Chimborazo

Climb the Volcanoes of Ecuador With Alpine Ascents

David and Diego worked very well together to make it a high end, well organized expedition. Everything from the luxury accommodations to the excellent restaurants to the decision making on the mountain were A+, as we have come to expect from AAI over the years. Hopefully David Gottlieb continues to guide for many more years. He’s the reason we signed up for this expedition and he’s simply the best in the business. – Winter 23/24 Climber

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Ecuador, the jewel of the Andes, is a paradise for the mountaineer. Nowhere else on earth does the combination of high altitude mountains and easy accessibility exist. Over the last 20 years, we have developed what we consider to be the ultimate Ecuador climbing program. Our itinerary offers the best in acclimatization, cultural experience, and luxury accommodations — all while climbing the three most spectacular volcanoes in Ecuador: Cotopaxi (19,347 ft.), Cayambe (18,993 ft.), and Chimborazo (20,701 ft.).

Note: There are times when one of the above peaks is closed for climbing due to conditions. When this is the case, we climb Antisana (18,875 ft.), another beautiful and iconic Ecuadorian volcano.

This trilogy of climbs is unique. Cayambe has the special distinction of being the highest and coldest point on the Equator. This volcano is the only place on earth where the latitude and the temperature are both zero degrees. Cotopaxi is the world’s highest active volcano, and the most popular climb in Ecuador. Chimborazo, the giant of Ecuador, is the farthest point from the center of the Earth.

Our low climber-to-guide ratio translates into higher summit success than many other operators in the region. We guide 1:1 on Chimborazo, offering the greatest flexibility and wellbeing for climbers of varying skill level, and 2:1 on Cayambe and Cotopaxi. Our gradual acclimatization itinerary gives climbers ample time to physiologically adjust to high altitude, also contributing to high summit rates.

In addition to our time climbing, this trip spends time in Quito enjoying the cultural heritage and night life of the capital city;  two nights in Papallacta, a beautiful private hot springs and spa; and five nights in various beautiful mountain lodges in the highlands. The ability to rest in comfort between our climbs and enjoy Ecuadorian hospitality throughout the trip makes Ecuador one of the most enjoyable places in the world to climb.

Camilo is an extremely friendly, personable, intelligent, and empathetic person. He was absolutely great to be around the entire trip. His outgoing and welcoming personality was very genuine. While the volcanoes were amazing, Camilo made the trip come to life and implanted lifelong memories. I should note, every one of the Ecuadorian guides were top notch. They were all eager to assist, were very nice, and made everyone feel safe and very welcome. -Winter 23/24 Climber

New in 2023! Ecuador Express trip

We are now offering a 9-day trip to Ecuador to climb Cotopaxi and a few smaller peaks. While we believe our standard Volcanoes of Ecuador trip (3 summits) offers greater value to a developing climber, we recognize that many climbers cannot dedicate 16 days for the trip. Our 9-day Ecuador program (1 summit) offers the opportunity to experience high altitude mountaineering in a shorter amount of time away. 9 days is the shortest itinerary that still allows for risk-aware acclimatization and summit success on Cotopaxi.

Prerequisites

Climbers should have successfully completed our 6 Day training course or similar, or have equivalent skills and experience. Those who had a strong performance on a 3-Day Baker or 3-Day Rainier climb may also join. Climbers must have basic knowledge of progression on snow and ice, self-arrest, and glacier travel. Snow and ice slopes are of moderate angle (up to 45 degrees). These requirements are also based on our desire to have similarly skilled team members.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

Ecuador
by Yossi Brain
Ecuador Climbing and Hiking Guide
by Rob Rachowiecki, Mark Thurber

I’ve been exposed to a number of guide services and it would be hard for me to believe that I could find a better mountain guide than Willi.

Volcanoes of Ecuador BLOG

  • Ask A Guide: Top 4 Questions About Climbing in Ecuador

    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. […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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