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As we drove to Tambopaxi, the clouds slowly lifted and Cotopaxi revealed itself just before sunset. Located about 75km south of Quito, Cotopaxi (5897m) is the second highest mountain in Ecuador, after Chimborazo. Cotopaxi has an almost symmetrical cone that rises from a highland plain of about 3800m, with a width at its base of about 23km. It has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, starting at 5000m.

Cotopaxi (5897m), located about 75km south of Quito, is the second highest mountain in Ecuador, after Chimborazo. (click to enlarge)


Tambopaxi has a 70-seat restaurant offering good hearty food, and a spectacular view of Cotopaxi. Tambopaxi has two dormitory huts. The main one has 27 beds in four rooms and the other hut has 8 beds spread between three rooms.

Tambopaxi has a 70-seat restaurant offering good hearty food, two dormitory huts, and a spectacular view of Cotopaxi. (click to enlarge)


Jerome Ryan, Peter Ryan, and Charlotte Ryan are enjoying dinner at the Estrella del Chimborazo after a great day hiking to Chimborazo.

Jerome Ryan, Peter Ryan, and Charlotte Ryan are enjoying dinner at the Estrella del Chimborazo after a great day hiking to Chimborazo. (click to enlarge)


Chimborazo, located 150km south-southwest of Quito, is the highest mountain in Ecuador at 6310m. From left to right are four of the five summits of Chimborazo - Ventimilla (6267m), Whymper (6310m, Main), Politecnico (5820m, Central) and Nicolas Martinez (5570m, Eastern).

Chimborazo, located 150km south-southwest of Quito, is the highest mountain in Ecuador at 6310m. (click to enlarge)


Here’s a close up of glaciers and the Whymper (6310m, Main) summit of Chimborazo at sunset viewed from the Estrella del Chimborazo.

Here’s a close up of glaciers and the Whymper (6310m, Main) summit of Chimborazo at sunset viewed from the Estrella del Chimborazo. (click to enlarge)


Here is a view of Chimborazo from the dirt road in Chimborazo National Park. To the left are the glaciers of the Ventimilla (6267m) summit, to the right the Whymper (6310m, Main) summit, and below the Carrel Refuge (4800m).

Chimborazo from Chimborazo National Park, with the Carrel Refuge (4800m), the glaciers of the Ventimilla (6267m) summit, and the Whymper (6310m, Main) summit. (click to enlarge)

Updated: May 2009. Click on an image to see the FULL size with a caption.

Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador

Please see separate sections on Quito, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands.

Ecuador gets its name from the fact that it straddles the equator. The capital is Quito (2800m), the second highest capital in the world. Ecuador's "Avenue of the Volcanoes" is a 325 km long valley with many snow-covered volcanoes, the most famous being Cotopaxi (5897m) and Chimborazo (6310m), Ecuador's highest summit. In the early 1800s, Chimborazo was thought to be the highest mountain in the world. Because of the equatorial bulge, it is in fact the highest when measured from the centre of the earth.


Cotopaxi

Located about 75km south of Quito, Cotopaxi (5897m) is the second highest mountain in Ecuador, after Chimborazo. Cotopaxi has an almost symmetrical cone that rises from a highland plain of about 3800m, with a width at its base of about 23km. It has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, starting at 5000m. The first ascent of Cotopaxi was made by Wilhelm Reiss and Angel Escobar on November 28, 1872.


Chimborazo

Chimborazo, located 150km south-southwest of Quito, is the highest mountain in Ecuador at 6310m. Chimborazo has five summits - Ventimilla (6267m), Whymper (6310m, Main), Politecnico (5820m, Central) and Nicolas Martinez (5570m, Eastern). Chimborazo's majestic summit rises 2500m above the surrounding highlands. The top of Chimborazo is completely covered by glaciers with some north-eastern glacier arms flowing down to 4600m. With an elevation of 6310m, Chimborazo is just one degree south of the equator and the earth's diameter at the equator is greater than at Everest's latitude (nearly 28 north), with sea level also being elevated. So, despite being 2540m lower in elevation above sea level, it is 6384km from the Earth's center, 2.1 km farther than the summit of Everest.

Until the beginning of the 19C it was thought that Chimborazo was the highest mountain on Earth. The first ascent of Chimborazo was made by Briton Edward Whymper and the brothers Louis and Jean-Antoine Carrel via the ia the South West Ridge on January 4, 1880. As there were many critics who doubted that Whymper had reached the summit, later in the same year he climbed to the summit again choosing a different route (Pogyos) with the Ecuadorians David Beltran and Francisco Campana.


My Top 5 Memories Of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

1. Cotopaxi - absolutely beautiful symmetrical cone volcano rising from a highland plain.

2. Chimborazo - perfect view from the Estrella del Chimborazo mountain lodge.

3. Tambopaxi - comfortable lodge with a great view of Cotopaxi.

4. Estrella del Chimborazo mountain lodge - very comfortable lodge perfectly situated at the foot of Chimborazo.

5. Chimborazo - glaciers dropping down from the summit with close up views from trek beyond the Whymper Refuge.