Elevation: 18,995 ft
GPS: -1.67, -78.311 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,353 total · 24/month
Shared By: Scott Perkins on Jan 5, 2011
Admins: Tony Yeary
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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.

Getting There

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.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Cayambe

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Mod. Snow Snow, Alpine
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Chris C.
Seattle, WA
Chris C.   Seattle, WA
For new climbers, you may be thinking about doing this as your first glaciated mountain now that Cotopaxi is closed. Cayambe is achievable if you come in fit, equipped, and with the right mindset! Also, be sure to choose a good guiding service. One sketchy guide service let their client climb in the freezing rain with only a fleece jacket while we were there! (They turned back within about 15 minutes.) There was a SAR team on the mountain looking for a lost team while we were there as well, so remember that just coming with a guide does not 100% guarantee your safety!

Know that when climbers call this an "easy" mountain they are comparing it to other glaciated high altitude peaks - a mountain like Kilimajaro is incomparably easier and safer, even the standard route of Rainier is an easier climb. Remember that any high altitude glacier climb is a serious and strenuous undertaking with potentially life threatening risks. However, if you do your part as a climber by coming prepared and making intelligent choices while on the glacier, this is a climb that can be done safely and successfully as a beginner, all while having a bunch of fun.

As for local guiding companies, AndeanFace is a very legit local company and seems to run all the western companies' trips. Mar 24, 2016