Visiting Chimborazo Reserve in One Day
Last Sunday, on the third of September, we were visiting Chimborazo Reserve in one day.
We woke up at 6:30 in the morning and left our house at 8:30. Initially, we had to walk 5 kilometers through half of the town to reach the highway and start hitchhiking. It didn’t take much time, but we stopped a man who asked for money for the ride.
However, he agreed to take us for free to the next road, and that’s how we traveled another 5 kilometers. Then he dropped us off and picked up other people who could pay him, driving past us and waving as we waited for another car.
A few minutes later, a man and his son stopped. We don’t remember his name, but his son’s name was Adler. We remembered it because there is a city with that name in Russia.
They took us almost to the entrance of the Chimborazo Reserve. The man offered to drive us to the entrance for 20 dollars, but of course, we declined. The bus from the city of Riobamba to the entrance of the Chimborazo Reserve costs only 2 dollars per person. Why would we pay ten times more for just the remaining 9 kilometers? We got out of the car and started waiting for another one.
The entrance fee to the Chimborazo Reserve
A deaf and mute person was talking to a native woman on the other side of the road. Then, he tried to communicate with us from the same distance. We showed him “yes” several times and said goodbye.
Then, Juan and Victoria from the city of Canar stopped and told us not to worry about money and to get in the car. They were traveling for work to the city of Ambato and gave us a ride to our destination.
The entrance to Chimborazo Reserve is free, but you need to register. We provided our passports to the ranger, and after a couple of minutes, he returned them to us and said, “Listo!” which means “Ready” in Spanish. Right after leaving his office, we saw a car and gave them a thumbs-up signal. However, they stopped in the parking lot, and we continued walking towards the volcano on foot.
Hermanos Carrel Refuge, altitude 4800 meters
From the entrance of the reserve to the Hermanos Carrel Refuge, located at an altitude of 4800 meters above sea level, you can drive by car. The road is gravel, but in very good condition, and even a sedan can pass through. The distance is 7.4 kilometers.
We had only walked a few hundred meters when we stopped the same car we had seen leaving the ranger’s office. Inside the car were two young guys – Juan and Eric from the city of Quito.
We were very relieved that we didn’t have to hike up on foot! Once we reached the summit, we decided to have a meal and gather our strength for the ascent to the second refuge, “Whymper,” which is just 1 kilometer from the first one and sits at an altitude of 5100 meters above sea level.
We entered the Hermanos Carrel refuge, and fortunately, there was a cafeteria there. We asked, “Can we eat our own food, or do we need to buy something?” and they replied, “¡Sirve, no mas!” – something like “Of course, guys! Have a seat!”
The weather on Chimborazo is changeable
After a hearty lunch, we finally began our ascent. It was slow and exhausting. Additionally, a small but very cold wind had picked up. When Juan and Victoria picked us up, the weather was clear, and the Chimborazo volcano stood before us in all its glory.
However, by the time we reached the first refuge, the volcano had become completely shrouded in clouds, and it only got worse. So, when we ascended to the Whymper refuge, we simply walked around a bit, visited the dried-up Laguna Condor Cocha, took some photos, and then returned downhill to the parking area.
The road back to Riobamba
Back at the parking lot, a couple of guys in what seemed to be a police pickup (we later found out they were local taxis) stopped us and asked if we were heading to Riobamba. We said “yes” but explained that we didn’t have any cash. They simply replied, “Next time.”
After some time, a Dutch-Ecuadorian couple stopped and gave us a ride to the road, where we met another pair of hitchhikers and decided to continue walking along the road.
About ten or twenty minutes later, a pickup truck filled with people pulled over, and the driver offered us a ride in the back. We napped for half the journey in the bed of the truck. In the end, this is how we made it back to Riobamba, arriving at around 2:30 PM.
It felt like a dream
By embodying the theme of ‘Visiting the Chimborazo Reserve in One Day,’ we proved that even in a short time, you can experience an incredible journey and witness the beauty of this land. Our adventure concluded with our return to Riobamba, where we reminisced about the day with amazement and gratitude. It was a day when our thirst for adventure knew no bounds, and we consider it one of our most memorable journeys.
With love from Ecuador, Vasya and Nastya