Mountain Climbing in Ecuador is really exciting. The summits of this country offer you excellent high altitude mountaineering.
You can find mountains with a range of technical difficulty to challenge the beginner and experienced climber alike.
The accessibility of the peaks, in combination with the interesting climbing, and the lovely landscapes offer a multifaceted and varied climbing adventure.
The high Andean peaks of Ecuador are located primarily along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, a fertile central valley, which is buttressed by two ranges, the Eastern and Western Cordilleras.
Cotopaxi at 5.897 meters above sea level, is located 50 km southeast of Quito, the Capital of Ecuador in the center of Cotopaxi National Park.
It isn't for the inexperienced or unprepared climber. Basic mountaineering gear is essential, along with moderate climbing experience or the services of a trained guide.
The summit is famous for it's perfect cone shape, from where you have a fabulous view on the crater, with its diameter of 800 meters.
The climb is considered to be technical, because of the ice equipment needed, and because of its significant height. Normally you can do the climbing in two days.
The best months for climbing Cotopaxi Volcano are December and January, followed by July, August and September.
You should definitely acclimatize around a week in Quito (at 9,400 feet, above sea level) or higher before attempting the ascent.
The Jose Ribas refuge at 15,750 feet at Cotopaxi, is a the two-story shelter and has 70 bunk beds, lockers, cooking facilities, running water, and snacks and water for sale.
This volcano, located 65 kilometers northeast of Quito is composed of several peaks, with the highest being situated in the center of the mountain.
It retains the distinction to be the highest point on earth where the equator line passes.
The still active volcano is notorious for the high amount of crevasses. The refuge is located at 4,600 meters.
To climb this mountain you will need an experienced guide. It will take you 2 days to reach the summit.
Chimborazo Volcano at 6,268 meters is extraordinary for many reasons. It is the highest point in Ecuador's Andes Mountains
Chimborazo is renowned for superior mountaineering opportunities, and it is visited by people from all over the world looking for extreme climbing opportunities.
The mountain can be climbed all year, but optimal conditions are from December to January and July to August.
Chimborazo's most frequently trafficked routes are the Normal and the Whymper routes.
On the mountain, there are two refuges: the Carrel Hut at 4,850 meters and the Whymper Hut at 5,000 meters.
Due to the altitude and extreme climate, it is highly advisable to climb Chimborazo with the aid of a professional climbing guide.
The combination of these three summits (Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Chimborazo) in addition to the time you spent acclimating is a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering in Ecuador.
The mountain climbing ascents are on highly glaciated but technically moderate routes.
Even though the main challenge lies in their great elevation, you often encounter interesting crevasse problems and some steeper climbing particularly on the mountains of Cayambe and Chimborazo.
Before mountain climbing in Ecuador it is strongly recommended that you acclimatize first by ascending some of the smaller mountains (15,000 feet or less), to avoid developing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) or the more severe Pulmonary Adenoma or Cerebral Adenoma.
These lower peaks are non-glaciated, easily accessible within a day's travel from Quito, and offer either hut facilities or nearby hostels that can be used as a climbing base.
These smaller mountains for training climbs are: Atacazo, Corazon, Guagua Pichincha, Ilalo, Imbabura, Iliniza North or Pasochoa.
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Mountain climbing in Ecuador offers you (among other attractions) mountain trails leading to Inca Ruins (e.g. Ingapirca) and cross-country hikes through Indian villages and Andean moorlands with the possibility to see the famous Andean Condor
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