Elevation: 10,338 ft
GPS: -1.67, -78.311 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 82,670 total · 560/month
Shared By: Kurt Johnson on Apr 7, 2008 with improvements by Feli Proaño
Admins: Tony Yeary

Description

Ecuador is an amazing place. Located on the equator between Colombia to the north and Peru to the south, it may be one of the smallest countries in South America, but it's also one of the most diverse. From Pacific beaches to the west to glaciated volcanoes in the center to Amazon rainforests in the east, it's got a little bit of everything. It's small size makes it easy to get around in as well. And its people and culture are worth the trip even if you don't go there to climb.

Ecuador is a volcano climber's dream. In fact, due to its geography, volcanoes - or their eroded remains - are just about the only mountains you'll find. There are peaks for every level - from grass-covered walk-ups to massive glacier-clad giants like the country's highest, 20,700 foot Chimborazo, and everything in between. Being volcanoes, by nature even the majority of the glaciated ones are moderate snow slogs - with an occasional bergschrund crossing or short headwall - doable by anyone with glacier and snow climbing experience. What sets this country's summits apart from their American counterparts like Hood and Rainier is elevation. Anyone looking to break into high altitude climbing couldn't find a better place than Ecuador.

The Andes of Ecuador run more or less north-south through the center of the country and the main highway, the Panamericana, runs right through the middle between volcanoes that stand out bold against the blue sky on a clear day. Although the mountains here are considered part of the Andes, think of them more like the volcanoes of Washington and Oregon in relation to our Rockies, rather than the craggy granite peaks of Peru's Cordillera Blanca or the torres of Patagonia.

When you get off the beaten path, away from the highway and the adjacent urban areas like Ambato and Latacunga, you enter a world of farms and lush green pastures, eucalyptus groves and llamas, and then finally the scattered stands of polyepsis and tall grasses of the paramo that let you know you're in the heart of the cool, thin-aired high country.

Getting There

You can find flights from any major city in the states, although the cheapest will originate in places like Miami and New York. Since it's not as major a destination for Americans as Peru is, flights are a couple hundred dollars more to Quito than to Lima, even though Quito's closer. Two years ago I paid about $600 (which was a surprising deal) from Denver and last year paid about $800.

Most people fly to Quito from which you can either rent a car or get on a bus to get to just about anywhere you want to go. For some of the peaks close to the city, you can even take a taxi for not too much money. Of course, buses are by far the cheapest, and they'll take you (and all your heavy, awkward gear) to whichever town you plan to use as your base, or even drop you off anywhere along the highway. From there, depending on which mountain you're headed to, you can hire a taxi, or a private car or truck (usually abundant in climbing areas) to take you to the trailhead or refugio (climber's hut).

Another option is the WANDERBUS, a transportation system designed for tourists using reliable schedules, destinations and logistics to make your trip smarter and better. 100% recommended by locals specially if you want to climb rock or mountains. 

113 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Ecuador

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Mod. Snow
 36
Regular Route
Trad, Snow, Alpine
AI2-3 Steep Snow
 6
Normal Route
Ice, Snow, Alpine
Mod. Snow
 7
Standard Route
Snow, Alpine
Mod. Snow R
 3
Standard Route
Snow, Alpine
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a Easy Snow
 15
Normal Route
Snow
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
 8
East Ridge/Direct Route
Trad
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c WI2+ Steep Snow
 5
Standard Route
TR, Ice, Snow
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 6
Langarota
Sport 7 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 3
Guambrazo
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
La Regleta
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Regular Route Cotopaxi
 36
Mod. Snow Trad, Snow, Alpine
Normal Route Illiniza Sur
 6
AI2-3 Steep Snow Ice, Snow, Alpine
Standard Route Cayambe
 7
Mod. Snow Snow, Alpine
Standard Route Chimborazo
 3
Mod. Snow R Snow, Alpine
Normal Route Illiniza Norte
 15
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a Easy Snow Snow
East Ridge/Direct Route Pichincha Massif > Ruco Pichincha
 8
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Trad
Standard Route Antisana
 5
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c WI2+ Steep Snow TR, Ice, Snow
Langarota Cojitambo > Mandarineando
 6
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Guambrazo Banos Zoologico… > Zoologico Vertical
 3
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
La Regleta Banos Zoologico… > Zoologico Vertical
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Ecuador »

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