Iliniza Norte

Illiniza is a volcano in Ecuador, located about 55 km southwest of Quito. Illiniza, a dormant stratovolcano, consists of two snow covered peaks: Illiniza Sur (5,248 m) and Illiniza Norte (5,126 m). Most guidebooks (for example, Lonely Planet Ecuador, Ecuador: A Climbing Guide) spell the mountain with only one "l" as in Iliniza.

Whilst Illiniza Sur is a more difficult climb due to the peak being glacial, Illiniza Norte requires little or no climbing expertise, and may be done as a trekking peak. A guide is still recommended though as the path gets hard to find as the peak is approached.

The Illinizas are generally thought to be the best acclimatization mountains in Ecuador, and are frequently used as a preparatory climb to higher peaks such as Cotopaxi, Chimborazo and Cayambe.

There is a rustic refuge located between the north and south peaks. It can be reached via a one hour camioneta ride from El Chaupi followed by a three hour climb. The refuge has gas stoves, pots and pans and bunk beds. It is necessary to bring warm sleeping bags and food, but water is available to be boiled.

Lessons Learned:

Rushing at altitude
Never rush to do ANYTHING at altitude. If you forgot your hat, or your gloves, or need to pee one last time...just relax and take your time. They can wait. And if not, you'll catch up eventually. But if you rush, your heart rate will sky rocket and you'll be done before you even started.


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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