The high Andean peaks of Ecuador are located primarily
along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, a fertile central valley,
which is buttressed by two ranges, the Eastern and Western
Cordilleras. Most of the highland populace, including
the indigenous Quichua, ekes out an agrarian living in
Some of the summits are young, cone-shaped volcanoes
like Cotopaxi with technically straight-forward climbs
offering the novice a chance to get near or above 20,000
feet. Others are deeply eroded, older volcanoes with challenging
rock and ice routes (e.g., the glorious ring of peaks
on El Altar).
For your first few days in Ecuador, you should acclimatize
by ascending some of the smaller mountains (15,000 feet
or less), such as Iliniza Norte, Imbabura or Pichincha
to avoid developing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). These
lower peaks are non-glaciated, easily accessible within
a day's travel from Quito, and offer either hut facilities
or nearby hostels that can be used as a climbing base.
Once your body has adjusted to the altitude, you are
ready to try one of Ecuador's four classic glaciated peaks:
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Cayambe or Tungurahua.
Another recommedations are:
* Drink 2 liters of water per day at least a week prior
* Have a complete and nutruicious diet at least a week
What does this
activity consist of?
It consists of climbing mountains of varying difficulty
and conditions. In Ecuador, there are different modes
of ascent, such as ice scaling (Chimborazo) and rocky
formations (Yanasacha) to mention some.
This type of activity can last for a day
or for a week and a half if you decide to climb some of
the tallest mountains in this beautiful country.
Where can this
activity be done?
The most frequent places for this activity are the snowcapped
volcanoes of the Ecuadorian mountains:
Chimborazo - Chimborazo Province
The Chimborazo volcano reaches 6,310 meters in altitude
and is best for mountain climbers to have specialized
guides. Another important peak near Chimborazo is Carihuairazo.
It is located within an ecological park whose main objective
is the preservation of species native to the Andean ecosystem,
such as the vicuña, llama and the alpaca, and during
the ascent, one can see them.
Cotopaxi - Cotopaxi Province
This active volcano reaches an elevation of 5,911 meters
and has entered the eruptive phase 50 times since 1738.
The most recent eruption of Cotopaxi ended in 1904. This
mountain is located within the Cotopaxi National Park
and also requires guiding.
Cayambe - Pichincha Province
This mountain is in the eastern mountain range of Ecuador.
It is a volcano that has not entered in eruption within
recorded history. It has brilliant glaciers at its peak
and is a great adventure for those that want to scale
Experienced climbers can reach the peaks of the more distant
and difficult mountains which include: