Climbing Cayambe

The High Cold Place (5790m)

Enjoy a safe climbing tour on the Cayambe in Ecuador

Ecuador is a Must-See for every traveler, especially because the volcanoes like Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and Cayambe can’t be unseen in the Vulcano-Street-Panorama. Still, the summit of the Cayambe stands out. The fascinating peak is an enriching climb, not only due to its height of 5790m. The artistic glaciers and remarkable ascents make Cayambe a great climbing experience.

The Cayambe summit with Sierra Nevada Expeditions

The Cayambe in Ecuador includes a discovery tour through the Vulcanoes of the Holocene and lays in the central mountain range in northern Ecuador. It is not only the third highest summit in Ecuador but also the third highest mountain above the equator. In fact, the equator line goes right through the southern glacier. The name Cayambe can be traced back either to the native Caranqui word “kayan“, which means “ice” or the Quechua word “cahan“, meaning “high, cold place”. Laying just 65km outside of Quito, Cayambe is a great destination for mountaineers and climbers seeking a challenge in the Andes.

Climbing the Cayambe volcano is not a very technical climb and the crevasses easy to cross, still, it’s a fun and spectacular experience. We recommend the Cayambe tour to inexperienced climbers for training the movement on glaciers and ice.

Want to organize your Cayambe summit climb? Feel free to get in touch with Sierra Nevada Expeditions! Contact us at

Due to COVID-19 several new regulations and sanitary protocols were set by local authorities, so, the admission to the National Park as well as the Ruales-Oleas’ Hut is restricted 30% in its capacity,  Therefore, early reservation is required


Climbing Cayambe – Summary

Cayambe was one of Ecuador’s less explored major peaks, but, due to Cotopaxi’s reputation, this mountain became the second top option among the snow-capped Ecuadorian volcanoes. The hut at 4600m 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 – Equator Line and Cayambe Hut

Departure from Quito’s 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 until we reach the refuge (4600 m). There, we can enjoy gorgeous views of the nearby glaciers and scout the normal route.

Day 2 –  Cayambe Summit

Midnight wakes up. After a light breakfast, we will climb up to the edge of the glacier. Following the standard route and after fording some easy glacier crevasses we will reach the summit in about 6 hours. Returning to the mountain hut will take us about 3 hours.  After having breakfast, relaxing, and packing we will drive back to Quito.