Ascent of Pico Mogotón on 2019-07-22

Climber: Tom Milliard

Date:Monday, July 22, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Pico Mogotón
    Elevation:6909 ft / 2105 m

Ascent Trip Report

I did this peak with a guide (more on that later), due to the lack of information and out of date facts regarding this peak. Firstly, the route. The trailhead is begins at the finca (farm) of the most popular guides, the brothers Jiminez. You follow a well marked 4x4 road until it finishes near a small farm. Here you need to keep to the right of the buildings and descend sharply until you reach the stream at the bottom. 2 years ago the route was fully marked out with yellow concrete markers, wooden info boards and many large benches that had to be carried up! (this was all funded by Luxembourg for some reason!) After reaching the stream you follow it for about 45 minutes: this is a fantastic part of the hike, with slippery mossy stones to get criss-cross the river. Eventually the trail is clearly marked up the side of the valley. There is only one route here, and it has been shored up and stepped in many places. As you ascend it gets boggier rather than drier, and the temperature is lovely on the ridge. Within 2 hours you reach the summit, marked with a pillar, and a basic wooden refuge. The return is circular, and offers nice views on the way down, of both Nicaragua and Honduras. The trail passes many benches until you end up at a information board about 300m from the trailhead. All mines on this section of mountains have been cleared totally (although I still wouldn't venture too far off the route!) As mentioned, I chose a local guide, Ramon Jimenez, who is a great guy, and knowledgeable guide. Since its his coffee farm at the start, he really knows the area! He doesn't speak English but was extremely patient with my abysmal Spanish! If you want to save the money (or like me prefer going without guide), then the issues are all about getting to the start, not the route itself. Firstly, from Ocotal you have about 25km of decent road until the clearly marked turning for Mogoton. It is even possible to get a bus here (the bus going to Jalapa hourly passes here from Ocotal). Otherwise, in a normal car, this is the end of the line, and you have 10km of walking to the trailhead. With a 4x4 you can go direct to the trailhead. The off road section is clearly marked all the way to the start. I didn't see any 4x4 taxis in Ocotal, so not sure how to get a ride there. Another (cheap) option is to walk on day 1 to summit and camp there (it's no lower than 8° at night, so maybe just a sleeping bag) and descend second day to the main road.
I really enjoyed being in this part of Nicaragua, it's clean and fresh with nice scenery, and the Somoto canyon nearby means its worth staying in the region an extra day. Total distance 10.4km, with 4.6km up on the 'river' route. A lovely hike, very peaceful and varied. Well worth it and much more interesting than Volcan Baru in Panama!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3314 ft / 1010 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3314 ft / 1010 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3314 ft / 1010 m
    Loss on way in:3314 ft / 1010 m
    Start Trailhead:Jimenez finca  
    Time:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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