This inactive stratovolcano is situated in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes and is, with a height of 6268m, the highest mountain and volcano in Ecuador. Besides that it is also the highest peak near the equator and due to the equatorial bulge its summit is the farthest point on the Earth`s surface from the Earth`s center. This is a major reason why Chimborazo climbing tours are so intriguing.
Furthermore the Chimborazo has four summits, which are like stairs up to the top. The highest summit is the Whymper. The statovolcano has low slopes at the bottom that get steeper the higher up the mountain. 35000 years ago, the Chimborazo collapsed and caused an avalanche that dammed the Rio Chambe and a lake occured. In the past 10000 years there has been at least seven eruptions but now the Chimborazo is inactive.
At the occidental foot of the Chimborazo, at 4860m, are ruins that could still be from the prehispanic time. These ruins could describe a ceremonial place of sacrifices. Marco Cruz who is one of the most experienced andenists never stopped studying the ruins and taking care of them. Now there are studies about this place, that show that walls weren´t built by any traveller or alpinists expedition in the 19th century.
There are several theories and stories regarding to the origin of the name Chimborazo. In the dialects of Quichua “chimba” means “on the other side” and “razu” means “ice” or “snow”. The Quichua tribes would say that Chimborazo is a hispanicized pronunciation of “Chimbarazu”, which means the snow on the other side. It was also used to call Urcurazu, which means Mountain of Ice. In the mysticism, Chimborazo represents the Father and the Tungurahua is seen as the mother. They say, because of this love the Guagua (baby) Pichincha, another volcano, was born. But Chimborazo always had other lovers, so the Tungurahua was and still is really jealous, for that it always explodes.
In 1746 the volcano was explored by French academicians from the French Geodesic Mission, who´s mission was to determine the sphericity of the Earth. In the beginning of the 19th century the people still thought that Chimborazo was the highest mountain on Earth, but today everyone knows that the Mount Everest is the highest.
In the expedition of Baron Alexander von Humboldt, he and his companios wanted to reach the summit. At a point of 5,875m they had to return suffering from altitude sickness, but they were higher than any European was recorded earlier.
In the year of 1831 Jean Baptiste Boussingault and Colonel Hall, reached the highest point of 6006m so far. Finally in 1880 Edward Whymper, Louis Carrel and Jean-Antoine Carrel managed to climb until the summit.
In 1976 SEATA flight 232 disappeared in the route from Quito to Cuenca. This airplane carried 55 passengers and four crew members. 27 years later the bodies were found at 5400m on the rarely used Eastern route Integral.
This volcano is full with mysteries and stories, so it is also one of themost famous volcanoes in South America. But not just that, due to his height, you have an incredible view over the Andes and also to the now active Cotopaxi.
Dont hesitate and get in touch with us to get you with Gulliver Expeditions to the top of the closest point to the sun.