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Ascent of Volcán de Tequila on 2011-12-31

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Duane Gilliland
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, December 31, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcán de Tequila
    Location:Mexico
    Elevation:2919 m / 9580 ft

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is a short hike followed by a nice scramble, borderline Class 3/4. We climbed it the day after Volcán de Tequila.

it was thought to have access issues and only made a late entry onto our itinerary after further research by Adam Helman. He and Bob Packard climbed it during their drive south from Arizona whilst Duane and I fitted it in the day after Tancitaro while they were climbing two-state highpoint Zamorano.

The trailhead is at a locked gate on the access road serving comms masts located near the summit. The access road starts in Tequila town, N20.87358 W103.84228, an extension of Hidalgo street. The road crosses the railway then crosses under the two main highways before winding its way up the northern slope of the mountain. The surface is cobbled, but in poor condition higher up, with some bad potholes. The trailhead, N20.79209 W103.85350, 2659m, locked gate, is about an hour's drive from town.

The gate has a prohibition sign but we are assured this doesn't apply to hikers. For the summit, pass the gate and follow the road to a junction at N20.79073 W103.85033 and turn R (the other road presumably leads to the northern mast complex). Continue along the road to a small scoop at the roadside (N20.78945 W103.84813, 2820m): this is the former trailhead. Turn L here and make the short ascent to a saddle. The summit can now be seen through the trees, a vertical-walled volcanic plug which is well seen from the main Highway 15 on the approach. From the saddle, a faint trail contours R through the trees to another saddle (N20.78773 W103.84408, 2835m), at the foot of the volcanic plug which forms the highest summit.

From the saddle, the trail climbs L then R to reach the foot of a 5m rock face. There is a fixed rope here, knotted to make handholds: without it this pitch would be hard Class 5. Class 2 rock then leads directly uphill to the foot of a 20m rock face. The well-used route goes straight up, initially on worn slabs then up a wide easy groove. At the top of the pitch (N20.78783 W103.84271) a dead tree makes a good belay, should one be needed. The rock is good although a little worn in places and short of good handholds at one point.

We found a different route up the face, about 20m further left, although this turned out to be quite a bit harder.

Once above the pitch, easy ground leads to the summit (N20.78821 W103.84253, 2944m), which is marked by a tree. At the foot of the tree is a cairn concealing a summit register in the form of Andy Martin's mexican mountains list (and a tiny Tequila bottle!), placed by Adam during his and Bob's ascent a few days previously. A few metres west is a more dramatic but probably slightly lower summit boulder. Through the summit trees can be seen the southern masts (a few metres lower) and the northern masts (considerably lower).

We sat a while enjoying the view and the warm sunshine, then headed down to the top of the upper pitch. Here we doubled a light 30m rope around the dead tree and used it as a hand belay as we descended the steep groove. Where the rope ran out, the remaining 5 metres were easy Class 3. I scrambled up again and down-climbed unroped (not wishing to waste a good scramble!). There is one spot needing a bit of thought in descent so it maybe just warrants Class 4. The lower, fixed-rope pitch is pretty easy in descent although it needs care getting to the top of the rope. Then it's a simple matter of retracing the outward route, back to the locked gate. The oak woods here are very attractive, but if you are tempted to shortcut, note that the fallen leaves are quite slippery.

We also visited the west summit (the main mast complex - just follow the cobbled road to its end) although there was a maintenance crew working and we didn't quite get to the highest point. However they seemed unconcerned by our presence. The W summit appears to have about 90m prominence.

We drove back to Guadalajara where we (eventually) found a cheap hotel just next to Holiday Inn Express. It was New Years Eve and most eateries were closed but we enjoyed a nice meal at Chilis - and simple luxuries of bed and shower (plus free wifi) were very welcome after a week of car camping.

The following day we drove up to Matehuala and rejoined Adam Helman and Bob Packard who had been climbing Zamorano. The next day we all climbed the San Onofre - Pena Nevada pair.


Tequila photo album

A trip summary/overview can be found at the end of my Orizaba report

For a comprehensive illustrated description of the whole trip, see Adam Helman's expedition report
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:458 m / 1512 ft
    Elevation Loss:458 m / 1512 ft
    Distance:4.7 km / 2.9 mi
    Grade/Class:YDS 3+ / 4
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Rope
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:359 m / 1184 ft
    Extra Loss:99 m / 328 ft
    Distance:2.5 km / 1.6 mi
    Route:Normal route from NW
    Trailhead:above Tequila town  2659 m / 8724 ft
    Time Up:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:359 m / 1184 ft
    Extra Gain:99 m / 328 ft
    Distance:2.2 km / 1.4 mi
    Route:Normal route from NW
    Trailhead:above Tequila town  2659 m / 8724 ft
    Time Down:1 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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