Ecuador has at least 22 peaks over 13,780 feet in height. Of the two cordilleras, the Cordillera Oriental is wider and generally higher, with peaks averaging over 13,123 feet. The Cordillera Occidental, however, contains the highest point in Ecuador, which is the Mount Chimborazo at 20,560 feet. Ecuador also contains the highest point on the equator, Mount Cayambe at 18,996 feet.
Ecuador has at least 30 peaks of volcanic origin, including six still active. These peaks, which vary in width from 50 to 80 miles, are located in the area of modern volcanism known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes. The most active volcano is Mount Sangay, 17,159 feet high. Although its last major outpouring of lava occurred in 1946, specialists consider Mount Sangay to be in a constant state of eruption because of fires and bubbling lava at its crater. Mount Cotopaxi, at 19,347 feet the highest active volcano in the world, last erupted in 1877 and is now listed as “steaming”. Its crater is 2,624 feet in diameter. In addition to the other damage caused by eruptions, volcanoes in the Sierra have melted snowcaps, which in turn generate massive mudslides and avalanches. Earth-quakes and tremors also are common in the region.
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