Today Shaylee and I got up early and headed for Nevado de Colima with a driver/guide (unless you have your own car, it is hard to get to the mountain without a driver/guide. From the north, the peak resembles the Matterhorn and is one of the more interesting mountains in Mexico.
We made the long drive to the peak and then to near the radio towers. We traversed the south side of the mountain to a steep scrambling route up the south face. We made it to the summit without any trouble.
It was sunny, but there was some pollution in the lower valleys.
I spent a month climbing volcanoes. When we were first hiking up we heard a sound like an atomic bomb and then saw a massive ash cloud rising. Fuego had erupted and we were terrified. We ran 2 miles down the road fearing for our lives. After the ash settled we went back up and climbed Nevado and then watched another eruption from the summit. The next morning I had to clear ash off my tent and car from a 3rd eruption. Several days later we saw in the news that the biggest eruption in years spewed lava and fire all over the place.
Other peaks I bagged on this trip include...
Volcán La Malinche, Cofre de Perote, Pico de Orizaba (country highpoint, 3rd highest in North America), Volcán Iztaccíhuatl, Pico de Aguila, Nevado de Toluca, Cerro de Ombugo, Pico de Humboldt, Cerro Tancitaro
Volcán Pacaya, Volcán Tajumulco (country highpoint, 24th most prominent peak on earth), Volcán Concepción, Volcán Tacaná (2nd highest in Central America), Cerro Chemal "La Torre", Cerro Chemal "Cerro los Cuervos", Montañas Peña Blanca, Volcán Santa María, Volcán Atitlán, Volcán Acatenango
Volcán Poás, Volcán Barva, Volcán Irazú, Cerro Chirripó (country highpoint, 36th most prominent on earth), Cerro Piramide, Cerro Terbi, Cerro Buenavista
Trip report with photos and video
Went up Ruta 2 (east route/La Jota) and down Ruta 1 (west route/normal).
Having climbed some mountains of similar height, I greatly underestimated the difficulty of Nevado de Colima. The east route includes some minor climbs, but even after 2 weeks of sunshine, some parts were still packed in ice. Think twice if you want to climb the mountain shortly after a snowfall.
Climbed the standard route "Ruta Normal". Got turned back by the Proteccion Civil one weekend. Snuck by them the next weekend and reached both summits before I vomited my guts out. When el Volcan de Fuego spewed as we worked a Class 3 section, that kept things mighty exciting.
I took the bus in the afternoon to Ciudad Guzman and then to El Fresnito from where I walked up to the park entrance in about 4,5 hours. Slept at one of the cabins there (187 pesos) and went up the next day to the summit in about three hours. Great views of Volcan del Fuego! I then also climbed to the north summit, which is a bit of a rock climb. I went down Los Tubos back to El Fresnito, nice lush forest. Saw nobody else on the mountain the two days except the rangers.
We started off at 7:00am from Colima and drove for a couple of hours until Puerto la Calle, then we started hiking through the south west side of the south summit the day had some clouds which was good for the hike, we registered with the park rangers and passed two proteccion civil officers that allowed us to go up to the summit under our own risk. We reached the south summit before noon and had amazing views of the Fire Volcano which was kind to offer us a fumarol!!!. We also had great views of the Colima Valley and Cd. Guzman. This I think will be one of the last tours before the rainy season and until October 2011. You can see some photos at NevadodeColimatour.blogspot.com and our other tours at AdmireMexicoTours.com/tours.html
Until the next summit!!!!!!!!!
Spent the night in Cd. Guzman, and drove up in the morning to start hiking from the locked gate. We dodged the Proteccion Civil folks easily enough (the peak is officially closed, but we made it out onto the trail before they could hassle us), and headed up a steep chute on the west side of the peak--a class 4ish headwall at the bottom (spicy), then a fair amount of steep and at times exposed 3rd class to the summit. Great climb.
There were wonderful views of Volcan de Fuego smoking to the south, and seemingly hundreds of mountains I couldn't name in all directions, including the high peaks around Mexico City to the east.
We descended the south side of the peak and down a loose class 2 scree/talus chute on the SW side--this is probably the normal route (it's much easier than our ascent chute), as there was a well-worn trail there. It's a good descent route, but I'm glad we didn't go up that way.
This is a very short climb--only a couple of hours or so to the top--but it's an excellent peak nonetheless. There were many flowers out along the road, surprising (to me) for January.
Funny reading about people dodging the Proteccion Civil guys and making for the summit. Views from the summit are incredible when the haze is gone, a very rare sight even in the dry season. You can see everything between Guadaljara and the Pacific, and of course get the best views of the crater of Volcan de Colima. If you're especially lucky you'll get a load of ash fall on you! :)
This was a wonderful mountain to climb. I'm especially interested in botany--and I got to see one of the highest pines in North America (isolated specimens of Pinus hartwegii can be found at nearly 14,000 feet--so almost at the top). As a whole (esp. between 8,000 and 11,000 feet), the vegetation is a hybrid of the western North American montane forests (pines, firs--though only one conifer species on the mountain is actually native north of Mexico), the Central American cloud forests (Buddleia, Bocconia) and some "in-between stuff" (live oaks, madrones, a few agaves and yuccas). Many very large lupines were in bloom (some lupines were 10' tall shrubs).
There was no snow as the monsoon had long ended (though there was still a decent amount of greenery). Volcan de Fuego was spewing out a small amount of smoke--though by the time I'd reached the top (early in the afternoon), cumulus clouds were making it difficult to view the volcano.
I went up with a local dude in Colima. He and another fellow have set up a sort of 'business' to take people up. I had no other people to go up with, as well as no car to get there, so i went with the one guy from Colima. I wouldn't have got there without his help. He took me right to the summit. It was a party. It's not a very challenging climb, but lots of scrambling, which is fun. It was a lot steeper than i was expecting, which also made it more enjoyable. It is a definite 'must-climb' if you are ever in the area.
Emily and I drove up to locked gate at the saddle for the Proteccion Civil and camped there. The next morning, we walked around the gate and down the ridge off the road, taking a well-worn path. Unsure of which route we took, but definitely not the west ridge - believe it was the normal route based on the description on this page. Route is very straight forward and no need for a map or compass, but steeper than expected. Amazing views of Volcan de Fuego smoking!!! Very much worth the drive - rough 2 hours, but no 4 wheel drive necessary.
Did a night ascent of the West Chutes while on a scientific trip to Nevado. Left the locked gate to the radio towers at 1915, fooled around at the Volcano overlook for a few minutes as it grew dark, and then headed for the summit at 1955. Summit time was 2045, and the full moon was just coming up --- no clouds, just spectacular. The wind at the lower saddle was 70mph+!
The West Chutes are the most direct way to the top from the Radio Towers, and involve heavy 4th class at times. Due to the searchlights and yelling coming from the radio towers after my departure up the trail, I elected to not use my headlamp --- keeping things interesting.
Returned by the same route, and was not intercepted by the locals.
Did the West Ridge with bearbnz the day before La Malinche. Lots of fun --- too bad it's so short. The East Ridge looks like a fun, scary, longer route. Always grab both summits on this peak!
Visited the mountain to collect more data, took the afternoon to cruise the West Ridge route, it is more fun than the normal route. Visited both summits, the traverse between the two is also 3rd class, but a bit more sporty.
I was in Mexico helping out on a long-term dendrochronology project taking place high on the flanks of the mountain, and during a morning of downtime (waiting for a year's worth of data to download onto the laptop) I cruised up to the summit. This peak is not part of a range, so the views are 360 degrees. The only downside was the hazy air from the farmers burning their fields. If you're in the area, don't pass on this peak.