Cayambe is a massive extinct volcano that rises to approx. 18,996 feet and is located about 65 km northeast of Quito. It is the 3rd highest mountain in Ecuador and the 3rd highest in the Americas north of the equator. The summit is north of the equator but the equator runs through the glacier on the south side of the mountain at about the 15,100 foot mark. Because of this, Cayambe enjoys the pleasure of being the highest point on the earth's surface that the equator runs through.

Hiking up from where the van dropped us off towards the hut, with Joey leading the way

The Cayambe hut (~15,250 ft) where we would spend the next two nights

Looking up at the Hermosa Glacier. As we would find on all of the mountains, the clouds like to spoil the views.

For a brief moment, the clouds departed to show the upper portion of the mountain. The summit is behind this upper part.

Looking at the lower part of the glacier from the hut. Like many mountain glaciers, this one is receding at a pretty rapid pace. The lower part of the glacier is primarily ice, with little snow covering it. The heavier snow accumulations are kept higher up.

The hut seen from the rocks above

Looking south from the glacier down the valley

The stream in the middle is glacial runoff. Only about five years ago, the glacier itself filled this valley, or at least part of it.

The day after arriving we went out to the glacier for some skills training
(l to r) Andy, Jim, Diana, Joey, and Eva

Here I am testing out my walking skills

Andy leading the way as we practiced uphill walking techniques

That's me heading up

Here I am practicing ascending a steep ice pitch using my ice axe and crampon front points

Coming down on a rappel

I'm relaxing with Hernan (left). Hernan is a local Ecuadorian guide that we used to supplement Joey on our climbs since there are five of us.

Do I look relaxed?

Eva heading up an ice rib

Coming down with Diana. I was a little nervous descending the steeper solid ice areas.

The crampons really give you a solid grip on the ice

The following night we started the ascent leaving at 1 a.m. I was on Hernan's rope team with Andy and Diana. Here I am with Hernan after reaching the summit after the 7 1/2 hour climb.

The top.... time to pull out the summit champagne (Mt. Dew)! As you can see, the visibility was nill.


Andy with Hernan

After about a 3 hour descent, we came off the glacier. We still had about an hour to go to the hut.
(l to r) Eva, Diana, Andy

Jim and Joey (r)

Looking back at the glacier we had just come down

Resting at the hut after the long climb

The following pictures come from various sites on the web