Chimborazo, an inactive volcano, emerges perilous for climbers. Not at all like Pululahua, except as inactive, the trek up this one provides no safety net. The 20,702 feet above sea level provoke the most experienced professionals.
While Pululahua crater beckons visitors with a good road to its lip, Chimborazo first of all requires acclimatizing yourself by hiking the others first. At least 80% of those accepting the challenge need a guide.
Located between Banos and Guaranda, it towers the highest in Ecuador and - because of the equatorial bulge - the world.
Chimbo comes from the name of the very first settlers in this area. Razo means sleet or hail in Quichua. The meaning of the whole name translates "el jefe que vive en la nieve," which in turn translates into "the chief that lives in the snow."
About 25 years ago, the remains of a plane that had crashed and disappeared showed up in the crater.
The whole area offers a faunistic reserve. Hundreds of biscuna from the llama family romp and roam here.
A thermal healing spring bubbles in the area... a really great place to hang out for awhile, especially if you love llamas.
The lower refuge, named Hermanos Carrel ascends 4,800 metros high and claims easier access than the second higher one, Edward Wymper, which peaks at 5,000 metros.
Indians, called "hieleros" - meaning ice men - from Guaranda make the trip every day to bring ice in straw on horseback to prepare a delicious juice of different flavors for use as a popular hangover remedy. There's actually only one left.
At least stop to see and take lots of photos of the llamas and other fauna if you're visiting the Banos vicinity, and check out the refuge in the Chimborazo area, but leave the climb up the volcano to well-prepared professionals.
Angel Rea (of Quinde Adventure Tours) grew up in this area. Have him give you the grand tour of his beloved land.
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