Chimborazo Climb – The Complete 2022 Guide
Everything You Need to Know Before Climbing the Chimborazo
If you’re a climber that’s visiting Ecuador, the Chimborazo Volcano is an experience that you can’t miss! The Chimborazo’s claim to fame is that its peak is the world’s furthest point from the earth’s center. I know what you’re thinking. Everest is the highest mountain, everyone knows that. That’s partly true – measured from sea level, Everest is the highest mountain… but it’s not the closest to the sun. This is because the shape of the earth isn’t a perfect sphere. It actually bulges towards the middle (like many of us do). This means that the top of the Chimborazo is well over a mile further away from the earth’s center than Mount Everest! You literally will not find a point higher than the peak of the Chimborazo volcano. What’s really cool about Chimborazo is that there are several climbing routes to choose from. This makes it a very accessible climb to people across several skill levels, and interesting for those with some experience. Without further ado, here is the Chimborazo climb guide.
Best time to Climb?
Preparing for the Chimborazo Climb
If you’re wanting a softer start to altitude, try hiking the 6-mile trail in Quilotoa which gets up to nearly 13,000 feet. It’s a giant crater that was caused by volcanic collapse around 600 years ago. Since then, it’s filled up with water that’s bright blue and green because of all the volcanic minerals. Ever since 2012, the Ecuadorian government has made it mandatory for all ascents of major peaks to be made with a professional and certified guide. This is because of several avoidable deaths that happened as a result of a lack of experience/familiarity with the routes.
The Whymper Summit on Mount Chimborazo is an iconic climbing destination located in Ecuador. It was first ascended in 1880 by Edward Whymper and his team of climbers, becoming the highest point ever reached by humans at that time. Today, the Whymper Summit stands as a symbol of human achievement and resilience in the face of adversity.
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Chimborazo Route Map
Chimborazo Climb Routes to the Peak & Difficulty levels
There are three peaks on the Chimborazo (two of which are commonly climbed), and loads of ways to get there.
Easiest Ascents of the Chimborazo Climb – Chimborazo Difficulty
More Challenging Ascents – Chimborazo Difficulty
Climb for the Pros – Chimborazo’s summit difficulty
Why Climb Chimborazo
Until the start of the 19th century, society thought Chimborazo the tallest mountain on Earth measured from sea level. This reputation led to many summit attempts during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1746, Chimborazo was traversed by French academics of the French Geodesic Mission. Their goal was to measure the sphericity of the Earth. They determined that the Earth was an oblate spheroid and not a true sphere. They did make it to Chimborazo’s summit. In 1799, Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian geographer, and naturalist that first theorized human-induced climate change began an expedition to the Americas. In 1802, attended by Aimé Bonpland and the Ecuadorian Carlos Montúfar, tried to reach the summit. From his writings of the mountain, he and his companions had to return due to altitude sickness. They reached 5,875 m, higher than earlier achieved by any European in recorded history. However, the Incans had reached much higher altitudes in the past(see Llullaillaco). Other failed attempts to reach the summit followed, showing the Chimborazo difficulty at this time. The first Chimborazo climb leading to a successful summit is recorded by Edward Whymper and his Italian guides Louis Carrel and Jean-Antoine Carrel. They were the first of Europe to climb a mountain higher than 20,000 feet (6,100 m). There were many critics who questioned that Whymper reached the summit. Therefore, later in the same year, he summited again by a different route (Pogyos) with Ecuadorian climbers David Beltrán and Francisco Campaña.
What does Chimborazo mean in English?
There are various theories of the origin of the name Chimborazo. To begin the question, the question first must be answered: “What is the language of Chimborazo?” In multiple dialects of Quichua or Quechua, the Incan language, “chimba” signifies “on the other side of the river” or “on the opposite bank.”. The word “razu” means “ice” or “snow.” Local Quichua speakers state the volcano is a Hispanicized utterance of “Chimborazo,” signifying “the snow on the other side.” Another theory proposes Chimborazo is a combination of the Cayapa Schingbu (Women) and the Colorado/Quichua Razo (Ice) leading to the word “Women of Ice.” One other theory is that Chimbo is Jívaro for Throne of Master/God resulting in the Icethrone of God. In local indigenous mysticism, Chimborazo represents Taita, or Father, whereas neighboring Tungurahua is seen as Mama, hence Taita Chimborazo and Mama Tungurahua.
The adventure must go on!
When planning your trip to Ecuador and South America, you might also be interested in the following excursions, hikes, and activities:
- Top 5 hiking trails in the Ecuador Mountains
- The wildest, most memorable, and best things to do in Ecuador!
- Peru Inca Trail Hiking Guide
- 14 Stunning Waterfalls of Ecuador
- Andes Day Tours & Summits
Not quite sure if you are ready to summit Chimborazo? Maybe the Cotopaxi Summit would suit you better! No problem, our trip advisors are here to help! We have the fastest & most efficient service in the market! Our travel planning services are free, with no payment or commitment involved. Visit Ecuador and its surroundings sustainably.
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