Chimborazo is not only Ecuador’s highest snow-capped peak, but the closest point to the moon from our planet. It is one of the mountains that inspired many leading figures of centuries past, such as Simón Bolivar, Frederic Church, Alexander von Humboldt, Edward Whymper and La Condamine. While Chimborazo is still a fascinating destination, ironically, few take advantage of all it has to offer.
In these pages, we hope to change that, presenting some of our highlights. They may be little known today, but we hope, little by little, others will be lured to explore the beauty and magnificence surrounding this world-famous feature of the country, which is found not only on its coat of arms, but in the dreams of history’s great minds.
Chimborazo may be the most famous sight in the Riobamba area, but many visitors are intimidated by it, or believe it is only for mountaineers or adventure seekers. They skirt around it, visiting Guano, hopping on the train to Alausí and the Devil’s Nose, they may even venture out to Ozogoche Lake. All the while the great Chimborazo stands, patiently, waiting for anyone who wishes to pay his or her respects. Anyone can enjoy its slopes: those seeking the outdoors, new destinations, breathtaking landscapes, intense contact with nature and a deeper look into the country natural spectacles.
The great mountain rises from every corner of the city: imposing, protective, posing a tantalizing challenge. Obviously, human instinct means we want to reach the very top and touch what we see, no matter how distant it may seem, and even if it takes centuries to do so. Tenacity, ingenuity and a sometime super-human effort has enabled man to climb Mount Chimborazo. While reaching the summit provides satisfaction for those who seek these types of challenges —it requires specific acclimatization, training, a unique passion — there are sites to be enjoyed all over the mountain: inspiring places where culture, nature and history come together. One of the most recommendable approaches to Chimborazo is located south of the volcano’s crater, on a route that circles this portion of the mountain and eventually leads to the city of Guaranda.