Ascent of Volcán Pacaya on 2013-08-04

Climber: Josh Hayward

Date:Sunday, August 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Volcán Pacaya
    Elevation:8465 ft / 2580 m

Ascent Trip Report

See the full report and pictures on my site at

I booked this through a hotel in Antigua knowing that the guided tour stopped short of the summit but it is required to take a guide.

The volcano apparently had a small eruption 5 days prior but was now good to climb.

A group of 13 tourists, a guide, and I all headed up the mountain in the early morning. There was cloud cover everywhere and visibility was 0. We hiked it anyway.

About half way to the saddle it started to clear slightly and we occasionally got small glimpses of the surrounding landscape.

It was a very easy climb, or "walk" rather on a well maintained trail.

We arrive to the saddle and the end of the tour after 1.5 hours and everyone starts roasting marshmallows in the hot vents.

Because of the dense clouds and zero visibility being able to see only about 200 feet I decided to use this as an opportunity to leave the guided tour and head up to the summit.

Leaving from the saddle between the two cones I spent 45 minutes scrambling to the summit.

It was an epic experience.

As I approached the summit the wind was howling fiercely and nearly knocked me off my feet on three occasions. The air smelled of sulfur and the wind whistled loudly in the cone.

When I reached the summit the visibility was still zero but the view of the hot lava was amazing. It was a small puddle of able 6 feet in the center of the cone and while nothing like the large flows from years ago was still quite the sight.

I headed down after about 5 minutes to rejoin the group and scraped my legs up pretty badly sliding down the scramble.

When I made it back to the saddle there were two police officers waiting for me, as the guide had called worried about my whereabouts.

The police and the guide didn't scold me or say anything at all. It was the other tourists who were upset with me, (besides the two who knew where I went.)

Overall it was a great experience but the required guide and guided tour isn't really worth it if you want to hit the summit... Unless you're okay with getting in trouble. :) I would always ask for forgiveness than permission and this was an amazing experience.

I've heard of a guide that will take people into the park way before sunrise and take you to the summit before anyone else is on the mountain.

See the full report and pictures on my site at
Summary Total Data
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant, Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 0 Minutes

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