Updated 11:28 PM EDT, Sun, Jun 20, 2021

Mountain Climber's Guide to Chimborazo in Ecuador: Get to Know the Highest Peak on Earth

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Common knowledge dictates that Mount Everest is the Earth's highest point. This piece of trivia is indisputably true, but only when talking about its height from the ground up. From another point of reference, a summit in South America is technically taller, but also steeper to climb than the Himalayan mountain.

Chimborazo is an inactive stratovolcano situated in the Ecuadorian section of the Andes mountain ranges. It is widely-regarded in the hiking circles as the highest mountain in the world, when measuring from the Earth's core.

Earth is best considered as an oblate spheroid, a bit flat on the top and bottom, while slightly bulgier around the Equator. As indicated on Amusing Planet, Chimborazo is situated one degree below the Equator, while Mt Everest is almost 28° above the imaginary ring.

Via Daily Galaxy, Issac Newton theorized that the Earth's rotational force has caused its poles to flatten and its sides to become more bloated. Technically speaking, people living close to the equator are standing higher than those living near, or along, the Arctic and Antarctic circles.

Even though Chimborazo is just 20,565 feet above sea level, compared to Mount Everest's height of 29,028 feet, the former is still 1.5 miles higher than the latter, due to the Earth's peculiar shape.

Kevin Rushby of The Guardian recently came back from climbing Chimborazo. He said newbie mountaineers will be glad to know that the South American peak is not as daunting a climb as Mount Everest, both from a physical and financial stand point.

En route to the summit, climbers can bike their way through certain areas of the Intag Valley, which greatly speeds up the grueling hiking process. Rushby said climbers can also visit a coffee plantation, where they can refuel on much needed caffeine.

Rushby and his tour guide Estalin had to ascend in the evening in order to get closer to the peak at dawn. It was also customary to climb at night to avoid sudden rock falls. The duo never really did make it to the top of Chimborazo because of the dangerous weather that day. However, they did reach the summit of its neighboring mountain Cayambe, which in its own right is 18,864-feet tall.

"All below was white cloud, all above was blue," said Rushby upon conquering Cayambe. "It seemed likely we were higher than anyone else on the planet at that moment -- an exhilarating thought."

Rushby warned that even though Cayambe and Chimborazo were shorter than Mount Everest in terms of sea level height, both mountains still have suffocating altitudes. He and his team had to dedicate one week to acclimatize for the climbing expedition.

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