Ascent of Volcán La Malinche on 2001-12-11

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Date:Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Volcán La Malinche
    Elevation:12400 ft / 3779 m

Ascent Trip Report

My wife, Geri, and I had been touring Mexico for 10 days now and had made 3 different summit attempts during that time with a team of 3 other climbers. Due to illness, transportation and route finding limitations, we had been unsuccessful on Iztaccihuatl, Pico de Orizaba and even La Malinche earlier. I was determined to conquer, at least, one Mexican volcano before we had to return home. I decided to make a second attempt on La Malinche since it was the easiest nearby mountain. Our team tried a southern approach earlier, instead of the standard northern side of the mountain, due to transportation difficulties. We only reached 12,500 feet before the "fishnet" trail system led us to several deep ravines we could not cross and we had to give up our summit quest. The other members of our team had to return home, so my wife and I decided to try La Malinche again, but from the north side this time. Unfortunately, the bus we took only dropped us off at 9000 feet which was far too low according to the guidebook. We had to climb up a paved road for 1.25 hours then on a dirt road for another 30 minutes before we were able to head off into the woods on a jeep road toward the summit. The road eventually turned into a path and finally the path disappeared. We still kept hiking following a compass bearing and finally reached a well traveled trail that we followed until 2:00pm. After climbing over 3000 feet in 5 hours, we reached 12,400 feet, which was 100 feet lower than our first attempt. We still had a long way to go. Since the summit was not possible with the time left in the day we decided to give up our summit bid. We descended by a different route and found a very good dirt road which led to the original road we climbed up. We were eventually able to catch a small bus back to town. It was frustrating not to manage a single summit success, but I was content on the amount of experience we had gained in another country with our limited language skills. I hope "the third times the charm" when I return some day and give La Malinche another try.
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