Summit elevation: 20,549 feet / 6,263 meters
4 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing
Class 3 (40 degree ice/snow)
Chimborazo • Description
The 20,564-foot dormant Chimborazo volcano is the highest mountain in Ecuador, higher than any mountain in North America (including Denali), and it is featured on the Ecuadorian flag. Due to the equatorial bulge, Chimborazo is the farthest point on the Earth's surface from its center (farther than Mount Everest).
The normal route leads up the western ridge. It starts at Carrel Hut (15,900 ft), passes Whymper Hut (16,400 ft), and climbs up to El Castillo (17,700 ft). This section can be dangerous due to rock fall. After El Castillo, the route relentlessly leads up the Chimborazo glacier. This section can be dangerous due to avalanches. The Ventemilla summit has an elevation of 20,440 ft, the Whymper summit has an elevation of 20,549 ft, both well over 6,000 m.
Chimborazo • Interactive Map
Chimborazo • Pictures
Vicuña, Mix of Alpaca and Llama
Chuquiragua, Flower of the Andes
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).
For Chimborazo, we had a two-day summit window (one summit attempt) but were unsuccessful due to avalanche risk. We started the climb at 10 pm and at 4 am at 18,900 ft, about three hours from Ventemilla summit, decided to turn back due to deteriorating conditions.
Ecuador is a beautiful country and we plan on coming back to Chimborazo.
By: Bernd Straehle
See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering