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The Illinizas
Illinza volcano ec.jpg
The double peak of The Illinizas
Highest point
Elevation Illiniza Sur:    5,248 m (17,218 ft)
Illiniza Norte: 5,126 m (16,818 ft)
Prominence 1,750 m (5,740 ft) [1]
Listing Ultra
List of volcanoes in Ecuador
Coordinates 0°39′34″S78°42′49″W / 0.65944°S 78.71361°W / -0.65944; -78.71361 Coordinates: 0°39′34″S78°42′49″W / 0.65944°S 78.71361°W / -0.65944; -78.71361 [2]
Location Ecuador
Parent range Andes
Age of rock Holocene [2]
Mountain type Stratovolcano
Last eruption Unknown
First ascent Iliniza Sur: May 1880 by Jean-Antoine Carrel and Louis Carrel
Iliniza Norte: March 1912 by Nicolás Martínez and Alejandro Villavicencio. [3]

[4] The Illinizas are a pair of volcanic mountains that are located to the south of Quito, Ecuador. They are located in the Illinizas Ecological Reserve (Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas). These twin mountains are separated by a saddle that is about a kilometer long. The peaks are among the highest in Ecuador, with Illiniza Sur standing slightly taller than Illiniza Norte, its northern counterpart, at 5248 metres and 5126 metres respectively.

Quito Capital city in Pichincha, Ecuador

Quito is the capital and the largest city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains.

Ecuador Republic in South America

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.


Most guidebooks (for example, Lonely Planet Ecuador, Ecuador: A Climbing Guide) spell the mountain with only one "l" as in Iliniza. The name Illinizas is derived from the Kunza words for "masculine hill." [5]

Whilst Illiniza Sur (the southern peak) is a more difficult climb due to its glacial nature, Illiniza Norte requires some climbing expertise [6] , and may be climbed as a trekking peak. A guide is still recommended, however, as the path becomes hard to navigate as it approaches the summit.

The term "Trekking Peak" is a commonly misunderstood colloquial term which may refer to a variety of types of peaks in the Himalayan Region. The term is most often associated with Group "B" NMA Climbing Peaks classified by the Nepal Mountaineering Association or easier. Some may use the term "Trekking Peak" to solely describe peaks requiring little to no technical climbing experience. Others may use the term to describe all mountains regulated by the Nepal Mountaineering Association including Group "A" NMA Expedition Peaks which may require considerable difficulties and technical climbing skill.

The Illinizas are excellent mountains for acclimatization to altitude, and are frequently used as a preparatory climb to higher peaks such as Cotopaxi, Chimborazo and Cayambe.[ citation needed ]

Cotopaxi stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains

Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located in the Latacunga canton of Cotopaxi Province, about 50 km (31 mi) south of Quito, and 33 km (21 mi) northeast of the city of Latacunga, Ecuador, in South America. It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft). It is one of the world's highest volcanoes.

Cayambe (volcano) volcano in Ecuador

Cayambe or Volcán Cayambe is a volcano in Ecuador, in the Cordillera Central, a range of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located in Pichincha Province, some 70 km (43 mi) northeast of Quito. It is the third-highest mountain in Ecuador, at an elevation of 5,790 m (18,996 ft) above sea level.

There is a rustic refuge located between the north and south peaks. It can be reached in one hour by car 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.

The Englishman Edward Whymper tried and failed twice to make the first ascent of Iliniza Sur. It was climbed for the first time in 1880 by his two Italian guides Jean-Antoine Carrel and Louis Carrel. The first ascent of Iliniza Norte was made in 1912 by the Ecuadorians Nicolás Martínez and Alejandro Villavicencio. [7]

Edward Whymper British mountaineer

Edward Whymper was an English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Four members of his climbing party were killed during the descent. Whymper also made important first ascents on the Mont Blanc massif and in the Pennine Alps, Chimborazo in South America, and the Canadian Rockies. His exploration of Greenland contributed an important advance to Arctic exploration. Whymper wrote several books on mountaineering, including Scrambles Amongst the Alps.

Jean-Antoine Carrel Italian mountain climber and guide

Jean-Antoine Carrel was an Italian mountain climber and guide. He had made climbs with Edward Whymper and was his rival when he attempted to climb the Matterhorn for the first time. Whymper ultimately succeeded in making the mountain's first ascent in July 1865 while Carrel led the party that achieved the second ascent three days later. Carrel was in the group that became the first Europeans to reach the summit of Chimborazo in 1880. He died from exhaustion when guiding a party on the south side of the Matterhorn.

See also

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  1. "Ecuador", Listed as "Iliniza Sur". The prominence value given here is based on an elevation of 5263 m. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  2. 1 2 "Illiniza". Global Volcanism Program . Smithsonian Institution . Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  3. Rachowiecki, Rob, et al. Climbing & Hiking in Ecuador. 4th ed., Bradt, 1997, p.103.
  4. Comair, Chris (2017-12-14). "Illiniza Sur". Get High on Altitude. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  5. "Climbing in Ecuador: Illiniza Sur". Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  6. Comair, Chris (2017-12-13). "Illiniza Norte". Get High on Altitude. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  7. Rachowiecki, Rob, et al. Climbing & Hiking in Ecuador. 4th ed., Bradt, 1997, p.103.