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Women’s Ecuador Climbing School

Female climber standing on the slope of an Ecuadorian volcano during Alpenglow Expeditions' Women's Ecuador Climbing School.
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Women’s Ecuador Climbing School

Intermediate 16 days Ecuador
Learn high-altitude mountaineering in two weeks in Ecuador. Climb technical routes on the high peaks of Ecuador on this all-female expedition. Carla Perez, the first South American woman to summit Everest without oxygen, leads this expedition. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to alpine climb Ecuador’s big, beautiful mountains as part of an all-female mountaineering team.
Aug 04, 2024 – Aug 19, 2024
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Female climber standing on the slope of an Ecuadorian volcano during Alpenglow Expeditions' Women's Ecuador Climbing School.
Female climber standing on the Summit of an Ecuadorian volcano during Alpenglow Expeditions' Women's Ecuador Climbing School.

This Ecuador expedition is tailored for and led by women, with the intention of teaching women mountaineering principles in a supportive environment.

This Ecuador expedition will start off with learning alpine climbing techniques in more technical, lower-elevation mountains in El Altar and finish on the summit of Chimborazo, giving us the full Ecuadorian climbing experience.

Fitness

Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

Technical

Prior roped climbing, cramponing, and ice axe skills are required.

Altitude

It is required that climbers have prior experience at altitudes up to 14,000′ and it is strongly recommended that climbers have prior experience at altitudes over 15,000′.
Female climbers standing on the slope of an Ecuadorian volcano during Alpenglow Expeditions' Women's Ecuador Climbing School.

Women’s Ecuador Climbing Expedition Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Quito

Leave your home for Ecuador, arriving into Quito (9,500’/2,896m) in the evening. Our guides will pick you up and bring you to our hotel, a local family-run place close to excellent restaurants and the tourist center of the city.

Activity: Arrive in Quito, EC
Sleeping Elevation: 9,300’/2,835m
Lodging: San Jose de Puembo
Meals: None

Day 2
Rock Climb and Skills Day

We’ll spend the day climbing at one of the local crags near Quito and working on skills. This will give us a chance to dial in our rope skills for the climbs to come.

Activity: Arrive in Quito, EC
Sleeping Elevation: 9,300’/2,835m
Lodging: San Jose de Puembo
Meals: None

Day 3
Climb Rucu Pichincha

Today we’ll go on an acclimatization trek to the summit of Rucu Pichincha (15,696’/4,784m). This hike will help us acclimate and keep our fitness. Tomorrow we’ll leave Quito and make our way to mountains.

Activity: Acclimatization hike
Distance Covered: 6 miles
Moving Hours: 4-5 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss: +/- 2,400’/732m
Sleeping Elevation: 9,300’/2,835m
Lodging: San Jose de Puembo
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4
Trek to Base Camp

Having spent the last few days preparing in Quito, it is time to head into the mountains. We’ll start the day with quick drive to Sangay National Park and “El Altar”, where will will then start trekking to the “Italian Base Camp” at around 15,000’/4,600m. This will serve as our base camp for the next four days as we make our summit bids on Pulpito, Monja Grande, and El Obispo.

Activity: Drive to El Altar, Hike
Distance Covered: 4 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +4000’/1,219m
Sleeping Elevation: 15,000’/4,572m
Lodging: Italian Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5
Climb Pulpito

Today will be our first full day of climbing as we set off for the summit of Pulpito, a secondary summit to El Obispo. We’ll ascend slopes of ice and snow to the summit just below 16,404’/5,000m. This will be a great introduction to the climbing that we will be doing for the next several days, as the subsequent peaks are on the same ridgeline. We’ll return to camp and prepare to climb again the following day.

Activity: Climb Pulpito
Distance Covered: 2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +/- 1000’
Sleeping Elevation”: 15,000’/4,572m
Lodging: Italian Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6
Climb Monja Grande

Having had a successful ascent of Pulpito yesterday, we will once again leave Base Camp for a summit bid. Today we will be climbing Monja Grande (16,929’/5,160m). Monja Grande is a technical peak with mixed rock, snow, and ice that shares a saddle with El Obispo.

The approach is long but fairly straightforward, moving through some crevasse fields to the El Obispo – Monja Grande Col. From here there are several steep pitches of soft ice and snow before reaching the summit. After summiting we’ll descend back down to base camp. We will climb +/-2,200’/700m today.

Activity: Climb Monja Grande
Distance Covered: 2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +/-2,000’/610m
Sleeping Elevation: 15,000’/4,572m
Lodging: Italian Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7
Rest Day

After two hard days of climbing, we’ll take the day to rest our bodies and prepare to climb El Obispo tomorrow.

Activity: Rest Day
Sleeping Elevation: 15,000’/4,572m
Lodging: Italian Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8
Climb El Obispo

Today we’ll make our way to the summit of El Obispo. We’ll start by retracing our steps to the Obispo – Monja Grande Col. From here there are several pitches of steep snow and mixed rock to reach the top of the hanging glacier. From here two pitches of class V rock climbing protect the summit. After we finish the last two rock pitches, we’ll find ourselves standing at 17,450’/5,391m and the summit of El Obispo. We’ll descend back down to base camp and get ready for the trek out of El Altar.

Activity: Climb El Obispo
Distance Covered: 2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +2,500’/762m
Sleeping Elevation: 15,000’/4,572m
Lodging: Italian Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9
Trek Out and Travel to Estrella de Chimborazo

Today we will hike out of El Altar and drive to Estrella del Chimborazo.

Activity: Travel to Estrella de Chimborazo
Distance Covered: 4 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: -4,000’/1,219m (driving)
Sleeping Elevation: 12,950’/3,947m
Lodging: Estrella de Chimborazo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10
Rest Day

We’ll spend the day getting some much needed rest in Estrella before we start our climb of Chimborazo.

Activity: Rest Day
Sleeping Elevation: 12,950’/3,947m
Lodging: Estrella de Chimborazo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11
Hike to Base Camp of Nicolas Martinez

Today we’ll have a short drive to the base of Chimborazo and then we’ll begin our climb by trekking to the base of Nicolas Martinez, a secondary peak on Chimborazo topping out at 18,274’/5,570m.

Activity: Trek to Base Camp of Nicolas Martinez
Distance Covered: 3 miles
Moving Hours: 3-5 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss: + 1500’/457m
Sleeping Elevation: 12,300’/3,749m
Lodging: Nicolas Martinez Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12
Climb Nicolas Martinez and Polictecnica

This will be the first day of our two-day ascent of the east ridge of Chimborazo. We’ll start by climbing to the summit of Nicolas Martinez at 18,274’/5,570m, before continuing on to the summit of Polictecnica at 19,094’/5,820m. We’ll continue to the far side of Polictenica and set up high camp on the Polictenica col.

Activity: Summit Nicolas Martinez and set up high camp
Distance Covered: 1.7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,000/914m
Sleeping Elevation: 15,300’/4,663m
Lodging: Polictecnica High Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13
Summit Chimborazo

Today we’ll start up the east face and work our way to the summit of Chimborazo. The day will see us climb 2,600’/800m to the summit. We’ll have a quick celebration atop Ecuador’s tallest peak, and then start our descent down the “Normal” Route of Chimborazo. After our successful summit of Chimborazo we’ll load up the van and return to Quito.

Activity: Drive to Chimborazo
Distance Covered: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: +2,600’/792m, – 4,000’/1,219m
Sleeping Elevation: 9,300’/2,835m
Lodging: San Jose de Puembo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Days 14-15
Extra Days

We’ve built in two extra days in case there is poor weather or other factors that are holding us back throughout the expedition.

Day 16
Fly Home

Depart Quito for home. Flights are generally late the night before (after 11pm) or early in the morning.

Women’s Ecuador Climbing School Trip Packet

Women’s Ecuador Climbing Expedition Questions

Below are some answers to commonly asked questions
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