Five Tips for Climbing Cerro Chirripó

So, it’s your first time climbing the Cerro Chirripó and you stumbled upon this post looking for some tips. I did a little research myself before my climb and found some useful information, as well as some not so.

Here I share some things that will be helpful if you are planning to climb Cerro Chirripó.

My Five Tips for Climbing Cerro Chirripó

1- Consider the Season

Hiking any mountain during the rainy season may be uncomfortable. March and April are excellent months to climb Cerro Chirripó as they are the end of the dry season. Climbing during these months will give you a higher chance to enjoy a clear sunrise at the summit.

Always keep in mind that the weather does as it pleases and there is no way to guarantee a “no rain” adventure.

Although the dry season will make for a more comfortable climb, it also makes it harder on the knees on the way down.

2- Hydrate Ahead of Time

Staying hydrated pretty much goes without saying. Yet, this is something that most of us neglect. Bring water with you, I recommend a camelback for a few reasons (here are three):

  • Easy to carry
  • Hands-free drinking while walking
  • Keeps the weight in your pack centered

There are two places to refill your water container, one is half way up, at the park ranger station. the second is right before Repentance Hill.

The amount of water that you will need, depends on how hydrated your body is. So, the more dehydrated you are, the more water you will need, which translates in more weight you have to carry.

If you are not used to drinking water throughout the day, you should make it a habit. Carry a water bottle with you and drink at least two liters per day.

3- Got Fruit?

Your main meals should be included (depending on the package purchased and your tour provider) and they will be 98% carbs.

But you will need extra energy on the go, and fruits are the best source for your caloric intake. Also, since this climb is quite hard on your muscles, it is good to replenish your proteins.

Recommended energy on the go:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Power bars (because they are convenient)

4- Bring Proper Gear

Bring only the bare essentials. Although at night it gets cold AF, when walking, light clothing is best.

For walking:

  • A fast dry t-shirt
  • Breathable, lightweight comfortable pants, shorts or lycra pants
  • A light weight rain poncho
  • Comfortable sports socks
  • Trekking poles

For sleeping:

  • Warm socks
  • Cotton sweat pants
  • Sweater

For basecamp:

  • Sandals, tennis shoes or sleepers
  • Warm socks
  • Cotton sweat pants
  • Sweater

Pack as light as possible if you will be hiring the luggage carrier service, it will cost you around $4 per kilo. If you plan to carry your own pack, every ounce counts.

5- Wear Adequate Footwear

Although your everyday Chuck Taylor’s are super cool, they will not fit the bill for this walk.
Get yourself a pair of good trail running or hiking shoes to make this a more enjoyable experience. Some things to keep in mind when choosing the right shoe are:

  • Weight
  • Water Resistance
  • Breathability
  • Traction
  • Ankle Protection

6- Bonus Tip

Start hiking on time! Preferably two hours before sunrise (around 3 am) which gives you the chance to hear the wildlife all around you.

My packing list for a two-day one night adventure to Cerro Chirripó.

On the big pack (to be sent with the carriers):

  • Two t-shirts (one of them a fast-dry for the way back)
  • One pair of cotton sweat pants
  • Two pairs of underwear
  • Two pairs of socks (one of them warm socks and the other sports socks for the way back)
  • Winter gloves
  • One scarf
  • One thick jacket
  • One sweater
  • Sandals, sleepers or tennis shoes (your Chuck Taylor's will work this time)
  • Power bars
  • Baby wipes (unless you like showering with freezing water)

On your backpack/camelback:

  • Water
  • One apple
  • One banana
  • Peanuts/almonds/mixed nuts
  • Two energy bars
  • One power gel
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Swiss army knife

In short

Bring the bare essentials but pack smart, travel light, don’t underestimate the mountain.

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