Located at an altitude of 2850 meters and surrounded by green mountains and glacial peaks, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in South America.  With more than 1,000 years of history, it was declared as an UNESCO cultural site in 1978.  It has the most preserved historical center in Latin America, with many 450- year-old buildings constructed on what was an Incan capital city.




A beautiful traditional city full of Andean legends, it rests at the foot of the Imbabura volcano.  With its incredibly beautiful surroundings, it is considered a paradise in the Ecuadorian north.  80% of its population is indigenous.  They are proud to maintain their traditional way of life dedicated to the creation of internationally known fabrics and crafts.



Pasochoa (4200 m, 13779 ft)

This mountain is located one hour from Quito.  It is more of an acclimatization hike than anything.  On this hike lasts about 4-5 hours and results in a 700 m (2296 ft) m elevation gain.  The beginning of the hike is really interesting, as it traverses one of the highest forest reserves in South America with many unique Andean plant species.



Imbabura (4580 m, 15026 ft)

This is an extinct volcano situated 60 kilometers northwest of Quito, and about 10 kilometers from Ibarra, the capital of Imbabura Province.  It is a tough climb, about 6-8 hours up and back, which provides a great training opportunity and acclimatization.  On clear days one has awe-inspiring views of Cayambe and Lake Yahuarcocha (yahuar= blood, cocha= lake). Lake Yahuarcocha is a historic site, where the definitive battle between the Quitu-Cara and Inca took place, with the latter winning.


Ruco Pichincha (4650 m, 15256 ft)

The trail head to this mountain is accessed by way of the Quito cable car.  Hikers begin at an altitude of 3,950 meters (12960 ft).  It is one of the most beautiful and most traversed trails, as one has excellent views of the entire city and surrounding areas the whole way.



Guagua Pichincha (4700 m, 15420 ft)

This volcano, one of the most active in Ecuador, towers about the city of Quito.  At the beginning, the smell of sulfur is evident.  At the summit, the southern sector of Quito is visible, as are the mountains Ruco Pichincha and Padre Encantado and the eastern range of the Andes.



Padre Encantado (4600 m, 15092 ft)

This is a rock conglomerate that helps in acclimatization and where it is also possible to rock climb.


Ruminahui (4700 m, 15420 ft)

This mountain is located within the Cotopaxi National Park, just in front of the north fact of Cotopaxi.  One has panoramic views of Cotopaxi and its surroundings during the climb.  It has three peaks, which are the North, Central, and South.  The normal route will take us to the Central (4500 m, 14764 ft).  The views make this climb one of the most enjoyable in a tour.


El Corazon (4800 m, 15748 ft)

This mountain is situated close to the town of Machachi, considered the capital of the Chagras.  Its location and height make this mountain a very strategic alternative in the quest to acclimatize.  The entire climb takes between 6 and 9 hours.  From the summit one has fantastic views of both the eastern and western Andes ranges, with the deep, green, valleys between them.


Illiniza North (5160 m, 16930 ft)

This climb is perfect for getting ready for a glacier or a mountain higher than 6000 meters (19685 ft).  It is located in the Illiniza Ecological Reserve.  There are two routes to the summit, and weather conditions determine the way.  The climb gets a little technical towards the summit, which gives the climber the chance to practice repelling.



Illiniza South (5260 m, 17257 ft)

Is the fifth highest mountain in Ecuador and has one of the most technical routes in the country.  The normal route is from the refuge up a 50-55 degree ramp of ice or snow with a 150 meter ( 492 ft) elevation gain.  From its summit one has a panoramic view of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.



Cayambe (5785 m, 18980 ft)

This is one of the most beautiful mountains in Ecuador, and the third-highest mountain in the country.  It offers a series of possibilities to practice rock and ice climbing, and it is ideal for a complete glacier school.  Also, its refuge is one of the best in South America.



Cotopaxi (5897 m, 19347 ft)

Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world and the second highest peak in Ecuador.  Her summit rises from 3800 meters ( 12467 ft) in a perfect cone-shaped symmetry.  She is considered one of the most beautiful and emblematic mountains in the world.  We use the normal route, situated on the north face.



Antizana (5752 m, 18871 ft)

Many mountaineers consider this mountain to be the most beautiful in Ecuador, not only because of its form but also due to the fact that it is in one of the most biodiverse areas in the country.  It presents technical routes, especially in the crevasses surrounding the summit.  Consequently, those who undertake the challenge of climbing it need to be experienced climbers.  It is also one of the few mountains that present the opportunity of camping, as there is no refuge.  It is common to see condors- the symbolic bird of the Andes- on its slopes.


Chimborazo (6310 m, 20702 ft)

The highest mountain in Ecuador, and the farthest point from the center of earth due to equatorial bulge.  We follow the normal route up the western flank of the mountain, beginning at the Whymper refuge (5000 m, 16404 ft).  The route goes through the castle section located at 5400 m (17716 ft) and continues steep (35 degrees) and straight until reaching the veintimilla summit at 6267 m (20561 ft).  Another 45 minutes and we arrive to the main summit at 6310 m (20702 ft).


Rock and  Glacier Climbing School

In Quito and the surrounding valley and mountain areas there are excellent places to rock climb.
Our rock climbing programs offer activities designed for beginners, those who are at an intermediate level, and for those who are advanced.

Due to their proximity to Quito and other major Andean cities, Cotopaxi and Cayambe are excellent places for climbers to learn basic and advanced glacier techniques.
On Cotopaxi, climbers will learn how to use crampons and the ice ax and a number of different climbing techniques such as the French, the German, and the American. 
Cayambe affords climbers a more advanced course due to the irregularity of its glacier.  In addition to the aforementioned activities, we also teach rescue from crevasses, self-rescue, and vertical climbing.

There exists the possibility of having an introductory seminar on Classic Rock Climbing.

These courses exist to help our clients develop their technical ability in the use of the ice axe, crampons, and ropes not only in Ecuador but also in the rest of South America and the world as well.


Copyright © 2015 - Heart of the Andes    
Henry Moya    (593) 9 330 6443