Summit Mexico’s Itzaccihuatl, the eighth-highest peak in North America. This trip is a great introduction to high altitude mountain climbing and includes breathtaking views of the Mexican high country. Ixta is known in Aztec mythology as the “Sleeping Lady” and with your imagination, you can see the head, breast, belly, knees and feet of the mountain along the skyline when viewed from Amecameca.
Iztaccihuatl and Nevado de Toluca Climb • 6 Days
The Izta express climb is a great option for those seeking to climb a big glaciated peak but may not have the experience or skills to summit Pico Orizaba. The mountain requires the use of crampons and glacier travel but overall is a less demanding climb. This trip offers a scenic and enjoyable mountain experience. Our climb first acclimatizes on Nevado de Toluca which stands at 15,350 feet high and is located near the colonial city of Toluca, the capital of Mexico State. The mountain also known as Volcan Xinantecatl (The Naked Lord) is the fourth highest peak in Mexico. Two picturesque crater lakes sit on the floor of the basin at 13,800 ft, the larger Lago del Sol (Sun Lake) and the smaller Lago de la Luna (Moon Lake).
After summiting Nevado de Toluca we head to Iztaccihuatl, also referred to as Izta or “The Sleeping Woman”, taken from the mountains shape when viewed from the town of Amecameca. We overnight at the historic Hacienda Panoaya in Amecameca. We then continue our acclimation and ascent of North America’s eighth highest peak. From Amecameca we travel up the mountain to the Pass of Cortés (Paso de Cortés), the saddle between the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl to our base camp refugio, at 13000 feet. From the trailhead at La Joya we ascend the La Arista del Sol (Ridge of the Sun) route at 13,040 feet. Our express climb uses a high camp at 15,400 feet to shorten summit day as we make the long traverse to the summit of Izta at 17,159 feet. Our hike to high camp is supported by porters which help carry our food, tents and group climbing gear (one-way) as well as a bit of your personal gear.
We suggest arriving in Mexico a day early to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan (a famous pre-Aztec archaeological site) and have a chance to rest up before heading to Nevado de Toluca.
Combine our Orizaba Express and Iztaccihuatl Express climbs and summit four of Mexico’s highest volcanoes (15 days in Mexico).
Who can climb Iztaccihuatl?
If you’re interested in a high altitude adventure, but not quite ready to give Pico de Orizaba a shot, Iztaccihuatl is a good option to learn the basics of mountaineering and high altitude climbing. As North America’s eighth highest summit, the ascent of Iztaccihuatl is considered a non-technical climb. Good endurance and physical conditioning to be successful is needed. Basic crampon skills can be easily learned during the climb.
Our six-day Iztaccihuatl Express itinerary first acclimatizes on Nevado de Toluca, a non-technical high altitude hike and then heads to Iztaccihuatl for further acclimatization and the summit ascent. The alternate seven-day Orizaba Express itinerary acclimatizes on La Malinche, a non-technical high altitude hike and heads straight to Pico de Orizaba for the final acclimatization hike and summit ascent.
As with any popular high altitude peak, there are many guide services to choose from, but summiting can be largely dependent on the experience of your guides. Our team of professional guides has years of experience in the mountains, as well as numerous summits of Iztaccihuatl. We routinely have 100% success on Mexico’s highest volcanoes.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Nevado de Toluca • 15,350 ft
Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 ft
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,400 ft
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
Day 6 • Depart Mexico City
- 2 nights hotel in Mexico City
- 1 night Hacienda Panoaya
- 1 night mountain refuge
- Tented camp on Iztaccihuatl
- Ascent of Nevado de Toluca and Iztacihuatl
- Meals while climbing in the mountains
- Land transportation
- Friendly MG office staff will help prepare you for the adventure
Expedition begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico
Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Arrive Mexico City International Airport, Mexico (MEX). Transfer from airport to hotel. We stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma.
Day 2 • Nevado de Toluca • Amecameca
After a quick breakfast we will be transported to the trailhead. Today we will ascend Nevado de Toluca which stands at 15,350 feet. After the climb we will descend to the trailhead by late afternoon and transfer to our hotel in Amecameca. This sleepy little town at the base of Iztaccihuatl is the ideal place to rest and recover. If time allows we will walk up the ancient cobblestone steps to the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe to view Izta, also known as “The Sleeping Lady.”
Day 3 • Basecamp • Iztacihuatl • 13,000 ft
We will wake up for a hearty breakfast in Amecameca before being transported to the Refugio Altzomoni located at 13,000 feet. Our goal for the day is to settle in, hydrate, and take a short acclimatization hike. (D)
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztacihuatl • 15,400 ft
In the morning we start our climb up La Arista del Sol, gaining over 2000 feet to our high camp at 15,400 feet. Here we will set up our tents and get to bed early. We utilize porters to high camp which help carry our food, tents and group climbing gear (one-way). (B, D)
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztacihuatl • 17,159 ft
The day starts early. We climb for 4 to 5 hours to the summit of Izta via La Arista del Sol route passing several short bands of rock and false summits. We descend to the La Joya trailhead reaching our van and return to Mexico City to celebrate. (B)
Day 6 • Depart Mexico City
Transport to Mexico City International Airport for flights home.
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Deposit and Payments
$700.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
Balance due 90 days prior to departure
- Park fees
- Scheduled land transportation in Mexico
- Hotels in Mexico City and Amecameca
- Refuge or tented accommodations
- Scheduled meals during the expedition
- Professional mountain guide
- Scheduled porter service based on itinerary (limited to 5kg – 10lbs)
- All group equipment for the expedition (tents, stoves, group climbing gear)
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare and meals during travel
- Airport transfers
- Non-scheduled meals
- Snack/lunch food during the expedition
- Personal gear
- Additional round-trip porter service to high camp $100
- Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
- Single room supplement (hotels only) $250
- Medical and evacuation coverage
- Early departure fees
- Tips and gratuities
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Head and Face
- Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
- Buff or Balaclava
- Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
- Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields.
- Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
- Sunscreen: SPF 30+
- Lip Balm: SPF 30+
- Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.
- Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt.
- Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
- Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
- Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
- Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated jacket
- Insulated Jacket: 700+ fill down.
- Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
- Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
- Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.
- Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
- Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
- Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
- Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
- Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.
- Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Single-weight synthetic/ leather mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
- Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
- Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.
Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.
- Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated to 20ᵒ fahrenheit).
- Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad.
Packing and Backpack
- Backpack: One 60-75L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal.
- Duffel: One large duffel for transporting gear.
- Liner Bags: Two large plastic contractor bags.
- Ice axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
- Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
- Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
- Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
- Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
Personal Health and First Aid
- Snacks and drinks
- Small personal first-aid kit and medications
- Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
- Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
TRAVEL & FITNESS
Begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Mexico. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days for tourism.
Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Mexico
Flight Travel Information:
Mexico City International Airport (MEX), Mexico
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Iztaccihuatl Express Fitness & Training
Climbing Grade: Beginner
The approach to high camp on Izta requires a 4-6 hour hike carrying a 35+ lbs. pack, utilizing porter support for group climbing gear. On summit day for Iztaccihuatl we will be breathing heavy, moving slowly, and carrying our 25 lbs. summit packs. Being in top physical and mental condition is key to succeeding on this climb.
Prior to the expedition we recommend climbing a Cascade Volcano to master the skills essential to reaching the summit.
Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting the Izta Express.
- Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
Note: Additional porter services is available to high camp, however this cost is not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing.
Frequently Asked Questions
All accommodations are based on double occupancy and are a mix of hotels in Mexico city and an excellent hacienda in Amecameca, the Refugio de Altzomoni, and high-quality mountaineering tents at Iztaccihuatl high camp.