Equator Gringos

August 4, 2007

Ecuador Climbing

Filed under: Ecuador, rock climbing — lstollin @ 10:20 pm
Note: this piece was written in airports en route to Quito on August 2nd.

One thing most people know about me, I love to climb. Mostly rocks, but also trees, buildings, mountains. So when we knew we were moving to Quito, Ecuador, I looked into climbing there.

With a capital city surrounded by volcanoes and mountains, you’d think Ecuador would be loaded with rock climbing. You’d’ve thought that about La Paz, Bolivia too, where I lived in the 80s, encircled as it is by 20,000 foot peaks, but you’d’ve been wrong: there was just one tiny 30-foot crag and no one climbing it until I showed up. I have been counting on Quito to be different, particularly after the explosion of rock climbing as a mass-appeal sport in the 1990s.

I already knew of the volcanoes “Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, you have stolen my heart away,” from a poem my Dad likes to excerpt from his youth. Our friend Andrea has also mentioned other, lesser-known volcanoes to climb – Pichincha, Antisana. Sounds like a climber’s paradise, eh?

But my biggest love (next to Joy) is rock climbing, not mountaineering (I’ve actually sworn off mountaineering a couple of times in the past – too much work!) My climbing fantasy involves big walls, possibly granite, several hundred feet tall, easy access from public transportation featuring innumerable routes of all difficulties, easily protected with faces, cracks, roofs, arêtes, dihedrals, nice ledges for belays, maybe the occasional chimney. If the place has untapped potential (i.e., I get to establish new routes), so much the better.

From the looks of what I found on rockclimbing.com, this fantasy climbing destination remains to be found.



  1. If you are interested in rock climbing in Ecuador you may want to check out http://www.monodedo.com/web/paginas/topos/dondescalarlink.html My son climbed at Cuyuja (east of the Hot Springs of Papallacta)and loved it. It sounds like what you are looking for.

    Comment by Jeff — August 5, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  2. Hey Luke,

    If you want to get REALLY good rock climbing, I can find you an opportunity here in Florida. At worst, on a cruise ship in the Port of Miami :-)

    Comment by Hannes — August 6, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  3. Luke goes rock climbing in Ecuador? It seems like a most logical leap. Here’s a tip – if you haven’t already, join South American Explorers. It’s a good organization at Jorge Washington 311 y Leonidas Plaza

    Comment by Ron Mader — August 13, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

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