She shoots, she scores!
The Hat Trick of the Americas is complete. Starting with the top of North America in June of 2005, the top of South America in 2006 and finishing on top of Central America in 2010, the Hat Trick of Highest Peaks of the Americas has been three grand adventures.
It was a long drive to the trailhead which was actually a road; a long, dusty and hot road that led through several gauntlets of children asking for Quetzals, cookies, and pen as we passed through their village. Locals roared by us, packed 10 to the back of each Toyota 4 by 4, ready to enjoy a day out on Tajumulco as well. They appeared to laugh at us as we winded our way up the dusty road to the trailhead. We chimed in that perhaps we needed to have the local experience of riding in the back of a pick up.
It was tough going, very tough going. I think I was a bit low on groceries and climbing in the heat of the day is never my favourite. I picked up a bit after we paused for lunch but it was definitely a mental and physical slog until we reached our campsite at the base of the rocky section of the volcano. We put up camp quickly, grabbed our warm gear, and began to climb slowly towards 4220 meters. We contoured up to the saddle and looked down on a sea of white clouds mixed in with smoke rising from the forest fire burning on the south side of Tajumulco (thank goodness it didn’t close the volcano). The usual view back to Santa Maria, Acatenango and Fuego was occluded by the mass of white.
We turned up from the saddle and climbed more steeply through and around rocks and scree on our way to the crater. Given the toughness of the climb earlier, I found a nice rhythm that carried me up and up. Our first look into the crater was thrilling! We circled the up around the crater to the highest point on the volcano!
Wahoo! Another summit for the trip and completion of the triad of high points of the Americas. We celebrated with high fives and summit photos. I donned by hockey helmet toque and raised my hockey stick to the sky. In a moment of jubilance, I threw the toque in the air! I only wished I’d remembered to bring my Canadian National Hockey Team Jersey to the summit too! It was the second country high point I shared with Marian and I hope she’s willing to do a few more!
We enjoyed the views in all directions tinged with a bit of sadness that we couldn’t see our other five volcanoes. We saw Tajumulco’s shadow falling on the village of Tajumulco and decided to watch the sunset as we climbed down. The descent was super steep and slippery so we were all glad for the decision to use the last bit of daylight for the down climb. We returned to camp just as darkness enveloped the peak. A yummy dinner of Pepian and rice (a Guatemalan speciality) topped off a very special day.
As we headed down this morning, the clouds had swung round to the other side of the volcano so we were able to see all the volcanoes we’d climbed on this trip. I’m still working on adding up all the vertical gain for this trip and it’s going to be substantial.
For more pictures from our climb of Tajumulco, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=592960&id=509940550&l=ef9f7ca838