Crater rim near the summit
There are three variations to the first half of this route. To that end climbers will start at either 1) Piedra Grande, 2) the road to Piedra Grande at about 13,451 ft (4,100 m), or 3) Cueva del Ermitaño.
All these trailheads are reached from the same road out of Tlachichuca. Approaches 1 & 2 pass the short road to Hidalgo. Look for the small village off to the left, continue along the road and after some powerlines be sure to bear to the right. From there just keep following the "main" road. Approach 3 takes a right hand fork in the road well before Hidalgo. I do not have first hand knowledge of that route.
Approach 1: Follow the road either on foot or by 4x4 taxi all the way to the hut at Piedra Grande.
Approach 2: Follow the road either on foot or by 4x4 taxi to approximately 13,451 ft (4,100 m) where you leave the road and gain the ridge.
Approach 3: Follow the side road to Cueva del Ermitaño.
This route begins at the Sarcófago. It is reached by either following the standard Jamapa Glacier route to the glacier then turning climbers right and ascending to the saddle between Sarcófago and the rest of the mountain or tackling the Sarcófago itself and downclimbing to the glacier.
Oh no, a crevasse!
1) Piedra Grande (Big Rock): From the hut follow the standard Jamapa Glacier Route and then head to the saddle between the Sarcòfago and the summit when it is convenient. Do not head to the Sarcófago too soon. Wait until you have climbed up to the beginning of the summit cone. You should be on snow with the Sarcófago to your right and easy walking.
2) Arista Norte (North Ridge): Follow the ridgeline to the Sarcòfago. Descend to the glacier.
3) Ruta Espinosa (Espinosa's Route): Take the 1st ridge north of the Cueva. Gain the ridge and follow it to the Sarcófago. Descend to the glacier.
Note that the Sarcófago and the ridge is somewhat loose and rotten. The most common way to do the Espolòn de Oro is from Piedra Grande. In fact from there it can be thought of as a variation of the standard Jamapa Glacier route.
From below the Sarcófago head directly to the crater rim. The summit is not visible until near the rim. The crater is spectacular! Follow the rim to the true summit marked by a bunch of crap.
[img:18952:alignright:small:Oh no, a crevasse!]
A frequent question concerning this route is regards to any crevasse danger.
Yes, there are crevasses. In my experience, and the experience of climbers I have personally talked to, nobody has seen a crevasse wider than a few fingers on this route. Reportedly people have managed to find a crevasse to fall into but details are vague. Perhaps decades ago there were dangerous crevasses.
Approach 1 is very straightforward. Crampons and ice ax are all you should need in addition to whatever you normally carry on a mountain hike / glacier walk. Like Ruta Jamapa Glaciar, this route is commonly done without standard glacier travel/rescue gear. Note that it can ice up and have fall potential. It is important to get information on current conditions because some climbers do decide to take a rope and a few screws and even use them.
I do not have first hand knowledge of the other two approaches to the Sarcòfago. If you do please post that information. I would be happy to add it to the main text.