Ascent of Volcán Poás on 2017-02-01

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Adam Walker -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcán Poás
    Location:Costa Rica
    Elevation:8871 ft / 2703 m

Ascent Trip Report

Poás National Park is a very popular tourist destination. A paved road leads uphill from Alajuela to a huge parking lot--a ranger booth at the entrance extracted US$15 each from us, and we were told it was cloudy with no views if we wanted to turn back and avoid paying. We didn’t tell him that peakbaggers don’t care too much about views. . .

We parked (an extra US$3) and hiked up a paved road (closed to cars), past a huge visitor center, and finally the end of the road, where a short paved path led to an overlook into the volcanic crater. As promised, clouds obscured most views. We continued on the paved path, which led up to a higher viewpoint. At this point, the continuation of the path was blocked by yellow tape. There were not too many people there, so we quickly just went under it and continued on the path through the dense rainforest. There was some debris on the trail from a recent rainstorm, but nothing serious at all—the closure was clearly just the park service bureaucracy being over-protective.

The path led south, past some huge-leaved trees, and at the same point that my friend Rob had left the trail on his hike a month earlier, we plunged into the forest. The bushwhacking was not terrible—for us, it was your basic Northwest-USA rain forest terrain. It was a bit misty and damp, but there was at least no rain. We followed Rob’s GPS track over a pronounced bump and then over some flatter ground. There was only one big thicketed area where the brush looked impassible and we detoured around it. I was not long before we reached a very gentle rise in the forest at the GPS waypoint for the summit. After scouting around for various HP contenders, we rested, ate, and returned the way we came—except we passed by the first pronounced sub-peak to the north.

Back on the paved trail we continued onwards on the downhill section, and near the parking lot ducked under the yellow tape again. We found a nicer forest path to decend back to our car, avoiding the walk on the closed road.

Overall this was an OK hike—not much in the way of views, but the tropical cloud forest was interesting, and it was a relatively easy way to get a P600m peak and a Costa Rica province high point. We thought we were now seasoned jungle bushwhackers and ready for Volcán Barva this afternoon—little did we know what we were in for there.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:663 ft / 201 m
    Total Elevation Loss:663 ft / 201 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:597 ft / 181 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 531 ft / 161 m; Extra: 66 ft / 20m
    Loss on way in:66 ft / 20 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Route:Tourist Tr, Bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Poas NP Parking Lot  8340 ft / 2542 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:597 ft / 181 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 531 ft / 161 m; Extra: 66 ft / 20m
    Gain on way out:66 ft / 20 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    Route:Tourist Tr, Bushwhack
    End Trailhead:Poas NP Parking Lot  8340 ft / 2542 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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