Ascent of Volcán Atitlán on 2012-08-03

Climber: Paul Brossier

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, August 3, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
Peak:Volcán Atitlán
    Elevation:11604 ft / 3536 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left from Santiago Atitlán around 1:00pm, got a tuk-tuk to the supposed trail-head, started hiking about one 30 minutes, asking to the locals if I was on the way to Chanan. A local farmer finally told me that I was on the wrong trail. I was going South towards the sea, not East towards the volcano! I followed him downhill and he left me on the correct trail.

At 2:15pm, I was starting to climb, on the right trail that time. An other old farmer told me to watch out for some local kids who could have followed me.

The trail led me uphill through the beautiful forest. I took a wrong right turn, thinking I was approaching Chanan, only to find myself on a dead-end lumber trail. I came back on the main trail, kept going up for a short distance, and found the right turn marked with a piece of cloth tied to a tree, and reached Chanan at 5:45pm.

I kept going up on a steeper trail, in the fog and until dusk. At 7pm, I took my headlight out on a little platform next to the trail and decided to pitch my tent there. The platform was not very horizontal, but way large enough to fit my one person tent. At 8pm, I was fed and sound asleep, lulled by the mystical sounds of the forest.

It rained a lot that night. I opened the eyes a couple of times in the early morning, only to find out that I was still in the fog. But at 5:30am, the fog had gone and I stood up to admire the sunrise over Tolimán. At 6:10am, I was hiking up again with some food and warmth in my belly.

Within one hour, I had made my way out of the forest, hiked pass the fumaroles in the rising sun, and reached the crater ridge. At 7:10am, I was contemplating the view from the summit.

As the cloud were rolling in quickly, I pressed to take the way down at 7:30am. I was a bit afraid of not being able to find the trail-head back into the forest. But I could see the bright colored cloth marking the trail before the clouds had covered entirely the summit. I was back on the forest trail at 7:50am, passed my camp spot at 8:10am, and reached Chanan at 8:50am.

From Chanan, I took a right to go down towards San Lucas Tolimán. The trail was fairly easy to follow in that direction, and workers were already up in the field to confirm that I was going the right way. At 10:20am, I was entering Colonia San Andres and kept hiking towards San Lucas. At 11:00am, I was waiting for the boat back home on San Lucas dock.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6486 ft / 1976 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6486 ft / 1976 m
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Raining, Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
rainy night, clear morning
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6486 ft / 1976 m
    Start Trailhead:Santiago Atitlán  5118 ft / 1559 m
    Time:0 Days 5 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:6486 ft / 1976 m
    End Trailhead:San Lucas Tolimán  5118 ft / 1559 m
    Time:0 Days 3 Hours 30 Minutes

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