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Ascent of Volcán San Cristóbal on 2017-01-07

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 7, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
Peak:Volcán San Cristóbal
    Location:Nicaragua
    Elevation:5725 ft / 1744 m

Ascent Trip Report

Straightforward (hot!) day hike with easy access from Chinandega and minimal red tape - there was no one there to take our park fee. Fine shapely volcano, my favourite of the trip so far. Take plenty of water. And mosquito repellent.

Fri 6 Jan: Transporte de Sol bus from San Salvador to Chinandega where they drop us on their way to Managua. $50 each gets us aircon, food and a little help thru the border crossings into Honduras and Nicaragua. Good views on route of Volcan San Miguel (quieter today but still too smoky around the summit) and tomorrow's target San Cristobal. Dropped at edge of Chinandega we have a hot 3km walk (saving a small taxi fare!) thru town to Hostal Casa Blanca conveniently close to the bustling centre, where Rafael has good English and is very helpful. We find ATM and get set up for tomorrow.

Sat 7: 6am breakfast at hostal then $7 taxi to La Bolsa trailhead, hiking just before 7am while still cool. Route as per Mclellans TR. No one at ranger post to take our $5/person so after a few unanswered Buenas dias and some sunscreen we head up; bad mosquitos. Side trail leads to a mirador and nice shady dead-end then back to main trail; seismic monitoring station just above forest edge, grass soon runs out. Trail clear all the way, nice zigzags in places but upper 300m looser and pretty hard work. Skeletons of old forest presumably killed off by a recentish eruption, nice views down on the lower volcan Chonco. An impressive green cricket, excellent leaf imitation camouflage complete with simulated leaf miner damage. Effect spoiled by it being the only green thing in half a km!

Finally slope relents and a spur leads to the compact level summit looking down on a fine crater, a little steamy but no problems with gas, just a whiff of sulphur on final ascent. Clear views although a little hazy, can just see coast.

Swarm of assorted insects on top from sub millimetre flies through metallic green bugs to colourful wasps and large butterflies. Mostly harmless but a little annoying, so soon head down; rapidly plunge stepping we're back at top edge of vegetation in 15 mins or so for 400m descent - excellent fun!

Again no-one at the Finca to take our money so we hike back down to La Bolsa: 4hrs up, 15 mins on top, 2hrs down. Stroll down road till bus arrives at 1530, small flat-bed truck with bench seats and a roof, which transports us and a dozen locals to Chinandega for 9 cordoba ($0.30) each. Walk back thru the teeming market with its gridlocked cycle rickshaws, back to Hostal Casa Blanca for a much needed cold shower and beer - a Guatemalan Gallo in celebration of volcanoes past.

Sun 8: taxi to long-distance bus terminal. Bus marked Chinandega Managua; western bus terminal (Boer); bus to El Crucero (a Jinotepe bus); an hour bagging the various Meseta de los Pueblos summit candidates; minibus to Jinotepe; short taxi ride to main bus terminal; minibus to Rivas; short shared taxi ride to San Jorge arriving in plenty of time for 4pm ferry - to Omotepe for Volcan Concepcion. Overnight at Finca Monserrath, almost halfway to the Concepcion trailhead.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5167 ft / 1574 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.4 mi / 20 km
    Trailhead:558 ft / 170 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 



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