The white snow and ice covered mountain top of Mount Chimborazo rises in the distance above a green valley with trees.

Climbing Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador

Ok, let's not pretend for a second that I climbed to the top of this mountain. Far from it. But I did get to understand — if only little bit — just how physically demanding such an experience would be.

We drove to (I believe) the highest point possible by car — Refugio Carrel — at an elevation of 15,000 feet. Already, some of us were starting to feel the effects of altitude in terms of difficulty breathing or lack of energy. (And in some cases, even feeling nauseous.)

A few of us decided to take what we thought was a fairly easy and short climb to the next station: Refugio Whymper. It was only an additional ~1,000 feet so it didn't seem like a big deal. It's not like we were attempting to summit the mountain or anything. We were walking up a maintained trail at a very nominal incline. Nothing steep. Nothing crazy.

How incredibly wrong I was.

After maybe 20 minutes my body was absolutely drained and spent. I had to stop every 10 or 15 steps to rest and I could feel my pulse racing at every moment. Apparently altitude, and lack of oxygen, takes quite the toll on the body. I've never felt anything like this before.

The full account of this visit to the mountain, including additional photos, can be found on my Climbing Mount Chimborazo page.

More Ecuador Photos

And if you're interested in more photos and stories from Ecuador, head over to my Ecuador Travel Photos website.