Volcan Concepcion

  • Volcan Concepcion
  • 1610 m
  • Prominence 1579 m
  • Nicaragua
  • Location: North 11.53833, West 085.62264
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2.
  • Climbed March 11. 2022.


How to get there:
This peak is located on the island Ometepe in the big lake Nicaragua. There is reasonable ferry connections between the mainland, San Jorge on the west side of the lake, only a few kilometer east of the town Rivas. The ferry takes a bit more than one hour.ยจ
Do not take your car across, this is only hassle! One may park the car in a safe area inside the port. The cost was 70 as of 2022. The ferry runs to the small town of Moyogalpa, the trailhead is only a few kilometer up the road and there are normally many taxis or just young people that are willing to drive you there.
There is a big sign at the trailhead / turnoff, this is location N11.55516, W085.66899, elevation about 140 meter.
Route description:
A quick summary of the peaks climbed in Central America.
Shortly up the road on your left, there is a "ranger station", ie. someone may collect a small entrance fee for the park. (About USD 3.). There is a welcome sign indicating that the climb is an extreme adventure. Another sign indicates that a guide is required, perhaps the easiest way is to find a guide already in Moyogalpa when you leave the boat. However, if no guide shows up, it seems straightforward to just climb the peak without any.
The route follows the farm road heading directly towards the peak. Do not take any side trail, but stay on what appears to be the main road. This road is wide enough that trucks and a 4WD car can use it. This track sort of ends near a big tree where an information sign is posted.
Continue on a nice and clear trail that now enters the forest and starts climbing. First, this trail heads sort of uphill and right, passing some area with banana trees that you will see on your left. In the beginning, there are even signs of man made steps in a few places. The trail continues, sometimes steeply, uphill all the way until it emerges on a shoulder. You pass the ruins of a building shortly before this.
You are now out of the trees and the remaining hill is easy to see up front. The trail is mostly fine and easy to follow. One may avoid small patches of scree and mostly step on solid rock. The route proceeds uphill, the slope is fairly steep and one should be aware that rocks from people higher up, may pick up speed and thus be dangerous. (I observed one rock bouncing down, it went a long way before stopping.) The upper part of the climb follows a ridge that ends at the highest point. Poor rock near the steep cliffs of the summit, some care should be exercised.
I had asked the hotel to make a reservation for the ferry, assuming (wrongly!) that it would be easy and convenient to take the car along. The 0700 ferry was already fully booked, but I got a written confirmation that I had a slot on the 0745 ferry. I was also informed that if I showed up at 0630, there was always a chance to get on the 0700 ferry.
I showed up at 0630, the guys seemed optimistic, but at 0655 it was clear that I needed to take the 0745 ferry. OK, now just wait until they opened the ticket office. The first ferry left, it was operated by another company - several companies here each with separate offices etc. an extremely inefficient way to run a ferry service.
Finally, the (new) ticket office opens. I show my reservation and to my surprise, the guy says in Spanish that my reservation is invalid? I try to argue, but he ignores all of it. I call my hotel and they send additional evidence, a screenshot of the confirmation delivered by an agent that works for the ferry company. No avail, my ticket office guy still maintains that this reservation is improper and cannot be taken seriously. At this point, I decide to get rid of the car, that is get it parked and take the ferry that now is about to leave. I need to get to the island without more delays if I shall be able to catch the last ferry of the day going back. Easier said than done, another ticket for parking is needed. I get this, but are now told that the car needs to be parked in a special place and that I can take the 0830 ferry. No way, I get the car to its parking, there another man demands to see my parking ticket, less than a minute until ferry departure. I run as fast as possible and arrive at the ferry 5 seconds before departure. Jump onboard and the ferry departs! Puh, what a completely insane stress for such a mundane thing as a ferry.
Arriving shortly before 0900, I was immediately approached by 2 guys, they offered a ride to the trailhead and the second man said he was a guide and that a guide was required. OK, I replied that I intended to hike rather fast. My guide then told me that he would find another guide since he himself was not very fast. A bit of searching, but no new guide.
A nice woman at the "ranger station" accepted to keep my small bag with shoes and clothes to be used after the climb. She also took registration info. as well as the USD 3 entry fee. Since no guide was available everyone seemed happy with me going without any. Good solution. I started at 0930 and made good progress along the pretty flat access road. The trail was nice, I took a break at 1100, hot weather and some water was very welcome. Back on the trail I soon emerged above the trees and could see the rest of the route. A few people were on their way down. The final climb was nice, it got more windy near the summit. I had to make a brief stop to put my hat in the backpack, otherwise the wind could take it.
Arrival on top at 1230, so exactly 3 hours up. Good views, the crater rim is very rugged. After about 15 minutes, I started my descent. The hike back was uneventful, but hot. I stopped a couple of times to drink my water.
Back down in 2:15, the woman got me my small bag and I looked for the car. They had promised a lift back to town. Nowhere to be seen despite that I sent them a text message about 20 minutes earlier. Never mind, I soon got a ride with one of the small 3-wheel taxis, he got me to the ferry about 30 minutes before the 1600 ferry departure. A cold Coke and a change to summer clothes - all good. My return drive to Morgan's Rock got me back just as it was getting dark.