Climbing Chimborazo

At about 11 a.m. we fancied we saw the Pacific, above the clouds which covered the whole of the intervening flat country; and shortly afterwards commenced to enter the plateau which is at the top of the mountain, ….. We were then twenty thousand feet high, …

Edward Whimper, 1892.


Etymology: The Incas called Chimborazo URCORAZO from the quechua word URCO which means mountain, and RAZO which means ice or snow: “Snowed Mountain” or “Frozen Mountain”.

The mountain of Chimborazo is located 150 km southwest of Quito. Some 10 km northeast of it lies its sister volcano Carihuairazo. For many years Chimborazo was thought to be the highest mountain in the world and still retains the distinction of being the point on the earth’s surface which is farthest from its centre.

Chimborazo peak
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. We leave Quito early in the morning, and after traveling amongst the Andes of Ecuador we will
reach Ambato. About 60 km farther from Ambato and passing one of the colorful areas of Ecuador, we will reach the Hermanos Carrels Refuge (4,800 m – 15,749 ft). From here, after having lunch, we will hike another hour up to the Whimper Refuge (5,000 m – 16,405 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 breakfast around 23H30 we will leave the refuge at midnight. Following the standard route, it will take us about 8 hours to reach the summit. The main problem in the ascent is the altitude,
and therefore, a good physical condition and aclimatization are required. Several crevasses
will be crossed. It will take us about 4 hours to return to the Refuge. Late in the evening we will
be in Quito.