Monday, 7 September 2009

Climbing Volcan Concepcion

View from the Top of Concepcion, where is the lift to get down???

Why, why, why???
After leaving Rivas I have come down to Ometepe, an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. This island is magnificent, adventure movie country. You can easily imagine Indiana Jones or King Kong being filmed here.
The island was created by two volcanoes rising in the middle of the lake and eventually joining up.
Concepcion, the largest of the two, dominates the island, sometimes menacing, sometimes just stunning.
I had always wanted to go to see the crater of a volcano and, this being Nicaragua, they allow you to do just that.
View from the door of my hostel..
Although I am a bit mad I decided I had to go with a guide, though there are no controls at the entrance to stop you taking on the 1610 metre mountain on your own.
The walk starts through dense forest, on a steep climb from sea level.
The humid heat is sticky, and I sweated like never before, there were rivers of it.
The morning had been cloudy, but when at around 10.30 we got to the tree line the clouds had vanished and we were greeted with a beautiful view over the lake.
Before things got hard with Heike and our guide Erik

The tree line is at around 1000 metres. Everytime trees try to go higher the volcano explodes and the ash burns everything. There are small trees burnt from the last explosion 7 months ago.
From there onwards the trek, which I thought had been hard, turned into hell.
The mountain is so steep, the rocks are loose, and most of the time I crawled on all fours to avoid falling backwards.
My two fellow trekkers and the guide were well ahead of me. The words of Frank Sinatra keep coming back to me, had I bitten off more that I could chew.
We were very lucky that clouds only covered our path from time to time. Climbing with complete cloud cover would not have been nice, especially if you add the howling from the howler monkeys down in the forrest being transported by the wind.

Evnetually we got to the top, though we didn't stay there long. The gases are strong, make you sleepy, and there are some irritating bugs that drive you potty.
On the top of the volcano, covered with clouds and gases, get me out!!!

If I thought that going up had been difficult, down drove me insane. The going was hard, challenging, but got your adrenaline and you heart pounding.
Coming down was infurating as, everytime I put my foot down, the rocks crumbled. I fall on my fat ar*e several times, scratched my hands, and on one accasion shouted a very loud 'Cono!!!' that was heard at the bottom of the volcano by another group.
To make matters worse I ran out of water at the top with 4 hours still to go. Probably one of my worse nightmares......
Thankfully, the couple that were trekking with us, Heika and Stephan were able to spare some water.
Howler monkey with baby that we found on the way down

Funnily enough, by the time I got down, I had already forgotten how tough it had been and was thinking about my next big trek. But I have learnt a lesson, and eaten a lot of humble pie.

Today I am going to do sweet FA as my legs are killing me


  1. Very interesting, I would like to move to Costa Rica, but first I need to find a lot and learn a little Spanish. Decide where to live is very difficult, personally I love the people from Costa Rica are very nice and the nature is amazing. In Costa Rica, one can enjoy lovely tropical beaches, the grandest adventures, the wonders of nature, brilliant and exciting culture and all the necessary components of an ideal vacation.

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.