Cerro Puntas Volcano
Cerro Puntas is located in the Eastern Cordillera just bordering the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. Its shape is that of a large horseshoe, with two long chains of rocky peaks that seen from a distance look like the teeth of a saw, hence the name “Cerro Puntas”. It is calculated there must be between 40 and 50 peaks between the two chains. In the middle of the horseshoe is the open caldera towards the south-west, which ends up forming a ravine heading to the west until it empties into the Guayllabamba River. The north-western chain is much more accessible and there elevates the peak considered as its highest peak. The southeastern chain presents greater approaching difficulties, more humidity and no traveled footpath, reason why these peaks have been scarcely visited and perhaps some of them have not even been climbed. All this massif is enclosed in what would seem to have been an enormous volcanic caldera of about 9km in diameter and with at least two craters, one of them the current Cerro Puntas.
National Park: Parque Nacional Cayambe Coca
Cordillera Oriental; 32 kilometers in a straight line east of Quito; 13.2 km from the E35 at the Checa town. There are two approach routes to the Cerro Puntas:
1) Normal Approach “Hacienda del Sr. Rios”: Just past the Checa entrance, about 500 meters towards El Quinche, you must take a narrow paved road on the right. Follow this road straight for approximately 7km to the east, first on the pavement and then on the narrow and steep cobblestone road, it's somewhat difficult until you reach the “Hacienda Teresita” farm, owned by Mr. Ríos. The ascent to the Cerro Puntas begins at this hacienda and it is necessary to cross this private property.
2) Waterway Approach: You arrive at Checa and continue towards El Quinche for approximately 3km; Before the road goes down and crosses the last ravine, you can see on the right a road that goes towards El Tablón mountain. Follow this paved road directly towards the east and you will end up at the gate of a farm at the foot of El Tablon. The hike to Cerro Puntas crosses this hacienda, which is privately owned. From the highway there are approximately 7.6 km, the highest part only for 4×4 vehicles.
|Hda. Teresita Approach:|
|Quito – Checa||45min||36km|
|Checa – Hda. Teresita||40min||7.5km|
|Checa – Hacienda del Tablón||45min||10.6km|
- One day is usually used to ascend to the summit of this mountain.
- Cerro Puntas is an interesting place for hiking, mountaineering, climbing, and even mountain biking for the toughest.
- Both approaching roads: Hda. Teresita and Hda. del Tablon, are cobbled in regular condition, difficult for any vehicle other than 4×4.
- There is no way to ascend the Cerro Puntas without crossing private property. Fortunately, the owners of these haciendas allow tourists to pass through, although sometimes you will not be able to find a person to open the doors. In Hacienda Teresita, owned by the Rios family, it is currently charged US. 2.00 per person.
- There are two obvious recommendations for people who enter: 1) Do not litter; 2) Do not leave the corral doors or paddocks opened to avoid the loss of livestock.
- There have been people lost at Cerro Puntas, especially at the descent. The mountain can be humid and remain cloudy a good part of the year. One suggestion is to go down following the same road as the “cars”, avoid the shortcuts in pastures and paramos, which can easily lead you to lose your way.
Climbing and Hiking
There are some attractive routes:
- Cerro Puntas Summit from Hda. Teresita
- Cerro Puntas Summit, the waterway route
- El Tablón summit
- Southeast Chain of Cerro Puntas
- Cerro Puntas - Oyacachi (little visited route)