Ascent of Lamanai Ruin-High Temple on 2011-10-13

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser <3472>Kathy and Wayne Lundberg; the Weinaugs and the McCartneys
Date:Thursday, October 13, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Boat
Peak:Lamanai Ruin-High Temple
    Elevation:130 ft / 39 m

Ascent Trip Report

SBUBA trip vacation in Belize we bid one to help the Wounded Warriors Outdoor Organization. Looked for a hike somewhere but finding hiking trail and mountains in Belize? Good Luck. The country HP takes guides and more days than I had.

The trip to Lamanai was crazy. The boat speeds across the bay and heads straight for the red mangroves along the shoreline where we winded up a narrow deep freshwater river at speeds that would be unimaginable in the US for liability and the guide claimed the river was "one way only" at this time of day - hope everyone knew that or we would have had a bow to bow collision in the many blind curves at 35 to 40 mph.

The small rive took us a little village where we took a bus to Orange Walk along the Old Northern Highway (essentially just another bumpy limerock lane in the middle of more swampland and then we made it to the North River and headed back south to the ruins.

The Ruins are along the widened portion of the river on the west bank. The ground is naturally around elevation 10 or more despite being very inland of the sea giving understanding to how flat most of Belize is. The Maya mined so much limerock from the area they built up much of the west bank to an elevation of around 20 or more.

All of the ruins were covered in thick tropical folage and looked like large steep hills except where uncovered by archeologists. We climbed to the top of the Jaguar Ruin about 60 feet above the floor and it was very steep. Then looked at all the other ruins and climbed the High Temple at 112 feet above the ruin. The slippery algae covered steps are a a bit of challenge. Where the Jaguar Ruin I could run up it without using my hands (but quite a thigh burn) the High Temple required putting hands down for safety and felt like scrambling a steep moutain of limerock. I eagerly reached the summit of both ahead of the others on the boat. The view from the top was above the river and all other ruins and all trees. amazing views. Intersting how the rain forest reclaims itself. On each temple one half was left the way the archeologist found them (covered with dirt and plants and trees) They look like mountains!

The other halves were carefully excavated to restore the limestone mounding behind them. 40,000 people lived in these villages? Amazing. The high point of the area is a forest reclaimed pile of ancient mined limerock and the views impressive.

We also then climbed the Mask Temple but it was around 35 feet tall.
I like climbing high things and getting a view. Like the feel of rock under my hands and feet and I impressed by the accomplishments of ancient peoples. This was a memorable day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:250 ft / 76 m
    Total Elevation Loss:250 ft / 75 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Raining, Pleasant, Partly Cloudy
off and on rain storms
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:250 ft / 76 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 120 ft / 36 m; Extra: 130 ft / 39m
    Loss on way in:130 ft / 39 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Guided trails
    Start Trailhead:Info sign before steps to Jaguar Temple  10 ft / 3 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:120 ft / 36 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    End Trailhead:10 ft / 3 m

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