Volcan la Malinche

  • Volcan la Malinche
  • 4430 m.
  • Primary factor 1920 m.
  • Location North 19.23098, West 098.03204 (GPS on the summit)
  • Climbed December 3, 2018
  • Difficulty: YDS Class 3.


How to get there:

Route description:
Head up the road and pass the locked gate. Soon, the very big trail forks off right. Follow this trail to the treeline. Next, climb to the ridge above that connects the sharp little summit (right) with the main, bulky mountain. It is likely best to follow slightly smaller trails that ascend to the right of the main track. This track is better suited for descending. Once you reach the crest, follow it left towards some cliffs that may easily be passed on the right. Next follows a section with rocks, mostly stable and with traces of a trail going uphill. This will bring you to a short summit ridge leading to a rocky summit. Just before the summit, ascend on a short and easy traverse going right, then complete the climb with some easy single moves of (YDS) class 3 scrambles.
Sverre and I met in the airport in Houston and travelled to Mexico City, arriving at 1640. After clearing immigraion and customs we got our rental car from Hertz after the normal hassle with insurance and full or empty tank etc. It was about to get dark and we wanted to get all the way to the trailhead of Malinche that evening. After driving only about 10-15 minutes from the airport, we were pulled over by a rather large group of uniformed police officers having the Mexico City emblem on their uniforms. They asked to see the vehicle registration document and my drivers license. After a quick examination they claimed that we had been driving too fast, the speed limit claimed to be 40 kilometer per hour. This did not make much sense as we had been driving down this street going with the general flow of traffic.
They next claimed that we would have to pay a fine of 500 US dollars. This is a very large sum in Mexico by any measure and certainly way above any Mexican penalty for possibly having exceeded the speed limit slightly. At this point it became obvious that we were subject to an armed robbery by the police officers of Mexico City. Very bad indeed, it even happened on the very day where the new elected president of Mexico was giving his inaugural speech about fighting corruption. The police insisted that they were not going to give us back the car documents or my drivers license unless we paid. We argued that we did not have this much money, and after a long discussion they accepted to let us continue after paying approximately 300 US dollars. Exceptionally bad incident and only a few blocks away from the international airport in the middle of Mexico City. When the city police start with outright robbery on the city streets then there are several things that needs fixing,
After several more hours of night driving, we arrived at Centro Vacacional, elevation about 3100 meter around 2030. Lots of people and cars, it trned out that they had no available cabin for the night. I had tried to make a reservation, but that seems pretty close to impossible. However, we could rent a tent and camp in the same area. This worked well, and the promise was a cabin for night number 2.
We got dinner at the restaurant and the tent sleep worked out ok. The next morning, we had a small breakfast at a pace just outside the Centro, the restaurant did not open until 0830. We started walking at 0905 and it became clear that we were not the only one aiming for the top of Malinche this Sunday. The trail runs pretty much directly uphill crossing the closed road several times. We made pretty good progress, the sun was warm and the day really gorgeous. Arriving at the summit at 1240, in the best possible weather. Pico Orizaba was very clear further south as well as Popo and Ixta to the west. We sat around for about 20 minutes then descending. Going back took only 2.5 hours and that included some rather generous breaks.
We got a cabin for the second night. Sleeping one more night above 3000 meter would be good after having climbed to 4400. The next day should be a transport day, hopefully getting us to a hut very high on Nevado Toluca.