Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Normal Route

AI2-3 Steep Snow, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 2000 ft, Grade IV,  Avg: 3.7 from 6 votes
FA: Jean Antoine and Louis Carrel (Italy)
International > S America > Ecuador > Illiniza Sur


Follow the moraine above the glacier until you are beyond the La Rampa Coulior and then drop right on to the glacier. Traverse right and then head up to reach a point to the right of a rock outcrop and head up. In dry conditions, this can be hard ice-gravel at 45 degrees. The slope slackens above and trends right-ward to a rightward traverse that brings you to a large crevasse. Depending on conditions, either cross the crevasse to the right on a snow bridge or cut back left into it and then climb out (may be overhanging). From here head straight up. Follow a rising traverse let until you are below the first ice summit, head up, and then traverse right below a rock summit and up to join a ridge. Cut below the main summit and then cut up left and follow the ridge to the summit.

NOTE: as conditions change season to season and even within seasons on this mountain, it is prudent to find a recent photo of the route or once again, consult with local outfitter's for beta.


3-4 ice screws
20-25 wands (you will likely be alone on the route; afternoon fog and storms are likely)
2 snow stakes
1 glacier rope (8mm 60m or whatever you prefer)

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Illiniza Sur
[Hide Photo] Illiniza Sur
Red Line is the Normal Route
[Hide Photo] Red Line is the Normal Route
Top of the normal route on Iliniza Sur in Feb 2019.  Norte is in the background...
[Hide Photo] Top of the normal route on Iliniza Sur in Feb 2019. Norte is in the background...
The state of the glacier on the normal route of Illiniza Sur in feb 2019 - fading fast...:(
[Hide Photo] The state of the glacier on the normal route of Illiniza Sur in feb 2019 - fading fast...:(

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Chris C.
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] Apparently this route has changed quite considerably over the past couple years due to Cotopaxi's ash's negative effect on the glacier. For pro, I would recommend 4-5 screws and 1 picket. It is unlikely you will even place the picket as the areas you probably will want to protect are icy. For gear, two technical tools is much more useful than the often recommended 1 tool and 1 classic axe. I brought a Grivel North Machine and a BD Venom w/ Classic Pick. The Venom was beyond useless and was actually more of a hindrance than a help - it stayed racked. The face is quite icy and walking down is not a reasonable option unless you are a crampon genius. The best way to descend is either downclimbing or rapping. If you rap, 2x 60m ropes is best. There is a bit of easyish but unprotectable mixed climbing to achieve the face, so this route probably deserves some low M grade as well. Totally deserves the Grade IV that this site gives it.

All in all, this is a very cool route and has a very "Andean" feel. (As opposed to the big volcano walks.) If this were in the Cascades it would probably be considered a classic. Totally recommended!!

For anybody interested in my full account of the climb:… Dec 13, 2017
Seth Maciejowski
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
[Hide Comment] We downclimbed this face after doing Celso Zuquillo route. Mostly it was walking down neve snow. There was one 20m section of AI 2+ (or what I would consider wi2+; I don’t know how well WI translates to AI) that we frontpointed down. I had a mountaineering axe which was a bit cumbersome for this section. I’d recommend more of a technical tool. In the conditions we encountered, 4 screws would be fine if you elected to pitch it out. A reasonably experienced water ice climber will find this route easily soloable with the exception of crevasse hazard. My first big Andean peak and a lot of fun!

It took us 1 hour and 25 minutes to return to the Refugio from the summit via the regular route. It would probably take longer if the snow was less friendly.. Feb 28, 2019