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Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

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Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby CBakwin » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:20 pm

I will be traveling from Guatemala around Jan9-19 hopefully doing two volcanos in Western Guatemala (Tajumulco and Tacana) Then going to Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl. I will be carrying all my gear along the way and want to minimize weight while having everything I need to be safe. Can anyone who is used to fast and light ascents let me know what the minimum I might need for these two Volcanos might be assuming reasonably normal weather for this time of year. The conditions including SPECIFIC temps and wind speeds most likely in degrees F and mph would help very much. Also are crampons absolutly necessary? I am experienced and in shape.
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby Dan Bailey » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:47 pm

I can't give you figures, but suffice to say it's cold and windy a lot of the time. but then, you'd have to expect that at 5000m+. In November I took fleece pants and jacket, thermals, goretex jacket and salopettes, hat, skiing gloves, duvet jacket for hanging around the hut (and just in case), survival bag (do you know Blizzard bags? They are ideal), big boots, gaiters... Minimal big mountain gear, I'd have said. Down bag and decent thermarest recommended for the hut. If you're confident and stick to the obviously crevasse-free line you can do without rope, harness, snow stakes etc etc. Some people I met there seemed to be carrying tons and tons, though I assume some of them had made a high camp (this is unnecessary). You will definitely need crampons and ice axe - absolutely necessary. However, you'll not need them in Guatemala I imagine, so you could think about hiring them in Tlachichuca for Orizaba (Reyes or Limon or Gerar - see the SP info pages). I'm not sure if you can do so for Izta too...
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby crzyjt » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:12 pm

I was at Orizaba just before thanksgiving. I took way more gear than needed.

For climbing gear, you will need warm boots (i had koflach degres with a mid-weight sock and it was about perfect near the summit), crampons, and an ice axe. a short 30m rope was common to see, but many didn't rope up. you don't need pickets, screws, nuts, or any other climbing gear that i can think of. There was a guide there that i saw with a couple screws and a picket, but never used them; most people didn't carry any. We carried two pickets a piece and a full length rope, some screws, a handful of draws; i wish i hadn't.

weather was probably in the 20's to 30's at the hut during the day and approaching 0 near the summit. We had a bluebird summit day with reasonable but not crazy wind. I'm sure it can get worse. I wore a base layer, a midweight and expedition weight layer and a fleece jacket along with my shells. hat, balaclava, warm gloves. a down jacket might be nice, but i didn't need one.

You can summit straight from the huts, or you can set up a high camp. We didn't summit, 1. because we had too much gear and it slowed us down, and 2. we didn't aclimate at all, which slowed us down. We had to turn back at about 17,700 feet, which sucked, but we're going to go back next year now that we've learned. I think if we'd carried less gear, we would have made it. When you get on the glacier, it seems endless. BTW, we didn't aclimate, because it looked like our intended summit day was going to be bad weather, so we went for the summit on our acclimation day. It was an awesome time none the less, and I'm happy that I was smart enough to make the decision to turn around; a couple years ago I probably wouldn't have done that.
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby rickford » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:54 pm

Just to echo what everybody else is saying.... I climbed Orizaba with La Sportiva insulated leather boots. Feet were a little cold- but I made it just fine. If you are gonna be on the move a lot- then Plastic boots may prove too cumbersome to carry around. (I dare say that you could get by with merely warm approach shoes- as long as you don't spend much time on the glacier) I summited without my rope, harness, pickets, screws, etc. I didn't even wear my gaiters. CRAMPONS and an ICE AXE are essential however- The Jamapa Glacier is freakin steep and has some patches of blue ice! I wore a fleece jacket, synthetic parka, fleece pants/gore-tex pants, and two pairs of socks for the summit push. It was rather cold though- then again, I am pretty skinny. You can go without a helmet- but there is a slight chance of rockfall within the so called "labrinth" leading up to the glacier. Good Luck, sounds like a fine adventure!!!!
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby Scott » Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:56 pm

<i>Can anyone who is used to fast and light ascents let me know what the minimum I might need for these two Volcanos might be assuming reasonably normal weather for this time of year. </i>

What the others said above. You can go light, but don't go fast. I got sick on Popo by going up too fast, and its not a good idea. Go slow and light instead.
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby CBakwin » Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:21 pm

Really great beta everyone! This helps me alot as the idea of lugging a lot of extra gear through western Guatemala for a month was not very attractive. I think I will bring HD approach shoes/boots, expedition capilene long underwear, fleece, soft shell, gaiters, rain pants (can be used elsewhere rather than glacier type pants) and a good t shirt, shirt and pants and if I move fast and don't stop, should stay warm. I think I can rent crampons and ice axe from Sr. Gerar? I am still trying to figure out about a sleeping bag and pad? I am really not fond of getting stuff stolen, so I will probably be carrying all my stuff with me all through the trip, up two volcanos in Guatemala and two in Mexico, so this info is indispenable. I suspected that hardware was not needed, though to those of you who want to be extra safe and secure, more power to you. Thanks again and if anyone out there is in the Tajumulco/Tacana area around Jan 9-11 or the Orizaba area around the 14-15 or the Iztaccihuatl area around Jan 17th, I would hope to meet you or climb with you!
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Re: Absolute minimal gear for Orizaba and Ixta

Postby crzyjt » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:27 pm

make sure you have the reyes' number/address too. between him and gerar you should be able to get ahold of what you need. there are some climbing shops in mexico city as well to pick up stuff before you head to tlachichuca. i'm not familiar with any of them though.
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