Early this morning our Ecuador climbers reached the summit of Cayambe at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Located in the Cordillera Central, this glaciated super-volcano runs along the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range. The volcano and most of its slopes are located within the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. Weather conditions looked beautiful on the summit today with epic views from high above the clouds! After a short rest at the high altitude hut, our team packed up their gear and will now drive back down the mountain and toward their next mountain ascent on Chimborazo.
Way to go team!!
William enjoying the amazing summit views from Cayambe.
Route to summit.
Lower glacier crossing.
Beautiful views in the Andes as our climbers set off for the Ecuador volcanoes! Our team will spend the first few days acclimating on local peaks close to Quito in preparation for Cayambe at an elevation of 18,996 feet. For a detailed overview of this exciting climb please visit our page here.
To the top!
William celebrating his first summit of Pasochoa. This extinct volcano is located in the Guayllabamba river basin in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Jeff, José, and I have made a safe and successful ascent of Cayambe volcano! After we finished our acclimatization hikes near Quito we departed for Cayambe hut at an elevation of 15,250 feet. After a hour of driving from Hacienda Guachala we took our expedition vehicle across rocky and steep terrain toward Cayambe. The hut was beautifully located and provided spectacular views of the mountain. After three days of glacier training we prepared our gear and left at 11pm for the summit. After 7 hours of climbing we made it over the last crevasse and to the top on a crystal clear day just as the sun came up over the horizon. We were the first climbing team to reach the summit 🙂 We had an amazing adventure and thank our guide José Luis for his expert guidance and support! I will be posting additional photos from our expedition to the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page!
Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney using a GoPro Hero 4 Black and iPhone 6. Enjoy! 🙂
Dinner at Hacienda Guachala. The Hacienda Guachalá is known as the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, and the most important hacienda until the middle of the 20th century. The oldest buildings date from the year 1580!
Breakfast with a view at Hacienda Guachala.
Middle of the World!
Happy Birthday Jeff! 🙂 Mountain Birthday’s are the best!
Jeff with Cayambe in the background!
Glacier training on Cayambe.
Ladder training in preparation for Jeff’s upcoming Everest ascent!
Andrew enjoying the fixed ropes and ladders on Cayambe!
Jeff preparing to cross the ladder.
Andrew on the summit of Cayambe!
Jeff on the summit of Cayambe! Rise & Shine!
Spectacular sunrise across Ecuador!
Last sunset before we made our ascent!
Yesterday Jeff, José, and I summited Pichincha in record time and enjoyed panoramic views of Cayambe, Cotopaxi (active), and many other notorious mountains across Ecuador. Once we reached the summit at 15,700 feet we had lunch and continued to acclimate as we prepare for the journey to Cayambe hut today. After our climb we checked out of our hotel in Quito and drove a short distance to Hacienda Guachala, a famous establishment that dates back to 1580! As we fell asleep we enjoyed a warm fire in our room and woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee on our patio. Today we will journey to the Cayambe hut and begin to review the technical skills that we will need for the climb. Service will become harder to find but I will try and update the blog as soon as I am able. Onward!
Photos taken below by Andrew Tierney
Bouldering across a rock field as we make our way up Pichincha.
Jeff and José Luis climbing up the last few steps of Pichincha!
Jeff and Andrew at the summit of Pichincha (15,700 feet).
Beautiful views looking over the city of Quito from Pichincha!
Today Jeff Glasbrenner and I explored the rolling country side and completed acclimatization hikes near Quito. We cruised to the top of Pasochoa at 13,860 ft and bagged another nearby summit as well. After a day of hiking we explored the beautiful city of Quito where we saw the historic sites and had an authentic Ecuadorian dinner in town. Tomorrow we will continue to acclimate to the altitude with our amazing guide, José Luis, and climb Pinchincha at 15,700 ft. The weather is beautiful and our team is very excited to begin our journey to Cayambe in the days to come.
To the top!
Photos taken using DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and GoPro Hero4. Enjoy!
Virgin of El Panecillo overlooking the city of Quito
Church of San Francisco
One of my favorite shots looking over the city of Quito!
Basílica del Voto Nacional – Quito
Rolling layers of fog made for a beautiful picture here from the summit of Pasochoa (13,860′).
Jeff and I taking our first summit photo! More to come!!
Our adventure rig for the week!
Climbing down from Pasochoa over the rolling hills outside of Quito
Palace in the Plaza Grande
Church of La Compañía de Jesús
Congratulations to Luke, Zack and Estalin for successfully making it to the Summit of Cayambe Volcano at 5,790 m (19,000 ft)! Cayambe Volcano is located in the Cordillera Central, a gorgeous range of the Ecuadorian Andes in northern Ecuador. Our climbing team came together as a team and safely pushed through the clouds all the way to the top of this Holocene compound volcano! Prior to this exciting summit push our team was able to relax and enjoy the scenic city of Otavalo surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura 4,630 m (15,190 ft) and Cotacachi 4,995 m (16,388 ft).
Now back in the city of Hacienda Guachala, the team is resting before departing for Estrella del Chimborazo Lodge at 4,000 m (13,125 ft). Estalin, Luke and Zack will organize gear and prepare for the next day’s climb to our high camp. Stay tuned!
Estalin’s photos are shared below, enjoy!
We stopped at the monument called the Mitad del mundo (middle of the world) that is said to be the “only real” statue located right on the equator!
The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for weaving textiles, usually made of wool (that is sometimes as black as a raven), which are sold at this famous market in Otavalo city. Luke and Zack were able to find beautiful souvenirs here!
Luke and Zack enjoying the local cuisine in downtown Otavalo. They needed all the energy they could get before making the summit push to top of Cayambe!
Our team stayed safe and worked together as a team to make the successful push to the summit!
Luke, Zack and Estalin posing for a summit shot at 5,790 m (19,000 ft) on top of Cayambe!
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 two major peaks in Ecuador: Cayambe (18,996’) and Chimborazo (20,564’), both with heavily glaciated summits. During the program, we have ample time for 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 make this program very enjoyable!
”We had a fantastic time! Thanks for all the hard work. From the climbing to the sightseeing it was top notch. Estalin was a Superb Guide! Not only was he a skillful climbing guide he was a blast to hang out with. He also took the time to share his mountaineering expertise with us. I learned a lot about history and culture as well. The food was fantastic. He always went out of his way to show us a great time. Thanks again.”
–Luke Palmatier, 2015 Ecuador Climber
”It was an amazing time start to finish. Both Jose Luis and Andrew were both helpful and fun to be around. The quality was first class with everything. It was a 10 out of 10.”
–Jeff Glasbrenner, 2016 Ecuador Climber
We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.
Day 1: Arrive Quito (2850m/9,350ft). Airport pick up and transfer to Hotel Mercure. Overnight at Hotel Mercure. We will conduct a brief orientation and equipment check.
Day 2: Today we “acclimatize” around Quito by touring the many beautiful colonial structures and historic district, stopping to enjoy lunch in one of the many outdoor cafes.
Day 3: Acclimatization hike on Pasochoa (4225m/13,860ft). This is a beautiful day hike and we have lunch along the way. We return to our hotel for the evening.
Day 4: Today we depart the hotel with our gear and hike up Pichincha (4785m/15,700ft). After the day hike, we drive to Hacienda Pinsaquí, located close to the town of Otavalo. Overnight at Hacienda Pinsaquí.
Day 5: We climb the small peak of Imbabura (4630m/15,190ft) and return to Hacienda Pinsaquí for the night.
Day 6: Visit the town of Otavalo then continue to the Yanacocha Lodge (3652m/11,980ft). Overnight at the hut.
Day 7: Glacier skills on Cayambe. Overnight at the Cayambe hut (4648m/15,250ft).
Day 8: Cayambe climb (5789m/18,993ft). Summit climb, then return to Yanacocha Lodge.
Day 9: Today we travel from Yanacocha Lodge to the Estrella del Chimborazo lodge (4000m/13,125ft). We organize our gear and prepare for the next day’s climb to our high camp.
Day 10: We depart the lodge after breakfast and hike to the Stubel Camp (4938m/16,200ft) on Chimborazo.
Day 11: Chimborazo climb (6310m/20,702ft). Summit day! We begin our climb before dawn, and reach the summit of Chimborazo shortly after sunrise. The summit of Chimborazo is the closest point to the sun, and we savor this spectacular mountain top view. We descend and drive back to our hotel in Quito for a celebration dinner.
Day 12: Transfer to the airport and flight back home.
Cayambe & Chimborazo Expeditions
July 25- August 6
October 31-November 11
November 18-November 29
December 12-December 23
January 2-January 13
January 24-February 4
February 13-February 24
February 20 – March 3
• Airport Pick up
• 3 star hotels in Quito
• Park entrance fees
• Climbing permit fees
• Hut fees
• Hacienda lodges
• All meals while climbing
• Guide service (Ecuadorian or American)
Costs Do Not Include:
• Personal Items
• Meals in Quito
• Option to upgrade to single room
• Fees for early departure
• Trip cancellation insurance
• Wire transfer fee
• Airport taxes
• There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without a summit or progress towards a summit for participants due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering. Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts within our margin of safety.
• Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
• Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
• Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
• Deposit due with registration materials
• All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
• Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition
Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.
Ice Axe: A general mountaineering ice axe no longer than 60-65 cm.
Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
Climbing harness: An alpine climbing harness
Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non locking
Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For hiking days, these can be worn in the lodges or mountain huts.
Mountaineering Boots: Either double plastic or insulated synthetic boots.
Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
Short Underwear: 1-2 pair of synthetic short underwear
Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or Down
Expedition Down Parka: A hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill.
Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or Down, these should have full side zippers.
Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
Headlamp: Bring extra batteries
Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
Buff: To wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
Goggles: With dark lenses.
Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
Shell gloves with insulated liner: 1 pair
Expedition overmitts: With insulated removable liners
Gaiters: Full length
Expedition Backpack: A 50-65 liter internal frame back pack.
Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least -20 °F. Down is preferable over synthetic.
Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
Self Inflating pad: A full length air mattress
Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best
Cup: 16oz. minimum
Bowl: ½ liter minimum capacity
Spoon: Plastic (lexan)
Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
Lip screen: 2 sticks, SPF 30 or stronger
Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1 liter capacity each
Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
Pee Bottle: 1+ liter capacity
Pee Funnel: For Women
Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
Hand warmers / Toe warmers: 3 sets of each
Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
Travel Clothes: For days in Quito.
Large Duffel Bag with lock: for transporting all personal gear to the mountains.
Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops.
• Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
• Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastro intestinal or respiratory illness
• Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
• Pepto Bismol for loose stool
• Excedrin for headaches
• Anti nausea medications.
• Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 1 week.
• Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
• Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.
• Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milkey Way, etc.
• Hard Candy: 1 cup
• Crackers: 1 box
Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. Because we have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun!
Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.
Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are not only experts in our field, but we also love what we do!