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Beginners on Orizaba and Izta?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Mexico Climbing Partners section.
 

Postby splattski » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:59 pm

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Postby Athos791 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:44 pm

I just found this topic and wanted to echo Splattski's link to my TR.. Don't ascend too fast! I attempted to do it coming from sea-level in New Hampshire and it almost cost me dearly. Take more time and acclimate better... For instance, I am spending two weeks this year for my Orizaba attempt, and will be hiking from Tlach all the way to the hut..
Simply put, don't rush things.. It could give you AMS or even worse, could cost you dearly with HAPE or HACE.
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Re: Beginners on Orizaba and Izta?

Postby sneakyracer » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:40 am

whiteknuckles wrote:I'm just wondering if there are routes on Izta and Orizaba that are suitable for physically fit beginners whose only previous experience is some winter camping, figure 8 knots and climbing 30 to 100 foot indoor climbing walls ranging up to 5.7? In other words I'm next to a complete beginner. Would it be advisable for me to attempt, guided of course, Orizaba and/or Izta?


Hi, I am also a total beginner when it comes to climbing and mounteneering. I do snow ski almost every year in Colorado and do fine at 10-13k (Breckenridge) even when I have done the necessary hike ups at some spots with very heavy ski boots and skis.

I do however am reasonably fit since I do a lot of Road Cycling and Mountain Biking. Mountain Biking is specially demanding since on most local singletracks one cant go slow or else you have to walk so generally im at very near 90% of my max heart rate for an hour or 2. I have also done some 10-12hr rides and races and even a 24hr one.

At first a lot of people get really nautious when mountain biking here where I live since its very hot and humid, you really gasp for air, and its tough to tolerate eating while working hard on the bike but its necessary to get used to it. Takes a while. Also for very long efforts one needs to do it quite a few times to get used to it. The body generally adapts well if you eat right and rest between workouts.

So if you, like me, live at sea level, the best way to train is to get on the bike and ramp up your rides in difficulty and length over a few months time. Its also fun! Get a good training aid like a garmin gps with HR monitor or just a Polar HRM.

You can also mix in some long hikes and some runs. But running is tough since running for very long periods of time is really tough on the knees and just to taxing to do consistenly. I have mixed in a few 10 mile runs in there but on pavement is just brutal on my joints. Trail running is a better idea. I am also going to mix in some rock climbing at a local crag that has about 100 sport climbing routes set up.

I try to get in 2 Hikes a week, one of at least an hour or 2 at higher intensity and one 5-8 mile hike with significant elevation gain. Both with a 20lbs pack.

I loaded my pack to simulate what I would carry on Orizaba and Itza and it did not get to 30 lbs even with 5 liters of water and I dont have ultralight gear.

Regarding the aclimatization process. I plan on spending the first night in Mexico City, the next day I will travel to Amecameca, get food, check out the area, sleep there, the next day (3) I am going to head up to Paso Cortes, get my permit and if I feel good stay at the Altzomozi Lodge for the Night after checking out the trail a bit past La Joya. The Next day (4) I am going to get up at 1am and if I feel good, head out for the long hike. If not I might just wait till day break and just go to the Knees and back which is still a long day. I want to have fun. On this day (4) I was debating whether to get up later in the morning and hike up to the hut and stay there for the night and go for the peak on day 5. After all this I should be ready to head to Piedra Grande on day 6...

Notice all the "if I feel good" 's in there. I want to keep some flexibility in my plans.
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Postby splattski » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:45 am

Sneaky-
I like your itinerary, but if I were to go again, I would go climb La Malinche before Izta. This permits a more gradual acclimatization than going in a single day from a sleeping height of 8k in Amecameca to 13k at Altzomoni.
I had mild AMS symptoms when I went down there, even though I was better acclimatized than most, as explained in my trip report:
http://www.splattski.com/2008/mexico/index.html

Besides, Mexico is a wonderful place and the main regret of my trip was feeling like I was always in a hurry. My advice: relax, enjoy the pace, explore and get to know the country.
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Postby sneakyracer » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:08 am

splattski wrote:Sneaky-
I like your itinerary, but if I were to go again, I would go climb La Malinche before Izta. This permits a more gradual acclimatization than going in a single day from a sleeping height of 8k in Amecameca to 13k at Altzomoni.
I had mild AMS symptoms when I went down there, even though I was better acclimatized than most, as explained in my trip report:
http://www.splattski.com/2008/mexico/index.html

Besides, Mexico is a wonderful place and the main regret of my trip was feeling like I was always in a hurry. My advice: relax, enjoy the pace, explore and get to know the country.


I am definately considering climbing La Malinche if I have time. I have a few friends that live in DF (Mex City) that want to climb La Malinche. I might meet with them first to do that mountain after a few days in Mexico. If not I though about taking one day off just to head up to Paso Cortes and check out La Joya, Altzomoni and take photos for a few hours around the area (I am a commercial photographer but still feel the rush like an enthusiast!) without going up too high then head back down to Amecameca to sleep and atack the mountain the next day. I know, its not the typical schedule, most people just want to hit the summit and run! hahaha I want to actually get great images if possible and get to know the place a little. After all this I should be ready for Orizaba. Nothing is set in stone.

Great Trip Report BTW, awesome reference and decent pics ;)
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