Great Crossing Los Nevados

Salento, Colombia

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This will be an expedition with summits on 3 of the 8 volcanos in the National Park. With a traverse along the volcanic chain and surpassing one of the highest lagoons in Colombia, this is a wild experience in Los Nevados National Park!


Duration: 8 Days
Starts in: Salento, Colombia
Ends in: Salento, Colombia
Group Size: 1-9
Difficulty: 5/5

Operated by:

Crested Outdoors

We are a guide company based in Salento, Colombia specializing in logistics and ecotourism around the Colombian Andes.

Additional Information

Day 1. 
Total distance: 10km
Estimated time: 5 – 6 hrs
Altitud gain: 2400m – 3400m

Starting from the Cocora valley 2,400m (7,874ft), one of the most visited places in Salento; the corner of biodiversity; over more than 1000 wax palms; home of the Black-and chestnut eagle, hunting and breeding area. We will ascent trough the canyon of the “Cardenas” creek, which is the main flowing of the Quindio River. Lodging in a traditional milk farm at 3,400m (11,154ft) with a “Salento” family, creator of the extinct “Salentina” potato cultivar.
Day 2.
Total distance: 12km
Distance to summit peak: 6km 
Distance to camp: 6km 
Estimated time: 8 hrs 
Altitud gain: 3400m – 4300m – 3800m

Get through 6km hike to Peak a summit of 4300m (14,107ft), then move towards the next high camp; Keep track of the “Cardenas” canyon, the Quindio wetlands and Paramo ecosystem; have a good time with the smashing look of Paramillo del Quindio, tallest mountain of Quindio department; enjoy dinner on our second camp, with star gazing and cozy dinner.
Day 3
Total distance: 14km 
Distance to Volcano summit: 10km
Distance to next farm: 7km 
Estimated time: 8 – 10hrs
Altitud Gain: 3800m – 4750 – 3700m

Enjoy the views of the Tolima Volcano, and far away the imposing Quindio Volcano, with Its rare colors and variety of textures your mind will blow up. Within Its direction you will notice many changes in the vegetation; progressively from the bottom of the crater until the arid and silently summit of the Volcano 4,750m (15,583ft); You will get drawn but this giant mountain, composed by the stratification of ashes and small plants of the Super- Páramo ecosystem such as many lichens and Senecio genus within Its many endemism.
Next move towards the farm to get rest and fuel up for the rest of the expedition.
Day 4
Total distance: 7km 
Distance to High camp: 7km 
Estimated time: 5 – 6hrs
Altitud gain: 3700m – 4300m

Early, continue for a short day inside páramo ecosystem, slightly hilly terrain will conduct us through the first slopes of the Tolima volcano. Hike besides “Toche” river; the hike will spot some of the unseen scenarios, like the vast peatlands and extensive marshes. Get the best view of the Toche valley, Cauca valley and the mountain massif complex (Ruiz-Tolima) with all the glaciers in the park; home of the Andean Condor, the Black Chested Buzzard Eagle, the Buffy Helmetcrest hummingbird among others.
Camp on the upper slopes of the Tolima Volcano and get ready for the Summit day.
Day 5
Total distance: 17km 
Distance summit: 3km 
Distance to next camp: 11km
Estimated time: 5 – 6hrs to Summit / 4-5hrs to Next Camp 
Altitud gain: 4300m – 5220m – 3780m

Over the 5,000m (16.404ft) after the sketchy and exposed scrambling the ice appears, the Team ropes up and push upwards for the final try. summit, located at 5.220m (17.126ft).
The climb on the ice is 200m, at the last bit it is a crevasses field and once cross it, We climb a small cornice and walk till the summit.
After summit day get across the “valle del placer” and the smashing views of Tolima Volcano. At the bottom the views of the rivers “Totare and Totarito” which supply the water of Tolima region.

Day 6
Total distance: 12km 
Estimated time: 9 – 10hrs 
Altitud gain: 3780m – 4300m

From the valley back to the volcanic massif, hike through the “Agua blanca” Valley, surrounded by the volcanic domes of the “Peñas del Caracolí” and “Cerro Arenales”. Traverse the “Line” highest axis of the Cordillera central and Camp at the limits of Risaralda department at Laguna negra camp site.
Day 7
Total distance: 15km 
Estimated time: 8 hrs 
Altitud gain: 4300m – 3500m

Start the day with the Otun lagoon, biggest lagoon in the National park, full of birdlife; great views of Paramillo of Santa Rosa and Santa Isabel glacier; followed by the Otún wetland complex, included in the RAMSAR convention.
Outside the PNN los Nevados stay at “Hortencias” farm and enjoy dinner for the last time with at typical potato cultivar family, from the old and traditional “Hacienda Potosí”. Prepare the last bit of energy for the “ Santa Isabel” glacier volcano.
Day 8
Total hiking distance: 8 km Summit and Back
Total distance in 4×4 ride: 50km until Santa Rosa de Cabal 
Altitud gain: 3500m – 4920m – 1700m

Very early the day starts with the 4×4 ride that will conduct us to the beginning of the authorised trail that leads to the Central face of Santa Isabel volcano. Once there prepare the gear for the last climb and summit the Central dome of Santa Isabel volcano at 4920m.
After the descent You will have a 4×4 ride across “Cortaderal” road, following the steps of the great explorer Thomas Van Der Hammen and finally enjoy Santa Rosa and the cozy thermal springs (not included in the price, but a great opportunity to enjoy Risaralda department).


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