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This expedition is an ideal choice for trekkers and mountaineers who wish to gain experience beyond the alpine altitudes and experience Ecuador’s spectacular volcanoes. We also combine the best of both worlds: trekking the humid Andean Forest – with one of the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the planet – and two spectacular high-altitude glaciated climbs.
Ecuador is without doubt the land of volcanoes, with more than thirty significant peaks in this small country. This unique BBE program is often also made into a longer training expedition for mountaineers preparing for 8000m peaks, especially Mount Everest, who wish to gain experience and solid skills at higher alpine altitudes whilst enjoying the chance to climb Ecuador’s majestic summit: Chimborazo. Whichever trip works to fulfil your goals, this is a tough climb, and the effort required to reach the top of this impressive mountain should not be underestimated.
We begin our adventure in Ecuador with an orientation in Quito (9,400 feet – 2,865m), the world’s second highest capital after La Paz, Bolivia. Our time spent shopping and enjoying day hikes serves to acclimatize us before we depart to our first volcano. We then journey to Cayambe where accessible glaciers offer an ideal learning environment. After our summit of Cayambe and a relaxing night back in Quito we drive south to Chimborazo. The following day we hike up to the Stubel High Camp to overnight before our attempt of the summit of Ecuador’s highest peak at 20,702 feet (6,310m). Chimborazo’s summit is actually the highest point in the world from the center of the earth, this is due to the equatorial bulge, and it can be seen from Colombia to the north, Peru to the south, and from far out into the Pacific Ocean. Its different faces offer varied challenges to climbers of any skill level.
You will have a great sense of accomplishment as you stand on top and enjoy the incredible views! In the event that the conditions on Chimborazo are unfavorable, we have the option to summit Antisana or the Illinizas. As an added attraction to this wonderful trip we will be staying in charming haciendas and enjoying the fine cuisine Ecuador offers its visitors.
Benegas Brothers uses only expert guides and our low climber to guide ratio (2:1) which translates into higher summit success and most important a safer climb. Our gradual acclimatization itinerary including the incredible Condor trek aloud us to explore in the deep of the Ecuadorian rainforest to the mystical altiplano giving us a plenty of time to prepare ourselves for this climb.
Day 1 – Arrival in the Capital City of Quito
Quito is South America’s second highest capital (after La Paz, Bolivia). Your guide will be waiting at the airport for your arrival, for transfer to our hotel. Overnight stay in Hotel Quito: 9,350 feet (2,850m).
Travel times: Airport to Hotel: 30 minutes
Day 2: Ruca Pinchincha
Our expedition begins in Ecuador’s capital of Quito. The city, surrounded by four glaciated peaks, sits at 9,500 feet (2,896 meters), so acclimatization begins immediately upon arrival. Taking our classroom to the field, we ride the Telepherique to 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) on Rucu Pinchincha, and then hike to
the 15,700 foot (4,785 meters) summit, en route taking a technical knife-edge rock ridge to this summit, learning about rock technique and the use of fixed lines. Overnight in Quito: 9,350 feet (2,850m).
Day 3: Quito to Piemonte Basecamp
The Piemonte Basecamp is located at 11,808 feet (3,599m) at the foot of Cayambe, next to the road that goes up to the Cayambe Hut. Today we start out small with a good acclimatization hike, and an opportunity to study and discuss the following topics:
• High Altitude Physiology
• Acclimatizing strategies
• Heart rate and oximeter charts
• High Altitude Physiology AMS, HAPE and HACE: signs and symptoms, treatment, evacuations and common industry standards
Overnight in Piemonte Basecamp: 11,808 feet (3,599m).
Day 4: Cayambre Instruction and Training Day
Today we start out traveling by vehicle further up Cayambe for the an acclimatization hike. We hike to the glacier and begin learning snow climbing techniques. Proper use of the ice axe, traveling in balance, self-belay, and self-arrest will all be covered. The afternoon is dedicated to teaching students the essential skills of glacier travel, such as navigation and route finding, glaciology, and hazard assessment. We will also begin learning about crevasse rescue. Overnight in Piemonte Basecamp: 11,808 feet (3,599m). For our Everest school we spend a further two days here covering many topics and advanced techniques as well as ladder crossings.
Day 5: Cayambe High Camp Hut
Today we move up to the Cayambe hut after breakfast. We spend the rest of the day resting at the hut and preparing for our summit climb.
Day 6: Cayambe Summit Day
After a very early morning departure, we will climb up the crevassed slopes of the glacier. After 9 to 10 hours we will come to the summit of Cayambe. We then descend to the comforts of Quito for the night.
Day 7: Travel to Chimborazo
Today we travel again this time to our Basecamp Lodge at Chimborazo, located at 13,120 feet (4,000m). This cozy accommodation in a truly spectacular setting gives us another opportunity to rest and prepare before our most demanding climb of this trip. Our next objective Chimborazo (20,702 feet – 6,310m) is the highest mountain in Ecuador. This volcano is considered extinct although some recent studies show that it might still be considered active. Its main summit has the distinction of being the farthest point from the center of the earth making Chimborazo, in its own way, the tallest mountain in the world. It does not matter from which side you look at Chimborazo, it will impress you by its size and beauty.
Day 8: Chimborazo High Camp
Today we continue up the volcano driving to Plaza Roja (15,918 feet – 4,852m) close to the Carrel Hut (15,951 feet – 4,862m). From there it takes two hours to walk to the Stübel Camp (16,567 feet – 5,050m) where we spend the afternoon preparing for our summit climb the next day.
Day 9: Chimborazo Summit Day (6,310m)
We start our climb at about midnight following the Stübel glacier until it joins the Castle Saddle (5,500m /18,044 ft.). This new variant to the normal Castle Ridge route is free from the danger of rock fall making it a much safer line. From the Stübel Camp, it normally takes eight hours to get to the Whymper summit from where we can enjoy one of the best views in Ecuador. To the east and south-east: El Altar (the most difficult mountain to climb in Ecuador) and the active volcanoes Tungurahua and Sangay. To the north and north-east: mountains incuding the Ilinizas, Antisana and the famous Cotopaxi. The descent to the Stübel Camp takes three hours. After returning to camp, we pack and descend to Plaza Roja and travel to back to Quito for a farewell dinner!
Day 10: Fly Home
Fond farewells to our Ecuadorian friends and flights home.
Backpacking experience; very good physical condition; basic Level of snow and glacier travel skills.
Acquire climbing skills on steeper snow and ice. Developed a good sense of glacier travel, self arrest skills, self-rescue skills. Acclimatization with training at Cayambe, summit Cayambe (19,000 feet – 5,790m), then summit Chimborazo (20,702 feet – 6,310m)
2 Experience Ecuador’s culture and explore is varied ecology
Aconcagua Expeditions, Khumbu Climber, Mexico Volcanoes, Bolivia Alpinist, Elbrus
$3,900 (minimum of 3)
Private Guide Cost:
Included are the following:
Not included are the following:
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Several U.S. airlines offer daily flights to Quito, Ecuador (UIO). Flights generally arrive late in the evening on Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights departing Quito may be booked for any time on the final day of the program.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Ecuador. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Travel Advisories/ Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
In Country Transportation
The provided transportation in Ecuador as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Upon arrival at the Quito airport, follow the signs to the Arrivals Building. Proceed to the Immigrations desk for foreign travelers. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay. Please check the date to ensure it covers your complete stay in Ecuador.
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep all your bags together.
After you have gathered your baggage and passed through Customs you will find a desk in front of the exit gate where you can ask for a taxi. Take a taxi to our hotel. A fixed price of approximately $25 to $30 is in place.
The current currency of Ecuador is the U.S. Dollar. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You should find that $200-$300 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Cash machines are readily available in Quito, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of urban areas.
Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 5 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Ecuador, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Breakfast and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.
During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style. You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!
What a feeling to stand on the top of Chimborazo! This was my third climb with Benegas Brothers Expeditions, and my greatest achievement yet. I can honestly say I wouldn't have made it without the expertise of Willie and Damian Benegas. Our acclimatizing process, the intimate size of our group, and the special training my girlfriend and I received was once again, the best in the industry.
BBE has never failed to provide me with anything but the best journey, understanding and chance to become a part of the local environment and people, as well as focusing on the continued growth of my physical abilities, climbing knowledge and experience while participating in successful, safe, and fun climbs. I feel so fortunate to have Willie Benegas as my guide. He has made climbing actually possible for me, who at 56, only began climbing two years ago. With his training I am pursuing a dream I never thought possible and it has positively changed my life forever. Additionally, BBE cares so much for the environment and Leave No Trace Principles, and all their staff are amazing individuals... I am so happy to now have you all as a part of my life. Thanks BBE!
$3,900 (minimum of 3, maximum of 6)
We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.