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Mountaineering: Cayambe, Ecuador

Summit elevation: 19,000 feet / 5,790 meters
5 miles with 4,000 feet of climbing
Class 3 (40 degree ice/snow)
Cayambe • Route Profile
Route Profile

Cayambe • Description

The 19,000-foot extinct Cayambe volcano is the third highest mountain in Ecuador (after Chimborazo and Cotopaxi), and the highest point on the surface of the Earth through which the Equator directly passes.
The normal route starts at Cayambe Hut (15,100 ft) and leads up the massive western glacier. The first section leads up to the glacier (15,800 ft). This part is rocky/sandy with some easy scrambling. The second section leads up to a rock formation (17,200 ft), passing it to the right. The third section leads up to the summit step (18,500 ft), passing some huge crevasses. The fourth section leads up the summit step and along the summit ridge to the summit. Cayambe offers spectacular views, including those of Antisana, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and other volcanoes.

Cayambe • Interactive Map

Cayambe • Pictures

Cayambe • Sundial on the Equator
Sundial on the Equator
Cayambe • Alpacas
Cayambe • Cayambe Hut
Cayambe Hut
Cayambe • Cayambe
Cayambe • Acclimatization
Cayambe • Glacier Skills Review
Glacier Skills Review
Cayambe • Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Cayambe • Summit Ridge
Summit Ridge
Cayambe • View from Summit
View from Summit
Cayambe • Summit
Cayambe • View from Summit
View from Summit
Cayambe • Summit Ridge
Summit Ridge
Cayambe • Summit Step
Summit Step
Cayambe • Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe • Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe • Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe Glacier
Cayambe • Condor
More pictures

Cayambe • Personal Notes

Sandra, Rick W., and I went to the Ecuadorian Andes with the goal of climbing Chimborazo. We had a great team, including Peter R. from Germany, Sam B. from Australia, and our guides Estalin, Abraham, and Mauricio. To acclimate, we climbed four other volcanoes, Pasochoa, Pichincha, Cayambe, and Antisana (unsuccessful due to avalanche risk).
We spent three days and two nights on Cayambe to adapt to the altitude and review glacier skills. The final night we started the ascend at 11 pm. We reached the summit at 6 am and were back at Cayambe Hut at 10 am. Cayambe is a personal altitude record, replacing my prior record Pico de Orizaba, Mexico.
See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering
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