Are you eager to dive headfirst into the world of high-altitude mountaineering, but don’t know where to start? If you’re researching what tools and skills you’ll need to become a self-sufficient climber, look no further than Ecuador and Peru. These countries provide accessible peaks, engaging terrain, and rich mountain cultures to take the local climber with limited experience to the next level of becoming a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary climber equipped with the skills to take on the peaks of your dreams.
Can You Join Us in Ecuador and Peru?
The short answer is yes: anyone can join us in Ecuador or Peru, regardless of any prior mountaineering experience.
The only requirements to join the Ecuador and Peru climbing schools is excellent physical fitness, the ability to spend long days moving in the mountains through challenging terrain, and a strong desire to learn and grow as a climber and member of the community. If you’re looking to be absolutely certain that your fitness is up to par, we offer customized training plans specifically tailored for mountain adventurers. We partner with an excellent personal trainer who can get you prepared for an expedition with us.
Why Ecuador and Peru?
In Ecuador, an equatorial climate offers a year-round climbing season with relatively stable weather conditions, allowing us to run expeditions to its volcanic peaks during all months of the year. For this very reason, Ecuador is the most readily available high altitude playground in the world allowing us to offer Climbing Schools nearly every month of the year.. If you are an aspiring mountaineer but have a busy schedule, Ecuador is the place to truly break into your mountaineering career given its year round access.
On top of this, it boasts a vast array of accessible 5,000- and 6,000-meter peaks, all within a few hours’ drive from the capital city of Quito. Not only that, but most of the trail heads start above a mind-boggling 15,000’, making easy access to truly high-altitude glaciers all within a short drive from comfortable accommodations at lower elevations. Ecuador’s numerous volcanoes make for complex and engaging terrain combined with high-altitude conditions that are perfect for training to scale bigger mountains around the world.
Ecuador is also home to a majority of our international guides who have carefully crafted your climbing itinerary, from acclimatization hikes all the way to the summit. With decades of collective experience and countless ascents on the very peaks you will climb, there is no better team to guide you on your journey to become a mountaineer. We know these mountains in Ecuador as well as we know our backyard here in Tahoe.
Additionally, Ecuador’s well-developed mountain infrastructure allows us to split our time between on-mountain camps and warm, comfortable lodges on Cayambe (18,996’/5,790m), Cotopaxi (19,347’/5,897m), and Chimborazo (20,564’/6,268m). This allows us to gain on-site experience while also creating ample time for our bodies to relax and recover after long stretches on the mountain.
Peru shares a lot of similarities with Ecuador, which is why it boasts a climbing school. However, it varies in one significant way: in Peru, we hike in and set up basecamps, operating mainly out of on-mountain camps throughout the itinerary. For climbers ready to be fully engaged in a big mountain expedition, Peru is the perfect opportunity to hone and advance your skills on formidable but attainable peaks.
Our two objectives, Yanapaccha (17,913’./5,460m) and Pisco (18,871’./5,752m), are both accessible from base camp, offering the exact type of terrain needed to follow thoughtful and intentional skills progression on the same mountains where you’ll put those skills to the test. Combining camp craft with access to moderate terrain right outside your tent is the whole package.
Add in easy flights, beautiful cultures and cities, year round access, and perfect, moderate yet high-altitude terrain, and you’ve got our two choices for incredible locations that are perfectly suited to the climber who wants to break out of their backyard adventures and dive into the world of high-altitude climbing. With a wealth of experience between both our local guides and our around-the-clock logistics team, we’ve spent decades climbing these mountains and know the routes from top to bottom. Regardless of your ability level, Ecuador and Peru are two must-visit destinations.
What Will You Learn?
Our schools are founded in education, and each day is a hands-on experience with new lessons to add to your climbing and mountaineering tool kit. For the true beginner, you’ll go from shaping the most basic skills like acclimatization and equipment selection to gaining hard skills on the mountain, all the way through the fine details and nuances of expedition life and high altitude camp craft. If you’ve been up a few peaks in the past, you’ll be shaking off the rust, sharpening your existing skills, and learning new, advanced techniques for navigating progressively more technical and challenging terrain.
Firstly, you’ll learn how your body acclimatizes. For any mountaineer whether novice or expert, altitude affects us all, and so our first step is to prepare our most important and valuable tool: our body. Both itineraries created for our Ecuador and Peru expeditions start with learning how to efficiently acclimatize. In Ecuador, we will enjoy touring the majestic city of Quito (9,350’/2850m) for a day before tagging Rucu Pichinca (15,696′/4,784m), a volcanic peak that towers above Quito. In Peru, we will touch down in the capital city of Lima at 9,461’/2,883m and quickly head to Huaraz (10,013’/3,052m), the climbing capital of South America. From there, we will continue on acclimatization hikes to progressively higher elevations before making our summit bids.
Second, you will learn technical mountaineering skills. Both climbing schools are educational, immersive expeditions where climbers will learn the basics of high-altitude skills such as route assessment, roped glacier travel, crampon and ice ax use, and crevasse rescue. Within the first days of setting foot on the glacier we focus on self arrest exercises and work on the finer points of climbing with crampons and an ax before diving in deeper with roped rescue in the event of a crevasse fall. We explore all of these in depth, building up the skills and knowledge base for an epic and well-earned summit push.
Last but not least, we gain experience learning the nuanced but equally important skills of life on an expedition: from base camp operations to high-altitude camping skills, itinerary planning in the evenings combined with proper forecast analysis, time management, and teamwork in extreme environments.After spending a week or more in either Ecuador or Peru, you’ll have sharpened your skills on moving through daily life on an expedition building competence and confidence for your next big objective.
Join us for the Expedition of a Lifetime
Educating mountain travelers who have a passion for climbing is at the heart of all operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. We are all here as part of a team that understands the transformative power of holistic experiences in the mountains, where we can push ourselves to realize our goals and potential. More than this, we are here to break down barriers and open the door to a wider community of those who either share the same passion or are eager to discover their own. Joining a climbing school in Ecuador or Peru is your opportunity to lay the groundwork for an exciting and fulfilling mountaineering career that will take you to high, remote peaks around the world.
If you are looking to learn, grow, and be a part of a welcoming international climbing community, look no further than Ecuador or Peru. Our climbing schools are designed specifically with beginners in mind to help you evolve from novice to expert under the guidance and supervision of our certified guides, instructors, and expedition leaders. Give us a call at 877-873-5376 or send an email to info@alpenglowexpeditions to chat with our staff about Ecuador and Peru.