Climbing Cayambe

This mountain is one of the most beautiful to ever be seen, and one of the highest in the world; it can be considered one of the eternal monuments with which Nature has marked the great divisions of the globe.

Alexander von Humboldt, 1802.


Etymology: Cayambe in the quitus language means “Origin of the youngless” (CAY: boy; BE: water, origin of the life).

Cayambe, a massive extinct volcano, is located about 65 km northeast of Quito and is both Ecuador’s third highest peak and the third highest peak in the Americas North of the equator. It has the distinction of being the highest point on the earth’s surface through which the equator directly passes.

Cayambe peak
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. Departure from Quito. We will reach the Cayambe’s village which lies just below the mountain. From here we will take a dirt road that will lead us to Hacienda Piemonte and will go into the
Cayambe-Coca Natural Reserve. Later on we will be up in the Quebrada de los Mirlos where we will have our lunch and then hike up to the Bergé, Ruales, Oleas Refuge (4,650 m – 15,257 ft).
Dinner will be served, and a brief explanation about what we will do the next day will be given
by our guides.
Day 2. After midnight breakfast, we will prepare to leave the refuge. The standard route to the summit, which weaves around crevasses in the glacier, takes about six hours. Once on the summit, on a clear day we will be able to see most of the peaks over 5,000 m (16,405 ft) in Ecuador plus the Amazon basin. The descent to the refuge takes about three hours, and in the afternoon we will be back in Quito.