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black Rumiñahui Central Summit Trail


3.5 mile 5.6 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,348' 716 m
Descent: -77' -24 m
High: 14,964' 4,561 m
Low: 12,673' 3,863 m


Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 81% (39°)


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Trail shared by David McCormick


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Climb to the central peak of Rumiñahui, an extinct volcano.

David McCormick

Features Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

Do not attempt if there is rain, hail, or snow, as conditions on the summit will be extremely dangerous and the approach is prone to rockfall.


Start the trail at the parking lot for Limpiopungo Lake. Follow the trail along the northern side of the lake/marsh, keeping an eye out for waterfowl and raptors. After approximately 0.5 miles, the trail will turn uphill. Follow the trail uphill through the paramo until reaching a ridge at approximately 2 miles into the hike.

Once you reach the ridge, follow it until you reach the sandy talus/scree field at the base of the mountain. This begins the most arduous part of the climb—you are moving up a loose, sandy field at near 35-40 degree slope. Keep moving up the mountain, keeping the steep cliff up to your left. Your goal is a central saddle, which can be reached after a Class III scramble for a short distance when the trail ends. From here, turn to your right and scramble up to the central summit (Class IV). Be careful on the summit, as there are sheer drops in excess of 500 feet.

Please note that the northern and southern peaks, which are taller and technical, require specialized equipment.

Flora & Fauna

The trail winds through a classic Andean paramo, with grassland, wildflowers, and low shrubs. Rabbits are plentiful, and there is a good chance to see deer and the coyote-sized Andean fox. Always keep one eye above you and on cliffs for a chance at spotting raptors, including the Andean condor (12-foot wingspan).

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Jun 11, 2018
David McCormick

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