Summiting Chimborazo is a challenging and rewarding experience for all avid mountaineers. This majestic top in the Central Andes is not only the highest of Ecuador. Measured from the center of the earth, Chimborazo is higher than Mt Everest, and the closest you can get to the moon and the sun!
The massive, glaciated Chimborazo was formed by the remains of two ancient volcanoes and counts five summits. Our ascent along the Guarguallá route aims to the Veintimilla summit (6227 m. / 20.429 ft) and the maximum Whymper summit (6263 m. / 20548 ft.)
From the High Camp at 5300 m. / 17388 ft. it takes about 5 – 6 hours to summit at sunrise, wen you can admire the most stunning views of other snowcapped volcanoes in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Our 4-day Chimborazo High Camp program is a great option for those who consider the direct ascent from the Carrel hut too strenuous. After an acclimatization hike and a glacier training on the first 2 days, the actual ascent is divided into two parts: a first approach to the High Camp at 5350 m. / 17.553 ft. where you will have a good rest before starting the final summit climb.
Please be aware that this program is not meant as a full acclimatization trip. If you arrive from sea level, you should acclimate for at least one week before your body will be adjusted to the high altitude.
Departure from Riobamba at 8.30 and 1,5-hour drive to Mechahuasca community, located between Carihuairazo and Chimborazo, at 4250 m / 13943 ft. Here is the trailhead for our 5- to 6-hour acclimatization hike to the Hans Meyer Glacier, named after the German geographer and explorer who researched Chimborazo´s glaciers in 1903. It takes us from paramo grasslands and small mountain lakes to the glacier at 4600 m / 15092 ft, with spectacular views of both volcanoes. Transfer to lodge at 3850 m / 12631 ft for dinner and rest.
After breakfast short drive from the lodge to the Carrel hut at 4850 m. / 15912 ft. Here we start the hike to the Whymper Needles at 5300 m / 17388 ft. The needles are a large rock formation on the original Whymper route, that was named so in honor of the first man who conquered the Chimborazo summit, in 1880. Due to glacial retreat, this route is no longer used to the summit but it is great for some glacier practice. On the hike down we pass Condorcocha lake and descend to the Carrel hut where we spend the night.
Morning rest in the Carrel hut. After lunch we start the 2 to 3-hour approach to the Stubel Basecamp, through a mixture of boulders, rocks, snow and ice. Our porters will carry tents, food and heavy gear to the campsite at 5350 m. / 17.553 ft. Upon arrival our expert mountain guide will give a safety briefing with indications about the climbing route, expected weather and snow conditions, use of equipment. You will have the afternoon to rest in your tent and, with clear weather, enjoy a magnificent sunset. Then you can sleep for several hours, and at midnight get ready to start the climb.
We start the ascent on the glaciated ridge. The slopes have an average steepness of 30 – 40 degrees, with some icy sections of 45 degrees. After about 5 hours we reach the Veintimillia Summit (6227 m. / 20.429 ft.) With good snow conditions, sufficient time, and if you still have enough energy, you can continue for 1 more hour to the Whymper summit (6263 m. / 20.548 ft.) precisely the farthest point from the center of the earth! The descent will take 3 – 4 hours. From the parking lot transfer back to Riobamba. Arrive at 12.00.