Ascent of Volcán Atitlán on 2017-02-10
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Friday, February 10, 2017|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||11604 ft / 3536 m|
Ascent Trip ReportTook a boat from San Pedro la Laguna to Santiago Atitlán - I was told the boats start at 6am & then leave hourly, but I got to the pier (not the main pier in San Pedro, there is a separate pier for Santiago boats) at about 6:50am & there was no-one there & no boat. People started to arrive & the boat eventually left at around 7:20am - it seems the boats leave whenever the boat captain feels like it, not to any particular schedule. Fare is 10Q, you pay just before arriving in Santiago, don't get Gringoed & buy a "ticket" for 25Q if anyone tries to sell you one, FARE IS 10Q!!
Once in Santiago I walked up the hill & to the left to the road out of town towards San Lucas Toliman. I had planned to get one of the pickup trucks that leave all the time between the two towns, but instead I got a chicken bus, the first vehicle that passed heading that way (5Q). This was a bonus, since the chicken bus was going further than San Lucas I took it to a junction out after the town & started my hike from there, saving a few km of hiking.
Just after the junction, before a (dry) creek there is a dirt trail leading towards an antenna, I followed this until its end, then followed a trail in the same direction over a small hill. After a while the trail kind of ended & I just kept walking in roughly the same direction towards Michael Buchs' GPS file. I came across another trail & a friendly local man & his sons & they confirmed that by following the trail I was now on I would join up with the main trail. I intersected the trail near a dry creek bed where I met a few more friendly locals.
I continued on up the trail, passing through coffee plantations & then cornfields. Before the col between the Atitlán & Toliman I took a wrong turn, trying to shortcut Michael Fuchs' trail. My shortcut was initially fine, but then I found myself on a ridge & having to whack through thick brush - stick to the main trail, it loops around from the right.
After rejoining the trail it steepened massively & I followed it straight up to the summit - the last 1,000m of elevation was brutal. Eventually, just under 4hrs after starting out, I reached the summit. There is a small, dirty concrete shelter there (maybe good for 3people) & several campsites. Steam was coming from some cracks in the rocks - this volcano is still a little active. Unfortunately, I summited after 12:30pm so there was no view, the summit was shrouded in clouds & it was quite windy & cold.
I spent just a short while on top, then started my descent - i wanted to make sure I got down in time for the last boat from Santiago Atitlán to San Pedro, which i was told was 4:30pm (not true as it turns out). I would have liked to have tried to somehow get from the col to join a trail i found online from the Santiago side leading up to Toliman, but after my experience trying to take a shortcut earlier I decided against it & instead followed the same path down.
I descended all the way to San Lucas, not taking my shortcut from before. For the last part there was a dirt road (1km) & the surfaced road (3km), it would be possible to get a tuk-tuk in San Lucas & save yourself hiking this part. After arriving in San Lucas I took a pickup to Santiago where I arrived at 4pm found that the next boat for San Pedro wouldn't depart until 5, so I had a meal & a beer in a restaurant near the pier.
Overall, Volcán Atitlán was not my favourite hike,. Unless you are going to do it overnight, giving yourself a view from the summit, it it not really worth it. The trail is sadly littered with thousands of plastic bottles & other rubbish, as is the summit area. I never felt unsafe at any point, all the people I met along the trail working in the fields were very friendly. At least there is no charge for this hike, unlike the rip-off Q100 for Volcán San Pedro.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||6381 ft / 1944 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||6355 ft / 1937 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||11.9 mi / 19.2 km|
| Quality:||5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack|
| Gain on way in:||6381 ft / 1944 m|
| Distance:||5.1 mi / 8.2 km|
| Route:||Trail from San Lucas|
| Start Trailhead:||Junction after San Lucas 5223 ft / 1591 m|
| Time:||4 Hours |
| Loss on way out:||6355 ft / 1937 m|
| Distance:||6.8 mi / 11 km|
| Route:||Trail to San Lucas|
| End Trailhead:||San Lucas Toliman 5249 ft / 1599 m|
| Time:||2 Hours 30 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Seán Caulfield
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