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Pico de Orizaba Climber's Log

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DrewBGreat memories  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 1, 2002

DrewB

Much more straight forward than I imagined. The only difficult part was the altitude.
Posted Jan 17, 2012 11:55 pm

Bill562Second time is the charm  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 12, 2012

Bill562

With Blair F from PG - Espolon de Oro up, Jamapa Glacier down
Posted Jan 15, 2012 10:07 pm

CastillejaMiniataStandard Jamapa Glacier route.  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 28, 2011

CastillejaMiniata

And then a descent into a remote east side canyon and to the tropics.
Posted Jan 14, 2012 9:51 pm

mreiter1Suceess  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 13, 2008

mreiter1

Standard Route
Posted Dec 11, 2011 2:01 pm

huntersleeSlug to the top  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 2, 2010

hunterslee

Had great weather, the only downside was a trip to a not so good Mexican Taco stand a few days before. Yikes!
Posted Oct 23, 2011 1:43 am

ssbclimberCitlaltepetl
Date Climbed: Jan 23, 2009

ssbclimber

Made it to 17,000 feet on the Jamapa Glacier. Ezra Danciu summited. Not sure if I was getting altitude sickness or just wiped out from little sleep camping just below the Labrynth the previous night. Lots of snow the week before our arrival as well. Senor Reyes was scheduled to pick up us at 3PM and I just didn't have the pace to get up and back in time. Met a couple cool guys from Minnesota though and WILL be back one day for redemption!
Posted Oct 8, 2011 2:12 am

jef80Jamapa Glacier   Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 20, 2009

jef80

Perfect weather to climb this great mountain.
Posted Jun 13, 2011 6:11 pm

mjp20kJamapa Glacier  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Feb 7, 1997

mjp20k

Third time's the charm.
Posted Jun 6, 2011 5:57 pm

jckJamapa Direct  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Mar 14, 2011

jck

Took the straight route up to top, just between Jamapa Glacier and Espolon del Oro, where the face is the steepest. Six hours to the top from Piedra Grande. Nice to be the only climbers on the mountain that day.
Perfect views from the top. The crater rim is really impressive.
Climbed with Radek (brade).
Posted Mar 23, 2011 7:32 pm

Computer NerdAlmost
Date Climbed: Dec 30, 2009

Computer Nerd

Almost made it. We got lost in the Labirynth in the dark early hours. By the time we made it to the glacier we were too worn out and turned around. Going back in March 2011.
Posted Feb 9, 2011 4:31 pm

DeschampsImpressive Mountain  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 12, 2010

Deschamps

This was my second 5,000er (Izta was my first). I really enjoyed it, this volcano has beautiful sights and the weather was just amazing. We started at 1am and got to the summit a couple of hours after sunrise. It was a december 12th which is a religious holiday in Mexico (Virgin Guadalupe's day) so plenty of people was at the top with almost no gear!!, I felt almost ridiculous with mine but they climbed thru the south face route which is far easier with almost no ice. We hired the services of Mr. Joaquin Canchola for accommodation in Tlachichuca and transport to Piedra Grande's Hut, he knows a lot about the mountain and he's pretty easy going if you don't mind some swearing :P
Posted Feb 3, 2011 3:51 pm

SJSea level to summit in 81 hours  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 18, 2010

SJ

Not recommended unless you enjoy the following:

1) Sleepless nights
2) Heinous gas
3) Windburn
Posted Dec 22, 2010 7:47 pm

SkydiveKenPleasant Surprise  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 18, 2010

SkydiveKen

A steady 20 mph wind from the start of the glacier to the summit. Except for some reason not the last 50 steps or so. No even the slightest breeze at the summit proper. Took some pictures had a bit to eat adjusted my gear and enjoyed the summit all to myself for 15 minuets - the warmest I had been all day. Was tempting not to nap.
Posted Dec 20, 2010 7:50 pm

tb00957Orizaba  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Nov 26, 2010
windy and cold, otherwise pretty straight forward.
Posted Nov 28, 2010 3:37 pm

grahamOrizaba via the standard route
Date Climbed: Nov 12, 2010

graham

Richard and I started hiking ~2am and got up thru the snowy labyrinth and glacier and reached the summit just after sunrise to witness the amazing Pico pyramide shadow cover the Tlachichuc valley below. We got back to the hut ~11am and down to Tlachichuc around 1:30pm. Great day on Pico with great company on my new high point.
Posted Nov 17, 2010 5:31 pm

bruno baschungglaciar de Jamapa  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Nov 12, 2010

bruno baschung

I climbed the normal route on Glaciar de Jamapa with my friends Herman de Backer and jerome Mison and our guide Javier from Roberto Flores (El Oso) logistics in a trip combining also Iztacihuatl.

We climbed the jamapa glacier route in 6h50 (10h15 round trip) with good conditions. Temperature was mild (-5 C in the night perhaps), summit's geight checked with GPS was 5648m , quite consistent with normal datas(but there were 2 meters snow on the top) pressure was 518 hpa.

Nice climb, quite steep for the last 300m, it should be climbed by a party familiar with easy climbing in crampons, and able to do a self arrest if needed.

it highly recommended to combine this climb with Izta first for acclimatization and some tourism (see my comment on Izta).

Bruno Baschung
Posted Nov 15, 2010 4:24 pm

DCcougNice & Easy  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Dec 3, 2008

DCcoug

Quite a bit easier than I was anticipating, very nice trip & beautiful weather on the summit - wore a light fleece jacket at the top. Went with a group from RMI, nice accomodations at Senor Reyes compound in Tlachichuca. Happy to find Starbucks in Mexico City.
Posted Sep 3, 2010 4:44 pm

pratyushsummitted  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 19, 2010

pratyush

...with Annelen Kahl, Karl Domangue and Martin Peek, on 16-19 Jan' 2010, via the Jamapa Glacier Route - few hidden crevasses and long icy 40 degree plus stretches
Posted Jun 9, 2010 12:20 pm

michellenOrizaba
Date Climbed: Jan 8, 2010

michellen

Weather prevented us from attempting the summit (we only had one day), so unfortunately the Piedra Grande hut was as far as I got on Orizaba.
Posted May 9, 2010 5:25 pm

b4schroerSome additional notes  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 5, 2010
This is some stuff I wanted to know before the trip, as well as my observations of the mountain and the traffic.

We climbed it in 5 days, starting at Tlachichuca. We also spent two nights in the 16000-16500 foot range just below the glacier. Doing this allowed us to watch, probably, 15 or 20 climbers descending and ascending over the three days we were above the hut. What needs to be said is mind boggling. Almost all crews were equipped with helmets, and chose to use them on the glacier. What is unbelievable is that almost all, snapped them to their packs once off the glacier. It must be noted how exposed the main part of the trail leading up to the ridge is. Fresh rockfall is everywhere, I watched 4 separate slides that sent soccerball size rocks into the trail area over 2 or 3 hours. Almost all climbers were in that exposed area well after noon, almost all had chosen to carry their helmets rather than wear them, and around all of them was evidence of extremely recent rockfall. If you don't use a helmet, that's cool . . . but the climb between the hut and the ridge is pretty much the only reason to bring a helmet as far as I'm concerned, so if you like helmets, use yours in the right spot. With that said, look for trail options that cross over the little rocky knoll/ridge and will allow you to avoid the terrain trap where the majority of travelers appear to go, as well as where 90% of the rockfall goes. It appears less direct at first, but is 100 times safer and will likely cost you 10-15 minutes extra at the most.

We climbed the summit from around 16500 after a small storm came through the evening before. About 4 inches of grappel at camp was 4-6 inches of fresh powder at 17000-17500. Snow stability early AM was fine, but the wind had created some nice deep pockets over 1.5 feet deep, surrounded by by bare glacier nieve. These were unstable and I purposefully managed to get a couple to slab out of the pockets and sluff for a few yards until they hit a dry spot. Point is, avalanche danger up there is very real if you get enough fresh snow on top of the glacier. Despite such small pockets, that instability with a few more inches would have been enough to turn us around, and to move our tent. If you get there after March, I suggest getting a snow report from the last two weeks and deciding how stable the snowpack is on which that fresh stuff would fall on. A storm record, backed by your own investigation up top, could easily save your life, or prevent a nasty rescue situation. Another storm following ours, 1 or 2 days later, could have created some treacherous avalanche conditions with that grappel underneath . .. something I figure most of the climbers I met around there, would know nothing about. If you don't know snow, learn about it, or climb the dry season.


Our recomendations are for all climbers with the time, is to plan a night in Hidalgo. The Flor del Hielo hotel is a fantastically simple and quiet place where you can get a hot shower and hang out in North America's highest community. The two brothers that own it, will provide you dinner/ breakfast if you wish, in their own homes. They are very simple and humble people, and they will gladly invite you to break bread with them. We are unanimous that the eggs cooked for us on their little gas camping stove, were the best we'd ever eaten. To boot, these guys clean the hut and would be part of the (hopefully not necessary) rescue team. Great experience.


Lastly, a comparison between lodging that some may appreciate. Canchola will give you your own room, and you will be part of the family. He is very active in the rescue part of the mountain, and he is pretty much daily on the mountain in person. He will want to talk and show you pictures and is very personable. On the other hand, Servimont is a more professional place if you will. You will stay in a very cool, reconstructed factory building(museum). However it is a hostel type format where you will bunk with everyone else around you.(I never saw the private rooms, while they may exist, I only noticed the 30 odd bunk beds in a place clearly marked as the sleeping area) You will find Reyes to be a quiet, educated type, with lots of knowledge . . . however I would be surprised to ever see him on the mountain itself, or involved in rescue operations. Neither is better than the other, they are just very different scenes, and depending on your type, one may fit you better than the other.


* extra notes: Prior to our ascent, the climbers we spoke with complained about the wind factor. They had 3 different trips under their belts, and their opinion was that the wind is always bad once above the ridge. There was even a rogue comment about it being the bottom of the jetstream . . . this is simply ludicrous both by geography as well as altitude. Our experience was more than 48 hours above the ridge, and we had a small 5 hour storm to boot. I would estimate the strongest gusts we felt in the tent might have been 15 knots during the storm, and both mornings were completely calm, traces of a breeze never becoming more than that throughout the day. Absolutely pleasant weather by all considerations. Point being, if you have the time and you're camped high, you may want to rest an extra day if it is windy at 3am and try your luck the next morning for a more pleasant summit.

** Some of the time figures written here are pretty impressive. I can't compare too well since I had a 45-50 pound pack, and most people will have a day pack. But, I would say that a fast group, in shape, can leave 2am(Hut), summit by 8, and be down by 10 or 11. I would say a slow group, could leave 12am(Hut), summit by 9, and be down by 2. Almost every climber I saw on the descent, was in the Labyrinth(exposed) area around or after noon. Just my observations, but there are long sections of frozen, mud/shale . . . or very mucky, muddy shale . . . depending on time of day. Just be prepared to be slower than you think on this peak is my thought, a lot of descriptions have the trail and labyrinth area sounding easier than they are. They aren't technical, but definitely annoying in parts.

*** equipment: If it's your first time and it's a practice peak, by all means. I found some solid ice that would take a screw in a few places. But I found way more crappy ice that would only serve to make your ascent more dangerous if gear were involved. Bottom line, there is really no need for gear of any sort with one exception. I found the ridge at the top to have serious consequences if a slip occurred and an arrest could not be made instantly. We chose to rope up the walk-around at the top using the ridge as natural protection. The snow was fresh enough and soft enough by that time, to be balling up real bad in the crampons, so it was worthy. Overall, I imagine most people's experience is: any gear stayed racked.

**** Crevasses. I had heard all kinds of things, both by accident and by research. My uncle called me to let me know he saw a documentary on Mexican Volcanoes, in it, they allegedly named Orizaba as having massive, dangerous crevasses that have killed multiple people over time. In addition, I found some random writings suggesting they were around. Lastly, some climbers before us told of the crevasse they had found which was big enough they had to walk around, not over . . . and they couldn't see the bottom, it was so deep. On our summit, with the fresh snow, I was eyes and ears for these pits of death. I covered a lot of the glacier on that north, northwest aspect. My findings were a few crevasses, even with snow bridges on them, but none more than 6 inches wide. And . . . their depths were not very impressive. Almost everywhere we ascended, I could either hit rocks with my axe, or chip away the ice to see rocks. Perhaps I was never near the "deep" crevasse, but my observations suggested that nowhere in that snowpack, is it deep enough to get worried about. I obviously didn't see it all, but the crevasse locations were very obvious and easily identifiable for anyone with basic glacier experience. While people have died on Orizaba, and recently . . . I was unable to uncover any stories of crevasse deaths or accidents. You might twist an ankle in one, but you really have no excuse if you fall into one.
Posted Apr 20, 2010 1:49 pm

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