Chimborazo 6268 m

ECU-30a / 7-day trip / Grade: PD

Chimborazo 6268 m 1

Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador, and also the highest in the world if measured from the center of the earth, due to is location on the tropical belt. The mountain has five mayor summits all linked by a ridge called the “Arista del Sol” (Sun’s ridge), which probably is the main reason for its Quichua name, which translates “Ice Braid”.

Climbing Chimborazo is a demanding task, both physically and psychologically, but is the experience of a lifetime. The altitude is also a determining factor, which is why we have prepared a great acclimatization program to give you the best options during the summit bid.

Day 1 Climb: Pasocha (4164 m)
Day 2 Climb: Guagua-Pichincha (4794 m)
Day 3 Ilinizas – Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m)
Day 4 Climb: North Iliniza (5126 m)
Day 5 Town of Baños de Santa Agua (1820 m) – Rest day
Day 6 Chimborazo – Carrel hut (4800 m)
Day 7 Climb: Chimborazo Volcano (6268 m)
Day 1

Climb: Pasochoa Volcano (4164 m)
Pick-up at hotel in Quito and transfer (2 h) to the head of trail, located at an altitude of 3848 m. From this point a very well marked trail will lead the way by farm land up to the a paramo area. Here the trail heads southwards ascending progressively until the base of the crater. The last section is the steepest, following a mountain trail up to the crater rim. The last meters to the summit are done by the edge of the crater with nice views down to the valley of Machachi also known as the “Volcanoes Avenue” and the highlands to the west. On clear days there is a perfect view to the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and Artisana volcanoes. The descend is following back the same trail. Back at the starting point the group will be taken back (2 h) to Quito.
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 516 m / Descent: 516 m / Highest altitude: 4164 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 2

Climb: Guagua Pichincha volcano (4794 m)
The Pichinchas are three summits located on the Western range just above Quito. The Guagua Pichincha is the highest and the youngest of the summits, the other two are the Rucu Pichincha and the Padre Encantado (Enchanted father) and both of them lower. Guagua is also where the last eruption took place in the year 1999, but it is considered safe to climb by the geologist. The Guagua and the Rucu are very popular ascents, due to their location on the outskirt of the capital and their convenient access.
Pick-up at the hotel in Quito and transfer (2 h) to the head of the trail to a parking place at 4150 m. From the parking place, the hike will ascent by a “paramo” area finding it way through changing vegetation up to the moraine. The ascent is very straight forward, but the distance to cover is anyway considerable. There is a big gain in altitude during the hike, which works great as a preparation for higher summits. The trail back is the same of the ascent. From the parking place there is a 2 hours drive along the beautiful “Volcano Avenue” to a mountain lodge located close to the town of El Chaupi (2930 m).
Night in the mountain lodge.
Ascent: 644 / Descent: 644 m / Highest altitude: 4794 m / Activity duration: 6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 3

Ilinizas – Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m)
The climb starts after an 1 hour transfer from the mountain lodge up to the parking place located at 3680 meters. From here, the group will follow a trail by the “paramo” (Andean highland), which changes as it gains altitude into a rocky moraine. The terrain gets steeper reaching a well marked ridge that ascend to a valley that divides the twin peaks and where the Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m) is located. After arrival the mountain guide will give the pertinent instruction for the next day’s climb and will help to prepare all the needed gear. The Nuevos Horizontes hut is a very, very basic accommodation with one big area, where both the bunkbeds and the kitchen are located. The hut has the basic services as kitchen, dinning tables and toilets.
Night in dormitory with bunkbends.
Ascent: 817 m / Highest altitude: 4677 m / Activity duration: 3-4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Climb: North Iliniza Volcano (5126 m)
This morning’s goal is to climb the North Ilinza, one of the twin summits of the Iliniza massive. The north summit is the easier of the two from a technical point of view, but still a demanding physical ascent. The climb starts from Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677 m), the hike heads towards the col and then up to the north. The climb in it self is very panoramic, as it follows the southern ridge of the mountain with spectacular landscapes on both sides. During the ascent there will be short easy scrambling sections before reaching the summit. Depending on the logistics, weather conditions and the physical shape of the team, the descent can be done by the same trail or following the northern ridge, down a big scree area making it into a circular route. Back at the parking place, the team will be transferred (3 h) to the town of Baños de Santa Agua for a day rest.
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 449 m / Descent: 1266 m / Highest altitude: 5126 m / Activity duration: 8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 5

Town of Baños de Santa Agua (1820 m) – Rest Day
The town of Baños, as it if locally know, lies in the Tunguragua province just at the foothills of the active Tunguragua Volcano (5023 m). Baños is called the “Gateway to the Amazon” as it’s the last andean town before reaching the Amazon basin. Due to its privileged location, this town offers a great deal of activities. The best known are the hot-springs (baños), which one can enjoy many places around town. Adventure sports are also widely spread like mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, etc.
Baños also have some great scenery with the famous waterfalls that lie few kilometers down the valley. The best known are “El Pailon del Diablo” (Devil’s pot) and “El manto de la Novia” (the Bride’s veil), which can be visited taking a local taxi. The “Tarabita” (Cable-car) to cross over the Pastaza River and on the other side of the valley, it is possible to hike through the orchards and gardens of the local peasants.
In few words, there are plenty of options to do or just take a easy going day to enjoy the nice temperature and beautiful surroundings.
Night at hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 6

Chimborazo – Carrel hut (4800 m)
After a day of leisure and a relaxing morning in the town of Baños, the group will pack and drive (3 h) back to the highland towards Chimborazo National Park. On the way, there will a couple of short stops and time to buy the last snacks before leaving “civilization”. Chimborazo volcano is an impressive mountain that stands out from the “Volcanoes Avenue”. The indigenous farmed land that surrounds the mountains are all traditionally worked and very colorful during the harvest season. While driving up to the main entrance, it is possible to see very dramatic landscapes were the actions of the old eruptions have shaped the geography of the place. After crossing the park borders, the landscape turns very arid, like a desert, where it is possible to see one of the rare South American camelids: Vicuñas. These animal are difficult to see because they life in quiet inaccessible areas. They are master to survive in difficult conditions. The ones living in this park are not originally from the area, but introduced many years ago and over time became permanent residents.
The road goes all the way to the door of the lower hut “Refugio Hermanos Carrel” (4800 m), where an 1 hour acclimatization hike starts by a moraine valley up to the Whymper hut (5000 m) and then back down to the Carrel hut. The rest of the afternoon-evening will be to prepare the climb and have an early dinner. The mountain guides will provide all the information and help to assure the best logistic for such a demanding climb.
Night in dormitories with bunkbends.
Ascent: 200 m / Descent: 200 m / Highest Altitude: 5000 m / Activity duration: 1.5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Climb: Chimborazo Volcano (6268 m)
Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador and also the highest in the world measured from the center of the earth, due to is location on the tropical belt. The mountain has five mayor summits all linked by a ridge called the “Arista del Sol” (Sun’s ridge), which probably is the main reason of its Quichua name, which translates “Ice braid”. The main summit is the Whymper (6268 m), named after the British mountaineer Edward Whymper who has the first person to climb it on 1880 along with the Swiss Carrel brothers.
Climbing Chimborazo by its normal Southwest route is a challenging affair, is a long 1468 meters ascent and descent in one push at a considerable altitude. The terrain is also complex, as it changes from an easy moraine trail to ice, snow and rock sections, with some easy scrambling at some specific spots. Even though it is not a technical climb, it is physical demanding. The climb starts between 10 PM to 1 AM, according to the team fitness, acclimatization level and meteorological conditions. The mountain guide will decide the departure time and wake up the clients up, 1 hour before, to have some breakfast and get ready for the activity.
The first part of the route is no longer the normal route, but a variant known as the “Marco Cruz route”, named after the legendary Ecuadorian mountaineer who first ascended it. This variant joins the normal route after “El Castillo” rock pillar, making the ascent much safer and more scenic.
Once on the march, the first part (1 h) is basically a flat moraine until it begins to get steeper, with some few scrambling sections, before reaching the top of the ridge. After a short while walking on the ridge a bit exposed section hiking around the “El Castillo” rock before a flat area where the variant route joins the normal route. The glacier rises on a wide ridge that goes up to an approximate altitude of 5850 m. From this point a gentle traverse elevates westwards reaching 6000 m and then a relative strait up climb to the first summit: the Veintimilla (6230 m), then descend few meters to cross a col and then back up to the main summit: Whymper (6268 m). This is a memorable ascent to a summit above 6000 meters and a test of physical and mental endurance.
The descend is done by the same route back to the Carrel hut and, after packing, there will be a transfer ready to take the group back to Quito (4 h).
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 1468 m / Descent: 1468 m / Highest Altitude: 6268 m / Activity duration: 10-12 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

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  • Local English speaking mountain guide during the entire program
  • Local English speaking assistant mountain guide during the entire program from 5 PAX
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 1 night in shared double room in hotel in Quito
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in the Mountain lodge at Iliniza’s Park
  • 1 night in shared dormitory at Iliniza’s mountain hut – Nuevos Horizontes
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in the town of Baños
  • 1 night in shared dormitory at Chimborazo’s mountain hut
  • Entry fee to the National parks and natural reserves
  • Pasochoa, Pichincha & Iliniza volcanoes assistant mountain guides ratio: 1:5
  • Chimborazo assistant mountain guides ratio: 1:2
  • Meals as specified in the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic or international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Personal climbing gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra 1 & 2  or similar

CHAUPIHuerta Sacha Mountain Hut or similar

ILINIZAS’ NATIONAL PARK: Mountain Hut – Nuevos Horizontes (no website)

BAÑOSHotel Isla de Baños or similar

CHIMBORAZO’S NATIONAL PARK: Mountain Hut Carrel (no website)

Tags: Climbing, Ecuador, Pasochoa, Chimborazo, Volcano Summits, PD grade, North Iliniza, Guagua Pichincha