Climbing Cayambe

The High Cold Place (5790 mt)

The name Cayambe is derived from either the native Caranqui word kayan, meaning “ice,” or from the Quichua word cahan, meaning “high cold place

Cayambe is a massive extinct volcano, located about 30 km north east of Quito. It is the third highest elevation in Ecuador and also granted the distinction of being the highest mountain in the world crossed by the equator; in fact it passes direct through its southern glaciers.

Although technically is not so difficult, and in spite of its numerous small crevasses, which are not difficult to ford them. Cayambe became rather a spectacular and fun experience. We highly recommend to non-confident climbers for training and ice skills developing.

Cayambe was one of Ecuador’s less explored major peaks, but, due to Cotopaxi activity, this mountain became the best climbing option to substitute Cotopaxi .The hut at 4600mt. provides several facilities and relatively good comfort. Cayambe can be climbed all year round, although from June to December it is said to be the driest months.

Day 1 – Cayambe village

Depart from Quito north east direction towards Cayambe village. On our way we have the possibility to stop at the small monument of the Equator line. Thereafter, we will drive uphill along a muddy road which proposes a challenge for the driver until we reach the refuge (4600 mt). There, we can enjoy gorgeous views of the nearby glaciers and the normal route.

Day 2 – Summit

Midnight wake up. After a light eating and drinking we will climb up to the edge of the glacier, and by following the standard route and after fording some easy crevasses we will reach the summit in about 6 hours. Downhill to hut, it will take us about 3 hours. Relaxing, packing and drive back to Quito.