RIOBAMBA or Royabamba, a town of Ecuador, capital of the province of Chimborazo, on the railway between Guayaquil and Quito, about 85 m.
Above sea-level, and in full view of the imposing heights of Chimborazo, Carahuairazo (Carguairazo), Tunguragua and Altar.
America down to the slopes of Chimborazo; the Cordilleras of the Andes separating the Castilloas from the Heveas of Brazil.
There is a tradition that this mountain was once higher than Chimborazo, but a series of eruptions caused the cone to fall in and reduced its summit to its present altitude and broken appearance.
Turning to the Cordillera Occidental and taking the principal peaks in order from south to north, the first to claim attention is Chimborazo (from Chimpu-raza, " mountain of snow "), the highest summit of Ecuador, and once believed to be the culminating point of the Andes.
Moreover, the calcined matter resembling white sand which covers its sides below the snow-line, extensive beds of lava, and the issue of streams of hot water from its northern side, seem to confirm the deduction that Chimborazo is an extinct volcano.
Immediately north of Chimborazo, and separated from it by only a narrow valley, are the lower triple summits of Carahuairazo, or Carguairazo (which the natives call Chimborazo-embra, " Chimborazo's wife "), whose hollow cone collapsed in 1698 during a great earthquake, and left the jagged rim which adds so much to its present picturesque appearance.
Whymper located and named no less than eleven on Chimborazo, and counted twelve on Cayambe.
The Babahoyo, which is the main stream, has its sources on the slopes of Chimborazo, the Daule on the Sandomo ridge in the latitude of Pichincha, the Yaguachi on the south-eastern slopes of Chimborazo, whence it flows southward for a considerable distance before breaking through the Cordillera to the western plain.
Chimborazo, Iliniza, Pichincha), the ancient rocks of the Eastern Cordillera (Altar, Tunguragua, Cotopaxi, Antisana), or the floor of the great depression between.
On its western side, Corazon had daily snowstorms down to 14,500 ft., but no permanent beds of snow on its east side (elevation 15,871 ft.); and Chimborazo had deep snow at 15,600 ft.
According to Whymper, the tambo of Chuquipoquio, at the foot of Chimborazo, is 11,704 ft., and the hacienda of Pedregal, near Iliniza, 11,629 ft., both being permanently occupied.
The hacienda of Antisana, 13,306 ft., and the herdsmen's hut of Cunayaco on Chimborazo, 13,396 ft., are occupied only for a part of the year.
On the paramos of Chimborazo, Pichincha, Iliniza, &c., the relation of characteristic genera to those identical with genera in the Alpine flora of Europe is as 5 to 4; and the botanist might almost suppose himself in the Upper Engadine.
Of the flora of the highest Andes, Whymper found 42 species, of various orders, above 16,000 ft., almost all of which were from Antisana and Chimborazo; 12 genera of mosses were found above 15,000 ft., and 59 species of flowering plants above 14,000 ft., of which 35 species came from above 15,000 and 20 species from above 16,000 ft.
The highest specimen obtained was a lichen (Lecanora subfusca, L.) on the south side of Chimborazo, 18,400 ft.
Mosses (Grimmia) were found on Chimborazo at 16,660 ft., ferns (Polypodium pycnolepis, Kze.) at 14,900, and specimens of Gentiana rupicola, H.
& P.), on Chimborazo, at 14,000.
The best grazing lands are on the lower elevations west of the Cordilleras in certain districts of the plateau and on the slopes of some of the higher Andes, as on Chimborazo and Antisana.
Although the favourite haunts of the condor are at the level of perpetual snow, yet it rises to a much greater height, Humboldt having observed it flying over Chimborazo at a height of over 23,000 ft.
Chimborazo, which is not in the main chain, reaches 20,517 ft.; Cotopaxi (19,580), Antisana (19,260), Coyambo (19,200) are in the eastern range, with many other peaks over 16,000 ft.