La vertical is a section of Cerro Quemado with a wall that boasts a sharp vertical corner when seen from below. It has three established routes. Two bolted ones with anchors up top (Dulce Jiba 5.11a and Arete de Catel 5.9) and a hand crack with a rap ring (La Vertical 5.11a).
From Guatemala City take a taxi to the Transportes Galgo bus station on 7a. Avenida 19-44 in zone 1 (tel. 253-4869). For about Q60.00 you can purchase a one-way ticket to Quetzaltenango(Xela). The trip will take between 3.5 to 5 hours depending on weather, road conditions, traffic, and how many people the bus stops for along the way. If you check in gear, make sure you keep track of your luggage ticket. After you arrive in Xela, take a taxi to the Parke Central, about Q25.00 where you can catch a good meal and enjoy downtown Xela.
At this point, you can either stay in Xela for the evening or go on to the village at the base of Cerro Quemado. If you stay at Xela, I suggest you stay at Hostal Don Diego (7a. Calle 15-20, tel. 7761-6497). The place has clean rooms and sunny courtyard with a large eating area. The dorms feature single beds instead of bunks, but are a bit cramped. Private rooms are more spacious and all have comfortable beds piled with plenty of blankets for chilly nights. There are three shared bathrooms for the hostel, so we sometimes had to wait to use them. All were clean and had hot water. This hostel is very popular with foreign students coming to Xela to study Spanish. Costs run Q50.00 for a private room and Q40.00 for a bunk. From Xela you are about a 15 minute drive from the base of Cerro Quemado. The taxi ride to the trail head costs about Q70.00.
The alternative is to stay at the Hospedaje Elim (5379-0523) in the village of Canton Chicua. The advantage of staying here is that you are at the base of the volcano and can get an early start. This place costs about Q20.00. It has large rooms with four or five beds in each room. The beds are only box springs with no mattress or sheets. You do get some blankets and a small pillow. There is one shared bathroom with no water pressure and a rather sketchy shower.
Once you are in the village, Canton Chicua, ask anyone where the trail is to the rocks.
There is no red tape to climb in this section. The people are very friendly and very willing to lend a hand. The local climbers are always happy to show visitors around.
Cerro Quemado is one of the safer places to camp in Guatemala. You ca sleep under the stars or pitch a tent. Be careful about sleeping in nice smooth places where there are no rocks. You may find yourself in the middle of a religious service in the morning as many of these cleared areas are where local churches meet on a daily basis.