Ascent of Volcán Pacaya on 2016-12-11

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Sunday, December 11, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Volcán Pacaya
    Elevation:8465 ft / 2580 m

Ascent Trip Report

We arranged for an ascent of Cerro Grande at the end of our Guatemala trip. Our guide Pepian had not been to the summit, but a local guide we employed had been there and knew the trails. Turns out it was a really nice hike on good trails. It took about 2 hours 15min. to the top. From Grande we could see that lots of people were climbing Pacaya. There was a strong wind blowing west which kept the smoke away from the eastern rim.
So heading down we crossed over to the trail up the cinders which is the upper one in the photo. It was firm after a slippery start and we were at the rim in about an hour and a half. My friend Shelley and I went on up to the highest point. Some smoke occasionally blew over, but was not that bad. Our GPS unit showed about 8475ft. which is about 100 ft. higher than the listed elevation of 8373ft. And visually it did look higher than Cerro Grande which is listed at 8402ft. On Grande our GPS units agreed closely with the elevation and showed about 8397ft.
The hike down was fast and took about one hour and 20 minutes, subtracting time spent at a shelter for lunch. There is a sign saying a hike to the crater is prohibited, but that day there were dozens going up including whole families with kids and dogs. So at times if the wind is blowing to the west it seems that you can go up. I recommend doing Cerro Grande as it is easy with nice views and from there you can assess the situation on Pacaya. I have a web page with photos and a Google Earth view of the track at: 12/16 RLC
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Looking west at Volcan Pacaya from Cerro Grande (2016-12-11). Photo by Richard Carey.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2290 ft / 697 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2290 ft / 697 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Start Trailhead:Park headquarters  6175 ft / 1882 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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