Altar Trecking - or mud digging

Publiziert von kleopatra , 18. Januar 2009 um 23:25. Text und Fotos von den Tourengängern

Region: Welt » Ecuador
Tour Datum:20 Dezember 2008
Wandern Schwierigkeit: T6 - schwieriges Alpinwandern
Geo-Tags: EC 
Zeitbedarf: 4 Tage
Aufstieg: 1300 m
Abstieg: 1300 m
Zufahrt zum Ausgangspunkt:By bus from Quito to Riobamba and then with the private car to Candelaria. At the end of the road, there is Hacienda Releche.
Unterkunftmöglichkeiten:Hacienda Releche, Refugio in the valley.

Day 1
At 07:00 we took a taxi to Terminal Terrestre in Quito, where we were immediately able to jump on a bus to Riobamba. 4 hours later, quite on time, we were picked up by our guide Diego Tenemaza and two other guys who brought us - sometimes not really sure about the way - to Hacienda Releche (1 hour drive from Riobamba). After a short sandwich lunch at about 2 p.m., our guide packed everything ready for Muli transport, gave us two pairs of rubber boots  and explained that we have to walk for 6 hours to the refuge. We were amazed as our program (which we received from the travel agency) said something about 3 hours walk around the hotel and what were the rubber boots for? As we were too late to arrive at the refuge in daylight, I did not feel well and the whole situation was very confusing, we insisted on staying the first night in the Hacienda.
We used the remaining time of this day to walk up the 'road' a little and immediately understood why the rubber boots could be useful.....

Day 2
At 08:00, the muli was packed and we started into a quite nice day. We showed our guide a useful short cut being able to bypass all the first deep-mud section (45 min) that we walked up yesterday. Our guide did not know about this option but he assured us that it will get much better soon. However, it stayed as bad as it was for 5 hours until we finally dug ourselves throuh the mud to the refugee. Reliefed that we made it, we continued to the end of the valley, where we were told to see Laguna Mandur, but we found out later, that it was actually Laguna Amarilla (another mistake by our certified (?) guide). Back at the refuge we realized, that it was not as promised at an elevation of 4000m, but only at 3750m (another discrepancy between the promised program and reality - not in line with our plans for acclimatisation).

Day 3

Today, we were supposed to see another Laguna for which we had to cross the river in the valley and then we hiked up the only obvious path towards the Gampaja. After passing a small duck pool, the path disappeared, so we scrambled up until Diego asked us, which way we would like to go (shouldn't he have told us?). We told him, that we prefer the easiest one because the terrain was steep and dangerous. Despite this we soon were facing slippery wet rocks which we decided not to climb. So Diego tried the second way and we ended in a Gully which looked as if no human being has ever been there. We decided to stop here because it was obvious that he had no clue about the right way and returned to the refuge. After this short trip, we explored the cupboards in the kitchen a little bit and found some nice smelly things, among them a dead animal.

Day 4
After the breakfast, we decided to use the rubber boots and dug our way down to the Hacienda. There we paid for sleeping and we thought - the national park fee - as well, but when we reached the exit of the national park, they wanted us to pay again. Finally at the terminal terrestre in Riobamba, we were more or less kicked out of the car. Anyway, we were very happy that this was the end of this 4 day nightmare!


We recommend NOT to use Rain-forestur for Trekking and Mountain tours. They don´t use certified guides and are not honest.

Here is a table summarizing all discrepancies:

Their promise Reality
easy walk/hike
 - - mud digging along a horse/cow path
wet T6 gully
the guide will be certified by ASEGUIM  -
Diego Tenemaza is not on the official list 
 - guaranteed prices  - the refugee was more expensive than promised

no word about the necessity of rubber boots

rubber boots did not fit in size (we received an email asking about shoe size and sleeping bags at 8:20 p.m. the day before we left -> how should we have read this?). If we had known about the boots before, we would not have booked
English speaking guide -
Despite the fact that the agency knew about our no-existing Spanish skills our guide hardly spoke English
guide knows the Altar environment -
the guide sold the Laguna Amarillo as the Laguna Mandur to us

guide knows the tour program

guide did not even know the tour program and we stayed 2 days in the same refuge instead of moving to a second one (which was promised to us by the boss of the agency on the phone) 
wrong altitude levels
the tour never reached the promised altitude levels which we would have needed for acclimatisation

Tourengänger: kleopatra, Muellix


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