Ascent of Cerro la Joya on 2014-02-12

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Blas
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cerro la Joya
    Elevation:9646 ft / 2940 m

Ascent Trip Report

Following my successful ascent of Cerro El Espolon, and exploration of Jalpan, I turned off highway 120 towards Tres Lagunas and Lagunita San Deigo in northeast Querétaro. The road is now paved all the way to Tres Lagunas, cobblestone through Tres Lagunas, very good dirt to Valle de Guadalupe, cement with lots of topes through Valle, and then rougher (but still passable to a low-slung 2WD rental car) dirt to Lagunita San Diego. Upon my late afternoon arrival in Lagunita San Diego, I searched for Leo as indicated in previous trip reports from Adam Helman and Rob Woodall. He was still out in the forest for the day and would return within 30 minutes. I decided to wander towards the trailhead while the light was still good in case my plans to hike up with the local guys fell through. I would be able to start before sunrise and wing it. As I was walking down the trail from town, I ran into a guy and thought he may be Leo. I was correct. Leo invited me back to his house and introduced me to his family and went off in search of some of his friends who could hike with me in the morning. He was able to procure some help from Blas (who went up with Rob, Adam, Duane, and Bob 2 years earlier) as well as Juan who had not been up before but was willing to swing a machete with us. Leo had other obligations for the next day, so he could not come along. He told me a story about another British hiker who came not long after Bob, Adam, Rob, and Duane. Initially, I thought I had crossed my wires and thought that Rob had come up separately from Adam, Duane, and Bob. This fit my recollection of the data I had pulled some months/weeks earlier planning this trip. I figured that I would solve the question when I reached the summit register. Leo invited me to stay in his house as my plans included finding a camping spot near the trailhead. Leo would not have it and insisted that I stay with him. I met Blas and Juan and we agreed to meet at 6:30 to begin the hike.

Blas, Juan, and I started hiking from Leo's house just before 7am, making quick time to a spring below a cave where Blas and Juan topped off their water bottles. I had plenty of water. Above the cave, the real bushwhacking began and the machetes came out in full force. We made pretty good time up to the ridge and then followed the ridge to the summit. I enjoy scrambling, so I found the ridge easier than staying below it as we did on the descent. We reached the summit, which has a few spots which may be the highest. I dutifully tagged all of them and we eventually found the register.

I found the glass jar that Bob left with the Mexico ultra list in it. I signed it, solving the mystery of the British climber who Leo had mentioned. I confirmed that Rob had indeed ascended this peak with Bob, Duane, and Adam. Richard McClellan (UK) was the mystery hiker. I had never heard of him, but I took pictures of the register and figured I would email Rob and see if he knew him. As it turns out, when I had wifi a few days later in Mexico City, there would be an email string on the prominence e-group about this very person. As it turns out Richard knows Rob and he had just had his ultras added to peakbagger. Pretty cool and coincidental that this went down right when I had a question.

Following our successful ascent, I hung out with the guys in town for a while, chatting and swapping stories before I got back into the car and started heading for my next objective, Cerro El Zamorano. Of note for people interested in the history of this peak, approximately 40 years ago, a priest climbed the mountain with the older man referenced in Adam and Rob's reports. I met the man from the other reports, but he did not accompany us on the hike up the mountain as we was recovering from wrist surgery following a recent fall that resulted in a fracture. He said that the priest left a container of some sort with some pesos in it that has since disappeared.

A note to future climbers: I found the town of Lagunita San Diego to be the best place I went to in Mexico, with the absolute nicest people I met on my entire trip. If you choose to head up to Cerro La Joya, please hire the local guys to go up with you. When you factor in the costs of getting to this part of Mexico (airfare, car rental, gas, etc), what they ask to hike up with you is so minimal. Do the right thing and be a gracious guest. I consider this to be THEIR mountain and they are proud to show it off to you and make no claims that it is theirs. Hang out and get to know the people here - they are awesome.

GPX track notes: I actually combined the drive track and hiking track into one track for this GPS track. There is also a gap in the beginning as my GPS had issues getting a signal.


~9 miles
4h 58m moving time
3h 48m stopped
1.7 mph avg moving speed
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3347 ft / 1020 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3347 ft / 1020 m
    Route:From Lagunita San Diego
    Start Trailhead:6299 ft / 1919 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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