Orizaba - guided or not? and other questions...

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Orizaba - guided or not? and other questions...

by keth0601 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:58 pm

Planning to do a climb of Orizaba in November this year and trying to decide whether or not I need to hire a guide.

I have what I believe to be some pretty decent route-finding skills and most recently I self-guided up the SE Couloir route on Gannett so I have some experience route finding on mixed routes with glacier, rock and snow- though admittedly I am looking to gain more experience on larger glaciers.

How difficult is the route finding in the so-called "labyrinth" on Orizaba? From what I gather this is the main challenge for this mountain and everything else is pretty straight-forward. It seems that the route finding on Gannett is more challenging. If that's the case is it still worth hiring a guide simply for the added safety and convenience of having a local in our party?

Also anything else I'm not considering? I gather the main crevasses danger is the bergshrund and most other crevasses are not an issue. That would leave just the altitude for me to be concerned with as I've not climbed higher than about 14.5k ft being in the lower 48, but I haven't had any issues up to that level so I'm looking forward to getting a good test at higher altitudes.

Gear considerations- Rope needed (was thinking at most a 40m half)? Ice screws? pickets? I thought at minimum a crevasses rescue kit, but not sure how much of that should be for ice VS snow?


Edit: to a mod- I meant to post this to the Mexico regional board rather than climbing partners (though I'm always up for climbing with new people!) so a move would be great! Thanks!
Last edited by keth0601 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Orizaba - guided or not? and other questions...

by McCannster » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:14 pm

I haven't been up Orizaba, but I have been up Gannett, and taking from what I know about both mountains, I think if one can get themselves up Gannett without a guide, Orizaba should be fine. There will likely be other groups/a well worn path you can follow, plus the added glorification that you "did it yourself", without the help of somebody you probably didn't need in the first place. Treat the altitude like you would for any other high peak, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! As for gear, only you can accurately determine what you will be comfortable with or without.

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Re: Orizaba - guided or not? and other questions...

by Scott » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:51 am

A guide service is useful to get you to the trailhead. If you know how to use an ice axe and crampons a guide for the climb won't be needed unless you are really bad at route-finding. The labyrinth isn't that bad.

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