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From Backcountry Skier to Ski Mountaineer on Ecuador’s Ring of Fire

A skier stands on a blank snowfield beneath the summit of Cayambe and cloudy skies above.

If you’re looking to delve into the world of ski mountaineering, the Ecuador Ring of Fire Ski Expedition is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills while perfecting familiar ones in a unique high altitude environment. This expedition offers hands-on experience on some of Ecuador’s most spectacular volcanoes: Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo.

The trip is designed to teach essential ski mountaineering skills. Participants will learn glacier travel, crevasse rescue, and efficient climbing techniques specific to skiing and splitboarding. The focus is on practical learning, with experienced guides providing instruction and support throughout the journey.

Starting at 9,000′ in Quito, we acclimatize by exploring the city, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, before heading to the mountains. The first major climb is Cayambe (18,997’/5,790m), Ecuador’s third highest peak. This ascent involves navigating a steep, rocky moraine, glaciers, and vast snowfields, perfect for practicing new skills.

Next, the team moves to Cotopaxi, the second tallest peak in Ecuador at 19,347’/5,897, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. The climb up Cotopaxi offers a mix of steep and moderate slopes, providing a variety of terrain to hone ski mountaineering techniques we learned on Cayambe.

Finally, the expedition tackles Chimborazo (20,564′/6,263m), the highest peak in Ecuador. This climb is more challenging and is the perfect culmination of all the skills we’ve learned so far. After a short celebration at the summit, we will start our ski descent. This technical and exhilarating ski descent will see our team weave down the snow slope as we get incredible turns at 20,000′. After a long and hard day, we’ll return to Quito and prepare to depart the following day.

Interested to take your backcountry skiing to new heights? Click HERE to read a firsthand account from one of our team members on the Ring of Fire, and schedule a meeting with us to talk about the expedition.


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