Skip to Content

Ecuador vs. Peru Climbing School

Mountaineer raising their arms in achievement while climbing Cotopaxi on Alpenglow Expeditions' Cotopaxi Rapid Ascent Expedition.

Embarking on a Climbing School expedition with Alpenglow is a thrilling and transformative experience for anyone interested in mountaineering. We offer two enticing options for learning the basics of high altitude mountaineering, each set in a breathtaking South American location. Ecuador Climbing School and Peru Climbing School are two distinct yet equally captivating programs, and choosing between them can be a challenging decision. In this blog, we’ll compare these two trips, delving into their unique characteristics, challenges, and rewards, to help you make an informed choice.

Location and Scenery

Ecuador Climbing School: Ecuador, a country straddling the equator, is a land of stunning volcanic landscapes and diverse ecosystems. The program takes you to iconic peaks like Cotopaxi and Cayambe, providing opportunities to climb active volcanoes. Ecuador’s varied terrain, from lush forests to high-altitude glaciers, offers a variety landscapes to explore.

Embark on an unforgettable journey with Alpenglow Expeditions' Ecuador Climbing School. Learn essential high-altitude mountaineering skills and prepare for the ultimate challenge: conquering Cayambe, Ecuador's third-highest peak. Elevate your adventure with an optional 7-day extension to tackle Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Your perfect introduction to international climbing awaits.

Peru Climbing School: Peru is known for the magnificent Andes mountain range, and the program is based in the Cordillera Blanca, home to numerous awe-inspiring peaks. This region boasts breathtaking scenery and an array of high-altitude challenges, including Yanapaccha and Pisco, which are great objectives to set your sights on after PCS. The scenery is strikingly different from Ecuador, characterized by dramatic glaciated peaks and rugged valleys.

Join Peru Climbing School by Alpenglow Expeditions to develop high-altitude mountaineering skills in one of the most stunning mountain ranges on the planet. Small team size and a low ratio of climbers to guides (3:1) make it a perfect learning environment to hone in on skills and set yourself up for success on bigger mountains around the world.

Climbing Objectives

Ecuador Climbing School: On this mountaineering course expedition we will focus on education, building technical skills, and gaining mountaineering experience on an attempt to summit Cayambe, the third tallest peak in Ecuador. Cayambe’s highest point is at 18,996’/5,790m and it is heavily glaciated. The expedition extension presents the opportunity to cement your new skills as habit, attempting to summit Cotopaxi (19,347’/5,897m) and Chimborazo (20,564’/6,263m).

Peru Climbing School: We will begin climbing Yanapaccha (17,913’/5,460m) after several days of acclimatization hikes, learning about glaciology, route assessment, and technical safety skills. On our next objective, we will attempt to summit Pisco (18,871’/5,752m), which is a true expedition peak.

Cultural Experience

Ecuador Climbing School: Ecuador’s rich culture and history are integral to the climbing school experience. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with our local guides and learn about Ecuador in a truly authentic way. Visits to historical sites, including Quito, can enhance your appreciation for Ecuador’s culture.

Peru Climbing School: Peru, with its Incan heritage and vibrant traditions, offers a deep cultural experience. You’ll explore the city of Huaraz and interact with local communities, gaining insights into the region’s history and way of life. This cultural immersion complements your climbing adventure.

Altitude and Acclimatization

Ecuador Climbing School: The Ecuador program starts at a lower altitude than its Peruvian counterpart, which can be beneficial for acclimatization. Ultimately, the objectives in Ecuador are a higher elevation than Peru so our gradual increase in altitude during our acclimatization hikes are very important.

Peru Climbing School: Peru’s Cordillera Blanca presents higher altitudes right from the start, which can be more challenging for acclimatization. We will start our journey in Huaraz (10,013’/3,052m), However, the objectives in Peru are at a slightly lower elevation than Ecuador.

Expedition Length

Ecuador Climbing School: 9 days with an optional 7 day extension

Peru Climbing School: 15 days


Ecuador Climbing School: $3700 per person, $2,250 to add on the extension.

Peru Climbing School: $4,950 per person

Women Specific Trip

Ecuador Climbing School: ECS is different than Peru in a major way, we offer a Women’s Ecuador Climbing School. Created and led by women, for women, this trip brings together wonderful women looking to learn from one of the best female mountaineering guides, Carla Perez, in her home country!

Ecuador mountaineering courses Mountaineering school in Ecuador Andes mountain climbing lessons Ecuadorian alpine education Top mountaineering instructors in Ecuador Learn alpinism in Ecuador Ecuador mountain guiding programs Climbing and mountaineering courses Ecuador high-altitude training Andean peak climbing school


Choosing between Ecuador Climbing School and Peru Climbing School depends on your personal preferences, timeline, and price range. Both Climbing Schools offer an accessible high-altitude mountaineering experience, making them a great choice for beginners. In the end, both trips promise unforgettable moments, breathtaking scenery, and the opportunity to hone your mountaineering skills.

Interested in learning which trip is better for you? Click HERE to ask questions!