Here are the top 4 questions our guides are asked, and their answers. Submission by AAI guide Juliana Garcia.
What is it like to climb so close to the equator?
Ecuador is the only country on the equator that has glaciers over 20,000 feet, though it is hard to imagine what that might feel like. While much of the country will stay mild and warm year round, the Andes are a different story. Cayambe is the only peak in the world where latitude and temperature are the same, 0 degrees. The Andes are bordered with the Pacific coast on one side and the Amazon rainforest on the other, making for a unique climatic experience where climbers can benefit from the accessibility of the mountain range, as well as everything else Ecuador has to offer. We’ll spend time in Quito, the capital city, Papallacta, hot springs, and highland mountain lodges. You’ll get a taste of what Ecuador has to offer and the convenience of iconic high altitude peaks.
What are accommodations like on this expedition?
Our infrastructure is first class. Because of Ecuador’s extensive road system, we can enjoy the luxury of climbing mountains by day and resting in valleys by night. We stay in large converted haciendas that are easily accessible and maintained, with large patios, beautiful gardens, and ample space to relax from a long day of climbing.
Why do I like guiding these peaks?
For me, guiding in Ecuador is like remembering and going back to my beginning. Showing and sharing this experience is one of the most beautiful things there is. Ecuador for me has my mountain history apart from everything else. Yes, the mountains are similar in many places in the world, but there are few mountains that saw you grow, laugh, cry, and experience those very first summits. I am proud of where I come from and I like to show parts of my space, our culture, food, and traditions.
What makes this such a special expedition?
Ecuador is one of the countries where you can begin to practice mountaineering at all levels. Here, you can learn everything from basic glacier schools with normal routes and glacier traverses, to more technical climbing at altitude. Climbing here is excellent preparation for larger mountains, with the benefit of easy access to high quality lodges and other resources. We also climb in “expedition mode” where climbers experience what it’s like to travel from camp to camp with mules and gear. For such a small country, we provide a vast range of mountain experiences, and some of the best.