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Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:39 pm
by j4ever
I was going to use a service to climb Orizaba but i am now thinking about doing it solo, How is Orizaba for a solo climb as far as safety? Is the trail up fairly easy to follow? i have been on 3 climbs so far, Mt Baker,Mt Shasta and Rainier. Thanks.

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:58 am
by Nmontelli
I did it solo last November. It was easy going. Trail up isnt bad to follow. Just do it in the day so you know where it goes. Glacier is super easy. I went straight up it, never goes over 40 deg. I never felt unsafe. Go for it.

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:06 pm
by mroutdoorsman
Climbing anything except for a peak with a trail to the top, that has absolutely no danger involved at all, solo is just plain stupid...

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:31 pm
by mtnjim
I've been up a couple of times on my own. It's a very straightforward, simple climb. The trail up to the base of the glacier might be confusing in the dark but is easy to follow in the day as Nmont.. says. If there isn't a lot of new snow and no avalanche danger, there's really no reason to start in the middle of the night. A daylight start can get you back by midafternoon, assuming decent conditioning and acclimatization.

That said, that big, round snow covered cone could be confusing in bad weather. Not a lot of features up there and clouds do sometimes come up in the afternoon of an otherwise beautiful day, so if on your own keep a close eye on things.


Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:23 pm
by ncst
I summited some days ago solo. So I have now climbed Pico de Orizaba twice solo, first time three years ago, each time at the end of November. I still don't consider myself an experienced climber, so I also did have my worries, but I never experienced any problems, nor with route finding nor with the weather/ice conditions. I believe it also depends on the weather conditions a bit...

That said here are some ideas that conforted me on the way up:

- I went during a weekend each time, so you'll then always have other climbers in the refugio Piedra Grande discussing the route, conditions etc. Also, I climb pretty fast.
- So I am the last to leave the refugio, with all the light of the headlamps winding across the labyrinth. However I never really trailed any of them, the trail is pretty clear, from climbers going up days before.
- Also previous guides had marked the trail with little red flags, mainly in the labyrinth, and then again on the upper part of the glacier.
- Never experienced any rockfall on this route, not in the labyrinth, not higher up.
- Indeed, if you start at sunrise, the trail will be even clearer. That was my plan this time, but everyone in the refugio left before 2 am! so I was well awake by then, and then couldn't hold myself anymore and left at 3 am, reached the summit at 7.30.
- I took a shared taxi (10 pesos) from Tlachichuca to San Miguel Zoapan. From there I walked in 1 hour to Miguel Hidalgo, from there 3 hours - through the forest - to refugio Piedra Grande. On the way down I got a free ride all the way down to Tlachichuca from a local police officer, was I lucky! :-)

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:16 am
by j4ever
thanks fellows,what you guys think about this as far as acclimitizing.

Monday: mexico city to tlachichuca
tues: tlachichuca to hut
wed: hike to 15,700 return to hut
Thurs: hike back to 15,700 and make high camp
Fri: summit
Sat: back to mexico city to fly back home

personally i would like to add a day to it but have to get back home for work.

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:24 pm
by Woodie Hopper
Although the relative risks of soloing Orizaba are lower compared to many other mountains that are commonly soloed, this climb should not be underestimated particularly due to the altitude. I climbed it solo myself and didn't find it difficult. Depending on your accessibility to higher altitude near home, your schedule may be a problem if you come from sea level. Maybe adding another peak like Ixta would be helpful? Personally I would rather spend two days on Ixta and as little time as possible near the wretched hut at Piedra Grande.

I'm assuming you know how to self-arrest, know what is appropriate gear for the conditions and are comfortable with crampons?

Good luck to you whatever you decide.


Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:36 pm
by ncst
Your schedule would definitely work for acclimatizing, since it is on the safe side. I guess you know from experience how sensitive your body is to altitude, at which altitude you live etc.

There are pro's and con's staying at the refugio. I enjoy meeting the people in there, but yeah, you won't get much sleep. Overall, there is no need to make high camp etc. since the climb from the refugio is done in about 5-8 hours... I don't like hauling all the gear up to a high camp unless it is really necessary :-) Americans somehow always show up with their tents :-)

Most people get to the refugio on day 1 around noon, and hike up to the labyrinth to check the route and acclimatize (go high sleep low). Then maybe the second day acclimatizing, day three to the summit.

Personally I would skip the Thursday on your schedule. If you feel fine Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, I'd go for the summit on Thursday!

Again, your schedule would definitely work, since it is on the save side. So if you have the patience to hang around Tlachichuca, and up and on the mountain, go for it!

Re: Climbing Orizaba Solo

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:54 pm
by splattski
It may be safer to skip the high camp, especially if you are solo. From what I have read and experienced, sleeping elevation is important when acclimating. You do not want to come down with HAPE or HACE when solo. And Orizaba is plenty high for AMS to be a hazard. Read this: ... aba/484839