Carrel Refugio opend and confortable : 15$ per night or 30$ night and meals ( breakfast and dinner). Food was good. We did the summit with 2 guide working for john at the refugio. If you can , go to the refugio by yourself and take 2-3 days at the refugio and around for aclimatation before attempting the summit. We saw a lots of peoples ( as we were there for almost a week) on a 2 days in/out trip from an agencie and I will say most of them didn't reach the summit.
Refugio Hermanos Carrel fully open (52 beds), since last year. $15/night for a bed, $30 with meals. Whymper Refugio partially open, café open during the day for visitors, the almost finished dormitory was opened for our group - it will have approx 24beds when completed.
Whymper Refugio only of use when Normal Route is safe (requires snow to minimise rockfall risk), otherwise Carrel Refugio is better for taking alternative route. Only 900m distance/200m elevation between the two Refugios, max 30minute walk for anyone acclimatised.
Both refugios are run by Andean Adventures. Was told no need to book in low season, but expect them to fill up in November/December/January.
Our summit bid (March 9th 2016) was ruined by a lightning storm :(
I would like to know if there was affections in the routes, due to recent earthquakes in the area of Ecuador.
Completed a summit on May 25th of Chimborazo. There are really only two summits to Chimborazo: Ventimilla (6267m, 20562ft), and the Whymper summit (6310m, 20702ft). Most people only climb the Ventimilla because although the two summits are only a few hundred feet apart, altitude sickness and/or bad snows conditions between the two summits can make that additional very short trip take several extra hours.
As for how to climb the mountain, there are several guide companies to choose from. I am not endorsing any of them, I will just share my experience as kindly as I can.
I only got quotes from 4 companies:
American Alpine Institute ($2680 for a 10 day excursion, about $1300 to just climb Chimbo);
Ecuador Eco Adventures (guy named Wlady runs the company, firstname.lastname@example.org and it was $760 for Carihuairazo and Chimbo);
Andean Adventures (Run by John, email@example.com less than $400);
Tierra Zero Tours (Guillermo, firstname.lastname@example.org
I ended up using Ecuador Eco Adventures for the first attempt on May 14th. I will not bad mouth them, but they turned out to be a bad bet. Although I got mountain time, they are not run by an experienced mountaineer and did not understand the mountain conditions well enough to get you to the top and there is some sneaky stuff they did (but they gladly took my money anyways).
I was not deterred, and made the second attempt with Andean Adventures. Turns out in recent years of ice melt, the normal route has become extremely dangerous due to rock fall, especially in high wind, and so is only used rarely. There is an alternate route from the Carrel Refugio that takes a bit longer, but has a higher success rate and is safer. As a result of this alternate route, Whymper hut is not used as often, and Carrel Refugio is the main lodging. Andean Adventures is the company that runs the Refugios in country. They are very professional, and always have a guide on Chimborazo. As a result they understand the mountain better than any of the others from outside the area.
I got to Riobamba from Quito once using a rideshare taxi (works well if you know Spanish, costs $20 each way, takes 4.5hrs). The second time I got to Riobamba using the bus from Quitumbe, $4.70, and easy to do even if you dont speak spanish "AutoBus Directo Riobamba, Pronto!". Andean Adventures picked me up at the bus stop and took me to the Refugio (standard for guide companies to include). I did almost get mugged on the bus ride, so be diligent during all of the stops the bus makes.
Earthquake did not seriously effect mountain routes.
Acclimatize with one of the other glaciated volcanoes in the area. I recommend Pichincha Ruca (no guide needed, easy access from Quito), and then Cayambe (2hrs from Quito, just hire a guide when you get there).
I climbed Chimborazo with Andean Adventures on Jan 27-28, 2017. I cannot recommend them enough! The owner, John, is very professional and straight-forward about every detail. I enjoyed talking with him and felt comfortable that I was choosing the right company to climb with. Their office is in Riobamba.
This was one of the highlights of my trip. We got to the Veintimilla Summit at 4:45am, a little too early for the sunrise, but I was not complaining! I was just happy to make it to the top!
The mountain is beautiful. It is very big, and you realize this when you see it for the first time. If you are considering going to see this mountain (or make a summit attempt) I say go for it!
Andean Adventures is the best company to climb with. Why? For one, they operate the refuges on the mountain, and always have a guide above 4800M. They are the first response if an accident happens, so their guides know the mountain very well. It was the 421st time summitting for my guide when I did my hike.
All in all, a special place and really quite a sight to see.
I try to find a web site for Andean Adventure and I don't find it.. I just send a e-mail to John, I will wait to get more information
Some updates: Whymper Refuge is closed. The lower refuge was open and was the nicest climbing refuge we have ever stayed (indoor toilets, running water, electricity, comfortable beds, and much quieter than the Cotopaxi Refuge because the ceiling are lower). The food was great but there are no lockers. We attempted the summit on the night of January 11, 2018. No one got higher than around 19,500 feet because the snow was too dangerous. A couple days later, the snow was fine and people did summit. We used Andes Climbing, based in Machachi. This (and the other mountains we climbed) was a difficult mountain for me, who is not skilled in rock climbing (my son and husband are, and it was easier for them). Be sure to use a reputable guide. On Cotopaxi, we saw a very UNPROFESSIONAL guide taking a Korean man up. Thankfully, he was not hurt.
This is good info. Do you know if the Whymper Refuge is permanently or just temporarily closed?
I'm planning a trip to Quito in late October. I would like to do both Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.
I would spend a few days in Quito and then do Pichincha Ruca, then a rest day, then two days for Cotopaxi, a rest day, and then two days for Chimborazo.
Does that itinerary seem feasible? Is four days in Quito and Pichincha Ruca enough to acclimate for Cotopaxi and then Chimborazo?
Any recommendations for guides for Cotopaxi and Chimborazo?
Thanks all for your help and comments.
I'm planning a similar trip with a friend of mine. We've hired a guide and are sort of in the discovery phase / beta gathering ourselves. We will be arriving in Quito on October 9th and have until the 18th though we plan on staying in Ecuador until the 25th. Our main goal is Chimborazo, but we also plan to attempt Cotopaxi. Our guide says that our itinerary will look something like this: https://cotopaxi-travel.com/ecuador-climb-cotopaxi-chimborazo-8days-trip.php feel free to message me if you have any questions or if you want to team up.