El Altar Volcano 2-day climbing trip in Ecuador

Climb up to the summit of El Altar Volcano, in the Ecuadorian Andes. Pablo, an IFMGA certified guide, will take you up there in this challenging climb.




Trip Duration

3 days

Mountain Range


People per Guide

2 people

Trip Level


Offer Period

Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug, Nov, Dec

Type of Trip

Not specified


Join me in this challenging 3-day climbing tour to El Altar (5320 m) in Ecuador! This extinct volcano is the fifth highest mountain in the Ecuadorian Andes.

Climbing its summit involves some technical climbing. So, if you are an experienced mountaineer, join me and let’s spend 3 great days! We will enjoy a spectacular view of the crater below. Also, the sights of Chimborazo an Sangay in the background.

El Altar lies in the western side of the Sangay National Park, 170 km south of Quito. The peak of this volcano was higher than Chimborazo (6268 m), but after an eruption all that remains is a long ridge with nine summits around a huge crater lake.

Each of the nine individual peaks have a different name. The highest one is Obispo (5320 m), at the southern end of the crater. And we will get to its summit on the second day!

Its name in quechua language is Capac Urcu, meaning the almighty or magnificent mountain. Spaniards named it El Altar because it looked like four friars and two nuns listening to a bishop around an altar.

Climbing this beautiful mountain, requires a certain degree of technical ability. Even more, it is one of the hardest climbs in Ecuador.

We will meet in the city of Riobamba, where we will start our trip. You can check the detailed itinerary below this text.

Contact me if you want to join me in this exciting climb to El Altar! I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this trip. You can also check my Chimborazo guided ascent program!

Price includes

  • Guiding fee


What happens if I need to cancel the trip?
If you decide to cancel, you’ll get a 100% refund (minus fees) if the cancellation is notified up to 60 days before the start of the tour, a 75% refund (minus fees) if you cancel between 59 and 30 days before the start of the tour, and a 50% refund if you cancel between 29 and 21 days before the start of the tour. If you cancel less than 21 days before the first day of the tour, you won’t receive a refund. Take into account, however, that if accommodation, flights or transfers were included in the trip you booked, then a different policy may apply as the guide will be bound by the provider’s cancellation policy.

What happens if the guide cancels the trip because of bad weather/unsuitable conditions?
If bad weather or unsuitable conditions force the guide to cancel the trip, he or she will: a) propose a similar activity at a different place where conditions are better, or b) propose to postpone the activity until a later date, or c) cancel. If you refuse option a), our cancellation policy will apply. Please note, however, that the call to cancel a trip due to bad weather can only be made by the guide (not the client).

What happens if the guide doesn’t show up or cancels for personal reasons?
If the guide cancels for reason of injury or other, you will get a 100% refund on your trip.



  • Day 1: Riobamba-Boca Toma-Italian Camp

    Today we will leave Riobamba at 8 am. We will drive an hour and a half to the small village of Boca Toma (3,500 m). Once here, we will load the equipment on the mules and start the 6 to 7 hour hike through the highlands to the Italian Camp (4,550 m).

  • Day 2: Obispo Summit

    At 3:00 am we will begin our ascent to the Obispo summit (5,320 m). It will take us approximately 12 hours for the complete round trip.

  • Day 3: Boca Toma-Riobamba

    At 9:00 am we will begin the hike back to Boca Toma. Then we will return to Riobamba. End of the trip.


Other details

Meeting point

We will camp

More info

Contact me for information about the price and equipment.

We do our best to adhere to the itinerary, but unforeseen circumstances may require last minute changes. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of climbers can all contribute to schedule alterations. Please be prepared to be flexible when necessary.

About the Guide


UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide from Ecuador.

I fell in love with the mountains at a young age while climbing Ecuador’s volcanoes with my father. I guided in the Andes for 8 years and have been guiding for the past four years in the Northwest United States. In 1997 I expanded his adventure skills by taking on rock climbing. I represented Chimborazo province three times as the Ecuadorian National Rock Climbing Champion.

I completed his UIAGM certification with the Bolivian Mountain & Trekking Guide Association, accredited by the National School of Ski and Alpinism of Chamonix (ENSA), and completed Advanced Alpine and Rock Guides Courses with American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA).

I usually spend some months every year in Ecuador (from October to January, but it varies every year). The rest of the year I am based and guide in Europe.


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