This does seem like an employment plan. We climbed in Ecuador, with a guide, and it was pretty fun. We didn't need the guide, but why not have a cool character along? And the companies we talked to gave about the same price if we wanted a guide or just the transportation/base camp guard/cook.
Probably wouldn't be a problem if you asked the guide to stay at base camp. Or to hang back and let you take the lead. They've climbed the mountains hundreds of times. Our guide on Cotapaxi climbed the mountain the day before we went up with him.
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