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     Chimborazo (Direct Route)
2 or 3 days

Skill Level: Advanced

Max Guide Ratio:

Recommended Season:
November to February; June to August

Climb this route and two other technical peaks- find out more at: Illiniza, Obispo, and Chimborazo Direct!

Prior Trip Suggestions:
Carihuairazo or Cotopaxi

Follow Up Programs:
El Altar

Trip Highlights:
An ascent of Chimborazo's icy headwall, where you get to utilize your full range of ice climbing and technical glacier travel skills

Sweeping views from the summit of Ecuador’s tallest volcano, on a clear day you can see down into the Amazon jungle basin and the neighboring peaks

Baños Extension:
Recuperating in the famous thermal springs

Strolling the streets, lined with local shops and outdoor cafes, of this popular resort town


Chimborazo is an extinct volcano located in the Western Cordillera, 150 km (95 miles) southwest of Quito. This challenging and technical route (Grade III/AD+ and up to 70 degree inclines) leads to the summit of Chimborazo via its icy headwall. For this climb you need ice-climbing equipment, excellent physical condition and lots of stamina. Climbers must also acclimatize their bodies to the high altitude conditions before attempting to summit Chimborazo.

The sight of Chimborazo (6,310 m / 20,702 ft), the tallest peak in Ecuador, is among the most impressive in all of the Andes. Since the Earth bulges near the equator, this snowcapped giant is not only the highest mountain in Ecuador, but also the highest in the world if measured from the core of the Earth outward to the peak. There were a number of summit attempts by Europeans of this local giant beginning in 1736 with the French explorers, but it wasn’t until 1880 when Edward Whymper successfully made it all the way to the peak.

Today there are 2 common routes leading up to the summit of Chimborazo, and we offer guided trips up both of these. This itinerary is for the most challenging and physically demanding route, Chimborazo Direct. If you are interested in the more popular and moderate route up Chimborazo, please visit El Castillo-Chimborazo.

Baños Extension
Baños is a popular resort town at the base of Chimborazo. The streets of this quaint town are lined with shops and outdoor cafes, and the mild subtropical weather is perfect for leisure outdoor strolls and dining. The main attraction in Baños, though are the luxurious thermal hotsprings- and rejuvenating in the healing springs is the perfect reward after a strenuous ascent up Ecuador’s tallest peak!


Day 1: We drive to Chimborazo at 8:00 a.m., it will take 3 hours to reach the Hermanos Carrel Hut (4,800 m / 15,750 ft) located at the base of Chimborazo. From here we will hike to our base camp accommodations, the Whymper Hut (5,000 m / 16,400 ft).

Thielmann Glacier Direct Rt.
Grade III/AD+; 70◦ Incline
Day 2:
We begin our climb at 10:00 p.m. We head straight up to the tongue of the Thielmann Glacier to connect with the Normal Route, which follows the Western ridge of the mountain. We will climb this route, navigating the many crevasses until we are just below the Veintemilla summit. Here we will zigzag to the ridge leading up to the lower summit (6,267 m / 20,561 ft). Then climb up to the final summit, Whymper (6,310 m / 20,702 ft). After our ascent, we will descend via the Standard Route, to reduce our risks of rock fall. The descent will go much faster, and we should be back at the parking lot in 4 hours. Then we will drive to Baños.

Baños Extension
Day 3: Today will be spent in Baños, rewarding ourselves after our summit of Chimborazo. Your muscles will thank you for a day spent soaking in the natural thermal hot springs that flow from the mountain side. It is also worth noting that this day can serve as a second summit option, if inclement conditions delay our Chimborazo summit attempt.

Like all snowcapped peaks in Ecuador, avalanches are common during the day due to the more direct angle of the sunlight characteristic of regions this close to the Equatorial Line. As a safety measure, we will climb at night and reach the summit by 7:30 a.m., this will enable our safe return to base camp before the snow pack becomes too warm and soft.

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