Tom and Rebecca enjoy a snowy christmas morning on...
A moderate and enjoyable snow and glacier climb with approximately 3700ft of elevation gain.
Like most popular routes is Ecuador this is typically done as a hut based climb. The hut is located at approxinmately 15,200ft and the fee is US $23 pp per night as of Dec 2010 and it must be paid in cash. The hut is similar to those on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo- It has a kitchen with stove, sink, and pots & pans are provided. Adjacent to the kitchen area is a dining area with tables and benches. The sleeping area has bunk beds and foam mattresses. There is electricity provided by a diesel generator from about 6pm to about 8pm. The Cayambe hut is typically much less crowded than the Cotopaxi hut. It is not uncommon to have the entire place to yourselves, especially on a mid-week climb.
Route: From the hut hike up the rocky buttress(many variations- 2nd or 3rd class) to a level bench @ 16,000ft. Two good bivy sites with rock windbreaks here. Continue down and slightly right to a rock outcropping then skirt this on either side to the top and another level bench at the edge of the glacier(a few more less sheltered bivy sites here). This is a good spot to rope up for the upper mountain. From here direction of travel is fairly straighforward but the exact path taken will be dictated by crevace patterns and snow conditions. A schrund crossing at about 18,200ft may require an end run or a climb in/out if its not adequately bridged.
Cayambe is well known for poor weather. Often it is dry and sunny at the hut while the upper mountain is covered in thick clouds and snowing heavily. It is highly recomended that teams carry wands to flag the route for their decent.
The Cayambe hut is about 3 hours by truck from Quito or 90 minutes by truck from the town of Cayambe. You will need 4 wheel drive vehicle with reasonable ground clearance to make it all the way to the door of the hut. If a non 4x4 vehicle is taken you will likely have to park before the final switchbacks and walk about 30-45 minutes. Many outfitters in Quito can provide transport to/from Cayambe hut or a bus can be taken from Quito to the town of Cayambe where one can negotiate transportation to the hut.
Weather station 20.8 miles from here
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Cayambe from the rock buttress above the hut.
Cayambe just before dark as viewed from above the ...