Ascent of Volcán La Malinche on 2012-01-09

Climber: Ryan Courtney

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, January 9, 2012
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Peak:Volcán La Malinche
    Elevation:3870 m / 12700 ft

Ascent Trip Report

The morning following our successful ascent of Nevado de Toluca we left the 13,600' hut and headed out early. Greg, Collin, and I arrived at the government-run resort at La Malinche a bit before the other car and procured a hut (10,000'), which was by far the nicest of the huts we stayed at throughout the trip. Private, six very comfortable beds, a nice large table with chairs for everyone, and a bathroom. There was even a television, though we turned it on only to watch a few minutes of the NFL playoffs. We paid 630 pesos per night - an offseason rate for some reason, but the in-season rate is only 100 pesos more. Completely worth the modest expense, especially if you're with a group.

The complex includes picnic areas, playfields, a large parking lot, a store featuring apparently upscale Mexican crafts (open only on weekends and festival days, so I could only peer inside the locked door), a small market (snack foods, sodas, etc.), a nice restaurant, and even a soccer field.

We were nearly alone at the resort our first night.

We ate dinner at the restaurant. I had tortilla soup and a Tampiquena, which was slightly underdone but tasty nonetheless.

I had decided as early as the ascent of Cerro Ajusco on January 6 that I would not attempt La Malinche, with the Orizaba attempt falling only 36 hours later and with an effort that would entail 4500' gain. I wanted to save my legs.

The rest of the group took off for the summit between 7 and 7:30 and I hung around the hut reading and relaxing. I wanted to take an acclimatization hike and left around 11:30 or so. While the (closed) road that proceeds beyond the resort area switchbacks numerous times, there is a nice dirt trail heading straight towards the mountain. The trail, sadly, had more trash than pretty much any peak I've ever climbed on. But the bosque is otherwise beautiful. I remained pleasantly surprised that the Mexicans have done such a great job at conserving their forests, as opposed to many other countries in the Western Hemisphere. Watch for the little red birds!

After a nicely graded hike, perhaps to 11,500' or so, there is a short amount of road to hike before the trail leaves the road for good (at a trash pit, full, but not full enough, given the levels of litter) and takes off steeply for the base of the mountain. The hike levels again around 12,000' and I took a seat around 12,200', where I was planning on hanging out for acclimatization.

Not long after I stopped, Adam and Duane came along and told me about the hike, which sounded really nice. Greg and Rob showed up maybe 10 minutes later, having climbed a low-prominence subpeak. The group convinced me that I should continue up until breaking out of the woods for great views of La Malinche.

I left the woods around 12,700' and grabbed some nice photos of a beautiful mountain. I had wanted to stay high for a little while, but I also overheard Greg mention the word "hamburguesa" and, knowing the restaurant closed at 5:00 on this day, I backtracked quickly in search of that hamburger.

I arrived at the restaurant as the rest of the group was ordering and enjoyed my meal quite a bit.

On Monday night there were a number of school-age children around and they were fairly loud, though the comfortable bed provided plenty of sleep until the drive to Tlachichuca the following morning.

Given that my attempt at Orizaba had routefinding issues in the Labyrinth and included minimal gain before turning back (wisely, given snow and ice conditions), I really should have climbed Malinche. But in the end, it gives me even more reasons to return as soon as possible to one of my favorite countries.

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Hut Camp

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