October 25 – November 2, 2019
Lead Guide: Alfredo Chavez Villa

February 7 – February 15, 2020
Lead Guide: Alfredo Chavez Villa


9 days in Mexico
Grade: Beginner


Talk to an ADVENTURE expert



The Mexican Volcanoes offer an excellent introduction into the world of high altitude mountaineering. Snowcapped El Pico de Orizaba at 18,491 ft is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America also locally known as Citlaltepetl (Mountain of the Star). Iztaccihuatl at 17,159 ft is the 3rd highest peak in Mexico and the eight highest in North America also referred to as The Sleeping Woman. These mountains are interesting, requiring intermediate mountaineering skills 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.

Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba Climb • 9 Days

Our Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl climb allows more time for acclimatization as well as enjoying the chance to discover and learn about Mexico’s rich history and cultural sites with a tour guide. While in Mexico City we stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma. We visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan (a famous pre-Aztec archaeological site) and tour the Museum of Anthropology known as one of the world’s best museums. We climb Iztaccihuatl the “Sleeping Lady” also referred to as “Izta” via the less traveled Ayoloco Glacier route, North America’s eighth highest mountain at 17,159 ft and third highest in Mexico. 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. From the summit of Izta you will experience an incredible close up view of the highly active Popocatepetl volcano (the smoking mountain), also known as “Popo”, Mexico’s second highest peak which is restricted from climbing. During our rest day, we enjoy another cultural day in the beautiful and historic city of Puebla and nearby colorful Cholula town. Our expedition then heads to the village of Tlachichuca near the base of Pico de Orizaba where we plan our ascent. We now travel by jeep 4×4 up the mountain’s western flank through pine forest to the Piedra Grande Refugio at 13,980 feet. After an alpine start, our guide leads the group by headlamp through the Labyrinth to the toe of the Jamapa Glacier above 16,000 feet (5000 meters). We rope up and ascend 35-degree slopes to Orizaba’s final summit crater.

Before departing for home, consider spending an extra day sightseeing Mexico City. Shop at the local artisan’s market, visit the historic downtown area and its Metropolitan Cathedral and enjoy an evening at one of Mexico City’s fine restaurants.

Related climbs: Orizaba ExpressIztaccihuatl Express

Who can climb Pico de Orizaba?

The ascent of Pico de Orizaba is considered non-technical, although not required, some previous experience at altitude is beneficial. You will need basic mountaineering skills, including strength, endurance, and good physical conditioning to be successful on North America’s third highest summit. Mountain Gurus offers two distinct itineraries depending on your goals and time commitment.

Our nine-day Mexico Volcanoes climb allows more time for acclimatization and recovery between climbing Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba. The alternate seven-day Orizaba Express itinerary first 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 Pico de Orizaba. We routinely have 100% success on Mexico’s highest volcanoes.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Mexico City • Teotihuacan Tour
Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 ft
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,000 ft
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
Day 6 • Puebla
Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 14,010 ft
Day 8 • Pico de Orizaba • 18,491 ft
Day 9 • Depart Mexico City

Climb Highlights

  • Led by an American mountain guide
  • Welcome dinner in Mexico City
  • Guided tours of Teotihuacan and Museum of Anthropology
  • 5 nights hotels in Mexico City and Puebla
  • Rest day and walking tour of Puebla
  • 2 nights mountain refuges
  • Tented camp on Iztaccihuatl
  • Ascent of Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba
  • Meals while climbing in the mountains
  • Land transportation
  • Friendly MG office staff will help prepare you for the adventure

“I’ve been on numerous adventure travel vacations, but Mountain Gurus put together one of the best trips I have been a part of. The itinerary was a perfect blend of roughing it and simple luxuries. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, trustworthy, and safety conscience. I would recommend Mountain Gurus without any reservations” Rakesh, January 2014


Mexico Volcanoes

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.

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City

Day 2 • Mexico City • Teotihuacan

Today we tour Teotihuacan with a cultural guide, one of the world’s oldest archaeological sites (known as the Pyramid of the Sun) near Mexico City. In the afternoon we have an expedition orientation. Return to hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner (D)

Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 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 the high mountain Altzomoni refuge.

Accommodations: Mountainside Refuge at Altzomoni
Meals Included: Dinner (D)

We have the option of skipping the museum and heading early to Iztaccihuatl for an acclimatization hike to the second pass of the La Arista del Sol route.

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. We utilize porters to high camp which help carry our food, tents and group climbing gear (one-way).

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Ayoloco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 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 La Joya trailhead and drive to Puebla where we will spend the evening.

Accommodations: Hotel in Puebla
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Depending on route conditions we 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. Izta 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. The La Arista del Sol route climbs steep terrain to gain the Rodillas (knees) at 16,500 feet and then traverses multiple false summits before reaching the top.

Day 6 • Puebla

After breakfast we explore the historical city of Puebla (7000’) known for its excellent local cuisine and the nearby colorful town of Cholula known for its rich Mexican culture and archaeological sites. The afternoon is free to take a rest or walk the city on your own.

Accommodations: Hotel in Puebla

Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 14,010 ft

We enjoy a hearty breakfast and depart to the village of Tlachichuca (Zoapan) at the base of Orizaba. We then take a four-wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Refugio

Accommodations: Mountainside Refuge at Piedra Grande
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner (L, D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Pico de Orizaba • 18,491 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 4×4 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.

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 9 • Depart Mexico City

Transport to Mexico City International Airport for flights home.

Itinerary Notes
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




An American guide is based on 4 or more climbers.

Deposit and Payments

$700.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
Balance due 90 days prior to departure

Price Includes

  • Park fees
  • Scheduled land transportation in Mexico
  • Hotels in Mexico City and Puebla
  • Refuge or tented accommodations
  • Guided sightseeing tour
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Scheduled porter service based on the itinerary
  • 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 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) $500
  • 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.

Upper Body

  • 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.

Lower Body

  • 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. Double plastic 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 0ᵒ 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.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-locking Carabiners: (2) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Nylon Sling: (2) 60cm nylon slings


  • 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
  • Earplugs



Program Location:
Begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico

Visa/Entry Information:
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

International Departures:
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.

Mexico Volcanoes 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 Izta and Pico de Orizaba 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 Pico de Orizaba.

  • 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

What are the accommodations like?

All accommodations are based on double occupancy and are a mix of hotels in Mexico city and Puebla, a climbers refuge on Orizaba, and high-quality mountaineering tents.

How physically fit should I be for this trip?

The supported Mountain Gurus expedition utilizes high altitude climbing porters which greatly minimizes the need to carry group gear. You will need to carry your personal climbing gear to Iztaccihuatl high camp, approx. 35 lbs.