Illiniza, Altar and Chimborazo are the most important peaks of Ecuador with very technical and challenging ascent routes.
During these 15 days of guided expedition you have to use all your ice climbing skills on Illiniza South’s ice walls. Then, you will climb the Altar, one of the most technical peaks of the northern Andes. Finally, the trip ends with an ascent of Chimborazo‘s frost wall.
This climbing expedition towards the summits of Illiniza, Altar and Chimborazo will be carefully progressive. That’s why we’ll start with some acclimatization climbs.
First, we will meet in Quito and visit the main touristic places, such as the “Mitad del Mundo” monument. Then, we’ll do a warm up by climbing two peaks: the Guagua Pichincha (4,794 m) and the Rucu (4,780 m).
After this first acclimatization, the expedition continues in the Illinizas. There, we will climb both peaks. When we are first at Illiniza North’s summit we can say the acclimatization program was successfully complete. And here the best part starts. First objective: the Illiniza South.
Once we did it, our next goal is El Obispo summit, on The Altar. The name of this volcano is because of its 9 different summits that form a semicircle, as a result of a big volcanic eruption in the past. The shape of that semicircle resembles an “altar”. The climb to El Obispo is really hard, but once at the summit your effort will be rewarded.
The last objective of the trip is close: Chimborazo, the highest mountain of the country. We will summit it by its Direct Route, a more technical climb. The viewpoint from the Chimborazo summit is one of the most stunning ones of the Andes as well as the views along all the way up to there.
I am sure you will keep this adventure among your best memories. Dare yourself to do it! As a certified mountain guide I will lead and plan a safe trip. Feel free to contact me and clear all your doubts now!
Arrival to Quito
Transfer to the hotel, then a brief orientation and gear checking.
City Tour in Quito
Colonial Quito city tour and a visit to Mitad del Mundo monument.
Starting of acclimatization
We’ll drive the Pichinchas hut, just below the peak of Guagua Pichincha. From here we will climb to the summit of Guagua. Then, hike down to set up our camp.
After breakfast we start the second acclimatization day in direction to Rucu Pichincha. Once at the summit we will have lunch while enjoying the best views of Quito. We then have a short walk downhill to Cruz Loma, where we will board the new cable car that will take us back to Quito.
Illiniza Ecological Reserve
Early in the morning we’ll drive to the Illiniza Ecological Reserve. By the afternoon we will arrive at the trail-head. And after a 3-hour climb we are in the Nuevos Horizontes mountain Hut. It is located between Illiniza’s South and North peaks.
Today we’ll summit the Illiniza North (4 to 5 hours of climbing). The climb will be easy with a scramble up in the final section. We will spend the rest of the day resting at the hut. Last day of acclimatization.
Time to climb the Illiniza South applying all our technical climbing skills along the way. We will begin our ascent at 3:00 a.m. to ensure we have enough time to reach the summit. The ascent takes roughly 5 to 6 hours, depending on the ice conditions. After the descent, we will load our gear and drive to La Cienega Hacienda to stay for the night.
Rest day after our long ascent of Illiniza South. We will drive to Riobamba, where we will relax and visit the city.
Early in the morning we will move to Boca Toma Village. Here and with the help of mules we’ll hike about 5 hours through the paramo highlands. The final 2-hour ascent will lead us to the Italian Camp (4,550 m) where we’ll sleep.
El Altar ascent
We start our ascent to El Altar at 3:00 a.m. It will take us about 9 hours to reach the summit of El Obispo. We will climb the steep snow and ice to the upper glacier. Then we follow a narrow gully of steep ice up to an exposed notch in the summit crest. Here we begin a steep and technically demanding rocky wall. On our way down, we will try to reach the Italian Camp. If we can’t, we will set up a high altitude bivouac.
We will hike with the help of mules during the final stretch. Then spend a rest day in Riobamba.
We’ll drive to Chimborazo at 8:00 a.m. Then, after 3 hours we’ll be in the Hermanos Carrel Hut located at the foot of Chimborazo. From here, we will hike to our base camp, the Whymper Hut (5,000 m).
We begin our climb at 10:00 p.m. We head to the tongue of the Thielmann Glacier to connect it with the Normal Route. We will climb this route until we are just below the Veintemilla summit. Here we will zigzag the ridge leading up to the lower summit (6,267 m). Then, we’ll climb up to the final summit, Whymper (6,310 m). After that, we will descend via the Standard Route, an easier way. We should be back at the parking lot in 4 hours. Finally, we’ll drive to Baños.
Our day in Baños will be dedicated to relax and rest. You can enjoy the day in the hot springs of the area or travel down to the Amazon jungle and view several breathtaking waterfalls. On the contrary, this day can also be used as an extra day in case of bad weather or any other delay we can suffer.
Drive to Quito and fly back home.
Price per person
- Guiding fee
- Half-board meals during trip
- Transport during the trip
- Group equipment