Ascent of Cerro Tláloc on 2014-02-10

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, February 10, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cerro Tláloc
    Elevation:13642 ft / 4158 m

Ascent Trip Report

After my successful ascent of Cerro La Peñuela, and a late lunch in Almoloya, I made my way to Rio Frio de Juarez to procure dinner and some stealth camping. After scouting out the trailhead, I found a nice family-operated taco stand on the east side of the freeway. I chatted with the family and explained my desire to hike up Cerro Tláloc the following day. They said it was an enjoyable hike and that there were Aztec ruins on the summit. Their tacos were excellent and we really enjoyed each others company, hanging out for about an hour talking about hiking in the area. They also offered to watch my car while I hiked the following day and explained that this area was not safe at night and I should re-think my stealth camping plan. They said that there were hotels in nearby San Martin. Heeding their warnings about banditos in the night, I drove 15 min back to San Martin using the GPS I rented with the car to find suitable lodging. This is when I discovered something very useful that I would use again throughout my trip. Mexico has a lot of motor motels that offer a garage underneath a room so that you and your vehicle are locked in one unit together and you don't have to worry about car theft or banditos. The best part is the price - 200 to 250 pesos (US $15-$20) per night. The rooms are basic: bed, shower, sink, toilet. What else do I need? I generally avoid hotels because they are expensive and unnecessary, but I made a note of these type of establishment that are seemingly designed for the active hiker/climber. Show up at 8 pm, shower, sleep, wake up before dawn, and leave. Nothing else needed.

I was up before the sun and headed to Rio Frio de Juarez, parking my car by my new friends' house, and walking through town to get to the trailhead. Here the adventure begins. I had read about this peak on summitpost and it indicated that you follow Calle Vicente Guerrero to the trail. I had the coordinates for the peak in my GPS, so after a bit, I set out along the maze of trails and dirt roads that cover this mountain. I never encountered any bushwhacking, and generally followed trails and roads until I hit a main road near a small ranch just below 3,700m. I stayed away to avoid disturbing the inhabitants and ended up moving through open country above the ranch, moving parallel to a dirt road that I couldn't see but would later use for my descent. I eventually found a trail (marked CT Skull Tr on the GPX track) and followed it until I felt that it was appropriate to leave for the summit. Again, the cross country travel was very easy. I topped out towards the bottom of the Aztec ruins, so I followed the main Aztec road to the top. It is amazing how the Aztecs got all of these rocks up here for whatever this was supposed to be. For the second day in a row, I expected to be alone on the mountain and ran into 2 other hikers just below the summit who were headed up as I was headed down. An unexpected surprise again.

There are other structures atop the mountain of a more modern nature, but they were below the summit. After lunch on top, I began my descent, this time sticking to the trails and roads. I plotted many key points in my GPS track for future hikers, notably the trailhead. When I was down below the ranch, I ran into the local police who were fixing an axle on a pickup truck on the dirt road. I chatted with them for a few minutes and continued on my way. The gap in the GPS track is from when the police pulled up beside me and offered a ride down. I turned off my GPS so I could preserve my speed stats and turned it back on to track the trail down. I normally wouldn't accept a vehicle ride on an acclimatization hike, but I made a quick judgement and determined that walking downhill in the heat was not really doing anything useful for me. I jumped into the back of the police pickup. I noted the key turn where the dirt road meets the cobblestone road from the town as well as other turns in town for the future hiker. The police stopped at their station in the town square and I walked the rest of the day back to my vehicle.

My new friends informed me that the police had taken an interest in my vehicle during the day as it has Jalisco license plates and is new. They explained that I was up hiking Cerro Tláloc. I am glad that I had them keeping an eye on it. I polished off 2 plates of tacos and told them about my hike. With daylight left, and more to see, I headed out of town and stopped at an Aztec pyramid near Tepeapulco, Hidalgo (named Xihuingo). I had the place to myself for the 40 minutes I spent there, enjoying the ruins up close and watching the sun begin to set. I then made my way to San Juan del Rio and found another roadside motel for 250 pesos, parking my car in a garage under my room.

Pictures of Cerro Tláloc and Xihuingo

15.6 mi (14.6 mi of that walking)
2.6 mph avg moving speed
5h 49m moving time
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3865 ft / 1178 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3865 ft / 1178 m
    Route:From Rio Frio de Jaurez
    Start Trailhead:9777 ft / 2980 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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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