|Aloasi Train Station:||3107m|
|El Chaupi Route:|
The Corazon is an ancient and extinct volcano, owes its name to the "heart" shape that two of its streams draw when going down the north - eastern face visible from Aloag. This mountain can be climbed by beginners and is frequently used as a step in acclimatization for climbing higher mountains. It has three summits: South Summit or Highest Summit (4800m); Central Summit and North Summit, both of much lower height than the Highest, although with similar height between them. From the Highest Summit you have a magnificent view of the surrounding valleys and mountains, especially the Cotopaxi and the Illinizas. In the same way, the Corazon is usually covered in the rainy season with an attractive snow blanket, offering beautiful views from the surrounding villages, especially from Machachi.
National Park: Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas
Western Cordillera; 38 kilometers in a straight line south – west of Quito; 9 km from the Panamerican Hw at Machachi. There are two main routes for approaching the Corazon Volcano:
1) Normal Route "Aloasi": Reach Machachi and take the way to Aloasi, this small town is located at the foot of El Corazon volcano, continue to the "Aloasi Train Station", pass it northward for about 100 meters and take the narrow road to the left in the western direction towards the Corazon. This road is better for 4×4 vehicles, it zigzags between paddocks and haciendas, until you reach the hiking starting point at the "Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas" sign.
2) Route "El Chaupi": From Machachi, follow the Panamerican Highway for approximately 7km to the south, take the paved way to the right towards El Chaupi town. Shortly before reaching the village, take the right road to the "Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas" entrance control. This road could be followed beyond the control for a closer approach, better for pickup trucks or 4×4 vehicles.
|Panamerican Hw – Aloasi||4min||1.4km|
|Aloasi – Train Station||5min||1.8km|
|Train Station – Metal mesh door||5min||1.2km|
|Metal mesh door – Reserva sign||15min||4.1km|
|El Chaupi Route:|
|Panamerican Hw – El Chaupi||13min||7.7km|
|El Chaupi – Entrance control||18min||5.54km|
- It's usually used a single day to climb to the top of this mountain.
- If you don't have 4 × 4 private transportation, it's convenient to rent a taxi - pickup truck at Aloasí, Machachi, or El Chaupi central squares.
- Following the Aloasi route , you can go up by 4 × 4 vehicle to the "Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas" sign . This is the starting point for hiking to the Corazon summit.
- This information is for those who drive a private vehicle: There is literally only one parking space next to the sign; therefore, vehicles should be parked one behind the other, crashing their way. One suggestion would be to park the vehicle a little earlier, looking for a place that doesn't interrupt the road. Additionally, going from Aloasi a little further up the train station, there is a metal mesh door which is usually opened, this door belongs to the haciendas and land owners. Some time ago, not a few people happened to come back tired, late in the afternoon they were trapped because "someone" closed the door with a padlock. Currently (on 09/01/2018), farmers report that the door is no longer closed, but there is always some risk.
- The hike along the normal route from the sign to the Highest Summit can take between 3 1/2 to 4 hours, only one way, plus an additional 2 hour back.
- A good part of the route to the base of the rocks is on pajonal pad without a well marked trail, it can be difficult to follow the path and it is easy to get lost when the fog comes down. Be careful because the mountain can be quickly clouded!
- The route through El Chaupi requires also a 4 × 4 vehicle approach, it passes through the "Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas" access control and you can still continue a good stretch in dry seasons. The hike begins in the high paramo, a clear path that crosses a valley to reach the south western ridge.
- The ridge offers some III and IV degree rock climbing, caution is advised.
- The 4 × 4 approach roads from El Chaupi or Aloasi can become almost impassable in strong winter times.
There are some attractive hiking trails at the Corazon area; here are some of them:
- Corazon Summit following the Aloasi Route
- Corazon Summit following the El Chaupi Route
- Corazon Summit following the Aloag Route
- From Aloasi towards the summit and descent through the Chaupi
- Route from the Corazon to the North Illiniza
- Descent to the caldera of the Corazon volcano
First visits and opened routes:
- Wilhelm Reiss and Stübel, 1870
- Edward Whymper and the Carrel Brothers, 1880