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Ascent of Volcán La Malinche on 2001-12-01

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Date:Saturday, December 1, 2001
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Volcán La Malinche
    Location:Mexico
    Elevation:3810 m / 12500 ft

Ascent Trip Report

This was only supposed to be an acclimatization climb for our later attempt on Pico de Orizaba. Our team consisted for five members, Jim, Darin, Fred, my wife, Geri, and myself. We did not waste any time getting on this mountain. In less than 24 hours after arriving in Mexico City we were on the southern slopes of La Malinche hiking to the summit. Most approaches are made on the northern side of this mountain, but the transportation to reach the other side of La Malinche would have consumed too much time and added an extra day to our limited schedule. As a result of our route choice, we had to bail out of our attempt after reaching 12,500 feet, far short of the summit. A northern approach allows a much higher elevation starting point than where our taxi had to leave us on the south side of the volcano and we had a difficult time route finding with many deep ravines blocking our path. We encountered numerous trails during our ascent and it was unclear which was the best path to follow. After hiking for 6 hours, we found a man cutting trees for firewood. We thought he could give us directions and Fred, whos Spanish was the best of our team, tried to communicate with the woodsman. To our great surprise, the man did NOT speak Spanish. We assume he still spoke some native language from hundreds or even thousands of years ago! We were very amazed to be so deep in Mexico and find a citizen who could not speak the language of his country! My next attempt on La Malinche will definitely be on the northern side of the mountain. The elevation gain there is just over 3000 feet and easily done in a single day. A southern approach would require an overnight trip, if you can even find a trail to the summit.
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