2.2 miles round trip from trailhead at the new refuge (15748 feet) to the leading edge of the glacier (16864 feet) and return.
cold with rarely snow
I was disappointed to hear that all the peaks in the PN Los Nevados were closed because of 'el phenomeno el Niño' that had shattered the glaciers in the past few months. No climbing was allowed on any of them. So I joined a tour from Manizales (at 120 000 pesos) that took us to the glacier at 5125m, pretty close to the summit. You are not allowed to climb the peaks on your own anyway, a guide is obligatory, and quite expensive (270 000 pesos). We went to the termales de Ruiz in the afternoon. It was a good day afterall though, and the tour was worth it.
It was illegal to climb the main summit of Ruiz and we were allowed to climb the Olleta Crater which is 4850 meters or 15,912 feet high.
After travelling through South America for nine weeks Nevado del Ruiz was a kind of final enterprise. I rented a tent and a sleeping back, participated at the sightseeing tour (with a Colombian visiting his family in his college-holidays accompanied by his gayfriend and a French who spend his childhood in this town) and jumped out of the car as they drove downwards again. At 3 o'clock I began to walk up but a snow storm hindered me to reach to top. I made it to the rim of the crater where the view was shorter than 20 meters. Back at the hut a bus, full of children coming back from an excursion to the snowline, picked me up. While I was relaxing from my tour the kids were very busy in talking about this "crazy German" and in vomiting out of the windows. Good luck and enjoy the beauty of the Nevados.
Yoshi Feldmeier, Germany