Ecuador Volcanoes (Including Chimborazo!)

I’m seriously considering trying to climb Chimborazo in February. Chimborazo is the tallest mountain in Ecuador, measuring 20,564 ft. And since the Earth is a little fatter around the equator than the poles, the furthest you can get from the center of the Earth is the summit of Chimborazo, not the summit of Everest.

This is fairly non-technical, and no prior technical climbing experience is required. My understanding is that crampons, ice axes and rope will be required, but those can be rented in Quito (if they’re not provided by the guide). In addition, the packages I am considering would spend a rest day providing us basic training on how to use the climbing equipment.

This is about a 2 week commitment. The trip starts in Quito, and spending 2-3 days acclimatizing in Quito seems like a good idea. After that, we would start doing acclimatization hikes: a 14,000 foot mountain followed by a 16,000 foot mountain followed by Illiniza Norte, followed by Cotopaxi, followed by Chimborazo.

There are a number of ways to do this hike. My serious climbing friends recommend finding an American company and doing it through them, but I’d rather go with an Ecuadorian company:
1: If I’m going to Ecuador, I’d rather pay an Ecuadorian to guide me up the mountain than an American. It just seems like a more socially responsible way to travel.
2: These Ecuadorian guides have been climbing these mountains their entire lives. How many times per year does the American fly down to lead climbs?
3: The American companies are a lot more expensive.

Speaking of cost, my preferred guiding company (Lonely Summits) quoted me $1490 for the following itinerary if I could find a partner: http://www.lonelysummits.com/chimborazo-4peaks-11-days/

There will be additional costs, but I haven’t priced those out yet. I’m also open to other suggestions.

I can’t leave the US until February 3rd due to work commitments, and I’d like to wrap this up before the end of February. My understanding is that it is a bad idea to climb Chimborazo in March.

Let me know if you’re interested!

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