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Cerro Quemado

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Summary

Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela or Xelajú) is the second largest city of Guatemala and a spiritual center. The climbing is located on Cerro Quemado south of the city.

Description

The climbing in Xela offers a very particular visual and cultural attraction and that is because on Cerro Quemado is a very important center of spiritual and religious rituals since pre-Hispanic times. The color of the surrounding villages mixed with the rituals performed near the climbing areas produce a very special effect for visitors and climbers outside the place.

As for the climbing, it is mostly single pitch sport and some traditional climbing on basalt of excellent quality and great friction. The routes vary from tricky slabs, to resistance on technical faces, to juggy, slight overhangs on increadibly featured rock.

Many (but by far not all) route names are written on the rock with a grade. Be aware that the grading of the routes can be a bit off or differ from what is listed here on theCrag. Make sure to add your contributions if you think something needs correcting.

Approach

From Quetzaltenango make your way south in direction of Almolonga. Pass the Shell station, continue up the hill until you reach a right turn, which signals the route to Canton Chicuá. Follow this lesser road until you reach the small village below the obvious cliffs. You will be stopped on the outskirts of town to pay a 2q per person fee to access the area. Total drive time from central park in Xela is about 10-15 minutes.

There are several car parks in town, mostly used for the religious ceremonies, where you can leave your car for 5q/day. Hike up along the myriad of paths leading to the respective sectors that are always in sight.

You can also arrive via Uber/taxi or public transport. You will need to take 2 buses from central park, one that leads you up the hill to the turn-off (the "Zunil" bus), and then a local pick-up truck will ferry you into Canton Chicuá. If you intend to return via bus, be aware that the final pick-up for the day generally runs no later than 5pm.

Where to stay

There is accommodation in Canton Chicuá but most likely it is best to stay in town and do the ride. You may also camp / stay the night on the car parks for a small additional fee.

Ethic

Many of the routes were developed by (very few) local climbers. Climbing in Guatemala is not well established and it is hard to find gear and material. Bring some equipment if you pass through and make sure it makes it to the local, very friendly climbing community.

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