ApproachYou have to arrange transportation from either El Ciudad Serdan or Atzinzitla for the drive up to the refugio on the southside of the mountain past the saddle it shares with Sierra Negra. The drive up to the reufgio can be made without a 4x4 or even a 4x2, but it takes a very competent driver (and some strong backs) as the road in places is VERY rough. When we drove up we had to get out and push and at times place large rocks under the wheels for greater traction... nothing too crazy but exerting yourself like that at altitude is a whole different game.
There is a parking area around 4250m where one can leave their vehicle and hike up.
It is also posible to hike the whole way up (to the refugio) and rent teams of burros, I have no idea how long this would take , but it would be considerably more time consuming and taxing, but would perhaps allow more for acclimitisation if that is an issue.
Route DescriptionFrom the refugio (Fausto Gonzales hut) at 4600m or so you work your way up following a relatively straight line from the hut. A lot of this is picking your way up slowly towards the 'pulpito' or 'pulpit' that stands out on the western side of the visible summit face. At around 5000m you will more than likely have to don your crampons and perhaps rope up if that is your wont. There is no glacier on the south side but the snow is very firm and the grade is such that it would be foolish to climb without them.
Continue working your way up towards the pulpit and try not to become dismayed, as when I climbed it seemed for over an hour we wre making no real progress towards it. Stay on the eastern (left) side when you reach it and from there you are 5-10 minutes to the summit.
Essential GearEssential warm weather gear, water proof clothing such as gore-tex would be very useful. Crampons and one ice axe are necessary. While there is no real glacier on the south side the snow is very firm and requires crampons. Roping up isn't mandatory but is a good precaution as the route steepens to 45-50 degrees or so.
A helmet is also a good idea as when it is dry out falling rock is a very real concern.
Also try to remember to keep some warm dry clothes in reserve as some serious sleet storms blow in off the Gulf year-round and can soak/chill you in minutes.