In geography classes around the world, students are taught about Mount Everest in Nepal being the tallest peak on Earth. First climbed in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the summit of Mount Everest has long been considered one of the greatest achievements known to man.
However, if you want to get technical, Ecuador’s Chimborazo volcano could be described as the highest point in the world [long dash] a claim that we will explain in more detail below.
Where is Chimborazo?
Located around 150 kilometres southwest of the capital city Quito, Chimborazo is Ecuador’s highest active volcano, having erupted at least seven times over the last 10,000 years. The volcano is part of the Cordillera Occidental range of the Northern Andean Volcanic Zone, and is just one of the countless volcanoes that dominate the regional landscape.
With Ecuador essentially cut in half by the Andes, explorers with Aurora Expeditions will have a front-row seat to nature at its finest. From the lush Amazonian rainforest surrounding the mountains to the exposed plateaus, seeing Chimborazo up close and personal is a sight to behold.
Is it really the highest peak in the world?
Statistically, no, but scientifically, yes. From sea level, Mount Everest at 8,848 m stands head and shoulders above Chimborazo at 6,268 m. In fact, Chimborazo doesn’t even finish in the top 100 of highest mountains in the world.
When science is added to this equation, something truly remarkable emerges. the peak Chimborazo is the farthest point from Earth’s centre thanks to the oblate shape of the planet where, the middle or Equator is slightly wider and thicker than the poles.
With Chimborazo being one degree south of the Equator compared to Everest’s 27.6 degree north position, this means that the former’s summit is further away from the centre of the Earth than everything else on the planet. If you are interested in the numbers with the science included, Everest is 6,382.3 km above the centre behind Chimborazo’s 6,384.4 km.
This discovery was made in 2012, and what adds to the interest factor is that Chimborazo isn’t even the tallest mountain in the Andes – sitting only in 37th place.
However, due to its special location, it challenges the almighty Mount Everest in the height metrics which makes Chimborazo a perfect spot for a photograph. Additionally, it only takes around two weeks to climb in good conditions, while in Nepal, climbers could take around two months to complete the trek (if the weather holds out).
If you visit Chimborazo on your trek in Ecuador, it is important to understand the climate and conditions of the region. With Aurora Expeditions, you will be’in Ecuador during the summer with the Andean weather generally sunny and fine. Summer temperatures typically reach around 23 degrees Celsius, dropping to about 7 or 8 degrees overnight.
Of course, the higher than you trek, the lower the temperatures. As you near Chimborazo and its peak, you could experience strong, cold winds with icy temperatures, regardless of the season.
Learning more about Ecuador and Chimborazo
Amongst friends and family, explaining that you have visited Chimborazo might not raise too many eyebrows, but wait until you explain the science behind the story. The 2012 discovery has added further tourism gloss to a country already offering historic towns, wildlife-rich blackwater rivers and unbeatable Galapagos Islands to the rich Amazon environment.
If you are interested in learning more about Aurora Expeditions’ Ecuador tours, feel free to get in touch with our expert team today.