Not a hard climb itself but tough going with water and camping gear. Went with Quetzaltrekkers and a couple of mates, camped just below the summit before dinner, then it got very cold!! Ice on the tent when we got up to climb the last bit in the dark. So close to the stars. Then the day dawned beautifully and all the other volcanoes started appearing through the clouds. Breathtaking.
Beautiful weather for an early morning summit at around 5:30am just before sunrise. Quetzaltrekkers in Vela is an excellent guide service
Solo climb. Took a taxi from Xela to the crossroads. Was a clear day and I statred around 10am. About 4 hrs to summit over rolling hills and generally a pretty easy hike. Hazy view from the top, but at least no clouds. Was quite disappointed by the amount of garbage at the top! Took two bottles down w/ me (out of 1000's there).
I spent a month climbing volcanoes. We spent the night amping high on the mountain just for the hell of it. 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, Nevado de Colima, Cerro Tancitaro
Volcán Pacaya, 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
Took local buses to the trailhead from Xela, hiked up to the campsite at just below 4,000m. Freezing cold night in a very cheap tent we bought in Walmart, summited for sunrise. Spectacular view of the crater, the pacific and the other smoking Guatemalan volcanoes.
Two-day approach, camping at the popular saddle overnight for a sunrise summit. The route is not difficult, or difficult to find, but the first day was a challenge due to climbing 3000ft or so with heavy packs with a lot of water at a pretty high elevation after spending time at lower altitudes... as well as humid and cold weather. Very windy and cold but utterly spectacular views. Back in Xela by 1PM!
You don't need a guide (the price is a rip-off) for the mountain but one is definitely useful for navigating the bus system to get there!
January 2-3 2015
Today we (Carlos, his daughter, his cousin, Elena, Shaylee, and I) left for Volcán Tajumulco, the highest mountain in Central America. I had climbed the mountain almost exactly 22 years previously, so I was excited to see how much things had changed and how much they had stayed the same.
The buses were still as crowded as ever and it was a long two bus rides from Quetzaltenango. One thing that had changed is that the steep road had been paved all the way to the trailhead.
We set off up the mountain on a cobblestone and then dirt road (which wasn’t there in 1993) and followed it to its end. From there, it was a climb on a good trail through a nice pine forest and to the saddle between Tajumulco and Concepción. It wasn’t a hard climb, but our packs were all heavy since we had to carry lots of water. We set up camp at the saddle, but decided to climb Concepción to watch the sunset. We climbed Concepción to find that we could see the Pacific Ocean. We were above the clouds and there were views of many other volcanoes and mountains as well. It was cold and windy on top, so Shaylee and I headed down the mountain just before sunset. Carlos and Elena headed down shortly after.
It was a very windy and chilly night and by morning I was the only one who wanted to make the climb. Unfortunately Shaylee had a big headache and I forgot the medicine back in town. Carlos, his cousin, and I headed up in the dark not long before sunrise. We watched the sunrise from just below the summit. Quite a few other locals were climbing the peak as well.
After reaching the summit we took many photographs and walked all the way around the crater before heading back down via a different route. After getting back to camp, we packed up everything with the others and headed back down the mountain where a very crowded bus ride awaited us.
I came overland from Mexico after climbing Nevado Toluca and Popocatepetl. Guatemala was devoid of tourists at the time, but I managed to climb both Tacana and Tajumulco. I camped not far above Tuichan and completed the climb the next day.
To Concepción summit.
Rained just as we were making camp. Very misty/cloudy in the morning at 3, but cleared up by 4. Beautiful panorama of area, with views of the Antiguas, Santa Maria, Mexico and the Pacific.
Cloudy, rainy, but overall straight foreword hike to the top.
Easily the best high point of all Central America. Fun fun climb. The views on top reminded me of the Rocky Mountains.
PS: You dont need a guide
Day trip from Xela. Left the town at 4am, were back for lunch. Great views.
Arriving from San Marcos town with a very early bus, started from where the road to Tajumulco village departs from the main road (the location is described well by CBakwin's log entry below). Almost until the ridge we were climbing in fog, but eventually got out of the clouds and enjoyed bright sunshine all the way up to the top. Fantastic view and feeling! Got back down the same way on the same day. We only met one other group, near the summit.
Hiked Tajumulco back to back with Santiaguito the previous night .. this climb was a nice easy follow up to Santiaguito. Great views and scenery. Started out around 3am reached the summit around 7:45. Highpoint of the America's #12 :) .. only Belize and I have done all the countries of Central America!
Great surrise from the summit. We had 2 hours of rain on the approach day. No security issue to report.
FYI - it looks like there is a 10 Quetzales fee to climb the volcano on weekends (implemented very recently according to a local guide). A guy with a "badge" pulled out of the bushes to ask for it.
Went with a group of 80(!) chapins from Guatemala City.
Arrived after a 5 hours chickenbus ride at sunrise at the starting point close to the village Tuichan.
Walked under a blue sky to the camp site in the saddle. Had a great sunset view from Cerro Concepcion to the East of the main dome.
Climbed the summit next morning and saw the sunrise over the whole Guatemalan volcano chain. Shared the view with 200 other climbers as it was the last Sunday before Christmas. Finished with a circumference of the summit crater.
Rather easy climb, just that the summit seems nearer to the starting point as it is.
This was a great hike. My first volcano in Central America. I took the bus at 6 am from Xela, had breakfast at the start of the trail and then walked up to the crater. Didn't meet anyone the whole day, except for some locals collecting wood. I got a bit lost on the way down but got back to the road around 3pm.
Great hike and fantastic place to watch the day begin... clouds swirling on the pacific side, clear on the east, and puff-puff of distant volcanoes. Despite my poor stomach (i am a sucker for alleyway fried chicken), I had a wonderful time.
Woke up and showered in San Marcos. After riding the bus to the drop off, I had a start on the mountain around 10am. I left my luggage at the shop at the pass and started up the dirt road. The trail splinters and heads into the pines on the ridge. Then, after cutting behind the main ridge it steepens as it climbs to the rocky volcanic rim. There were many Guatemalans on the mountain this day. I didn´t see any foreigners. I met a large group of people on the summit and chatted with them for several minutes. The way down was very quick. I entered the village and caught a ride on a pickup back to the main road then hiked about a mile back up to the trailhead. It was a great feeling to listen to Blind Melon as I walked back up the road (´You´re just afraid to change´).
March 17th was the first time I climbed Tajumulco. I have gone up 4 different times, always sleeping below the summit and climbing to the top to watch the sun rise. Amazing views!