Frequently Asked Questions
Full details & information about what you can expect in the lead up & during the challenge.
Costs & Fundraising
The balance for your trip cost, will be due to us 10 weeks before your departure. You will be sent a reminder & an invoice 12 weeks before, giving you 2 weeks to make the payment.
80% of your fundraising target is due to be with your charity 12 weeks before the challenge, meaning that it either needs to be banked with them, or sat against a Just Giving page. We will then invoice your charity for the remaining cost of your place on the challenge, it is important you make that 80% target otherwise your charity will not pay for your place, and your trip could be cancelled.
The remaining 20% of your balance will be due to be with your charity 4 weeks after your trip ends.
Our base cost is on a twin share room basis, if you are signing up as a couple of two friends – you can tell us when you register onto the challenge, so we ensure that you will be sharing a room.
If you are signing up to the challenge as an individual, we will match you with someone of the same gender and roughly the same age.
You can choose to pay an additional supplement to have your own room (and/or tent) on the challenge.
All of our groups are an average size of approximately 20 participants. We welcome individuals, couples and groups of friends on to our challenges, and many who join us literally have a mountain to climb in terms of the scale of the challenge they are taking on. We advocate camaraderie and team bonding, and really believe that this enhances your experience.
Yes as long as we know in advance of the trip, we can cater for all dietary requirements & requests.
Signing Up to the Challenge
Once you pay your deposit & have signed up to the challenge, you will recieve a confirmation email welcoming you onto the challenge.
You will also recieve instructions of how to download our challenge app which has in it all the information you need to start preparing for your challenge – from kit lists to training guides.
We will keep you updated with regular emails & newsletters in the lead up to the challenge, as well as information on training days & weekends.
If you need to cancel your challenge, your deposit is non-refundable – therefore we recommend you speak to our team to see what alternative options you may have.
Yes, if for whatever reason you need to push your departure back to a later one, or change your trip all together you can do so for a date change fee of £175, and subject to availability.
Country entry requirements can change as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, and it’s something our team constantly keep their eyes on. If we have to cancel the trip – you will be offered a transfer across to a future date/ departure or a full refund. However if you need to cancel your trip – e.g. you test positive, then you will need to seek reimbursement from your travel insurance.
Currently we do not have the accounting facility to take instalments, we can only take your payment in full at least 12 weeks before your departure.
Yes – in our challenge app, which you can download once you are fully registered onto the challenge we’ve a host of training materials, guides & advice for you to use. We also have training weekends, and days which you can sign up to meet others & test out not just your fitness, but your mental readiness for the challenge and your all important kit!
Closer to the challenge we will set up a Facebook group, so that you can meet online others whom are going to be on your trip. We also have a lively & dynamic Facebook group you can join at any time to meet other fellow challengers – past & present to share and swap training tips, advice & stories.
You will need a specific travel insurance, which covers the duration of your trip, along with full cover for any activities you will be doing (i.e. trekking, cycling) and also to cover you up to any altitude you may be trekking to. Once you are signed up to the challenge, we will send you full details of our recommended providers of appropriate cover.
Life on the Challenge
Each day will start with breakfast at our accommodation, and on some days we will pack up a lunch to carry with us for the day and eat on the trail. We will then board the transfer to the starting point of the day’s hike. While trekking there will be regular breaks to take on water and rest in the shade at watchtowers, with a longer break for lunch. On return to our accommodation, there will be time to relax before dinner – with more downtime in the evening for conversation and socialising.
Climbing Cotopaxi requires the use of crampons and ice axe, as we will be ascending snow, ice and glaciers. You’ll be given full training on their safe use prior to setting foot on the frozen sections of the route. Climbing days, and particularly summit night itself, start very early. We’ll set off on the long and very cold summit push from high camp at about midnight. We should arrive at the summit shortly after sunrise before making our way back down to the refuge. The summit push, particularly before sunrise, can be very cold. It’s of utmost importance to have and wear the correct warm kit and clothing.
The Climb Cotopaxi Challenge is a flights included package. Upon signing up you will be included in the group flight booking that we make.
Yes, this becomes our land only package and reduces your final balance or minimum sponsorship balance – please contact us for more information if you are looking to book your own flights.
You will be required to arrange all flights and transfers in order to meet the group at the starting hotel on day 2 of your challenge and Action Challenge will require details of your travel arrangements before departure.
Please note you are unable to change your package once final balance invoicing has been completed and tickets have been issued by the airline.
Yes – why not stay on and explore more of what Ecuador has to offer! We can request to change your return date with the airline. Places are limited and all arrangements are subject to availability.
Climbing Cotopaxi is a demanding challenge, and difficulty is heightened by the altitude. Nevertheless, it is very achievable with the correct training, and the slow pace set out by our local guides.
The terrain is mountainous and there are very frequent long up and down stretches, many of which are steep. At times, some scrambling will be involved. The summit attempt of Cotopaxi is on snow, ice and glaciers.
It requires a reasonable level of strength, stamina and determination. Your training should incorporate aerobic (endurance building), anaerobic (strength building) exercises and some good long walks!
The terrain is very varied. Some sections are fairly standard mountain hiking trails over undulating terrain. The section to/from the high camp is steep, loose and slippery as it crosses boulder fields and glacial moraines. Above high camp the entire route to the summit is glacial ice and snow, for this section you’ll be fully equipped with crampons, ice axes and ropes etc.
The ingredients available in Ecuador are fresh and tasty, the food throughout the trip is of a very high standard. All meals are included within the cost of the trip apart from on your free day. We try to provide varied meals, which are simple but wholesome and we hope they exceed people’s expectations given the limited facilities on the mountain. For trekking days we recommend people bring their own snacks to keep their energy levels up such as cereal bars, biscuits, chocolate, fruit gums and carbohydrate gels.
Please note that we will do our best to accommodate all dietary requirements if informed in advance.
Yes, Cotopaxi is a cold and challenging mountain and the route includes lots of time spent on snow and ice. Upon signing up you’ll be sent a full kit list that details all of the clothing and equipment needed. Items of particular importance include:
These more specialist items are available to rent from within the UK and locally in Quito, though availability may be limited and so its best to book well in advance.
Luggage will either be left at our accommodation each day while trekking, and on days where we change accommodation it will be transported by vehicle and waiting for you when you arrive. You will only need to carry your day pack containing water, waterproofs, sun cream and other personal effects.
The exception to this is the short walk from the road head to the refuge prior to the Cotopaxi summit attempt. Participants must carry their climbing equipment, clothing and sleeping equipment up to the refuge.
The pace is always slow and steady. A slow and manageable pace is a key part of good, safe acclimatisation. Your action challenge leader, UK medic and head local guide will together decide the best pace for the group. Remember on most days there’ll always also be time to stop and take in the views, eat a snack or change a layer. On summit day, the schedule is tightened a little, with fewer stops owing to the terrain and conditions.
Yes, you are supported every step of the way! Your challenge will be led by an experienced Action Challenge leader. Our leaders are selected for their experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, sensitivity and sense of humour, and will ensure that your trip runs smoothly.
You will also be accompanied by an Action Challenge doctor, who will be carrying a fully stocked medical kit in case of any emergency. They will carry out daily health checks, and the re-assurance of their presence should allow you to focus on, and enjoy your challenge!
We have a full support team in country with two-way radio contact between the Action Challenge Head Quarters in London and local staff and satellite phone for emergencies. If for any reason you need to leave the group early local staff will assist you with your descent and will arrange transfers, accommodation and medical care if necessary.
Elbrus is a very cold mountain! Be prepared to get cold on Elbrus, especially on summit night. We climb Elbrus during the best time of year, summer, like on any mountain the weather can be unpredictable. High winds, rain and snow are not uncommon. On summit night temperatures, can fall to minus 20c.
The Challenge brochure details the full itinerary, inclusions, dates & prices – download for a full run down of the challenge details.