CHIMBORAZO ( 6310m)
Chimborazo is located 150 km southwest of Quito, is the highest mountain in the country and for many years was thought to be the highest in the world. It still retains the distinction of being the point on the earth’s surface which is farthest from its center. This tour involves approximately 12 hours of climb and includes a glacier tranining session, dinner, and a night at the refuge (4800m). The climb is a real challenge and offers climbers the oportunity to break the magical 6,000m barrier.
COTOPAXI ( 5897m)
Cotopaxi is considered one of the world`s highest active volcanoes and is at 5897m (19,348ft), Ecuador`s second highest mountain. Its perfectly symmetrical cone, covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice, very close to Limpiopungo lagoon, Rumiñahui (4,712m). National Park it is possible to drive as high as 4,600m (15,092ft) up Cotopaxi then trek up a sandy scree slope to reach the snout of the glacier at 4,800m (15,748ft).
CAYAMBRE ( 5790m)
Cayambe is a massive extinct volcano. The peak is Ecuador’s third largest and the third highest in the Americas north of the Equator. It is also the highest point on the Equator line(4600m) on the south side. First climbed in 1880 by Whymper and the Carrel cousins. Although technically not very difficult is easier than Cotopaxi, from the last year Cayambe is an easier climbing than Cotopaxi with a straight forward path. Snow storms and high winds are more frequent on Cayambe than on many other peaks. It can be climbed year round, although January is said to be the best period.
SOUTH ILLINIZAS ( 5263m)
South Illiniza is a steep, crevassed mountain and one of the more difficult climbs in Ecuador. It is not advisable for beginners, as some steep sections are approximately 70°. It is strongly recommended to wear a helmet as landslides are a hazard. Jean and Louis Carrel from Whymper’s expedition logged the first ascent in 1880. Whymper himself never reached the summit, despite two attempts. However, for the experienced climber, this mountain is a challenge and what climbing is all about.
NORTH ILLINIZAS (5116m)
The North Illiniza is a rocky mountain that is a truly fun climb with some heartstopping scrambles thrown in. It was first climbed by Nicolas Martinez and Villavicencio in 1912. The refuge “Nuevos Horizontes” is at 4650m and has about two dozen bunkbeds, a gas kitchen and water is collected from the stream outside. The average temperature at night is -15°C. This is the refuge used for both mountains..
This active volcano is the 4th highest peak in Ecuador. It is situated closer than any other glacier to the Amazon basin. Therefore it has richer flora and fauna than any other mountain in the Andes. The landscape is amazing with raw wilderness and several lagoons. The Andean Condor is well known in this area and you have a much better chance of seeing this legendary bird here than anywhere else in Ecuador.