This is weird - i just noticed on my summit log entries that i only had one for Pico when i know i had another one. Oh well, anyway i wanted to summit this great mountain for the first time before i turned 16, and i made it by about a week. It is a beautiful mountain. I summitted again in November of 2001 (i think that's right). I tried again this last January but did not make it that time (i have a summit log about it below). I plan to climb it again when all things permit once again in my schedule.
My two friends and I planned the entire trip on our own. This was our first high altitude climb and we are happy to say we did it un-guided. Awesome experience. Check out my trip report " A learning experience of epic proportion."
Left P.G. at 2 am and summited just before 9 am. First time summitter (we turned back around last year just short of the crater rim due to high winds!) We were very well acclimitized having climbed Izta just two days before.
Very calm day with absolutely wonderful weather. Glacier snow was in good condition thanks to the big winter storm few weeks back. I will post a Trip Report soon but feel free to contact me for details.
Almost stopped by a morning storm. Camped high at 15,700 ft just below the labyrinth. Met Roberto Flores on the summit.
26 Mar 2005 - Ruta Sur
Stayed at Hotel Gerar one night and then got a ride up to the refugio the next day. Only slept a few hours before I decided to just get going around one. Was pretty sick from some food I had eaten two nights earlier and the whole Cara Sur was nothing but sand and scree so the going was slow. I reached the summit after slogging for five hours - the wind was fierce at the top and everything was enveloped in clouds. The only day of bad weather my entire trip!
29 Mar 2002 - Glaciar de Jamapa
A grueling climb - reached summit in 8hrs, round trip 13hrs. Altitude was killing me!
see trip report
I attempted to summit Orizaba on the morning of January 19, 2004 but only got to about 16,500' or thereabouts. I had 5 teammates. (Lorena, Matt, Ben, Ross, & Madison). Lorena got to 16,000'. The rest of the team (Matt, Ben, Ross & Madison) pushed on to just 300' from the crater but got turned around due to high winds. The mountain is awesome and the Piedre Grande Hut was one of the best I have stayed in. Our local guides "El Oso" and Lupe made the trip well worth our efforts. Orizaba is a big mountain and compared to Rainier, it just goes up and up with not a lot of breaks in climbing. My team's pace was a little to fast for me and I thought we started out late (2:30 AM). I turned around so I wouldn't ruin their summit attempt as I wasn't in the best shape and was already suckin' wind! I am coming back to tag this summit though!
My third attempt to summit and first time i did not realize the summit. It was still a beautiful climb. We started out this time from the town of Hidalgo hiking, because recent snow and mud made it impossible for even 4X4 to make it to Piedra Grande. There was quite a bit of snow even below the trees. We made it to the beginning of the Jamapa Glacier when we turned around because of some mild altitude sickness in our group. Perhaps it was not the best plan to attempt to go from 7,000 feet to over 18,000 in less the 24 hours (although we've done it twice before). It was sad to see the glacier receded quite a bit, but perhaps it is temporary. Great trip all in all. =-)
I guided 3 clients for Joshua Tree Climbing School (known as Wilderness Connection at that time). Nice sunny day with no wind.
Great climb, perfect weather!
What a great climb!!! We spent our first night outside Piedra Grande in a tent. Then we carried to a high camp at 15,700 ft. That night we watched a spectacular lightning storm pass below us, in the northern sky. Starting out at 3:00am, we summited at 10:00am, having made several stops to evaluate the weather. It cleared and we enjoyed a wonderful hour on the summit. The wind was still and the temperature was 36 F.
What a special place!!
--Mark , Scott, Nate
We stayed at Piedra Grande and left for the summit at midnight; however by the base of the glacier, dawn awaited us and rewarded me with some excellent photographic opportunities....some of which are posted here. It was the first time I wore crampons. The summit was spectacular with clear blue skies as far as the eye could see.
I ascended this mountain fifty one years before you did. I did it on the south side. There was no guide service nor hut to sleep in back then. I shared the mountain with no other party other than my divine companions, Jesus and Moses.
Awesome trip with Marin Search and Rescue
Our party of four arrived at Piedra Grande at about 13:00 on Saturday and immediately headed up to high camp. One of the guys in our party started feeling bad as soon as we got our tent and bivies up and ended up having a pretty rough night at 16,100 feet. After a sleepness night for all we got up at 4:30 Sunday morning to find that another in our party had succumbed to altitude sickness. We spent about 2 hours getting ice melted and eating and then 2 of us took off for the summit shortly before 6:30. We had beta from some climbers that were coming down the previous day that the route was to the left so we headed that way. Lots of dinner plate ice but pretty easy going all the way up until the last 200 feet or so. At that point the ice became a sheet with lots of rocks mixed in and the slope was between 45 and 50 degrees. Pretty tough to get the crampons to bite and without a rope we were feeling pretty exposed but continued up to the rim. At this point we were both pretty worked and there was some weather moving in so we decided not to go around the rim and bag the summit. The other two in our party started feeling better and ended up getting pretty far up the mountain before we regrouped on our way down. All in all a great experience but I think we will have to go back and get that last couple hundred feet. I would recommend taking a route to the right that will take you directly to the summit and avoid having to get around the rim to seize the top. We stayed at Hotel Gerar and were very happy with the accomodations and the gracious hosts.
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.