Climb Volcan Chimborazo

Out-and-Back Trail

Volcan Chimborazo - Search Nearby - Added by Kyle Frost

The highest peak in Ecuador and the "tallest peak in the world"

 Rising 20,548 ft above sea level, Chimborazo is nearly 9,000 ft shorter than Everest. However, because the Earth bulges a bit around the equator, Chimborazo is actually the point on Earth furthest from the core and closest to the sun!

Your climb will begin at the Whymper Refugio at the base of the mountain, around an hour and a half outside of Riobamba. You'll be surrounded by guides and other climbers making the ascent. Depending on your guide company (you have to have a guide) and itinerary, you may spend a night here before the climb, or hike up to a high camp. I'd recommend doing the climb in one go from the refugio.

After a meal and short sleep, you'll likely wake around 10pm to prep and then head out. The early portion of Chimborazo is highly dependent on snow conditions, so you may take the direct (shorter) route, or have to go around to the base of the ridge if there isn't enough snow.

At the base of the glacier, you'll put on your crampons and rope up with your guide. After a steep section to gain the ridgeline, you head to the right and up. And up and up and up. Chimborazo is not a heavily technical ascent. Although there can be avalanche and glacier dangers, most of the difficulty comes from the steep snow climb and from the altitude as you get closer to 20,000 ft.

The ridge is mostly a steep snow ramp all the way to 20k, with maybe 1 tricky section on rock. With luck, you'll be at or very near the Veintemilla summit around sunrise! Check out the views and the huge shadow that Chimbo casts in the morning. This is often the turnaround point for many climbers. Depending on your goals and timing, you can continue on through a snow and crevasse filled basin to the Wymper summit, the true highest point on the mountain.

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Hiking
Scenic

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Not to be underestimated

I attempted Chimborazo in late February and quickly discovered its altitude is not to be taken lightly. Despite having been over 20k feet three times before, this was the first time I have experienced Acute Mountain Sickness and was forced to turn around due to bad stomach symptoms. Like Kyle says in this write-up, Chimborazo is mostly a long glacier slog that requires endurance, stamina, and strength as you climb the 2000+ feet ridge to the false summit. Give yourself plenty of time for this climb, starting at 10pm or earlier, and make sure you pack plenty of extra food, water, and layers.

A must when adventuring in Ecuador

To be fair, I didn’t climb the mountain - only hiked around the base. From Riobamba, find a local who would be happy to show off this area to drive and show you around. Be prepared for cold. If you aren’t prepared for an epic and intense hike experience, cruise up and around the base for mesmerizing mountain views and herds of alpacas bounding by. It was one of my favorite moments in Ecuador, and when I go back again I’ll be prepared to hike to the top.