Ascent of Nevado de Toluca on 2014-02-14

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, February 14, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Nevado de Toluca
    Elevation:15354 ft / 4679 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had come down with a bit of the dreaded revenge following my ascent of Cerro El Zamorano and ended up in a motel for the night instead of camping as I had planned. I still woke up early and headed for Nevado de Toluca, determined not to allow a little sickness prevent me from climbing one of my trip's primary objectives. I arrived at the entrance gate before sunrise and found it manned. I paid the 20 pesos (US$1.50) and continued up the road to the trailhead. At the trailhead, I did the usual gear futzing and set out as the sun was rising and it was still pretty chilly. I brought my ice axe and crampons along in case they were needed.

I followed the "routa normal" past Laguna de la Luna and up the ridge. The summit pinnacle looks forbidding, but is very easy to climb up. I encountered some class 3, though it was all very easy as it was dry and snow free. I did encounter a very short pitch of what would be considered 4th class, though it was not too exposed. It was maybe 40 ft. Could it be avoided by going left? Potentially, but I just did it and did not explore an alternate option. I was not moving nearly as fast as I normally could since I was still a bit sick, but I decided to descend the mountain by traversing the entire crater, thereby climbing both Pico de Fraile and Pico de Aguila. I marked the northern one as Pico de Aguila since I had no idea which is which. On descent of this peak to the northern section of the crater, I encountered some north-facing sheltered areas that had some icy snow. I used the ice axe and probably should have put on crampons, but they were 2 small sections and I decided to leave the crampons in the pack. Just above the main saddle between the trailhead and lagunas, I encountered the first people of the day, a family out for a hike. They insisted that we take pictures together so they could prove they met a real "alpinista." I happily complied.

I hung out at the trailhead enjoying a Coke and snack after the hike. I almost never drink soda, so it was a nice reward and should help my stomach feel a little better. I made my way back to pavement and on to Mexico City for the next day's objective, Cerro Ajusco. I stopped at a grocery store along the way to stock up for my upcoming bigger volcanoes. As I entered Mexico City in a traffic jam, I was stopped by the police simply because I had Jalisco license plates. I convinced them that I was a gringo in a rental not a drug lord and they let me go. I asked the asshole cop why he was stopping me and he gave no answer. Fuck that guy. I can definitely say that the cops here were pretty much the polar opposite of the cool guys who gave me a ride on Cerro Tláloc. Whatever, I was on my way again in under 3 minutes...

My stomach was still a bit unsettled, so I found a place that looked a bit more upscale for dinner and had a nice chicken soup. Since I was back in the big city (and crushing traffic), I figured stealth camping was out and found the usual roadside motel for the night, noting that rates increase on Friday and Saturday nights. Tomorrow's objective was Cerro Ajusco, D.F. high point and borderline P4k (P=3,993ft).

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2231 ft / 680 m
    Total Elevation Loss:525 ft / 160 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2231 ft / 680 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1706 ft / 520 m; Extra: 525 ft / 160m
    Loss on way in:525 ft / 160 m
    Route:Full crater traverse
    Start Trailhead:13648 ft / 4159 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.

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