The Chimborazo is the highest volcano and mountain in Ecuador and the furthest point from the center of the Earth because the Earth's diameter at the equatorial latitude is greater than at the Everest latitude (which is approximately 28 ° north) .

Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 n.e It is located in the central Andes, 150 km southwest of Quito and 20 km northwest of Riobamba. Measured from the center of the earth, it is the highest mountain on the planet exceeding the height of Everest by two km.

Until the 19th century, Chimborazo was considered the highest mountain on the planet. This reputation led to many attempts to conquer its peak, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries.

In 1802, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, accompanied by Aimé Bonpland and the Ecuadorian Carlos Montúfar tried to climb to the summit, but gave up at 5875 masl because of the soroche (discomfort felt at the heights due to thinning of the air, also called pointing). At that point, the Baron was at the highest altitude reached by any European in written history.

The first man who reached the summit was Edward Whymper with the brothers Louis and Jean Antoine Carrel in 1880. As there were many people who doubted this success, Whymper climbed again, on a different path the same year with the two Ecuadorians David Beltrán and Francisco Campaña.

Chimborazo Volcano Location

The top of Mount Chimborazo is only one degree south of Ecuador, so even though its elevation above sea level, which is 6,268 meters above sea level, 2530 m lower than Everest, is 6384.4 km from the center of the planet, which represents 1.5 km farther than the top of the Asian colossus. It is located 150 km southwest of Quito and 20 km northwest of Riobamba.

The Chimborazo is surrounded by the Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve, which forms a protected ecosystem to preserve the habitat of the native camelids of the Andes such as vicuña, llama, and alpaca.

How to get to Chimborazo Volcano?

To get from Riobamba to the first Carrel refuge there is a distance of 50 km; Those who have private transportation must take the Panamericana Sur until the “Cemento Chimborazo” Factory, continue to San Juan and from there in 40 minutes you will reach the Carrel Refuge By public transport you can travel by bus, from the land terminal depart buses from the Bolivar Fleet twice daily (8:45 and 13h15) that pass through the Carrel refuge.

 Photo Chimborazo volcano in Riobamba Ecuador

Chimborazo Volcano Glaciers

The upper part of Mount Chimborazo is completely covered by glaciers, with arms to the northeast that descend to 4,600 meters above sea level. Its glacier is the source of water for the population of the Ecuadorian provinces of Bolívar and Chimborazo. The Chimborazo glacier has declined in recent decades, apparently due to the combined influences of climate change, ash as a result of the recent volcanic activity of Tungurahua and the Phenomenon of the Child.

As in other glaciers in the Ecuadorian highlands, the ice from the Chimborazo glaciers has been extracted by ice makers to be sold in the markets of Guaranda and Riobamba. In ancient times, people transported ice to coastal cities, such as Babahoyo and Vinces.

Volcanism in the Chimborazo Volcano

Chimborazo is predominantly a stratovolcano. About 35,000 years ago the eruption of Chimborazo produced an avalanche of rubble, the deposits of those underlying Riobamba. Then it erupted several times during the Holocene, the last time around 550 AD ± 150 years. The Geophysical Institute of Ecuador (IGE) considers the Chimborazo volcano as potentially active.

Chimborazo Volcano Elevation

With a height of 6,268 meters above sea level, Mount Chimborazo is the highest mountain and volcano in Ecuador. The summit of Mount Everest reaches a greater height above sea level, but the summit of Mount Chimborazo is the furthest point on the surface of the center of the Earth with Huascaran in second place. This is because the Earth's shape is a geoid of revolution, a sphere flattened by the poles, resulting in a bulge around the Earth's equator.

This bulge is caused by the rotation of the Earth, and causes the diameter at the equator to be 43 km longer than the diameter of one pole to another. The Chimborazo is one degree south of Ecuador and the diameter of the Earth at the equator is greater than at the latitude of Everest (8848 masl), about 28 ° north. Despite being 2580 m lower than the height above sea level, it is 6384.4 km from the center of the Earth, 2168 m higher than the summit of Everest (6382.3 km from the center of the Earth).

Point closest to the Sun Chimborazo Volcano

The one who colloquially is known as "the point closest to the Sun" does not make it such. The inclination of the earth axis achieves, beyond the differences in height between the different points on the earth's crust, that the points closest to the Sun are, depending on the day and year, from those around the Tropic of Cancer (20- June 21, summer solstice in the northern hemisphere) to those bordering the Tropic of Capricorn (December 21-22, summer solstice in the southern hemisphere); on the other hand, the points of the globe on the equator are only candidates to be closest to the Sun in intermediate periods, of equinoxes (March 20-21, September 22-23).

Such is the case, so little is the terrestrial topography compared to what influences the inclination of the axis of the Globe in the calculation of which points are closer to the Sun, than during some days, around the summer solstice in the hemisphere North, the point of greatest depression on the planet, located somewhere in the Mariana Trench (northern hemisphere), will be closer to the Sun than the top of Aconcagua itself, the highest point above sea level of the entire southern hemisphere.

Chimborazo Volcano Climate

Being at the foot of the Chimborazo its climate is cold, however, at noon the sun almost always shines on the city and sometimes the temperature reaches 13 degrees Celsius.

Chimborazo Volcano Flora

Regarding the best known plants are ferns, Azorella pads, gentians, chuquirahua, architect, chocho flower, achupallas, mosses and lichens.

But the important thing about this ecosystem is the property of storing large amounts of water that seep into the earth because of the permeability of its soil, which leaks feed nearby lands by regulating the microclimate of the Sierra.

Chimborazo Volcano Fauna

The outstanding fauna is typical of the moor, mainly represented by dwarf deer, llamas, vicunas, deer, small rabbits, marsupial mice, wolfs of the moor, the cervicabra.

Among the birds that are generally observed are the white-chested, long-beaked and long-tailed quindes, the curiquinges, the common piggy or eaglet and the king of the Andes the condor, in addition there are the animals introduced by man such as sheep, llamas, vicuñas and horses.

 Photo Chimborazo volcano in Riobamba Ecuador

Chimborazo's last ice maker

The old tradition of the Chimborazo ice makers that still remains. Every Tuesday and Friday, the farmers of the town of Cuatro Esquinas go on donkeys from 06h00 to the Carlos Zambrano glacier. There with picks and shovels they remove the earth and discover the ice. They get blocks that weigh up to 30 kilos. They immediately wrap them with straw and begin their journey to the San Alfonso de Riobamba market where they sell them at a price between eight and ten dollars.

The Chimborazo Volcano Landscape

In the access road you can see unique landscapes such as the sunset in the moor while crossing, at full speed, a flock of vicuñas. In addition, from this volcano you can observe with patience the crossing of the train that descends between rocky alleys from Huigra and pinking the "Devil's Nose", towards Bucay, warm coastal canton.

Mountaineering on the Chimborazo volcano

This sport is practiced, by preference, in the King of the Ecuadorian Andes thanks to its imponderable beauty. The Liberator, Simón Bolívar, was the first to practice it.
Snow Hostel

At present, with the construction of the “Snow Hostel”, visitors have the facilities to spend the night in the volcano.

 Photo Chimborazo volcano in Riobamba Ecuador