October 26 – November 1, 2019
December 07 – December 13, 2019
January 11 – January 17, 2020
February 1 – February 7, 2020
Lead Guide: Alfredo Chavez Villa

February 29 – March 6, 2020
Lead Guide: Terray Sylvester


7 days in Mexico
Grade: Beginner


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Summit Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, the third-highest peak in North America. This trip is a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering and includes breathtaking views of the Mexican high country.

Pico de Orizaba and La Malinche Climb • 7 Days

Our Orizaba Express climb first acclimatizes on La Malinche, Mexico’s sixth-highest peak (also known as Matlalcueye) which stands at 4,461 meters or 14,636 feet high and is located near the colonial city of Tlaxcala. The mountain’s position offers amazing views of Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl and Pico de Orizaba. On our way, we visit the Teotihuacan pyramids and the city of Tlaxcala. We overnight at the historic Hacienda Soltepec near the base of Malinche, offering fine dining and comfortable accommodations. After summiting La Malinche we head to Pico de Orizaba, locally known as Citlaltepetl and continue our acclimation and ascent of North America’s third highest peak. From Tlachichuca (Zoapan) we travel by 4×4 jeep up the mountain to the Piedra Grande Hut at 14,010 feet. Our express climb often uses a high camp at 15,200 feet to shorten summit day. 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. We rope up and ascend 35-degree slopes to Orizaba’s final summit crater at 18,491 feet / 5,396 meters.

Combine our Orizaba Express and Iztaccihuatl Express climbs and summit four of Mexico’s highest volcanoes (15 days in Mexico).

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 seven-day Orizaba Express itinerary first acclimatizes on La Malinche, a non-technical high altitude hike and then heads straight to Pico de Orizaba for the final acclimatization hike and summit ascent. The alternate nine-day Mexico Volcanoes climb allows more time for acclimatization and recovery between climbing Mexico’s two most prominent mountaineering peaks: Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba.

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 • Teotihuacan • Tlaxcala • Soltepec
Day 3 • Summit La Malinche • 14,636 ft
Day 4 • Zoapan • Base Camp • 14,010 ft
Day 5 • High Camp • Orizaba • 15,200 ft
Day 6 • Summit Pico de Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 7 • Depart Mexico City

Climb Highlights

  • Tours of Teotihuacan and Tlaxcala
  • 2 nights hotel in Mexico City
  • 2 nights Hacienda Soltepec
  • 2 nights mountain refuge
  • Ascent of La Malinche and Pico de Orizaba
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Meals while climbing in the mountains
  • Land transportation
  • Friendly MG office staff will help prepare you for the adventure


Orizaba Express

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 • Teotihuacan • Tlaxcala • Hacienda Soltepec

After breakfast we drive east towards La Malinche. On the way we tour the Teotihuacan pyramids as well as the beautiful colonial town of Tlaxcala where we enjoy lunch. We spend the night at the historic Hacienda Soltepec near the base of Malinche.

Accommodations: Hacienda Soltepec
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner (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 return to the Hacienda Soltepec where we spend the night.

Vertical gain climbing: 4,500 feet

Accommodations: Hacienda Soltepec
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 4 • Zoapan • Base Camp • Orizaba • 14,410 ft

We eat breakfast, organize our gear and then take a four-wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Refuge.

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

Day 5 • High Camp • Orizaba • 15,200 ft

Today we climb to the base of the Labyrinth for acclimatization. We return to Piedra Grande Refuge and prepare for an early alpine start. We will review climbing techniques, including ice axe and crampon skills and roped glacier travel. Overnight at the refuge.

Vertical gain climbing: 800 feet

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

If the group is acclimatizing well, we have the option to set up a high camp on Pico de Orizaba at approximately 15,000 feet. High camp requires pre-planning because we will use tents and other group equipment. Porters can be hired at additional cost. 

Day 6 • Summit Day • Pico de Orizaba • 18,490 ft

The climb takes 10 to 12 hours round trip. After descending the mountain we meet the 4×4 shuttle at Piedra Grande Refuge and return to Zoapan. After dinner we return to Mexico City in late evening.

Vertical gain climbing: 4,080 feet

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

Day 7 • 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




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 Tlaxcala
  • Refuge or tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • All group equipment for the expedition (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-$150
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $300
  • 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. A category 4 lens is required.
  • 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 60-70L 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 country’s 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.

Orizaba Express Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Beginner   

While summitting La Malinche and Pico de Orizaba we will be breathing heavily, moving slowly, and carrying 25-pound summit packs. You must be in top physical and mental condition to succeed on this climb. 

Before the expedition we recommend that you climb a Cascade volcano to master the skills essential for 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 are available to high camp on Pico de Orizaba. However this cost is not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will we stay at high camp on Pico de Orizaba?

If the group is feeling healthy and well acclimatized, our expedition offers the option of spending one night at high camp on Pico de Orizaba. This option allows for a shorter summit day, lessening the distance team members must climb during the night. The hike to high camp, which is situated at the base of the Labyrinth at approximately 15,000 feet, takes several hours, ascending more than 1,000 feet over the course of several miles. Team members will be required to carry their personal equipment in packs weighing 35 lbs. or more. Once there, we must sleep in mountaineering tents and use high altitude cooking equipmentwhich will be carried by porters. The additional cost for round-trip porter service to high camp and the use of mountaineering tents is approx. $100-$150 per team member. Depending on snow conditions, additional porters are often needed to carry drinking water to high camp, increasing the cost. This option requires pre-planning and is dependent on porter availability. 

What are the accommodations like?

We stay in a variety of accommodations during the expedition, including hotels in Mexico City, an excellent hacienda in Tlaxcala, a climbers’ refuge high on Orizaba, and high-quality mountaineering tents if we choose to spend one night in high camp during the ascent. All accommodations are double occupancy. Single-occupancy hotel rooms are available by request.