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Volcán Puracé - Climbing Parque Nacional Puracé - Colombia

The star of this 803,600-hectare national park is Volcán Puracé. A near-perfect cone peak, it rises 4,760 meters (15,613 feet). A well-defined trail leads from the Pilimbalá ranger station through high mountain and páramo ecosystems to its summit; near the top, loose cinders make the going a bit tough. Even though the Volcáno last erupted in 1949, its fumaroles yet emit sulfur fumes. The ascent, in reality, isn't all that difficult: the trail begins at 3,350 meters (10,988 feet) altitude and no special climbing equipment is needed. However, you are climbing at high altitude and through a landscape that is unrelenting. Clouds and rain can move in at any moment.

Parque Nacional Puracé, Colombia

Climbing Types:
Mountain climbing

Getting There

Volcán Puracé is most easily accessed from the north side of the park. A signed trail begins behind the Pilimbalá ranger station. To get to Pilimbalá, see the Puracé: Getting To and Away section.

Travel Tips:

The ranger station here has lodging available, which is a convenient place to stay if surmounting the volcano. A simple restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though the military reports all land mines have been removed from the volcano, the park service still recommends you stay on the path. The rangers further recommend you go accompanied, in a group and/or with a guide, as the climate and terrain provide special challenges, and that you begin the climb before 10 a.m. and the descent no later than 4 p.m. Pay attention to the signs warning of fumaroles. Do not enter the crater.

Price Description:

The park entry fee is $8.50 for foreigners, $3.50 for Colombians.

Relative price: Mid-Range

Travel Skills: beginner/easy.

You Need to Bring:

Water, high-energy food, warm clothing, hat, gloves, rain gear, strong footwear; if it is the rainy season, rubber boots may be necessary.

Along the north road of Puracé National Park are a number of natural wonders, including a condor lookout point, Laguna de San Rafael, Cascada de Río Bedón, Termales San Juan and Cascada San Nicolás.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

17 Aug 2011

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