The massive volcanoe Chimborazo and its sister peak Carihuairazo impress everyone who is in his way from Ambato on the Pan-American Highway.
Once considered the world´s tallest mountain the Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador and its peak is the farthest point from the center of the earth.
It is covered by a glacier and appears majestic. The structure is not symmetric like the Cotopaxi´s and rather irregular.
It is set in the Chimborazo Faunal Reserve, which is composed of paramo landscapes.
These are the habitat for rabbits, foxes, deer, unique birds and the Vicuñas (wild species of th Llama).
The reserve is accesible by two roads.
Climbing the Chimborazo is tecnically not difficult but the ascent takes about 7-8 long hours. There are 2 mountain refuges, the bigger and better-known is the Whymper Refuge.
Riobamba and Chimborazo:1
Riobamba is famous for the train ride to the Devil’s Nose. But this friendly province town, nicknamed Sultan of the Andes, has much more to offer. Riobamba has an attractive historical centre with many plazas, colonial buildings and museums. You will experience here the typical Ecuadorian highland culture. On Saturdays there is a colorful market, where indigenous people from the countryside buy and sell all kind of products.
Surrounded by the magnificent snow-capped peaks of Chimborazo (with 6310 m. Ecuador’s highest mountain), Carihuairazo, Tungurahua, Altar and Sangay, Riobamba is the perfect starting point for mountain trekking, climbing and downhill biking. In the Chimborazo province you can visit beautiful highland lakes, thermal springs and authentic indigenous villages.
The ascent of Chimborazo Mountain is not technical, but you do need a sufficient acclimatization and good physical condition (the average climbing time to the summit is 8 hours). It is recommended to plan this trip with a local tour operator, who guarantees a well-organized expedition with a professional guide and all the necessary climbing equipment.
1 Riobamba and Chimborazo article has been a contribution of: Julio Verne Travel