Chimborazo Ascent

  • Chimborazo - © Flickr User - Dan Nevill
  • Chimborazo icefields - © Flickr User - mederic
  • Chimborazo - © Flickr User - Brigitte Djajasasmita
  • Chimborazo from north - © Flickr User - jarikir
  • Chimborazo - © Flickr User - mederic
  • Chimborazo - © Flickr User - Camille Auble
  • Chimborazo - © Flickr User - mederic
  • Chimborazo from Urbina - © William Mackesy

Key information: Chimborazo Ascent

  • Ecuador's highest mountain stands serenely clear of its neighbours, a huge white mass which is often at least partially obscured by clouds.
  • A memorable climb, although at extreme altitude and you are likely as not to be in cloud, so limited prospects of visual rewards.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating80
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest18
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points4
  • Total rating80
  • Note: Negs: altitude; heavy loads to carry.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 6,310 m
  • Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Chimborazo icefields - ©Flickr User - mederic

WALK SUMMARY

Ecuador's highest mountain, at 6,310m, stands serenely clear of its neighbours, more than 1,000m higher and a huge white mass which is often at least partially obscured by clouds. While its summit is a huge permanent icefield, and from below it looks like a great white dome, it is actually two peaks with 5 summits. Glaciers, now sadly shrinking, fall off its sides. Its flanks vary between semi-desert to its west and south, and paramo (high tussocky grasslands) to the east and north, with rough moraine on the higher slopes.

Climbing Chimborazo peak itself is beyond walking as it is usually known. While it isn't necessarily a technical climb, it requires proper ice equipment, good route knowledge and time spent acclimatizing. Best months are December and January.

Given that people die of altitude sickness every year on Kilimanjaro, which is some1,300m lower than Chimborazo, you can see that climbing it is a serious undertaking. It is a demanding climb at extreme altitude, so a guide who is experienced on Chimborazo is essential.

The main route approaches the Edward Whymyer hut from the west; a reasonably steady (but beware of altitude!) 4-7hr climb to the hut at 5,000m (you can drive to near the hut - 4WD only though).

The ascent is on crevassed glacier, scree and rock, and takes 8-10hrs up and 3-5 down. In some ways the mountain is too huge, so you can spend a lot of time in misty, demanding, icefields with little to do but a wary slog.

The views from the top are (on a clear day) some of the best in Ecuador. But the frequent clouds mean limited prospects of visual rewards.

The alternative western Murallas Rojos route is riskier and less used.

The Piedra Negra and Sun Ridge routes from the east involve technical climbing.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Chimborazo Area walk page.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Chimborazo from north - © Flickr User - jarikir

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Chimborazo - © Flickr User - Brigitte Djajasasmita...
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