The Republic of Ecuador is located in northwest South America and has a geographical coverage of 109,484 miles. The language commonly used is Spanish. Quito is the capital city. It has many natural features among them mountains that are very tall and a haven for hiking. Most of them are still active volcanoes. The tallest mountains in Ecuador include the following:
Highest Mountains in Ecuador
Chimborazo Mountain is the most notable physical feature found along the equator bulge Southwest of Quito. It is an inactive volcano having lastly erupted approximately 1,400 years ago. During the same period, masses of snow and rocks fell down the mountains shattering like broken glasses. Chimborazo covers a periphery of more than 78 miles while the distance across its breadth is 30 miles. The crater is 820 feet in depth. The mountain has 4 peaks: Veintemilla, Whimper, Politecnica, and Nicolas Martinez.
The second highest mountain in Ecuador, Cotopaxi, was formed through composite volcanic action. Scientists have it that it was formed due to continuous explosions causing lava to flow then harden to form a cone. Records have it that the major eruptions occurred in 1744, 1768, 1877, and 1904, while minor eruptions occurred in 1940 and 2015 leading to temporary closure of the mountain to climbers. The tallest point is 19,393 feet above the sea level, and a diameter of approximately 2,300 feet at the top from North to South.
Cayambe is the third highest mountain, located 40 miles northeast of Quito. The equator crosses its summit dividing it into north and south hemispheres. The highest peak is called Cambre Maxima. It is 18,996 feet tall with an ultra-prominence summit of 6,806 feet. It has a 8.49 square miles ice cap. Despite being inactive, it is not safe for climbing due to an extended mass of ice from melting snow. The first people to ascend to the peak were Edward Whymper and Jean-Antoine in 1880. Cayambe is the only snowcapped mountain directly on the equator.
Antisana is the fourth tallest mountain in Ecuador, located 31 miles southeast of Quito. It is a stratovolcano with four peaks. The last eruption was in 1802. During formation, it left a mound of lava that is currently being mined for building material. The mountain measures 18,714 feet. Not many people can make it to the top of Antisana due to technical threats posed by active glaciers. On the other hand, one needs to seek permission from the people who own land around the mountain to access it.
El Altar, also called Capac Urcu, is one of the most magnificent views due to a ring of nine summits, the tallest being Obispo. It is located on the western side of Sangay National Park about 105 miles south of Quito. It is covered with snow at the peak and 16,000 feet high. The route towards the lower side is muddy. Proper dressing is necessary due to abrupt weather changes. It is impossible to forecast the weather which is mostly cloudy hence the site receives few tourists. December and February are the best times to attempt to climb the mountain.
Did You Know?
Ecuador is one of the countries with many snow-capped mountains. Due to the effects of albedo the snow covering on these mountains is slowly melting away. Ecuadorans gets their constant supply of water from the glaciers melting off the mountains. The mountains are also important tourist attractions despite the challenges of climbing some of the mountains like Antisana. Most of the mountains are active volcanoes with a possibility of erupting at any time.