Ascent of Volcán Barú on 2014-12-29

Climber: Sean Caulfield

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, December 29, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
Peak:Volcán Barú
    Elevation:11398 ft / 3474 m

Ascent Trip Report

Took US$5 shuttle from Mamallena hostel in Boquete to the trailhead just below the ranger station - the hostel mind your bags for free & also let you use the hostel facilities on your climb day without charge & you can check in early on your return.

Started climbing at 11:45pm right after drop-off - much too early for me, I walked slowly by my standards, taking many breaks (even sleeping for 30mins about halfway), but was still at the communications towers before 5am (sunrise was about 6:15am & it was very cold near the summit). Most of my fellow climbers had never done anything like this before, so took a little longer.

Luckily the security guard, Jaime, invited me & later the other climbers, into his quarters near the communication tower & even made us tea & coffee. Legend! He was in the middle of a several-week long stint alone at the top & was a really nice guy, happy to have the company of us hikers. Bring him biscuits!

I hiked the last 5mins to the cross just in time for sunrise, even had a couple minutes alone at the summit before the other climbers arrived. The Pacific side was clear, there was a sea of clouds on the Caribbean side - slightly disappointed to not be able see "both oceans", but the panorama was spectacular all the same.

Jaime had advised me to take an alternative route down from the summit to Nuevo Bambito/Volcan, as it was much more scenic. He was right, but it is longer & MUCH steeper at the start (I dropped 1,600m in altitude in the first 6km before the trail levelled off & became first a 4x4 track, then a road.

Highly recommend descending by this route for experienced hikers, it is much more challenging & rewarding with beautiful views & rainforest. There is only really one trail & it is hard to get lost, there are also colourful tape markers on trees. To get back to Boquete flag down a bus to David from Cerro Punto or Volcan, spend the US$5 you saved on the entry fee (you won't have to pass the ranger station & pay!) & change to the Boquete bus.

I got lucky & met a friendly park ranger who was checking the level of water in an old reservoir where the trail joins a dirt road & he gave me a ride all the way into Volcan - this saved me several kilometres of walking along mostly flat paved roads in the heat of the day.

A couple notes on the GPS file:
- the 3,000 point limit meant I couldn't upload my full GPS file from this hike
- this is the file for my DESCENT to Nuevo Bambito/Volcan, there are many files online for the ascent up the 4x4 road & anyway it is a 4x4 road, you don't need to follow a GPS track!
- it should be possible to flag down a passing bus to David or at least Volcan from 8.819193, -82.616852 (8°49'09.1"N, 82°37'00.7"W).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5893 ft / 1796 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5893 ft / 1796 m
    Route:4x4 road (Boquete side)
    Start Trailhead:5505 ft / 1677 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:Nuevo Bambito/Volcan route
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Sean Caulfield
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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