Date approximate. On the recommendation of Arlene Blum I organized a trip to climb the volcanoes in Mexico. Will Spiegelman and Urs Kuhnlein joined me. We drove from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego, walked across the border to Tijuana, flew Aeromexico to Mexico City, took the bus to Tlachichuca, Hired Sr. Reyes to drive us to the hut at ~14,000 ft, and started the climb at about 3 AM. Without being acclimatized I counted 15 breaths per step near the summit. I had breathed so hard and my epiglottis had become so flexed that it painfully folded back into my throat when I swallowed.
First international climbing trip with Ashley, Gabe, and Amy. Everyone summited and no one got sick.
Beautiful conditions on the glacier and just a little more windy than we would have liked. Started out from camp at 12:30 am, summited just after 8 am, and made it back to camp around 3 pm, exhausted. A stray dog met us on the trail and followed us all the way to the summit.
The hike up during the night felt like a dream, especially the trail of headlights on the glacier.
We climbed Malinche and Pico de Orizaba and then whent to Oaxaca, guys... totally worth it!! We did it with a company called SeeMexico.com where you can find different trip variations. We chose Orizaba and Oaxaca as we wanted to travel further. We climbed on April 2017 and the conditions where very good
We started Mexico City airport, where they picked us up, and took us to our inn for the night.
Day one, Malinche climb:
We woke up ahead of schedule, took the auto and headed to La Malinche where we did our first climb, which certainly helped get acclimatized for our Pico ascent. We finished the day at Tlachichuca, Mexico in a lodging owned by the locals (Canchola family), which is ok.
Day Two, Acclimation day:
Rodolfo and Daniel, our guides drove us to Pico the Orizaba Base camp where we made a two hour hike to further acclimatize. After the hike, we had lunch and supper and we essentially relaxed ourselves for the rest of the evening.
Day Three, Climbing day:
We began climbing at 1:45 am. Making a beeline for the Jamapa Glacier, which we came to at around 4:00 am. There we geared up and headed towards the summit (Local experienced guise, Ice Ax, crampons and rope are 100% required).
For what is worth Pico the Orizaba psychologically affects execution. It is dubious to see the summit all the way from the base until you reach it, as this makes you feel you are not progressing and can cause you to become desperate.
Once on the glacier, we climbed four more hours with a few short breaks until we reached the edge of the crater where we were finally got hit by the sun; However, the crater is more less thirty minutes away from the summit, where you can at last celebrate with your companions and guides.
The path down is exceptionally steep, I recommend going down utilizing the left side of the mountain, facing downwards (the right part, facing downwards, is extremely steep). I took us around six hours to get to the base camp (the aggregate climbing time was around 12:00 hrs).
Once at the Base camp, I was physically and mentally exhausted but our guides Rodolfo and Daniel gave us a Sandwich to boost our mood and thus, were prepared for Oaxaca, an absolute must after Orizaba.
Day Four and Five, Oaxaca Mexican Experience:
Once they took us to Hierve el Agua, which is a set of incredible petrified falls, we visited the arts and crafts market, ate at local restaurants, walked through ancient Zapotec ruins, we even learned how the Mezcal was created and of course we tasted it.
Day Six, Puebla and Cholula:
After two evenings in Oaxaca we took the van towards Mexico City stopping at Cholula, which is one of the greatest pyramids on the planet with a church at the top; Moreover, the view is quite fabulous as it has two of the greatest Mexican volcanoes directly behind it.
Day seven, Hasta la vista amigos
Last but not least, I would like to highlight Mexican food is fantastic and worth trying. Some of the dishes we recommend are: Mole, Tlayudas, Gusano de Maguey worms, which genuinely taste great, Mezcal, Esquites, and of course Tacos.
Unquestionably a remarkable excursion in Mexico. Yes, I would like to mention their portal www.seemexico.com for a remarkable trip & awesome guides.
I spent a month climbing volcanoes. Orizaba is agreat mountain and worth climbing twice.
Other peaks I bagged on this trip include...
Volcán La Malinche, Cofre de Perote, Volcán Iztaccíhuatl, Pico de Aguila, Nevado de Toluca, Cerro de Ombugo, Pico de Humboldt, Nevado de Colima, Cerro Tancitaro
Volcán Pacaya, Volcán Tajumulco (country highpoint, 24th most prominent peak on earth), Volcán Concepción, Volcán Tacaná (2nd highest in Central America), Cerro Chemal "La Torre", Cerro Chemal "Cerro los Cuervos", Montañas Peña Blanca, Volcán Santa María, Volcán Atitlán, Volcán Acatenango
Volcán Poás, Volcán Barva, Volcán Irazú, Cerro Chirripó (country highpoint, 36th most prominent on earth), Cerro Piramide, Cerro Terbi, Cerro Buenavista
Trip report with photos
Recap of my solo summit of Orizaba. Had great weather. Full trip report with videos can be found here. http://southernhighlanders.com/new/2017/01/09/orizaba-and-the-mexican-volcanos-summits-sun-and-snow/
I acclimated for two days on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado(4200 metres). This really made the summit day much easier. Great Peak.
The highest and most difficult climb for me so far. Yes, it was not technically challenging indeed, but as you climb your first ever 18,000+ peak and also seriously hit by AMS for the first time ever, I count this one as a miracle. I stood on the top of Pico de Orizaba and wanted to cry from happiness together with my climbing partner Alex. Very little we knew, AMS will strike even harder on a way down with the change of the pressure of a rapid descent.
Challenging, but so-so satisfying. Dr.Reyes fed us a nice dinner after our 16+ hours adventure. We recovered and climbed Izta two days after.
Climbed with Samantha, Louie, and Mike Chen. Good snow conditions and perfect weather. Took us 8 hours to ascend, 2.5 hours to descend with some glissading. Went with two guides from summitOrizaba. Hated the icy steep section of the Labyrinth.
Longest summit day for me ever! Started at 2AM from the Hut, Summit at noon and returned to the Hut at 7PM. Whole glacier was full of hard penitentes. Tough day but worth it!
Good times.report posted
First attempted in December 2000(?), but turned back due to a lenticular cloud over the summit. Successful second attempt a few years later.
Got a shared 4x4 from Tlachichuca with Sr. Reyes, then immediately hiked up to the labyrinth where I set up high camp at 4,750m. In hindsight I should have spent a night at the Piedra Grande Hut (4,200m) first, suffered badly from altitude sickness - headache, loss of appetite, very little sleep. The following morning started early (3:30am). The Jamapa Glacier seemed neverending, but somehow I found the energy to make the summit (9am) - an incredibly beautiful place - and was briefly the highest person in North America!
stayed in tlachichuca at casa conchola and got a ride with them to the hut. the place had a few parties and was not very crowded. decided to spend a night at high camp above the labyrinth. summited at 6 am to watch the sun rise.
Flew into Mexico City on my birthday (25th) and reached the Piedra Grande hut by the 27th and summited about 7:15 AM on the 28th. I completely underestimated the effects of altitude and it was an incredibly hard push for me but completely worth it! Beautiful morning with perfect conditions.
Flew into Puebla just 36 hours before standing on top of Orizaba, this was awesome! The climb was a rewarding experience after postponing it over the last few years. A mountaineering challenge physically but cardio-conditioning ahead of time allowed me up this North American giant in 6 hours for a 9am summit. A grueling 2000' glacier push to summit and I renewed membership in the bona fide high altitude club. Wonderful to enjoy the panoramic views in a thin atmosphere at 18, 490 feet! After 30mins atop and somewhat replenished from the step climbing exertion I decided to head down, the descent taking 4 hrs, very true to a 2/3'rds rule of thumb. The climbing day had gentle wind & weather considering the uncertain forecast and condensation from the west coast eruptions. OMG provided excellent base logistics.
We climbed the Ruta Sur because you can get a rental car to 13,200' instead of about 11,000' on the standard route. About 3h40 up and 5h30 car-to-car in completely dry conditions on a clear but windy day. I highly recommend this route because, while it is a slog on the way up, the scree-ski on the way down is absolutely epic. See the diagram in my trip report for the best lines up and down.
First international trip and experience above 14,500. So much fun!
My highest peak yet, and perfect weather. Sunrise on the glacier, and a clear, windless morning at the summit. An awesome glissade down...
Great climb but ascended too quickly and ended up having some issues with the altitude. We ended up reaching the true summit in the midst of a snowstorm and descended into a whiteout. Best part of the climb was being able to see Popocatepetl erupting in the early dawn light but unfortunately all interest in photography had pretty much ended around that time.
The first time, in 1997, I stayed in the large and noisy barracks at Piedra Grande. This was a mistake, which the following year I did not repeat. This time I had the driver drop me off on the approach road to base camp and I tented it at about 13,000' level. The next day I wandered up to the 14,000' level and camped away from the throngs. The next project was to set up a high camp at the base of the glacier at around 16,000'. A night up there and on to the summit to finish with a nice long glissade almost back to the tent. Truly memorable times and still the highest I've ever been and summited the mountain.