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Top 10 Reasons We Love Climbing in Ecuador

A climber navigates a glacier on Cotopaxi.

Climbing in Ecuador has a lot to offer. We haven’t found the same combination of factors in any other high altitude climbing locations around the world. If you’ve climbed Rainier, Baker, or Shasta in the United States, look no further for your next climbing objective. From world-class climbing guides to unparalleled access to the mountains, and excellent cultural experiences, climbing in Ecuador is hands down our favorite place to test ourselves against high altitude.


1. First Love

Ecuador is the first trip our founder and CEO, Adrian Ballinger went to altitude on (1994) and the first high altitude trip he ever guided (1997). Adrian has been climbing in Ecuador for over 20 years, and Alpenglow has guided multiple trips to Ecuador every year since we were founded 15 years ago.


2. Unparalleled access to the mountains

Where else can you drive up to 15,000′, get out of a car and begin climbing? Well, yes, you can do it on the North Side of Everest but that’s about it! The access to altitude allows us to train on glaciers during the day while sleeping in the comfort of incredible lodges at night. In our Ecuador Climbing School, we climb a total of 3 different peaks, all within a couple hours drive of each other.


3. Stable weather throughout the year

As our Ecuadorian guides say, on any given day in Ecuador you can experience all 4 seasons. Due to its location on the equator, Ecuador climbing is blessed with a stable weather pattern throughout the year. Unlike most other notable mountain ranges, the Andes range in Ecuador can be climbed year-round.


4. Badass Mountain Guides

Ecuador breeds badass mountain guides and these are the people who lead our expeditions all over the world – when it comes to proficiency at high altitude, an easy smile, and confidence coupled with humility, our Ecuadorian guides are the best in the business. Carla, Topo, Jaime, Gaspar, and Nacho are highly trained guides who have hundreds of South American summits between them, not to mention first ascents in the Himalaya and record-breaking feats like the first South American woman to summit both Everest and K2 without oxygen.


5. It’s the best preparation for joining a Rapid Ascent™ expedition

Our Rapid Ascent™ expeditions are shorter than traditional expeditions. We achieve this by utilizing pre-acclimatization at home before flying to the mountains. When we’re pre-acclimatized we can forego the painful acclimatization in-country and head straight to base camps. To qualify for one of our Rapid Ascents like Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, or Everest you’ll need to have experience above 16,400ft / 5000m. Our Ecuador Climbing School is the perfect way to get experience above 5000m setting you up to join us on a Rapid Ascent™ expedition.


6. Quito is an incredible city

Not only is Quito the highest constitutional capital in the world, but it has direct access out of the city to peaks that are over 15,000′. Not only is touring the city a great way to acclimatize, but riding the Telepherique up to Rucu Pinchincha gives us access to altitude that is the perfect elevation to continue acclimatizing. Quito was also the first city to be declared a UNESCO world heritage site. The old world Cathedrals harken back to European cathedrals and the downtown experience is second to none.


7. Landscape is fantastic both in and out of mountains

Lush jungles, high deserts, tropical beaches, snow-capped peaks dotting the skyline… sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? You can have it all in Ecuador; from climbing high altitude glaciated peaks, to surfing warm water waves, what more could you want?


8. Getting to Ecuador is Easy

You can be in Ecuador within a day of travel from all major US airport hubs. Visas can be obtained on arrival, and a serious perk is the currency. Ecuador operates on the U.S. Dollar. That’s right, no parsing exchange rates with complicated math and wondering if you are getting ripped off. Bring your dollars and spend them there!


9. So many things to do after the climb

From the Galapagos to rain forest tours, to hot springs and rock climbing… Ecuador offers many unique adventures that should not be missed. This also makes it easy to leave family behind while you go climb!


10. It’s the perfect next step following Rainier, Mt Baker, or Shasta in the U.S

If you’ve climbed Rainier, Shasta or Baker in the United States you’re probably looking at what’s next. Ecuador has your answer in spades. If all the reasons above don’t convince you, give us a call and we can fill you in on more reasons why we love climbing in Ecuador.


For information on the Ecuador Ring of Fire Ski Expedition, Ecuador Climbing School, or any of our other expeditions check out our website. For any questions call our office at 877-873-5376 or send us an email We hope to climb with you soon!