|El Pital, Chalatenango
El Pital is the highest mountain in El Salvador, and represents one of the few areas of preserved cloud forest left in the country. There are endangered species of orchids, the forest is pine and cypress, and there may (but probably not) even still be jaguar on this mountain.
The top of the mountain is hardly pristine; there is inexpensive camping, as well as local food available. It is a very popular vacation destination during Easter week, and can be overrun by folks from San Salvador on the weekends in the dry season. On the other hand, on some weekdays you can have the entire mountain to yourself.
There are several developed and undeveloped climbing options on the mountain. At the top is a sport climbing area, with at least three bolted lines with nice, new glue-ins. Along the West Ridge is La Piedra Cuyahuanca, with lots of opportunity to develop multipitch trad and adventure climbs. Finally, around the North face, just outside of cantón El Centro, there are a smattering of boulders and low escarpments with potential for development.
From San Salvador, take the carretera troncal del norte to San Ignacio, which is about 3 km north of La Palma. You can take the 119 bus from the Eastern Terminal in San Salvador that leaves every 30 minutes. There is an express bus (much safer) that leaves every day at 2:20 p.m.
To go to the top of El Pital, from San Ignacio drive up to Rio Chiquito. Take a left in Rio Chiquito. With four-wheel drive, you can make it to the top of El Pital. Otherwise, find a way to park and hike up to the top, about 3 km. At the top, ask a local where to find the "piedras."
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