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Gear for Pico de Orizaba

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 atavist » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:06 am

A few years back, I climbed the mountain in tennis shoes without crampons. I did use an ice axe. It came in handy to chip foot holds in the ice for edging with my nikes. 8)
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Postby Day Hiker » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:23 am

We saw guided groups going up on a rope, but we didn't understand why. There are no crevasses over 2 inches wide on the Jamapa Glacier route. And, if someone slips, why have three people self arresting instead of just the one who slipped?

In addition to warm clothing, my gear included ice axe, crampons, and of course my helmet.
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Re: Gear for Pico de Orizaba

Postby Haliku » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:56 pm

PDelfin wrote:Myself and three others guys with limited (almost no) climbing experience, will be climbing Pico de Orizaba after Christmas. Any suggestions on gear needed for a climb like this? Planning on bringing crampons and ice axe, but didn't know if rope would be needed. Additionally, any suggestions on routes and use of the huts would be appreciated. The less gear we have to bring , the better. Thanks,


If you haven't looked at it already a lot of information you need is found here. Read the route info and several of the detailed trip reports.

Get some idea of what altitude is all about by reading and climbing, before you go. 18,500 feet isn't anything to think one day "Oh I can do that!" and then end up in Mexico trying to follow through on the idea. People do die on Orizaba, at the hut and on the mountain, from bad luck, AMS and poor choices. When you start getting specific questions post them. Cheers!
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Postby astrobassman » Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:45 pm

When I climbed Orizaba it was similar to a Colorado 14er in winter. The wind was absolutely brutal. The wind chill was way below 0. It hurt to take off gloves for 1 minute to take photos at the summit. Both my friend and I had top of the line leather boots, and both of our feet got cold. Just wanted to give you a different perspective...it's not always warm and easy down there. We were the only people to summit out of a dozen or so that day due to the cold and wind.
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Postby Day Hiker » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:34 pm

I have decided that if I go to Orizaba again, I will definitely sleep in a tent instead of the hut. I don't sleep well with groups of people. All it takes is for one person to snore, and I am not going to sleep that night. And with 8 to 12 people in the hut, the probability of someone snoring is significant. And even if nobody else is making noise, I am self-conscious about every little noise my sleeping bag and I make. Unless there is some background noise, like wind in trees or flowing water, the silence thing is definitely a problem for me when trying to sleep with a group.

For the Jamapa Glacier route, one gets a ride up to the hut and starting point (Piedra Grande), so bringing a tent is no extra hiking work. And I remember that we got a ride up to Piedra Grande well before dark, so there is plenty of time to find a clean site and setup a tent.

And the temperatures there were not too bad at all for sleeping in a tent, as long as one has the proper sleeping gear. And a similar warm bag would be needed inside the hut anyway.

My feelings on this may be unusual, but I know I am not the only person with complaints about group sleeping. I have talked to people with similar complaints about sleeping in the guided groups' hut at the saddle on Grand Teton. Luckily for me, I slept outside the hut for The Grand. But according to my friend's story, snoring people and lack of personal hygeine made for quite an awful experience in the hut there.
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Postby parky » Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:47 am

bird wrote:Don't need rope, do need axe and crampons and helmet.


How significant is the stonefall risk - presumably all in the labyrinth? In our planning for next month's trip we balanced risk versus weight and opted against helmets. (Didn't want to lug a dome from the UK in a backpack for three weeks for one route if it wasn't really necessary, but realise that no amount of previous alpine experience makes up for a lump of rock on the head) If really needed could we hire helmets from Snr Reyes or other outlets in Tlachichua or Coscomatepec?

I've never read of teams doing a complete circumnavigation of the crater rim. Any ideas of additional time or difficulty?
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Postby kevin trieu » Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:47 am

I did not use a helmet of the two times I was down there. Neither did any of my friends. Rockfall is not significant on the normal route. Some would argue that a helmet should be used with crampons/ice axe, I disagree. Just be careful not to swing the axe onto your head if you happen to slip and slide.
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Postby Day Hiker » Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:23 pm

parky wrote:
bird wrote:Don't need rope, do need axe and crampons and helmet.


How significant is the stonefall risk - presumably all in the labyrinth? In our planning for next month's trip we balanced risk versus weight and opted against helmets. (Didn't want to lug a dome from the UK in a backpack for three weeks for one route if it wasn't really necessary, but realise that no amount of previous alpine experience makes up for a lump of rock on the head) If really needed could we hire helmets from Snr Reyes or other outlets in Tlachichua or Coscomatepec?

I've never read of teams doing a complete circumnavigation of the crater rim. Any ideas of additional time or difficulty?


A helmet is optional as much as it is optional on a motorcycle. There is virtually no rockfall risk on the Jamapa Glacier route, but you could fall. Just like on a motorcycle, I choose to wear a helmet, but many don't.

The Orizaba rim circumnavigation looks like it would be interesting:
http://www.rickkent.net/ViewerPlus/viewphoto.aspx?ID=60811
http://www.rickkent.net/ViewerPlus/viewphoto.aspx?ID=60834

(Rick Kent's photos from near the summit.)
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Postby Mike Swiz » Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:00 pm

Day Hiker wrote:I have decided that if I go to Orizaba again, I will definitely sleep in a tent instead of the hut. I don't sleep well with groups of people. All it takes is for one person to snore, and I am not going to sleep that night. And with 8 to 12 people in the hut, the probability of someone snoring is significant. And even if nobody else is making noise, I am self-conscious about every little noise my sleeping bag and I make. Unless there is some background noise, like wind in trees or flowing water, the silence thing is definitely a problem for me when trying to sleep with a group.

For the Jamapa Glacier route, one gets a ride up to the hut and starting point (Piedra Grande), so bringing a tent is no extra hiking work. And I remember that we got a ride up to Piedra Grande well before dark, so there is plenty of time to find a clean site and setup a tent.

And the temperatures there were not too bad at all for sleeping in a tent, as long as one has the proper sleeping gear. And a similar warm bag would be needed inside the hut anyway.

My feelings on this may be unusual, but I know I am not the only person with complaints about group sleeping. I have talked to people with similar complaints about sleeping in the guided groups' hut at the saddle on Grand Teton. Luckily for me, I slept outside the hut for The Grand. But according to my friend's story, snoring people and lack of personal hygeine made for quite an awful experience in the hut there.


I'm in the same boat Day Hiker. I can't sleep with other people around for the same reasons you stated. It's either them making too much noise for me to sleep or me being too worried about waking someone else up that I can't sleep.

Just one question for you though. What are you doing sleeping away from home anyway Day Hiker. 8)
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Postby Day Hiker » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:02 pm

Mike Swiz wrote:Just one question for you though. What are you doing sleeping away from home anyway Day Hiker. 8)


I'm mostly just a day hiker, or day canyoneer. But I have been lucky enough to experience of some great non-day trips, including Orizaba, Grand Teton, and Aconcagua.
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Postby parky » Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:46 pm

[quote]The Orizaba rim circumnavigation looks like it would be interesting:
http://www.rickkent.net/ViewerPlus/view ... x?ID=60811
http://www.rickkent.net/ViewerPlus/view ... x?ID=60834 quote]

Thanks for the comments. Providing we've some puff left we may well take a look at going round the crater rim. This trip is an alternative to heading for Elbrus to celebrate my 50th year -it'd be nice to get right round Orizaba's top, albeit probably in cloud later in the day. Earlier thoughts a year or two ago of aiming for the Aiguille Blanche have been postponed indefinitely due to a combination of advancing years, advancing lack of confidence and advancing climate change. "Doing the round" of Orizaba under the right conditions could well be the icing on the cake of what I hope will be a great trip.

What do most folks do after Orizaba? Go home or go off elsewhere for further Mexican excitement? We'd wondered about some white-water rafting (for beginners!) in Veracruz. Any suggestions/hints and tips?
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after the trip

Postby Athos791 » Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:50 pm

I am going to Orizaba in january, and am hoping to be able to head up to the pyramids after my trip. From what i hear (correct me if i'm wrong) they are the biggest pyramids outside of egypt in the world. They are just about an hour north of mexico city.
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Re: after the trip

Postby Haliku » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:58 am

Athos791 wrote:I am going to Orizaba in january, and am hoping to be able to head up to the pyramids after my trip. From what i hear (correct me if i'm wrong) they are the biggest pyramids outside of egypt in the world. They are just about an hour north of mexico city.


Correct on all counts. They are well worth the 1/2 day to visit. The Aztecs were in awe of the ruins and felt that some of their gods had come from there. Enjoy your trip. Cheers!
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Postby rickford » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:02 pm

I headed to Veracruz, the city, after climbing Orizaba in 05'. Its more of an industrial port than a resort. We headed north to a place called Chachalacas. There is a beach there with sand dunes that are pretty cool. There are also some Olmec pyramids nearby at a place called Zempoala. Few foreigners go there it seems...

To the west of this are are some pretty steep, jungle-clad mountains. They are probably no more than 3,000 feet high- but that's from sea level. I didn't get too close to them so its hard to say for sure, but I have the feeling that there are some nice fifth class routes in these rugged hills. But that may be for another adventure altogether....

I wish I could go back and do that trip all over again! Have fun!
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