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May/ 2004
- Press Releases

First Central American climber to reach
Everest scales highest peak in Honduras

Desde la Cima
Guatemalan mountain climber Jaime Viñal has reached more than 840 summits around the world. Now, thanks to TACA Airlines, he’s ready to conquer the skies of the Americas.

As part of the airline’s TACA Summits program, Viñal traveled to Honduras to scale this country’s highest peak, located in the heart of the Celaque mountain range. Created in 1987, Celaque National Park is one of the largest protected cloud forests in Honduras.

Flora d e Celaque
The name Celaque comes from a Lenca Indian word that means “green water-producing box.”

The park covers 27,000 hectares (266 square kilometers). Of these 17,000 hectares (159 square kilometers) make up the park’s nuclear zone at an average altitude of 1,800 meters.

The peak known as Cerro Las Minas is the highest point in Honduras at 2,849 meters. Viñal began his climb in the village of Gracias, just a few kilometers from the park entrance.

Fuerte de Gracias
Accompanying him on the trek were Honduran guides Arturo Sosa and Josué Collart.

The expedition chose the most scenic route - and also the hardest. With less dense forest to penetrate the chosen route made for quicker access to the summit, although the climb itself was a steeper one.

The zone through which the climbers ascended is full of white tailed deer, spider monkeys, wild boars, quetzals, pumas and several snake varieties.

Cerro Las Minas
The chosen route begins with a steep climb up from the Arcagual river basin. At 1,800 meters the scenery changes from scrub pine to birch.

The climbers began their trek on May 9 at dawn. The first portion of the climb along a steep mountain ledge covered with beautiful pine and Encino trees.

Then the team reached the park’s vast highland, home to ancient trees measuring more than 40 meters in height and covered in vines, ferns, orchids and moss. It is there that Celaque produces its water.

En Camino a la Cima
At the El Naranjo outpost the climbers caught their first glimpse of Cerro las Minas. An hour later they reached their goal - and a small clearing on top of Honduras with a sign marked “Cerro las Minas, Altitude 2,849.”

His climb to the highest peak in Honduras was Viñal’s seventh summit in the Americas. He is well on his way to scaling all of TACA’s 19 summits. Prior to Honduras he’s scaled the highest points in Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Belize, Venezuela and Panama.

Vista General
Viñal has also climbed the Andes in South America and the highest peaks in the European Alps, including Mont Blanc. His greatest climb, however, was Mount Everest, whose 8,848 meters he topped in May 1994 with an expedition from New Zealand seeking a new rout to the world’s highest summit.
Jaime Viñals y su Guía
Viñals en la Meta



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