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Need a goal this winter? Climb Mexico’s highest peak!

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by admin

The Mexican Volcanoes offer an excellent introduction into the world of high altitude mountaineering. Snowcapped El Pico de Orizaba at 18,490 ft is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America also known as Citlalcotepetl (Mountain of the Star). These mountains while never technical are interesting and offer straight forward glacier climbing at moderately high altitudes. After climbing Mount Rainer, Mount Baker or other Northwest peaks the Mexico Volcanoes are a great next step for those seeking to expand their international mountaineering experience or planning future expeditions to peaks like Elbrus and Aconcagua.

  • January 09, 2017 – Orizaba Express
  • February 03, 2017 – Orizaba Climb
  • March 03, 2017 – Orizaba Climb

Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Climb • 10 days

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Transfer airport to hotel. We stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma.

Day 2 • Mexico City
Today we tour Teotihuacan with a cultural guide, one of the world’s oldest archaeological sites (Pyramid of the Sun) near Mexico City. In the afternoon we have an expedition orientation and equipment check.

Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 12,000 ft
After breakfast we tour the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. We then head towards the volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Ixta stopping for lunch in the village of Amecameca. Our drive continues towards Popo-Ixta National Park and to the Paso de Cortez, named after the Spanish General Cortez who crossed the pass in 1529 en route to the city of Teotihuacan. We spend the night in a high mountain Altzomoni refuge. (D)

Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,000 ft
In the morning we hike to high camp at the base of the Ayoloco Glacier on Ixta. We spend the night at the Ayoloco Hut. (B, D)

Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,158 ft
The day starts early. We climb for 4 to 5 hours to the summit of Ixta via the Glacier de Ayoloco route passing several short bands of rock and false summit. We descend to the Ayoloco Hut, pack, and return to Ixta base camp and drive to Puebla where we will spend the evening. (B)

(We also have the option of climbing the La Arista del Sol route (Ridge of the Sun) depending on weather conditions and the strength of the group. Ixta is known in Aztec mythology as the “Sleeping Lady” and with your imagination, you can see the head, breast, belly, and knees of the mountain along the skyline. The La Arista del Sol route climbs steep terrain to gain the Rodillas (knees) and then traverses multiple false summits before reaching the top.)

Day 6 • Puebla
After breakfast we have a cultural tour of Puebla (7000’) known for its excellent local cuisine and nearby colorful town of Cholula. The afternoon is free to take a rest or walk the city on your own.

Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,800 ft
We eat breakfast and depart to the village of Tlachichuca at the base of Orizaba. We then take a four wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Hut at 13,980′. (D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft 
The climb takes 10 to 12 hours round trip with an alpine start. After reaching the glacier, we ascend moderate 35-degree snow slopes of the Jamapa Glacier before reaching the crater rim and final summit high point marked with a steel cross. After descending the mountain, we meet the shuttle and return to the village of Tlachichuca. We have an opportunity to clean up and then drive to Mexico City late evening. We spend the night in Mexico City. (B)

Day 9 • Mexico City • Depart
Depart for flights home or enjoy an optional day in Mexico City. Our last full day in Mexico City is spent shopping at a local artisan’s market, the historic downtown area and enjoying a celebratory lunch. Overnight at hotel. That evening sample some of Mexico City’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 10 • Optional Departure
Transport to airport for flights home.


Orizaba Express Climb • 7 days

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Transfer airport to hotel.

Day 2 • Base Camp • Malinche • 10,000 ft
We drive to La Malinche. Afterwards we tour the beautiful colonial town of Tlaxcala where we’ll have lunch and do some sightseeing. We spend the night in cabins near Malinche. (D)

Day 3 • Summit Day • La Malinche • 14,646 ft
We wake early for our ascent of La Malinche. After reaching the summit we’ll descend the mountain and drive to the village of Tlaxcala or continue on to Tlachichuca where we will spend the night. (B)

Day 4 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,800 ft
We eat breakfast and gear check and then take a four wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Hut. (D)

Day 5 • High Camp • Orizaba • 15,000 ft
Today we climb to high camp. After setting up camp we will take a short acclimatization hike to the glacier. We will review climbing techniques including the use of crampons ice axe and roped glacier travel. Overnight in tents. (B, D)

Day 6 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft 
From high camp, the climb takes 8 to 10 hours round trip. After descending the mountain we meet the shuttle and return to the village of Tlachichuca. We have an opportunity to clean up and then drive to Mexico City late evening. We spend the night in Mexico City. (B, D)

Day 7 • Mexico City • Depart
Depart for flights home or enjoy an optional day in Mexico City. Our last full day in Mexico City is spent shopping at a local artisan’s market, the historic downtown area and enjoying a celebratory lunch. Overnight at hotel. That evening sample some of Mexico City’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 8 • Optional Departure
Transport to airport for flights home.

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