Location North 04.44982, West 073.76432 (GPS on the smmit)
Climbed December 3, 2017
How to get there:
Starting from Bogota, the drive to the trailhead takes about
3 hours. First, drive to the lower station of the cableway that
serves Monserrate. Continue on this road, following signs for Choachi.
Note that this road has a sharp left fork shortly after you leave the
cableway station. The road crosses at elevation close to 3300 meter
before descending to Choachi.
In Choachi, when in the center of town, make a right and follow
signs for Fómeque. Again note that this road forks sharply
left while what looks like the main road continues to Ubaque.
You cross the river at about 1600 meter before the road ascends to
Fómeque. Drive through town, to the upper end and locate the
dirt road that exits town signed for Chingaza.
This road has some bad, muddy spots (Dec. 2017), thus a 4WD is good advice.
The road climbs to about 3200 meter, note the bend at location
N04.47724, W073.78710. As you continue, the road now crosses a stream, then
continues into an open pasture. There is a short, steep downhill, then you
arrive at a small, concrete bridge. Park off the road here, the location is
N04.48229, W073.78267, elevation about 3200 meter.
From the trailhead, walk uphill on the open pasture. As you get higher,
continue up into a more narrow section where also a small creek exits
from the denser jungle. There is a small fence on your right hand
A small trail starts here, initially just slightly left (when looking
uphill) of the creek. This trail crosses the small creek several
times, then climbs more steeply on the right side (after you also
cross the fence), up through dense vegetation and into open grass land
Try (hard) to follow the trail through the grass, this may be hard,
it generally runs uphill, a bit left in the beginning. This route
connects to another small, but nice trail higher up, where again
one needs to cross a belt of denser vegetation.
This trail gains the top of a small ridge at location N04.47630, W073.77577, elevation
about 3470 meter. Next, the trail makes a short descent and gets you into
slightly friendlier terrain.
From here, one should contour around (left) and gradually loose some elevation as
the route heads downhill to the main creek, eventually also crossing this to
the other side. Here, one should be able to find a pretty good trail that will
lead up the valley and stay on a couple of broad ridges that avoids denser vegetation.
We left Bogota pretty early as the description said we might spend as much as 3 hours
to drive to the trailhead. This was pretty accurate as
we were parked at 0815.
Hiking at 0830, our first challenge was finding a trail through the dense vegetation
at the upper end of the pasture where we started out. After some trial and error a small
path next to a creek and a fence was located and it got us across to a new area with
grass higher up. The challenge repeated here and we were able to sneak through, but did not
find the correct trail here until our return hike.
Quite some jungle and obviously, very few hikers. Finally, out in more open terrain with
nice plants scattered around.
We crossed a very bad meadow with tall bamboo-like grass, one should definitely avoid
this which we did on our return hike.
Then, the small lake appeared and we could see the
terrain connecting us to the peaks.
Our goal, Cerro San Luis, stood in the back,
pretty sharp and with a twin top behind it.
We arrived at the summit at 1240, so 3:40 from the car,
mainly due to trouble with dense jungle.
Another sharp peak was barely visible in the fog, but it
was nearby. Hard to tell if it was the higher summit. It was separated from us by a 30 meter
deep col and scrambling (YDS class 3) was needed in order to get down.
We next climbed this peak and took GPS readings. Both our barometer as well as the satelites
agreed that this peak was about 4 meter lower. This was also our impression
when looking back
to our first summit.
Finally, there was a third summit, clearly lower, but
with some sort of summit marker, we
visited this as well in order to make our traverse of the summits complete.