See John's TR: Mexico Day Hikes.
At age 17, I went to Mexico for the first time. After a rain-soaked attempt on Popocatepetl, I took a bus to the town of Orizaba where I engaged two companions, Jesus Flores and Moises Zamora (Jesus and Moses). Together we took a train uphill to Esperanza on the Central Plateau and hiked up through the forest and puna grass to an altitude of 14,000 feet where we built a fire and tried to sleep in the so-called "Cave of Death." The next day Jesus and I climbed up the ash and snow slopes of the south side of Orizaba for seven hours. We reached the summit rock before clouds closed in and a snow storm forced us to turn back.
Five years later while I was a student at Mexico City College, I went again to Orizaba with two classmates and took the same train to Esperanza. We hired horses and rode them up through the same forest and over puna grass to the same Cueva de la Muerte. It was on the holiday weekend of the Day of the Dead. Hence there was a good number of climbers on the mountain. After eight exhausting hours of eying the same rock above me, I reached it and realized that I had been within about fifty feet of the summit five years earlier in 1951. A fellow climber took a picture of me standing next to the summit cross with a heavenly layer of clouds beneath our feet. After a long glissade on the neve and long strides down the loose ash to the cave, we found our horses waiting for us. The long crotch-jarring horseback ride downhill to the Esperanza railway station took another four hours and left me numb from the waist down. It was well after midnight that a train from Mexico City awoke me from sleep on the station platform and took us down to our car parked in the subtropical town of Orizaba.
Hence very early in life I learned that Mexico is a splendid country of high adventure.
Perfect conditions all the way. The Glacier was like strofoam and it was like a summer day on the summit with a great view of Popo with a plume. What a great joy to share this one with my 20 year old son.
Along with two of my friends from north México Servando and Néstor, and a new one from Puebla, Rafa; I finally summited this mountain after a previous failed attempt two years ago setting my new altitude record. I`m glad that we climbed this route since the winds were blasting at about 70mph making it difficult to even breathe and really dangerous on the Jamapa glacier. The wind chill forced us to retreat after only a couple of minutes on the summit. It was a great experience anyway!!!
Check out my trip report for details.
The mountain is really dry this season. We camp at las Cruces de Monterrey and make the traverse to the east glacier, severe of rock fall in "El Filo del Chichimeco", the east glacier is really short but its worth the climb, from 45° ant the begginnig to 70° at the end, the crater rim traverse is a pain in the ass, very long, got down via Jamapa Glacier, really icy and a little dangerous. Thanks to Joaquin Canchola for the ride to the hut
After climbing Nevado de Toluca, I made the trip from Toluca to Tlachichuca on February 3, 2003. Arrived at Sr Joaquin Canchola in Tlachichuca at 3:45pm and stayed that night in his house. Next day (Feb 4), Canchola drove me to Piedra Grande and got there at 10:30am. I made my camp (13,970 ft) outside close to the smaller hut. That same afternoon I day hiked to 16,250 feet to speed my acclimatization. This hike to 16K took me 3.5 hours roundtrip from Piedra Grande. The following day (Feb 5) I took it as a rest day pretty much. In the morning I walked around not too far from camp, and in the afternoon I ventured lower to the Par Agua tree camp at 13,000 ft. Summit day (Feb 6, 2003): Woke up at 2:00am or so and started walking at 3:00am from Piedra Grande. I reached the main base of the glacier at 16,400 ft around 7:00am. This is where I geared up, putting crampons and pulling out the ice axe. When I got to 17,000 feet, I had to take over 1/2 hour break as I had this pounding cervical arthritis neck headache. I swallowed 3 Advils, drank like 1 liter of water, and rested. After 30 minutes or so, I began to feel better as my cervical arthritis pain went away. I resumed climbing and by 11:15am I made the summit. I stayed at the summit for 25 minutes. This particular Thursday was beautiful in the mountain (clear sunny skies, light breeze, not that cold). Surface conditions earlier in the morning (and even as I was coming down) were hard snow, a few patches of water ice here and there. But crampons bited well. I left the summit at 11:40am and was back down in my tent at 2:15pm. An hour later Canchola's son came by and picked me up. Mrs Canchola (Sen~ora Guadalupe) prepared me this delicious supper. I truly enjoyed her Chipotle sauce, simply awesome.
Made it! Windy and goregous on the summit. Drank about 5 liters of water and consumed massive amounts of food (GU is good) Started at 1am, and hit the summit about 7:30. The view between the gulf to east and the plains to the west was incredible. Check out my trip report and feel free to e-mail me with any questions. What a great trip!
Camped three nights in trees way below huts and took day hikes. Day before summit we did a high camp around 15,000 feet. Left high camp at 3:15am and hit summit at 10:17am and back at Piedre Grande at 4:00pm.
Clear sky conditions with harsh wind from mid glacier up. Navigating through rock field below glacier very difficult in the dark. Glacier conditions afforded excellent footing.
Didn't take enough palatable snacks and was boinking the last half of the descent. Energy "goo" or gels would have been the ticket.
Our group of three people, all students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign decided to travel to Mexico for the Thanksgivens holidas. We spent about a week on the mountain. Our summit route started from the high camp at 4950m. It took us 3 hours to reach the top of the vulcano. I have to note that all of us suffered from poor acclimatization.
More info on the trip soon. . .
Climbed from Piedra Grande with ScottyS.
Did Orizaba with bearbnz yesterday from P. Grande in something like 8.5hrs hut-to-hut. We had done La Malinche New Year's Eve in sub-5hrs c2c with headlamps, drove over to Orizaba New Year's Day and hiked in to Piedra Grande from around 11,000' near Hildago. After a rather sleepless night in our tent, we got up and went for it. Trip report, useful information, and cool photos (hopefully) to come.
Just got back this past Sunday night (Dec. 1, 2002) from Mexico. It was not a successful trip.
My partner mdostby and I had caught the stomach flu the week before we left. We met on Sunday, November 17th, and hiked to the summit of Mount Baden-Powell (9,399 feet) in the Los Angeles National Forest. It turned out that Mike had caught the flu through his son and then passed it to me that Sunday. Regardless, we departed for Mexico on Saturday, November 23, 2002.
I climbed La Malinche (14,640 feet) on Monday, November 25th while Mike sat it out with a return of flu symptoms. After that, we went onto the base of the Pico de Orizaba on Tuesday, November 26th. We spent Tuesday night and Wednesday night sleeping at 14,000 feet on the bigger hut at Piedra Grande. We had planned summit day for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28th. Unfortunately, we got stormed out on our summit day. It started to rain Wednesday evening and visibility was poor. It rained pretty much all day Thursday 11/28 and it didn't let up. We spent Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28th) in the damp, leaky and crowded Piedra Grande hut. The weather did not seem to be lifting, so at 5:00pm Thursday we made the decision
to retreat off the mountain. Bad weather, at the time, forced us to abandon our summit bid. Next day (Friday, 11/29) as we traveled by bus to Puebla, Mexico, we realized we should have been more "PATIENT" as the weather cleared up on Friday.
While at base camp, we did day hike however to 15,500 feet on Tuesday afternoon, and then day hiked Wednesday morning a little bit beyond the lower glacier up to 15,800 feet.
I am currently planning to go back and attempt Pico de Orizaba solo in February 2003.
Day hiked from Piedra Grande hut area with Bob, Vesna, and JW (James Wilson). Bob and I made the summit and had it all to ourselves. Vesna made it up to the crater rim (~18,200 feet) before turning back and JW turned back about half-way up the glacier. On our way down, Vesna was pretty sick so I stayed with her for a slow but safe descent. The clouds came in and visibility dropped to 30-60 feet at 17,600'+ which I personally thought was pretty cool. Vesna and I saved 2 very cold butterflies at 17,000 feet. I found and picked them up while she carried them down and released them at Piedra Grande. We were unroped and didn't run into any crevasses. We returned to Tlachichuca the same night.
The previous night at Piedra Grande, Bob and I used his TNF VE-25 tent, Vesna used her Eureka! TimberLite XT tent and JW stayed in the hut. On our acclimatization hike the previous day, I saw a SD Clip Flashlight tent at the ~15,000' camp. At Piedra Grande, there was a another VE-25 tent setup next to us that was apparently used by a Mexican climber named Hector who had summited Everest and is of some renown. I didn't see Hector but I believe Vesna saw him with one of the Cancholas.
It snowed about 4 days prior and the conditions were not good for skiing at all. About 1/2 - 1 inch of styrofoam over hardpack or wind-swept ice. While a ski descent was possible (esp. for someone who grew up skiing on New England boilerplate), I didn't ski and don't think skiing would have been much fun. The conditions were, however, great for cramponing. Bob did a great job improving the steps near the top of the glacier just below the rim for an easier descent.
Within the previous week, 2 Americans fell on the glacier and were not able to arrest. Apparently they had sat down on the glacier and then started to slide. They ended up crashing into some rocks, one with a broken hip and one with a head/skull injury. Needless to say, they had to be evacuated off the mountain.
We stayed in Tlachichuca with Joaquín Canchola Limón and used his services for 4WD transportation up to Piedra Grande and back. We hiked Orizaba without guides. On our way down we ran into a group of 3 from Colorado who just arrived at the hut and had paid US$1,500 each to be guided up Orizaba and La Malinche. They were shocked when I told them it was possible to do Kili for substantially less than the US$5,000 that one of their friends paid.
See my SP Trip Report for addional details.
This was my second trip to Orizaba. Unfortunately it was not as successful as my 1999 trip. I did not summit due to bad weather. Spent nine days in Mexico with my good friend forjan who I met right here on SummitPost one year ago. This trip was plagued with problems before it even started. Both my climbing partner and myself caught the flu less than a week prior to our departure. On day three I relapsed with flu symtoms and sat out the LaMalinche climb. Day five bad weather moved in by 8:00 PM. Day six bad weather forced us to abondon our summit bid. We spent Thanksgiving day in the damp, leaky and crowded Piedra Grande hut. The weather did not seem to be lifting so we made the decision to retreat off the mountain at 5:00 PM. Day seven we realized we shoud have been more patient as the weather cleared up. By day eight my partner had caught a cold that stayed with him the rest of the trip. Basicly it seemed that this trip was not meant to happen.
I climbed the Peak from the hut at 14k in February 1982. I remember some crevases half way up and another whopper headache on my way down. Great trip to test my breathing ability/lack of at higher elevations.
Climbed with V.S. hut to hut with empty packs. It was a nice time, but I've worked harder for routes 50 miles from my house and 10,000 feet lower. Secor states that techincally, the route is the most difficult on the mountain, but I wish I would have done more research. Some guy we met the night before hiked up to 16 with water and to carry our rope and jackets down as a kind gesture. I love that sort of thing.
Summit reached with Peter Anderson, from Missoula .
First day, started from Piedra Grande to find a place to sleep, at about 4800 m .
No tent, only sleeping bags . Sun is hidden by the mountain at 3.00 P.M.
The night was clear, and no wind : we were lucky !
Woke up 3.30. A.M.
Quiet walk to the Glacier, then hard and strenuous climb . No noise, only our breathes and the sound of the crampons on the ice .
After a 4 hour climb, we could dominate all MEXICO .
Great time of happiness !
48 minutes to go back to the foot of the glacier, whereas it took us 3 hours 30 from that point to the summit .
Thought we were the first summit team of the year, until we saw a solo climber coming down five minutes from the top. Beautiful day, beautiful mountain.