Volcano Acatenango

Volcano Acatenango

Dad and I decided to do a 2 day hike to watch an active volcano and then hike to the summit in the morning to watch the sunrise! We left from Antigua, Guatemala and…

What can I even say? I’m still in disbelief. The entire way up to our base camp took 5 and a half hours (takes many groups 8 hours), my lungs felt like they were going to explode, we were constantly fighting the lava rock, climbing straight up, the air getting thinner with every metre higher, I’ve never experienced such a mentally and physically challenging hike. Our base camp was at 3800m where we watched Volcano Fuego erupt every 20 minutes, it was amazing to be so close to something so raw.
We then went to bed in these tiny tents bundled in all of our clothes, with a nylon style sleeping bag, laying right on the rocks, I don’t even think I have to say we got zero sleep. It didn’t help that it dropped close to -10c, I was friggin freeeeeezing.

Our guides then woke us up at 4am to hike to the summit at 4000m to watch the sunrise, I got up thinking that at least I would be out hiking rather than sitting in that tent frozen but man, once we started I immediately regretted my decision. I don’t think we got 10 metres before I felt like I was right back into how I felt at the end of the hike the day before. It must be from lack of oxygen up that high because you are gulping for air and feel like you’re getting nothing, your limbs are like lead, your vision is a bit blurry and you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hiking to the summit was a much less visible path, which I guess also could have had to do with the fact that its pitch black out, straight up through the lava rock where you’d take a step and slide back 3. Demoralizing, hell yes.

Finally Dad and I made it up, you’re mind goes into this weird survival mode I find when you’re doing this stuff, at first bouncing around to all these thoughts and then finally just narrowing to nothing but your next breath and your next step. About 3 years ago 6 people died climbing Volcano Acatenango, it’s no joke and shouldn’t be taken lightly by anybody that decides to do it.

Click HERE to check out an amazing video of us hiking Volcano Acatenango, it will be something I never forget the rest of my life!


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