Ascent of Volcán Acatenango on 2021-11-08

Climber: Joel Panttila

Others in Party:Kyrsten. M
Date:Monday, November 8, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcán Acatenango
    Elevation:13041 ft / 3974 m

Ascent Trip Report

We did this ascent with a private guide from CA Travel in Antigua, the cost being $90 per person. We opted to do a faster ascent than most who ascend over 2 days.
We got picked up from our house in Antigua at 9PM and were driven to the supply warehouse where we got bladders, warmer gloves and pre packed meals. From here it was about 40 minutes to drive to the start of the climb. Our guide Pablo lives at the base of the volcano and he was picked up a couple minutes prior to arriving.

Our climb started at 10:30PM and it felt relatively cold as the wind was blowing hard in the start. I wore a thin rain jacket over a baselayer with a beanie. As we ascended up through farmland first and into forest, we stayed warm as it was quite protected. Only during breaks of a couple minutes or more did we get cold.

The going is steep, but nontechnical.
At 2:30AM, we arrived at the CA Travel basecamp, overlooking Volcan Fuego. There was a little covered open walled hut with a campfire, in which Pablo heated up some spaghetti with bolognese for us. While eating, we first heard and then saw a huge eruption from Fuego as lava spewed out from the top. What a magical sight.

After we had eaten, another guide got up and we were given a chance to nap for 45 minutes in his tent before heading up to the summit.

At 4AM, we started up the last part. Without our heavy bags, the going actually felt easier than before, despite the elevation and steep grade. We arrived at the summit and sat down waiting for sunrise which would come in 20 minutes. There were some slight clouds, which made the view over Atitlan mysterious. You could see the pacific ocean and far down the chain volcanos toward El Salvador. As time passed, more and more people gathered around. Once everyone was there, the number got up to around 80 or so.

After spending an hour on the summit, we went back down to camp. Descending was fast as you plunge step on the loose volcanic sand. We spent some more time at camp, eating before heading down at 8AM. Descending was uneventful, though slightly tiring from the steepness. We arrived back at the start at 10:40AM.
Total time from car to car was 12 hours and 10 minutes.
Because we ascended during night, we did not have to pay the 100Q entry fee to the park.

You could certainly climb this peak without a guide and save some time and money.
The ideal time to start solo in my opinion is at midnight or 1am, depending on how fast you are. That way you bypass the entry fee and catch sunrise on the summit.
This was our first ever guided peak and we had a good time.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5841 ft / 1780 m
    Total Elevation Loss:700 ft / 213 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Guide, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5841 ft / 1780 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5141 ft / 1567 m; Extra: 700 ft / 213m
    Loss on way in:700 ft / 213 m
    Distance:10.5 mi / 16.9 km
    Start Trailhead:La Soledad  7900 ft / 2407 m
Descent Statistics

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