Climbing Chimborazo: Your Ultimate Guide

Climbing Chimborazo: Your Ultimate Guide to climbing this mighty mountain.
Welcome, Ian Taylor Trekking Clients! If you’re considering an unforgettable mountaineering adventure in Ecuador, look no further than the majestic Chimborazo Volcano. Check out our upcoming trips.

But before you embark on this thrilling journey, let’s dive into everything you need to know to make your climb safe and memorable. Follow us on Instagram.

The Legacy of Chimborazo

Before you embark on your journey, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and cultural significance of Chimborazo. Named after its snowy peaks, Chimborazo has been a symbol of exploration and discovery for centuries. From early expeditions by French academics to Edward Whymper’s historic summit in 1880, Chimborazo’s legacy is woven into the fabric of human achievement.

Climbing Chimborazo

Why Chimborazo?

Nestled in the heart of Ecuador, Chimborazo isn’t just any volcano. It holds the title of the world’s furthest point from the Earth’s center, making it a must-visit for climbers seeking unparalleled experiences. While Everest may be the highest mountain from sea level, Chimborazo’s unique position on our planet makes its summit the closest to the sun. This distinction alone makes it an irresistible challenge for adventurers like you.

Climbing on Chimborazo


From our expert experience of living at and spending over 20 years at high altitude. Acclimatization should be your first consideration. On our Chimborazo trips we have 12 days of acclimatization before going for the summit at 6,268m/ 20,564 feet. We spend time hiking and climbing a series of peaks at 4,200m/ 13,780 feet, 4,634m/ 15,203 feet, 5,000m/ 16,404 feet and 5,897m/ 19,347 feet in preparation for Chimborazo.  Our program also includes Cotopaxi before attempting Chimborazo. Acclimatization is everything!

Best Time to Climb

Timing is crucial when it comes to conquering Chimborazo. While you can attempt the climb year-round, the optimal months are typically from May, June, July and early August along with, November through February. For smoother ascents, we recommend starting from the advanced Base Camp 5,350m/ 17,552 feet at midnight to avoid the intense Ecuadorian sun, which can trigger dangerous conditions like rockfalls and avalanches. Plus, climbing in the early hours offers stunning views as the sun rises over the horizon, painting the sky with vibrant hues.

Climbing Chimborazo your ultimate guide

Tough and Steep

Chimborazo is no walk in the park and requires serious physical preparation. Firstly, it is important to have previous high-altitude experience, we highly recommend having a range of trekking and mountaineering experience at 4,000m and 5,000m. Testing yourself at high altitude is important before stepping onto a serious High altitude mountaineering peak like Chimborazo.

Secondly, you need mountaineering experience. Chimborazo is steep, tough, and challenging. You need to be proficient with a range of mountaineering techniques. You should be used to moving on a rope with others, ice axe arrest, understand how to use prusiks for crevasse rescue and be comfortable moving on snow and ice in crampons.

Finally, you need a serious training plan. We recommend a step by step approach as you map out a training program. Do you know how steep Chimborazo is? What degree angle will you be climbing on? How long is the summit night? What type of movement will I be doing? You need to understand all these things so you can come physically prepared.

High on Chimborazo

Preparation is Key

Climbing Chimborazo isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. To ensure your safety and success, acclimatization to high altitude is essential. Our expert team have designed an itinerary that will aid safe movement into High and extreme altitude.

We recommend spending at least 12 days gradually adjusting to the thin air by exploring other Ecuadorian peaks like Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Cotopaxi. These smaller climbs will prepare you for the challenges awaiting you on Chimborazo.

Before all this you need to come to Ecuador physically prepared. Mountaineering requires, excellent leg strength, endurance and balance. Here is the training we recommend you undertake before going a trip to Chimborazo.

This adventure also requires specific upper body strength for handling an ice axe, excellent ankle strength for moving across uneven terrain in mountaineering boots and crampons. Contact us and learn more from our experience climbing Chimborazo.

High on Chimborazo

We have the Route for you

Chimborazo offers several routes catering to various skill levels, ensuring there’s something for everyone. For beginners, the North Side via Las Murallas Rojas or El Castillo provides a manageable ascent, typically taking 6 hours to reach the summit and 2 to 3 hours to arrive back to Camp. We always use High Camp 5,350m/ 17,552 feet, which is an established camp that offers a great launching pad for the summit of Chimborazo.

Our route offers you breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming technical difficulty.

For more experienced climbers seeking a challenge, routes like the Thielmann Glacier or the South West Face offer steeper terrain and require additional strength and skill. These routes are classified as grade 3, demanding careful navigation and strategic planning.

Climbing Chimborazo: Your ultimate guide.

The Summit Experience

Reaching Chimborazo’s summit isn’t just about the climb—it’s about the awe-inspiring vistas and the sense of accomplishment that comes with standing on top of the world. From the peak, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of neighboring volcanoes like Cotopaxi and Sangay, shrouded in blankets of clouds below. It’s a moment you’ll never forget.

Before you have this once in a lifetime experience you will face a range of challenges on route to the summit. The hike from the Refugio at 4,800m/ 15,748 feet to the High Camp at 5,350m/ 17,552 feet takes about 2 hours 30 minutes at a slow and steady pace. You should aim to be at High Camp by 3pm.

Climbing Cotopaxi

Wake up Early

After some rest and hopefully sleep you will get up around 11pm. It’s time to eat and hydrate before heading out into the dark. There are a couple of initial routes to the glacier and depending on wind, conditions, and snowpack the guides will pick the best route.

After a couple of hours, you will move onto steeper terrain as you traverse across the glacier. Avoiding crevasses on steep 45/50-degree angle terrain it takes 3 hours to reach the first peak called Pico Veintimilla. Another hour across more gradual terrain takes you right onto the summit of Chimborazo. In total, it should take 6 hours to reach the summit of Chimborazo from the High Camp 5,350m/ 17,552 feet.

Climbing Chimborazo: Your ultimate Guide

Descending Chimborazo

The descent is steep and requires focus on icy conditions as you navigate your way back to High camp. This normally takes 2 to 3 hours. Here is some advice on training for the downhill.

You will be tried from the long ascent and descent, but we will pack up and hike back down to the car park at the Refugio. You have just completed the 1,500m/ 4,921 feet
descent from the summit of Chimborazo back to the car park.

In Conclusion

As you prepare for your Chimborazo adventure, remember that safety always comes first. Equip yourself with the necessary gear, mountaineering skills, altitude experience and physical preparing to be safe and successful.

Follow the guidance of experienced guides and respect the mountain’s power and beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a novice seeking new challenges, Chimborazo promises an unforgettable experience—one that will leave you breathless in more ways than one.

The Adventure Awaits!

As you plan your trip to Ecuador, consider exploring other exciting excursions and activities in the region. We have designed the best lodge to lodge trekking adventure in Ecuador. Why not climb across the equator on Cayambe as an additional acclimatization peak before Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.

The Ecuadorian mountains offer stunning waterfalls and glaciated peaks, challenging glaciers and magical scenery. There’s no shortage of adventures waiting to be discovered. So, pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime. The summit of Chimborazo awaits—will you answer the call?

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