Mountain climbing in Ecuador
Do you dream of climbing a 6000 m peak, but lack the technical climbing skills? Well, the perfect place for you to begin high altitude mountain climbing is in Ecuador!
Ecuador has 20 mountains over 4000 m in altitude and all located within the Avenue of Volcanoes. The “big three” volcanoes are Chimborazo (6268 m), Cotopaxi (5897 m) and Cayambe (5790 m). Other challenging peaks are Antisana (5710 m) and Illiniza Sur (5200 m). Technically the volcanoes are straightforward to climb and you will need some basic alpine skills to be successful.
Of course, a reliable tour operator will ensure that relative beginners get sufficient glacier training prior to summit attempts. Check to see if a “glacier school” is provided in your trip schedule.
Mountain climbers need to have sufficient levels of strength and stamina to climb mountains like Chimborazo. So come prepared! If you are in need of training advice, please email us for advance.
Mountain Climbing in Ecuador - What to Expect
Mountain climbing in Ecuador is a unique South American experience. In Ecuador, you can base yourself in comfortable Spanish-style haciendas not far from the mountains. Each day, you can hike up progressively higher volcanoes to prepare yourself. Once acclimatized, you can drive straight up to one of the refuges and make a summit attempt on one of the ‘big three’ volcanoes.
Accommodation on our expeditions
We use haciendas on shared basis of two climbers per room.
In the refuges, normally 8-10 climbers will share a dorm.
On Chimborazo, you can sleep in the refuge at 4800 m or in a tent at high camp at 5300 m. Mountaineers who sleep at high camp shorten their summit day considerably and increase their chances of success. Ensure that you contract a the travel operator that offers this option.
Ecuador climbing guides
In Ecuador, you must climb a glaciated peak with a registered mountain guide. The national authority on guide training, ASEGUIM, certifies all mountain guides. Their guide training program is topnotch and is aligned with the IFMGA. Please check that your guide is actually certified before contracting him.
On summit attempts on glaciated peaks like Chimborazo or Cotopaxi, the guiding ratio is either 1:1 or 2:1 (client-to-guide).
Guides and their clients are roped together at all times during summit attempts. The guide will break trail to the summit. Fixed ropes are not used on mountains in Ecuador.
We only use four wheel transport or private mini-bus services.
Type of meals to be expected
We make sure that our clients are well catered for on expeditions. We believe a healthy diet is important for mountaineers. Breakfast consists of toast, scrambled eggs, granola cereal, fruit salad, juice, bizcochos (a type of rusk) and Andean cheese. For lunch, soup, sandwiches, fruit, cake, juice are typical. For evening meals clients usually dine on quinoa soup, salad, main course (chicken or beef), vegetables and desert.
- Prepare and train before you arrive in Ecuador.
- Acclimatize correctly – take about 12 days adjusting to the altitude before climbing Chimborazo
- On summit day, take it slow – don’t rush
- Keep yourself hydrated during your expedition.
- Have rest days included in your expedition
- Hire a registered guide that you can communicate with.
- Enroll in a “glacier school” to on your alpine sills.
- Pack light on summit day!