We climbed this as a warm up for Orizaba the next day. Super fun! we summited in complete cloud cover and wind but it was a good way to acclimate. well worth the time if you're on Orizaba.
I slept in Esperanza, from where I took the bus, walked, got a ride to Atitzintla and then another to Texmelaquilla. From here I got a ride from the 'velador' or watchman who drove me to 'La Pluma' (where the road splits up to Pico de Orizaba/to Sierra Negra). I then walked up to the summit, there was nobody there. I got to the actual summit because part of the fence was down on the crater side so I just walked in. Greats view of Pico de Orizaba!You can ask you permit to visit the Telescope at the INAOE office in Atzizintla (Calle Miguel Aleman 10), Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. I was there on Sunday but met the sister of the girl working at the office. Apparently they give you the permit on the spot.
I didn't have my gear with me, so I couldn't climb Orizaba safely, but I ended up in the region and I still wanted to do something. After camping at 4000m at the saddle between the two peaks, I decided to make a morning jaunt up to the Gran Telescopo Millimetrico. Nice mellow walk on a road, friendly workers up on the peak, kinda strange being on a peak that is a construction site, cool views of all the major peaks in the area. In fact, the view of La Malinche inspired me to go run over there that same afternoon.
I had trouble lining up transporation to the hut so I took a taxi to San Isidro, a small village below the west slopes of Sierra Negra and climbed up through fields and forests. It was a beautiful climb but about 5K' of gain so it was a very long day.
Much prettier and enjoyable than I'd expected. Manuel, the security fellow at the summit, allowed us inside the fence for a personalized tour of the summit "stuff".
This was a bonus climb during my trip to Mexico since the summit date on Pico de Orizaba was moved one day ahead leaving me with one extra day for more fun. This had been a mountain I wanted to climb since the day I climbed Pico from the south side back in 2003 and it was a good one, having the mountain to myself. I started from the entrance booth and climbed the slopes below the northeastern ridge. I was able to sneak past the electrified fence since the gate was open and reached the actual summit right next to the Milimetric Telescope being built up there. One must be very careful when doing this route, since rockfall is a real danger if you climb the upper slopes like I did; I saw a big boulder come down from the very top and go past an area I had scrambled through ten minutes earlier. Coming down was really fast taking advantage of the long sand/scree ramps, round trip took me 3:45 hrs.
This was the fourth and last volcano on my trip to Mexico.
Check my trip report "A good dose of thin mexican air" on the Pico de Orizaba page for details.
Climbed it the day after Orizaba after camping in the forest near the cave. I followed the prominent ridge in the center of the northern side and reached the summit in about 1.5 hrs. You can't walk to the true summit unfortunately since it is surrounded by an electrified fence.
The idea was to summit Negra the day after Orizaba but a storm front moved in and prevented us from making a serious bid. Walked about a kilometer up the trail just to get a feel for the mountain and because I stubbornly didnt want to give up this shot. Will return in the near future and rectify this.