To the Far East Pacific waters glisten and to the west Amazon rainforest melts into the horizon. All around Ecuadors volcanoes stand tall and proud; Tungurahua bellows to the East, Sangay puffs a plume not far off and for today Cotopaxi rests, just 100km North. This is the view that waits for you at the top of Chimborazo – Ecuadors highest peak 6310m. Or so we are told as we embrace the fury of this mountain.
Our journey started yesterday evening, with the hike up to El Castillo (5450m) here we made our base camp and preparations for the night ahead. From El Castillo leave for the summit around midnight. Follow the ridge 500m and your onto the glacier. Here begins the summit slog, a brutal 4/5hour hike up the glacier all at 30-60 degree gradient. Keep the cliffs to your right and follow the mountain up. When you reach the moraine field close to the top, contour round to the left for 15mins then follow a trail right through the ice to the Whymper Summit 6310m.
Caution: Aim to be back down at the refuge by midday, any later and you’ll really be dodging rock falls. There are also large areas of crevasses to the left of the path that should be avoided.
Chimborazo truley is a special mountain to climb, especially if your graced with a clear sunrise. Not only is this Ecuadors tallest peak but, due to the equatorial bulge, it is also the point on earth closest to the sun.