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.
Conditions were very good in the Labyrinth and on the glacier. I recent snowstorm 4 days prior made for perfect conditions to kick steps in the Labyrinth. We didn't feel the need to use crampons or axe. The glacier itself is perfect for crampon work. We took a slight variation of the standard route, contouring over to the Ridge of Gold and descended the standard route. 10 hours round trip including 1.5 hours on summit.
normal route not in good condition - standard route now goes closer to ridge of gold
I climbed orizaba with el Oso from Orizaba Mountain Guides. he was very helpful throughout the ascent. The ascent was pretty straightforward and not technical but once you are on the glacier its a long long slog to the summit even though it looks really close. It was a fun day altogether. I was out of energy by the time I reached the summit and it took me almost the same amount of time to get down as it did to ascend.
This was one of the best experiences of my life.
I did it without preparation.
It was magic. I walk all the way to the refuge with all my gear alone, lost hope, found hope with a cool guy who was looking for a buddy and made it to the top and back down.
It was awesome!
You can find everything about this adventure, with all the details and advices on my blog:
It's also available in French: