Chimborazo, Politecnica Summit, 2018

Until 1971, the Chimborazo massif still had its virgin central summit; it is so that at the end of May of that year 7 mountaineers of the Club de Andinismo Politécnico – CAP achieve that summit and baptize it in honor of the club that formed them. To remember that great achievement on September 23 of this year 2018 an attack was made on that summit, which was successful and 14 people achieved that summit that has no defined route and presents unimaginable landscapes and places. For that goal, a long preparation was carried out to ensure the success of the project, starting with an integral of the Pichinchas in only one day and from Lloa on August 19, summit attempt to Cayambe and ice climbing on 25 and 26, Summit of the Antisana by the direct route on September 1 and 2 and summit of the finger of the Carihuairazo on the 15th and 16th. Congratulations and congratulations to all the participants of this project.

CAP participants

Project manager: Marco Antonio Solís Martínez

Participating members: Marco Solís, Belén Prado, Darwin Lomas, Francis Flores, Mateo Egas, David Díaz, Santiago Guadalima, Carolina Lucero, Luis Gualco, Sebastian Silva, Jean Carlo Chinguercela

  • Departure time: 8:00 pm on Friday 21, Quito.
  • Arrival time to Machahuazca: approx. 24:00 some arrived later.
  • Start of trekking from Mechahuazca to the camping area (Laguna Colorada): 10 am on Saturday 22
  • Start of attack on the Polytechnic Summit: 23:00, September 22
  • Summit: 5:45, September 23
  • Starting height: approx 4200 m, Mechahuazca
  • Maximum height 5863 meters, gps data.
  • Camping height 4800 meters, gps data.


* Photos courtesy of the CAP members

Climbing report

We mobilized in 3 private cars, we left around 20:00 on September 21 from Quito to finally meet in Mechahuazca where he slept either in the cars or in the cabins. The weather on arrival was very bad with rain until 9:30 am on Saturday. At the beginning, we thought to leave very early in the morning, around 6 am, but due to the climatic conditions it was decided to postpone the leaving from Mechahuazca and it was even thought to go to another place. At 10:00 the approach to the Laguna Colorada begun, some used horses to carry their equipment, others did it on our own and at around 12:30 we arrived at the place where we would camp at 4800m. Being a very strong group and taking less than 2h30m for that long approach.

The tents were assembled and several photos were taken, although it was not seen much, but at about 2:00 pm the place was almost completely cleared leaving us to see beautiful landscapes of Chimborazo and Carihuairazo. Then we cook and have lunch to take a break until 9:30 p.m.

At 23:00 with an impressive full moon and a lot of light that allowed us to see the Cotopaxi on the horizon, we started our march through the moraine from 4800 m. to approx. 4950 m. to put on crampons and make the 5 cordadas that we would attack the summit. Already at 00:30 we started the glacier crossing with some bad ice conditions, due to the snowfall of the previous day, the first 30 minutes were very hard. Marco decided to continue the journey as there was no danger, since the first part is an almost flat glacier crossing of around 3km; and thinking that if the snow conditions did not improve in the following ramps to the summit, the whole group would desist and go back.

Following the long journey and after those initial 30 minutes, the snow improved completely and we were determined to continue towards the summit. It is presumed that the rain and snowfalls of Friday and Saturday morning were only below 5100 m. At about 2:30 am and at 5300 m. we took the first ramp that would leave us at 5450 m. to start again another long crossing that would leave us at the base of another ramp at 5600 m. very steep at about 70 degrees of inclination, and although we had available technical ice axes, it was done with classic techniques of mounting and cramponaje, which demonstrated the solvency and acquired technique of the participants in the preparation outputs that we previously had; At the beginning of this ramp, an avalanche of seracs from previous days was also found.

Once this ramp was over, we were at 5750 meters above sea level, there was still a short climb to reach the Polytechnic summit and peak at 5800 m., but due to the great training and excellent physical condition of the participants of this project, it was barely 4:30 am and we were barely 63m away from the summit. Therefore it was decided to make a bivouac at 5800 m. and -15 degrees Celsius for about 1 hour because we didn’t want to reach the summit without light and this cold. At 5:30 the attack on the summit resumed very slowly to reach the summit at dawn and not before to avoid the cold.

At 5:45 am on Sunday, September 23, the Polytechnic Summit of Chimborazo was reached at 5863 m. measured with GPS. The summit was celebrated, we all gave each other a big hug, we took pictures and we recorded videos to remember this achievement in commemoration of our club the CAP and the partners that in May of 1971 conquered this virgin emblem of our beloved club. And of course we sang a “Happy Birthday” to our dear friend David Diaz.

Very early at 6:30 am we started our descent from the summit, since we knew that the crossing was made by the eastern side of the Chimborazo and on that side hits the sun as soon as dawn which would deteriorate very quickly the snow conditions in the mountain. Thus, we embarked promptly on the descent, with indescribable landscapes and comparable to those of mountains of Nepal or Peru, this route has no comparison with the normal routes of the Ecuadorian mountains. At 8:30 we were again in the moraine outside the glacier where we celebrated our successful summit and David Diaz’s birthday with beers and at 10:00 am we arrived at the camp. 10:30 am half an hour before the agreement the arrieros arrived with their horses and at 11:30 we started the descent to Mechahuazca, to arrive at 13:00.

At about 2:00 pm, he left Mechahuazca towards Machachi, where we had a well-deserved meal at 5:30 pm, celebration of the summit and celebration of the birthday boy. Between 19:30 and 20:00 we all arrive at our homes very tired but happy to have succeeded and have culminated this project, to commemorate the achievements of our club and feel more part of it.

The mountain weather was perfect while we climbed and this was one of our best experiences, both technical and camaraderie, culminating this long project “Chimborazo Polytechnic Summit”.

Congratulations to all the participants of this project.

Author: Marco Solís
Chimborazo Wildlife Production Reserve