All Ecuador expedition dispatches

The Madison Mountaineering team is preparing to depart for the highest peaks in Ecuador. At the summit of Chimborazo, we will be at the farthest point from the Earth’s surface! Located in the Andes mountain range this inactive volcano is believed to have erupted around 550AD. The Ecuador volcanoes offer a magnificent climbing on high altitude glaciated peaks. During this expedition we have ample time for technical skills review with the team. During this process our knowledgable guides will be able to share tips and mountain wisdom with the group. The volcanoes the team will be traveling to are located just outside the capital city of Quito. With Quito as our base, we ascend these Ecuadorian giants, and rest between climbs in Hacienda style lodges that provide an outstanding relaxation and dining experience. Our camps on these volcanoes are either European style mountain huts or tent camps. Reaching a altitude of over 20,000ft on Chimborazo, the views from the summit will be nothing short of spectacular! Past trips have explored to nearby Cotopaxi, yet in recent events mother nature has called and this volcano is now active. Needless to say we will be keeping our distance and monitoring the volcanoes activity.

Ecuador Volcanoes

Yesterday we climbed to the top of Chimborazo, 20,702′, with clear skies above the clouds. The climb started from our high camp at 16,200’ with a brief scramble over rock scree, and then onto the glacier where we ascended up the flanks to the summit of the highest peak in Ecuador.  Chimborazo is not the highest mountain in the world by elevation above sea level, but its location along the equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the Earth. We had the summit all to ourselves, and glimpses of the surrounding volcano summits Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Antisana that were just above the clouds. Now we are back in Quito for our final night in Ecuador, and look forward to heading home tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful trip!

Photo 1: On the summit of Chimborazo

Photo 2: Climbers at high camp the night before the climb

Photo 3: Climbing the final steps to the summit




Today our team reached the top of Cotopaxi at 19,347′! We began at midnight and climbed through the night, up the glaciated slopes around crevasses and some steep snow to reach the top just after sunrise. We had excellent views of Quito, as well as the surrounding volcanoes Chimborazo, Cayambe, and Antisana. Now we are back in the tambopaxi lodge enjoying a nice meal and looking forward to a good nights rest!

Photo: The team on the summit of Cotopaxi: Conan Bliss (MM Guide), Garrett Madison (MM Guide), John, Patrick, Denise, & Tom, with Chimborazo in the background.

taking a pause on the descent
We spent the day on the glaciated slopes of Cotopaxi reviewing climbing skills such as rope travel, ice axe arrest, and crampon technique. The day was sunny in the beginning but later turned into a moderate blizzard, making it a fun afternoon! We climbed up to 17,000′ to acclimate before returning to our lodge for the evening.

Today we hiked to the extinct volcano above Quito, utilizing the telepherique to gain some elevation at the start of the hike! The ‘old volcano’ was a pleasant walk up and rocky scramble at the end. The weather was cool today with clouds keeping us out of the hot equatorial sun. We are now enroute to the Tambopaxi lodge where we will stay for the next few nights. We enjoyed the sights, culture, and restaurants of busy Quito the last 3 nights, now we are ready to relax in a quiet country setting.




Today the team left Quito to hike up the nearby peak, Pasachoa. We hiked through the forest and up the grassy slopes of the extinct volcano, making our way to the 13,800 summit. Clear skies and a warm breeze greeted us at the top. We are back in Quito tonight for dinner then heading out on another acclimatization hike tomorrow!




Our standard Ecuador Volcanoes expedition is a 12-day program that includes climbs of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. We also offer a 9-day Chimborazo climb and a 16-day program that includes climbs of Ecuador’s three highest peaks: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe. See below for prices and itineraries for these exciting alternative programs.

The Ecuador Volcanoes offer fantastic climbing on high altitude glaciated peaks with wonderful accommodations along the way. The volcanoes are located just outside Quito, the capital city, making for short travel days in between climbs. Our program offers climbs on the two highest peaks in Ecuador: Cotopaxi (5897m/19,347ft) and Chimborazo (6263m/20,549ft), both with heavily glaciated summits. During the program, we have ample time for a technical skills review. With Quito as our base, we ascend these Ecuadorian giants and rest between climbs in Hacienda style lodges that provide an outstanding relaxation and dining experience. Our camps on these volcanoes are either European style mountain huts or tent camps. The combination of these beautiful climbs with first-rate lodging throughout makes this program very enjoyable!