Cerro de Morasurco

  • Cerro de Morasurco
  • 3550 m
  • Primary factor 350 m
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Location: North 01.26993, West 077.24043 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed December 21. 2017.


How to get there:
The natural point of departure is the city of Pasto south in Colombia near the border to Ecuador. Take the local bus (may be hard this way) or simply a taxi and drive up to the highest point of the road named Via Cujaca. This location is at N01.23788, W077.23603, elevation a bit below 2900 meter. Note that this road turns here and runs back down to the city of Pasto the name is now Via Puente Tabla. As we disovered, it may be better to take this branch (Not Via Cujaca) up to this point, as that road seemed better maintained and less likely to be closed.
On return, an excellent option is to take the bus from this location to the center of Pasto.
Route description:
From the top bend (see above) of the main road, two smaller roads continue uphill. The correct route is the rightmost of these two roads (when facing uphill). This road heads uphill on the right hand side of the small creek. The road is in good condition and you may elect to ask your taxi to continue uphill to the highest point where the road crosses the ridge at location N01.25617, W077.22450, elevation about 3260 meter. Interestingly, the city has posted official signs for hiking this mountain.
Note that just before this point your road has a fork where one branch makes a sharp right. Do not take this road as it will descend into the valley on the opposite side.
Next, follow the road downhill as it gradually bends left and reaches the lowest point (a saddle) on the ridge. Just after this, there is a fork, a rough, but wide trail ascends right, while the main road continues straight. This location is N01.26340, W077.22408, elevation just below 3200 meter. There are two signs here, your route is simply to follow the road as it now gradually ascends having the downslope side on its left.
You will reach a new fork, a gate guards access to what looks like a small farm further ahead. Take the right fork (the main road) and continue uphill. The road will become rough, only driveable by a 4WD. Keep ascending until you arrive at a new fork at location N01.26963, W077.22601, elevation approximately 3340 meter.
Continue along the left fork, this rough road will now continue all the way to the summit where there are two communication antennas. The summit point is directly under one antenna at location N01.26993, W077.24043. There are a few nice rocks suitable for a summit rest.
This was our last day in Pasto and it was tempting to get some more exercise. The problem was where to hike as all local tops seemed hidden behind difficult jungle. A careful examination of the maps revealed that one could most likely get up to about 3200 meter by following smaller roads. From there, we would depend on luck to possibly find a path.
We left our hotel around 0950 and travelled by taxi towards the top of the road. Unfortunately, this road was a bit rough and suddenly closed as a big pile of dirt had been used to stop all normal cars, while trucks and 4WD vehicles likely could still pass.
Stig got discouraged and returned to town by the taxi, while Pål and I set out on foot from a somewhat lower starting point than planned.
We continued up the dirt road to the ridge. There, we believed (wrongly) that the road descended to the valley on the other side and tried a small jungle path that got messy, eventually this path exited back out on the road, a much better option.
Arriving at the saddle, we decided to follow the wide trail rather than the road, believing that the road would only serve the farm building that was visible. This was another mistake, but it lead us onto a historical trail as we soon came to a sign describing a battle in 1814 that general Narino won. Subsequently he marched down to Pasto and was defeated there.
Our trail traversed around the hill, but did not provide any opportunity for ascending. Eventually, we picked a rather small jungle trail, our hope of getting to the summit rapidly vanishing.
This lead us to a spur where all traces of a trail disappeared. I asked Pål if he thought a trail might exist on the other side of the ridgeline. He answered no, but still fought his way across brush and bush, then exclaiming: There is a trail here!
We followed this trail up the ridge and to our astonishment, the trail grew bigger and eventually turned into a small forest road. Following this lead us to a road fork, we were now on the route that originated from the road that we did not take in the first place.
We were at the summit at 1310. Nice views. Leaving at 1325, we followed the much shorter and easier route down to the saddle, then onwards to the bus stop. A bus was there, the engine started up just as we arrived and thus quite efficiently we were soon back in Pasto.