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Orizaba - to rope or not to rope?

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Orizaba - to rope or not to rope?

Postby crowsama » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:06 am

seems to be a fairly 50/50 split in opinion as far as I can tell. As it stands, my team is planning to do it without ropes...

Curious to hear thoughts of those that have done it it either way...especially in regards to the descent

cheers!
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Postby Dmitry Pruss » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:14 pm

To some extent it should depend on snow conditions, weather, and your altitude adjustment status. While I wasn't at Orizaba, we climbed Izta over the weekend and it was extremely icy, with no early-season snowcover. And the wind was throwing people off balance on the glacier. Wobbly footing of an oxygen-deprived climber would have spelled trouble.
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Postby rickford » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:51 pm

There is no need for a rope as there are no crevasses.

But, a rope could be handy if you plan on setting up a running belay over icy conditions (which seems happen...). So, if you do bring a rope, then I would bring some ice screws too.

My friend and I brought a rope to Orizaba and never used it. Damn thing was a 10.6 mm too!
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Postby Haliku » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:10 pm

bird wrote:If you are not sure about your ability to hike on 35 degree slopes in crampons, then maybe get some more practice before you go.


I agree. I've climbed it with and without a rope most recently 3 weeks ago. Some teams were roped but mine decided they had enough ice/crampon skills to walk up/down the 30-35 degree slope. We decided this after talking about the conditions. Since it was packed snow and not glacier ice any fall would easily be arrested. Cheers!
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Postby splattski » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:19 pm

Under the conditions last week on Orizaba, I felt comfortable without a rope. Note that I have also climbed both Hood and Jefferson in Oregon without a rope, as well as some Idaho couloirs.

The worst section on Orizaba was actually in the labyrinth, where the snow was quite hard/icy and probably around 45°- it would have been very difficult to self-arrest, but the run-out wasn't very long.

I did not feel comfortable having my daughter, who has less experience, off of a rope on the descent. Although she knows how to self-arrest, I did not want to put it to the test. As noted previously, an oxygen-starved brain doesn't always work like you'd want.

ymmv
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Postby crowsama » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:43 am

thx for the feedback everyone...it's definitely in line with what we were thinking. it was actually splattski's trip report that prompted me to ask.

i think our preparation will be fine...just looking for as much beta as possible

thanks again
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Postby Dmitry Pruss » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:24 pm

In hindsight, gotta agree with the point about the running belay if the situation does truly require a rope. My friend died on Orizaba on Xmas break several years ago, they were roped together with his gf and and another climber. One of the trio must have slipped on descent and others couldn't stop the fall, so the whole crew fell to their deaths. Poor visibility / problems with finding the best way back may have contributed too. Anyway the rope didn't give them any more than false sense of security.
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Postby parky » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:23 am

You will want a rope if you decide to go around the crater rim as in this link. http://www.summitpost.org/image/470397//pico-de-orizaba-traverse-of-crater-rim.html Otherwise it's your call. We took just a 20m length of 9mm rope plus an ice screw and sling each. But neither rope nor screws were needed, apart from the rope and slings on the traverse. In fact I had such sore feet at the end of the day that I found that simply plodding down the glacier backwards caused less pain - not something I'd comtemplate if I had any concerns about the steepness of the ground. [/img]
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Postby DavidGalvin » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:53 am

While acclimatizing for Orizaba on Nevado de Toluca last March, my partner Danielle and I got word that the Jamapa Glacier on Orizaba had melted down to hard blue ice. Not wishing to deal with such conditions, we climbed via the Ruta Sur. There was no ice and no snow, thus no need for ropes or other technical gear (although we carried it). The last 300 meters to the Pulpito was such loose, sandy scree, however, that we had to wear crampons going up. The biggest challange, though, was finding transportation to the mountain from Ciudad Serdan. Otherwise, it's a straightfoward (if tedious) climb with minimal objective danger. In his book, R.J.Secor says the ascent is a lot nicer if there's snow on the ground. Anyway, you will be less likely to be climbing in a crowd. Danielle an I had the base hut, the climbing route and the summit to ourselves on March 17. Well, we had to share the hut with two hundred and twenty-seven mice, but they were small and mostly quiet....
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