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Newbie climing Orizaba at the end of December

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Newbie climing Orizaba at the end of December

Postby crowsama » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:34 pm

greetings all. Just want to quickly mention that I dig SP thus far, I've already picked up a lot of really good info.

As the subject indicates, I'm going to be climbing Orizaba in a few months. While I have learned a lot so far by reading through older posts, I feel like I still have a few more questions. Thanks in advance - I appreciate everyone's help

First, a few notes / comments / concerns

-My group is reletively inexperienced. By that I mean none of us have been on a glacier, or at that altitude. The best experience I can mention is climbing Mt. Fuji, which checks in at a modest 3776M, and is lacking a glacier. So this is definitely a huge step up...
-We should be in pretty good shape from a core/cardio standpoint
-Current schedule is to get in the area/to base camp around the 26th or 27th, and to summit in the early AM on the 29th. Not a lot of time to acclimatize...but it's what we are trying to work with.


I could probably list a million questions, but i'll try to keep it to a few for now:

-In terms of preparing for the glacier, what sort of preparation can I do (aside from actually setting foot onto a glacier in advance?)

-Are we crazy for thinking we can pull this off, based on the shortcomings I mentioned above?

-What are some of the more important things we should do to prepare (based on the time we have left?)

-Any other advice from people who have summited?

Thanks again - any thoughts are welcomed!!

Cheers-
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Postby amcke004 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:51 pm

i found it alot easier to summit by setting up a high camp instead of pushing the summit in one day. this was our schedule

1-Arrive Piedra Grande
2- Hike to high camp and set up tents and store gear.(15,400) Hike back down to Piedra Grande.
3- Hike to High Camp in the morning. Relax. Hike through the Labrynth and try to find a route through it since negotiating it in the dark is (what i thought) the hardest part of the hike.
4- Wake up at 1 AM. Leave 2AM. Summit Day. Hike down to Piedra Grande

As far as preparation, Servimont is the charter i went through and found them to be awesome.
As far as your experience level, Orizaba was the highest mountain I had climbed above Mt. Whitney and found it to be more of a physical than technical mountain. Get in good shape! Ice Ax and Crampons are fine. You do not need leather boots.

Getting to the top is optional, Getting down is mandatory.

Hope this helps!
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Postby Woodie Hopper » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:17 pm

Your profile says you're from Michigan. I would recommend starting with a smaller peak to help your acclimatization, perhaps La Malinche, if you have enough time Ixta would be better, in my opinion, which is what I did. You might take a look at some of the trip reports if you haven't already to get more information.


You won't have to worry about crevasses, but you should be comfortable with crampons and know how to self-arrest.

Good luck!

Woodie
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Postby Shirley Lam » Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:03 pm

I really like Gerar as well...very nice guy and really went out of his way for us.

Sleeping in the hut might be difficult because of other parties going to bed late or getting up early for their summit pushes. We brought our tent and pitched it by the old tiny hut a couple hundred meters up the hill and slept like babies.

I recommend saving the All-You-Can-Eat Street Taco Feast for AFTER the climb. Although two of us were fine, the third came down with the runs while we were on the push up the crater rim. That isn't the most convenient place to stop and he thus ended up with poopy pants :shock:

When you get to the crater rim, the summit isn't too far...don't give up hope!
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Acclimatize!!!

Postby 1mvertical » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:25 pm

I have been on Orizaba twice. The first time was the learning experience which I am happy to pass on. For that trip, we had done crazy amounts of training on Colorado's fourteeners, including camping as high as possible. Not just day trips, but extended trips on hard routes. This was also coupled with back country ski touring and other endurance stuff up to our January departure.

Given all our time above 10k', the thought was to get to 15,300' and set camp. Well in all sorts of ways, the altitude handed us our asses on a platter. The first night at 15,300' was horrendous. Get yourself as dehydrated as possible, drink 4 bottles of red wine, and the hangover might just might equate to that first night. That said, a full day of recovery at 15,300 and above and we had a successful and enjoyable summit day. The body will adjust, it just depends on how much suffering you like. And if you are on a super tight timeline, a day of blowing chunks will derail that quickly.

The next trip we stayed a night at the hut, then a night at 4900m, and the trip was very enjoyable.

Finally, don't underestimate the dangers on Orizaba. Early in the season, the glacier is much less icy than later. This has a direct impact on your ability to self arrest should it be needed. Crevasses seem to be tiny, from what I have seen. I would consider a better acclimatization plan, as a previous poster suggested, that includes: 1) plotting your way through the labyrith. This could be really hard in the dark if you haven't been in it before, and; 2) Inspection of the glacier conditions and navigation points. We checked all the way to 17,200' on our last trip. I would suggest self arrest practice, but if you happen to hurt yourself in rural Mexico, you may be in for a world of crap. Try to practice at a ski area after dark or something before you leave. Also, the weather came through a few times while we were on that glacier. You will quickly find yourself in a total whiteout should that happen with no depth perception. If the weather doesn't move out quickly, having taken some navigation points with you may come in handy. Otherwise you may descend way off route.

Good luck.
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Postby kevin trieu » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:37 pm

Shirley Lam wrote:I recommend saving the All-You-Can-Eat Street Taco Feast for AFTER the climb. Although two of us were fine, the third came down with the runs while we were on the push up the crater rim. That isn't the most convenient place to stop and he thus ended up with poopy pants :shock:


Jeeze! I'm glad I'm not that guy. Oh wait... :oops:
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Postby amcke004 » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:28 pm

I feel that setting up a high camp only increases your possibility of success. You may not sleep vary well but the anticipation of the summit day will do the same. Take time to get used to the altitude and drink plenty of water and you will be fine sleeping at a high camp. Plus, you will have a major advantage of all the other groups starting at Piedra Grande.
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Postby amcke004 » Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:07 am

yes, Bird is right. You have a number of options to look into. I feel that it is much more common to sleep at Piedra Grande rather than set up a high camp. I'm not sure if you have looked into the Secor book on the Mexican Volcanoes but it is an excellent resource to use. I was in the same position whereas the highest I had been at was at 14,500 so it is definitely an exciting trip. Let us know if you have more questions
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Postby rickford » Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:16 am

crowsama,

I was in a similar situation as you when my friend and I climbed Orizaba. I had just turned 22 and my friend was 19. We bought all of our gear on Ebay and at TJ Maxx. We had never put crampons on outside of our college apartment. Nor had either of us been that high.

We made it just fine. We took 2 days to get to Piedre Grande. After going on some hikes and getting used to the altitude and the terrain- we made our summit push from Piedre Grande.

This was my first alpine start and I loved it! I felt like I was on the moon- it was really exciting and intense. It was cold and we didn't really know where we were going. We felt as if we were doing something extraordinary! The sunrise was breathtaking. We made the summit around 11:00 am, I think.

The glacier can be icy- so make sure you have an axe and crampons. The glacier will feel much steeper than you think, since its your first time. Be nimble and and take your time. You should be fine. It seems that a lot of people have cut their teeth on Orizaba. I still look back on that trip as very rewarding!

Good luck and be safe and HAVE FUN!
:D
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Postby Kiefer » Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:05 am

I'm leaving for La Malinche and Orizaba in two weeks. I'll come back and post to you my thoughts.
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Postby crowsama » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:45 am

awesome - thanks for all the feedback everyone. I'm hopefully going to make a trip to colorado a few weeks before mexico - pick up some experience on snow/ice while tackling a 14er.

cheers-
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Postby Woodie Hopper » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:50 am

If there isn't enough snow on the 14ers for crampons you might give James Peak (St Mary's "glacier") a try near Idaho Springs- not far from Denver. You could practice with your crampons and axe there. Just take a look here in SP.

Woodie
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Postby Dmitry Pruss » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:55 pm

Heading there Dec 1st, if anyone is going that way on Thanxgiving weekend I'd look forward to sharing a ride. Kiefer Thomas - fingers Xd that you find clear skies and the right amount of snow, October is still the coattails of the wet season, isn't it? Let us know :)
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:54 pm

rickford wrote: I was in a similar situation as you when my friend and I climbed Orizaba. I had just turned 22 and my friend was 19. We bought all of our gear on Ebay and at TJ Maxx. We had never put crampons on outside of our college apartment. Nor had either of us been that high.

This reminds me of this well-written (and therefore not mine) trip report about a first-timer on Pisco.
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Noob Question About Water for Climbing Pico de Orizaba

Postby deep6 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:15 pm

:?: just wanted to see what's the recommended amount of water (liters) should one carry up the mountain? i know it depends on the person but, i normally carry a 3 liter camelbak bladder plus another liter of gatorade. also, at the hut is there drinking/running water available?? is it advisable to carry along a water filter/iodine tablets???

also how many acclimization days are recommended?

any help or info. would be much appreciated...

thank you.
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