Altitude 6268m a.s.l
Longtime considered as the highest mountain on the planet, Chimborazo was dethroned by the Himalayan and Peruvian peaks. Nevertheless, considering the geometry of the Earth, this summit is known as the farthest point from its centre. This huge mountain is the highest point in Ecuador. It has five summits, the highest culminating at 6,268m.
There are many routes up its slopes. The normal route runs up the southwest flank and is a variation of the original Whymper route. One can also climb from the east side (Sun Ridge Route, or Arista del Sol) which involves mixed rock/ice climbing.
There are two refuges on the mountain, Carrel refuge at 4,800m (15,744ft) and Whymper refuge at 5,000m (16,400ft) where most of the parties do their summit bid from. It is a 6-9 hours climb with slopes up to 60 degrees. People usually start their climb one or two hours before midnight and return to the hut a couple hours before noon in order to avoid rock fall danger caused by sun hit at the glacier entrance known as 'El Corredor'.
From the new Terminal de buses Quitumbe located at the south of Quito, take any of the southbound buses to Riobamba (3.5 hours). From Terminal Terrestre de Riobamba take one of the several buses that go to Guaranda, but ask the driver to drop you off at Chimborazo entrance (there's a signed turnoff for the Chimborazo refuges). It is located 30mins after passing the town of San Juan.
Chimborazo is climbable year round however, the best climbing months are June and July and December through early January. February through May is known for bad weather, especially in the month of April.
Make sure you start before midnight so you'll be back before 10 am at the latest, for two reasons:
First, rock fall hazard. The part of the route along The Castle, a large rock wall about one hour from the Refugio Whymper, gets dangerous around that time. Lots of small and large rocks start to fall down then from this high wall due to warming temperatures.
Passing this area (El Corredor) later in the afternoon is really running between falling rocks.
Secondly, clouds will most often roll in early in the afternoon, making route finding very difficult. As there are big areas of crevasses on both sides of the normal route, losing track can be very dangerous.
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