Climbing Illiniza Norte

It has two peaks, or rather it is composed of two mountains that are grouped together, the more northern of which is the lower, and is called Little Illiniza. The summits of both are sharp, and during the time of our stay in Ecuador they were completely covered by snow.

Edward Whimper, 1892.

Etymology: From the Atacameño Tioniza which means ‘Cerro Hembra’, or “Female Hill”.

Illiniza Norte is located about 55 km southwest of Quito. It normally is not covered in snow. Its ascension is not difficult though it has some dangerous places and knowledge of the mountains is necessary. The many mouldering rocks, which often fall and break apart, create the necessity for extreme care in climbing.

Illiniza Norte peak
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. Departure from Quito in the morning. After passing by the village of Machachi and a small community called El Chaupi, we will reach a place known as “La Virgen”. After having lunch we will hike up to the Nuevos Horizontes Refuge (4,650 m – 15,257 ft) with all our equipment in our backpacks. 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 an early breakfast we will leave the refuge.  Following the normal route, it will take us about 3 hours to reach the summit; beginning at the edge of “La Ensillada” we will climb up
to a place called “Paso de la Muerte”.  Crossing this pass very carefully, we will climb directly to the summit. It will take us about three hours to return to the Refuge. Late in the evening we will be in Quito.