Ascent of Nevado de Colima on 2011-12-27

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adam Helman -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Duane Gilliland
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Nevado de Colima
    Elevation:13976 ft / 4259 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was the first peak climbed during a three week peak bagging trip. Duane and I had flown into Mexico City and driven across to Ciudad Guzman where we met Bob and Adam late afternoon. We drove together to the trailhead where we slept at nearly 3800m (good albeit rather brutal acclimatization) before climbing the peak the next morning.

To reach the trailhead you need to get onto highway 428 immediately south of Ciudad Guzman. This is not as easy as it was, as this road no longer connects directly to the freeway (my SatNav was out of date here). After crossing under the freeway, the 428 goes straight for several km before swinging R at a junction. 0.5 km NW of the junction, at N19.63282, W103.52959, a dirt road (signposted for Nevado de Colima) climbs steadily to a locked gate, where permission can be gained at the adjacent house (for a small fee) to drive to the trailhead itself. The dirt road was in good condition at the time of our visit. High ground clearance is advisable although it might be feasible in a normal passenger car. The trailhead is at N19.58237 W103.61527, 3760m.

Adam, Duane and I started hiking at 07:30 (Bob had already bagged the peak, many years ago). The route follows a dirt road which starts at a locked gate and finishes at comms masts. We followed the road to its finish then passed several fenced mast compounds to reach the highpoint of a narrow rocky ridge (N19.56572 W103.61644 approx, 4002m, P35). We traversed the ridge (YDS 3, quite nice). However it is possible to bypass the ridge and most of the associated re-ascent by leaving the road at N19.56493 W103.61710, at the first zig-zag. Here there is a small building, and a good trail can be seen, initially descending 10m then crossing easy ground.

From here, two distinct summits can be seen. The higher is the one to the R, which turns out to be much easier than it looks.

A dusty saddle (N19.56425 W103.61469) is reached at the foot of the rocky ridge. From here, the trail heads straight for the summit initially, then slants up towards the R before entering a wide rocky cirque. There seemed to be several path lines here but we forked R at N19.56240 W103.60994, 4138m, and exited R. Then some easy scrambling (2+/3) led to the foot of a wide gully (N19.56223 W103.60862) which gives access to the ridge just S of the summit, which is now easily reached.

The highest point (N19.56307 W103.60852) is marked by a cross. In pleasant conditions we spent 30 mins on the summit, enjoying the very attractive view. The descent, by the same route, was quite rapid with some easy scree. Wandering down the transmitter road we met Bob coming up! He had spotted a lower summit (Cerro la Calle) and as we weren't too pushed for time, Duane and I suggested we climbed it with him. The summit (N19.57352 W103.61780, 3968, P40m approx) is wooded and has several masts and other structures. However it has a fine view of Nevado de Colima.

Once back at the trailhead we descended the long dirt road back to the highway. The rented vehicle needed fuel and, as we soon discovered, also a tyre repair (there was a repairer opposite the Pemex filling station on the S side of Guzman).

The day finished with a 3h30 drive to a possible trailhead for Cerro las Capillas which we planned to climb the next day, if we could find a way up it...

Colima 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
    Total Elevation Gain:1640 ft / 499 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km
    Route:Normal route from N
    Trailhead:Normal (north) trailhead  12336 ft / 3760 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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