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Mount Chirripó

Coordinates: 9°29′2.7″N 83°29′19.2″W / 9.484083°N 83.488667°W / 9.484083; -83.488667
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Cerro Chirripó
Highest point
Elevation3,821 m (12,536 ft)[1]
Prominence3,727 m (12,228 ft)[1]
Coordinates9°29′2.7″N 83°29′19.2″W / 9.484083°N 83.488667°W / 9.484083; -83.488667
Cerro Chirripó is located in Costa Rica
Cerro Chirripó
Cerro Chirripó
Location in Costa Rica
LocationChirripó National Park, Costa Rica
Parent rangeTalamanca Range
First ascent1904
Agustín Blessing Presinger
Easiest routeHiking

Cerro Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, with an elevation of 3,821 meters (12,536 feet). It is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca, and the range's highest point. It is located in Chirripó National Park and is noted for its ecological wealth. The mountain was named "Chirripo", meaning "land of eternal waters", by indigenous Costa Ricans because there are many lakes and streams around the mountain.[2] The high peaks in Chirripó National Park and La Amistad International Park host important areas of Talamancan montane forest and Costa Rican Páramo with high endemism and extremely high biodiversity. The peaks of these mountains constitute sky islands for many species of plants and animals. Snow has not fallen on the peak in the past 100 years or so, according to the University of Costa Rica, but hail is sometimes reported.

The great height of Mount Chirripó relative to its surroundings is also evidenced by its particularly high topographic prominence of 3,727 m (12,228 ft),[1] which makes it the 37th most prominent peak in the world. On clear days it is possible to see across the country from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.[3]

Climbing Mount Chirripó is possible by obtaining a permit from the National Park office in San Gerardo de Rivas. From the trailhead, the summit can be reached via a 19.5-kilometer (12.1 mile) hike.[4]


Chirripó is the 38th most prominent peak in the world. The geography of Mount Chirripó is very irregular, due to its formation as a mountain, it also has a large number of lakes on the top, this is because during the ice age it was covered with snow, but when the ice melted these unique glacial lakes were formed.


Temperatures on Mount Chirripo during the day can range between 4 °C and 18 °C, and at night they can drop from 1 °C to −3 °C, with this and the Irazú Volcano being the only places in the country that can report these temperatures, so that in the morning the grass is covered with frost. The coldest temperature ever documented in Costa Rica was recorded here (−9 °C).


The earliest known civilization to inhabit the area of Chirripó was the indigenous Cabécar people. In 1904, Agustín Blessing Presinger became the first known European to climb the peak.

The first official hiking trail was constructed in 1965; it led to a small sheet-metal hut five kilometers away from the peak. Today, the hut has been replaced by a concrete building visited by 7,000 people each year. In 1975, Chirripó National Park was founded, enclosing and protecting 500 square kilometers of rain forest and mountains around the peak.[5]

Since 1953, there have been five major wildfires in the area. Forest fires occurred in 1976,[6] in the 1990s,[7] and in 2012.[8]


The hike starts 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level in the village of San Gerardo in the Talamanca Range. From the valley, the path rises through fields and woodlands before ascending through lush rainforest. The forest gradually turns into scrubland. The trail continuously ascends and descends through ridges and valleys until it reaches the final visitors' refuge at 3,392 meters. From the refuge, there is a remaining two hour hike. Once the last ridge is crossed, there is a remaining 200 meters of steep path. The summit is a 6-meter wide platform of rocks.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Central America ultra-prominent peaks". PeakList.org. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
  2. ^ "All About Chirripó". www.hikingchirripo.com. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Chirripó National Park". costa-rica-guide.com. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "notes on climbing Chirripo". peakbagging.com. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Hepworth, Adrian (2008). Wild Costa Rica: the wildlife & landscapes of Costa Rica. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262083836.
  6. ^ Harry Pariser. "First Fire". Explore Costa Rica. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "Second Fire (Weak)". blog on wordpress.com. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  8. ^ David Delgado. "Brigadistas combaten últimas llamas en el Chirripó". Diario La Nación. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.

External links[edit]