OverviewIn Colombia, land of emeralds, coffee, fruits and cumbia, are several peaks that are special. One reason is that there are not many climbers around there, in part because unfortunately there is a kind of civil war going on and also it is a very dangerous country for travelers in the country side, no matter if you are a local or a foreigner and finally in part because mountaineering is not as developed as it is let say, in Peru or Bolivia.
Other reason why they are special is that the mountains go up to 5400 Mts, and several peaks of 4800-5200 mts are available, and access is long and complicated, but you get then to travel on the country side, and see and experience the real Colombia.
As of 2007, the political situation of Colombia has improved a lot. Security is much better aod tourism has flourished. As I update these pages, the Colombian government has introduced laws strategically focused to create a space for paramilitary and guerilla fighters so they can quit their military activities and join the civil society. It is a good time to visit this country.
Anyway, if you dare, the mountains in Colombia offer to the climber a huge diversity of routes, and there is a lot to discover on its peaks. And first ascents are waiting to be seen sooner or later....
El Nevado del Tolima is perhaps the most climbed mountian in Colombia after El Nevado del Ruiz.
Getting ThereAccess to Normal Route –the “Oido”- in the south face (via Rancho-Raices-Cueva-Latas path); to the “Helipuerto” Route (North-North west side) via the west side path (El “Filtro” Path); and to the “Espolón” Route and the “Gusano” in the north face (Via Termales –Thermal Baths- de Mr. Cañon) with the east side path or “Camino de Inderena or Mesetas”.
From the town of Ibague, follow a road to the village of Juntas, a small town. Carry on to Juntas, where you can sign a climbers' log in the Park Authority’s Hut, which is a little higger on the road. From Ibague you can find public transportation to Juntas, near the Carrera 1 with Calle 13, the name of the company is Transportes La Ibaguereña. The trip will take one hour, and service will start at 6:00 AM
The road will continue along the Canon of the Combeima River (one that is born in the Tolima Mountain), and finally will reach the place called El Silencio. There is a Milk truck from Juntas to El silecio, al about 7:30 AM; however, you need todouble check this information with locals.
From El Silencio you go on foot to el Rancho Thermal Baths. This place used to be a swimming place and thermal spa, but it was swiped away few years ago. The survivals opened again the thermal baths in a very ristic fashion, so it is possible to visit again this place. El Rancho Thermal Baths is the place where the trail heads for El Filtro Path, Raices-Cueva-Latas Paths are located.
In Juntas you can get very basic food and some provisions as well. If you drive your own car, you may park it in El Silencio for a fee.
There is some public transportation to El Silencio, since near by there are the Rancho Thermal Baths. Tourists visit this baths on the weekends, so you may find some transportation to the place and out of it. There is a milk truck that takes passengers to El Silencio almost daily, starting in the village of Juntas, at about 10:30 AM every morning. Check locally for more information.
Depending of the route you are making, you may or no get mules to carry your stuff. You may go straight from Juntas Village to the Cañon Thermal Baths, for example, and the trip requires the whole day and you can bring the mules. In the other hand, if you take the Rancho Thermal Baths-Raices-Cueva-Latas path, mules are not able to take this path. However, you may bring mules from the Thermal Baths of Cañon to Latas via the Inderena Path.
From el Rancho you find the trail head to El Filtro Path (going west) to the Helipuerto Route (easy) and the Raices-Cueva-Latas path to the Oido Route (The Ear, easy route with several variations on low angle snow/ice or rock scrambling access). In this later path, you will join the Inderena Path (at about 4000 mts) which goes through the Mesetas (plains) around the Nevado del Tolima on its east side to the Cañon Thermal Baths.
Please check the route description Normal Via Latas.
Red TapeLike in any of the other parks of Colombia, you need a permit to get into the park. However, I have been many times in this area and never got one permit or a problem. If in doubt, ask for information at
Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia
Oficina de Ecoturismo
Carrera 10 N. 20-30 piso 1.
Teléfonos: 2431634 2433095
Territorial Noroccidente en Medellín:
Dirección: Calle 49 No. 79-29.
Teléfonos: (094) 2346566 / 4220884 / 4220883
Colombian National Parks System web page
When To ClimbYou can go year round, but the best time is the dry season of December/January/February. It is also possible to go during another dry season in June/July.
Be aware that during the dry season the access on the south side may have a lack of fresh, drinkable water, this being more obvious after the 3800 meters (La Cueva) in the Rancho-Raices-La Cueva-Latas path. If the snow fields near the Oido have melted due to the sun, the sulfured water of some of the thermal springs near by will come down to the valley, rendering the streams after La Cueva polluted and undrinkable.
The more reasonable decision would be to take water up from 3600 meters, still inside the could forest.
External LinksColombian National Parks System web page
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]