Ecuador – Chimborazo, Cayambe, Fuya Fuya and Imbabura

A Climbers Paradise

This trip will take you from the culture rich capital city of Quito to the grassy highlands, over rocky summits, and to the slopes of the country’s volcanoes. We will get to experience it all and get a taste of what Ecuador has to offer. Whether you are looking for your first international climb, or have traveled the globe, Ecuador is a great climbing destination which will leave you with lasting memories and an experience like no other.


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Day 1: Today we arrive in Quito, Ecuador. We will check in to our hotel and get ourselves settled and rested from the long travel day.

Day 2: We will meet for breakfast and an itinerary briefing to meet your teammates, NEM guides, as well as receive a more information about Ecuador and our itinerary. We will then depart for the town of Otavalo. Along the way, we will stop at the Equator for a quick tour and some interesting experiments that can only be conducted at the middle of the Earth. We will have the evening to explore Otavalo and it’s famous marketplace.

Day 3: After a leisurely wake-up we will head out for our first acclimatization peak. Fuya Fuya rises over 14,000ft and provides a beautiful walk through high alpine meadows to the rocky summits. We will attempt to climb both peaks. After our half-day hike, we will drive to CuiCocha crater to enjoy a cup of tea or some famous Ecuadorian coffee. The crater was once a volcano that is now a lake after the volcano collapsed into itself. The evening is free in Otavalo.

Day 4: We will wake up very early and drive 1.5hrs to Imbabura. Our second acclimatization peak is over 15,000ft and will take most of the day. This is a spectacular climb that starts out in fields and ends in a true alpine-feel summit. The climb requires 3rd-4th class terrain near the summit. We plan to be back in Otavalo by 5PM in time for dinner.

Day 5: After two days of climbing we get a rest day. We will have a late breakfast and make last minute purchases at the Otavalo market before heading to the Cayambe Refuge. The drive to the Refuge takes about 2 hours from Otavalo. The last hour is especially rough on a 4-wheel drive track. We are able to drive directly to the refuge at 15,100ft. We will spend the afternoon practicing knots and a few other skills in the refuge. The night will be spent at the refuge to further our acclimatization.

Day 6: After a delicious breakfast at the refuge, we will climb to the glacier on Cayambe at 16,000ft. The rest of the morning will be spent here practicing roped travel, crampon technique, self and team arrest, and possibly crevasse rescue. In the early afternoon we will descend to the refuge and drive all the way back to town to get a good nights rest at a relatively low altitude before our summit attempt.

Day 7: Today marks the start of our summit attempt. After a late breakfast we will drive back up to the Cayambe refuge. We will eat an early dinner and try to rest before our 11PM wake-up call. A light “breakfast” will be served and we will be on our way to the summit of Cayambe by midnight.

Day 8: With any luck and some good weather, we will ascend the slopes of Cayambe for 5-7 hours before hitting the summit around sunrise. From the summit of Ecuador’s third highest peak (18,996ft) we have unobstructed views of Antisana, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, and many more high peaks throughout the country. The descent will take about 3-4 hours before loading the van and beginning our drive to town and a hot meal.

Day 9: Today is all about celebration, relaxation, and reflection. We will drive 2 hours to Termas de Papallacta. This is a world-class spa and resort with spa treatments, hot springs, and fantastic restaurants on the edge of the Amazon. We will spend the night here with heated pools right outside of our bungalow door.

Day 10: After breakfast we will make the drive to Chimborazo.

Day 11: Climb Chimborazo and return to Quito.

Day 12: After breakfast we will make the drive to the airport and then Quito. If you need to board your flight home today, you can be dropped off at the airport. If you are extending your stay, you can stay on board and be dropped off at Plaza Foch in Quito.