Climbing a volcano

The first thing you notice when you live in Ibarra is that huge mountain at the southern part of the city. The view of the mountain accompanies you every day. Over time you stop even noticing it. But it’s there. A challenge, an adventure a mystery.

The Imbabura is an inactive stratovolcano in the province with the same name. It’s located between two major province’s cities: Ibarra and Otavalo. The height is 4,630 meters (or 15,190 feet). Although it doesn’t have a permanent glacier, the top is sometimes covered with snow (which typically melts during the day).

There’s no volcanic activity noted in Imbabura, but the volcano is not believed to be extinct. Although, probability of eruption is next to zero.

The mountain is very important for the local culture. The indigenous people sometimes called it Taita Imbabura which highlights the volcano’s role as the protector of the region. A local legend says Imbabura married other local mountain Cotacachi and the smaller mountains and hills are their offspring.

The mountain is climbed from the city of Esperanza (30 minutes bus ride from Ibarra’s center). The road ends at the altitude of approximately 3,000 meters above the sea level. From there you would need typically 4 hours to ascent and 3 hours to descend.

How is climbing a volcano like Imbabura? Here you have a movie. Enjoy!


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