We recently spent 10 days in Ecuador to climb Cayambe (18,996ft). We used three other peaks to acclimatize to the high altitude. Here is a recount of our successful trip in images. Enjoy!
El Panacillo and the Apocalyptic Virgin Statue watches over the capital city of Quito.
The Basílica del Voto Nacional (1884) technically remains unfinished as local legend has it, the end of the world will come upon its completion.
Sunset from 13,500ft. A memorable moment only minutes from the Teleferiqo
Rucu Pichincha (15,413ft). Our route the following day would follow the right skyline.
Rucu Pichincha (15413ft) trades in sunshine for clouds
Locals ride 3,500ft above Quito
Quito was founded by the Spanish in 1534, on the ruins of an Inca city. Sitting at 9,300ft, Ecuador’s capital city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
NEM Guide Josh Klockars gives Daniel some security on the exposed ridge of Rucu Pichincha
The Southeast Ridge of Rucu Pichincha offers secure scrambling with heart-pumping exposure
30 minutes from the summit of Rucu Pichincha you must climb through the Paso de la Muerte. This exposed 2 foot wide catwalk is the namesake of the route and a memorable moment of the entire trip
We descend the normal route of Rucu Pichincha which is just as spectacular as our ascent but for it’s lush vegetation that clings to the mountainside
A trip to the Equator would not be complete without balancing an egg on a nail directly on the Equator. Due to the forces on the poles being cancelled out, the task is fairly simple
We drive through the mountains toward the culture-rich city of Otavalo. The Otavalo market is a must see, full of Ecuadorian goods and local cuisine
The summit of Fuya Fuya (13,986ft) offers our second chance to acclimatize our bodies to the higher altitude. A gentle 2-hour hike with moderate scrambling at the end, makes this an unforgettable experience
Fuya Fuya and Cerro Negro (pictured) are the remains of Mojanda Volcano. The Lake fills the volcanic crater.
Imbabura (15,190ft) allows us to pass the 15,oooft mark again. It is a long hike (7-9hrs round trip) but the ridgeline to the summit cannot be missed. There were wild fires burning on the mountain which filled the air with smoke
The scrambles near the top of Imbabura keep things interesting and exciting. NEM Guide Josh Klockars leads the way
Climbing the final slopes to the summit of Imbabura. This once glaciated peak use to be an important ice source for local villages. The locals would climb high onto the mountain to get ice from the glacier and carry it back to the village
The stoke is high on the summit of Imbabura. This peak is higher than any mountain in the lower 48 states and nearly as high as Mont Blanc but still almost 4,000 feet below our main objective
Imbabura can be one of the harder days of the trip, but not this time. Daniel feels pretty great about his summit of the final acclimatization peak.
The Cayambe Refuge is considered one of the best in the country, however the road access is considered one of the worst. The views are spectacular as we drive to 15,300ft.
Sunrise on Ecuador’s 4th and 2nd highest peaks. Antisana and the now active Cotopaxi loom large above the clouds
Our main objective, Cayambe (18,996ft) as seen from the Cayambe Refuge. The refuge is modern, comfortable and includes some of the best food of the trip
Our team (minus Ramiro) on the summit of Cayambe. Since the climb is done in the dark, our first images are from the summit itself
The route up Cayambe weaves through seracs and crevasses.
Cayambe is not only Ecuador’s third highest peak, it is also the third highest peak in the Americas, North of the Equator
Descending around 18,000ft on Cayambe. We finally get to see the terrain we had just ascended
Cayambe is the highest point on the equator, the coldest place on the equator and the only place on the equator with permanent snow
An exhausted but happy team after reaching the summit of all 4 mountains in 10 days.
In a 6 hour span, we went from 19,000ft to eating steaks in town. Where else in the world is that possible?
Have these images got you motivated to get yourself to Ecuador? Join us in November 2017 for a trip of a lifetime!