Ascent of Volcán Tolimán on 2013-09-04

Climber: Josh Hayward

Date:Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Volcán Tolimán
    Elevation:10361 ft / 3158 m

Ascent Trip Report

See the full report and pictures on my site at

This was the most challenging climb I have ever done, not because of the mountain itself but rather because of many other factors...

I had a friend join me for this climb, rather than climb solo, and we set off from Santiago at 10:35am on the trail towards the saddle of Toliman and Atitan. We started on the same trail that I used for the decent of my Volcan Atitlan climb a couple days ago which is about 2 kms from town off the side of the new highway currently under construction.


We left the road, hiked through the coffee plantations and avocado trees and began hiking towards the saddle. After about 45 minutes we decided to take a left and start hiking on a different trail that seemed to be a more direct route up the mountain approaching from the South West.

This trail lasted for about an hour and then disappeared in a big wood pile. The guys pulling 16 foot logs out of the woods with their heads are crazy!

We continued to climb along a ridge through a waterway and every step forward the ground shifted and we slid half a step back.

Then it started to rain, and when I say rain, I mean POUR! These were the biggest rain drops i have ever seen and we were instantly soaked. all our rain gear seemed to do nothing to keep us dry. Water ran down our sleeves and drenched our entire bodies.

We continued in the rain on a steep ascent and then the most challenging section of the climb showed up...

Extremely dense woods that required the use of our machete's. So much so that our uphill progress was about 10 feet per minute. We would chop about 10 trees, take a step, chop 10 more, take a step. All in the pouring rain and we were freezing.

We kept going for over 4 hours until we reached the summit.

We briefly went to our left into a ravine but it was very steep and extremely unstable ground. After a few minor slips that could have been much worse we decided for safety reasons to go back to the machete chopping.

After thinking we were at the summit many times we actually arrived at 6:20pm and rushed to set up camp so we could get out of our soaking wet, freezing cold clothing.

We both crammed in my small tent, ate some food and were asleep by 7:45pm.

Our tent was set up on a slight incline so that we had trees to tie the tarp to and during the night we slid out from under the tarp. Our feet which were already the coldest and most wet were now soaked from the edge of the tent.

It rained all night and finally subsided around 5:00am. Just in time to catch another amazing sunrise.

We stayed on the summit until 9:20 enjoying the brief sunrise, eating breakfast, and then attempting to dry some of our gear in the sun. we ventured around the cone and found a couple small trails leading to a lookout on the east side for sunrise and one on the west set towards Volcan San Pedro and sun set.


We also found a PATH! WooHoo!

This path, for those who want to climb Toliman, lead straight down to Santiago and took only 2h50m to descend. It was extremely slippery due to the massive amount of rain so the chopping of walking sticks was necessary.

There did not seem to be any path down the South side of the volcano towards the saddle.

If you want to climb Toliman I suggest you take the path!

From Santiago ask someone where the dump is. The path begins from the east side of town and starts through the dump.

Once through the dump you will follow the most used pathway, generally always keeping to your left when there are multiple options and it will take you straight up the North West side of Toliman to the summit. About 30 minutes before reaching the summit when you're already pretty high there is a left hand turn off which I assume leads to the smaller cone closer to the lake.

When you get very close to the top the path will continue straight to the West side look out, or turn left towards the cone where you can set up camp and the East look out.

See the full report and pictures on my site at
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cold, Windy
Pouring Rain
Ascent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 50 Minutes

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