Added: Marcanthony Mcjunkin - Date: 08.01.2022 06:23 - Views: 34497 - Clicks: 1211
Elevation — meters Distance — 3. Elevation gain — meters Hiking time — 6 to 10 hours up, about half that down. Climbing Pico de Orizaba was probably the most incredible things we did in Mexico during our entire 8 months. It was also by far the hardest. Our post about Climbing Iztaccihuatl without a guide is over here. El Pico de Orizaba sits, snow-capped or at different times of year topped with just an icy glacier, towering over the small village of Tlachichuca and is Mexicos highest peak and the third highest peak in North America, Denali being one and Mount Logan holding the second spot.
The glacier begins at about to meters and depending on the time of year can be incredibly icy or have a nice little covering of snow. We climbed it on the 12th of September inthis is about 2 months before the start of the popular season and snow and storms can still be common. We did get perfect weather until the afternoon thunderstorm rolled in, which I will add was incredibly brutal. However, the general climbing season for Pico de Orizaba is around Christmas, after speaking to some guides back in town they said this was when the weather is consistently the best, which makes sense.
The dry season begins in November and ends in March.
One other thing about the time of year we climbed Pico de Orizaba was the fact that there was not a single person on the mountain the day we climbed and there was also no one else staying in the hut beside a few small mice, this made sleeping much easier.
I will just add though that having no one else around was great for us but only because we had spent a lot of time studying the route up and down and had the most detailed maps we could have over several tracking apps just in case something went wrong. We did end up getting lost on the way down after a massive dump of snow completely destroyed any s of anything that resembled a trail. We eventually made it down but it added a few hours extra to our day and it could have been far worse if we had have not been so prepared.
I added the for one we stayed with in the where to stay in Tlachichuca section. Also, an alpine start is highly recommended, you will want to leave the hut somewhere between midnight and 3 am at the latest as clouds tend to roll in in the afternoon. On our way down we got caught in a crazy thunderstorm but more on that later.
Veracruz is also another option. The journey as stated ly will take about 2 hours and will cost you about pesos. This will again take about 2 hours. Buses leave every hour. I did read about a few people taking private drivers from Mexico city all the way to Tlachichuca, the price they quoted was about USD per person. If this is in your budget it might be a far more comfortable option and worth considering if you have the money. This should be pretty quick no matter what level your Spanish is at.
At no extra cost to you, some of the links in this article are affiliate links and by using them Sara and I receive a small commission. This goes towards helping us continue to explore and write articles like this. We looked at a couple of options in Tlachichuca but eventually decided on a beautiful little hotel simply called Orizaba Mountian Guides in the small town of San Miguel Zopan which is a 2 dollar cab ride and about 10 minutes outside of Tlachichuca and is actually the closest village to the volcano.
We chose this place for a few reasons, 1, it was the prettiest, 2, it was closer to the mountain, 3 it was the cheapest in terms of transport up the mountain and 4, the owner Roberto was the most forthcoming with information to the questions we were asking about the mountain. So we went with this place. Not only that, Roberto has been doing guided tours up Orizaba for over 25 years.
He also le expeditions to Peru, Ecuador and Aconcagua. To make a booking here you can get in touch with him here: Roberto Flored Rodriguez. No: If you do decide you want to stay in Tlachichuca though here are the two best options we looked at. The first one we looked at and the one I would actually recommend was Servimont click the text to check it out and make a bookingwhich was in an incredible building that decades ago used to be some kind of factory, it was quirky and interesting and the owner Mr.
Reyes is a climber also and seemed like he knew exactly what he was talking about from the Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy I could pry out of him. The other place we looked at was Cancholas. It was friendly and looked nice but it was also the most expensive of all the places we looked at. This is fine but camping may also be a better option for you if you would like a little more privacy or the chance to actually sleep without the sounds and smells of 40 plus other humans all around you then I would camp.
This was our original plan, when we arrived it was a Sunday and there was a lot of people there so we set up our tent but by the afternoon everyone was gone and we decided to move into the hut. Around the base camp, there are several flat spots where you can pitch a tent. There are also two more camp Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy one at meters just before the labyrinth and another one at meters right at the foot of the glacier. The glacier camp breaks the hike up into two days and means you will have a far shorter summit distance on day two of your hike.
It is however very exposed to the wind and weather so unless you have a tent built for extreme weather the meter camp or base camp might be the best option. Getting water up to either of these camps will be difficult though.
If you choose the high camp you will be able to melt snow and ice but expect to carry a heavy water load if you decide to camp higher. Here is a map of Pico de Orizaba. Well two maps actually, taken from Hiking Project and Maps. But they are both good guides to have if you think you have gone off track as they can help lead you back towards the trail.
Training for climbing Pico de Orizaba is just like training for any other physical activity you want to do. One of the best ways to build weight is with water bottles. There are two reasons this is good. One is you can pretty accurately gauge exactly how much weight you have and the other is that you can empty the bottles at the top of the hike so you can reduce the stress on your knees coming down.
The last thing you want is some niggling injury to slow down your training. I love swimming as well personally. Now this one is one that I actually love but it might sound funny to any men out there that are accustomed to solely using weights at the gym. These are just our personal tips and what we did for getting ready to hike Pico de Orizaba. If you fly into Mexico City the closest high point will be Nevado de Toluca which is only an hour outside of Mexico City.
It sits at meters and is Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy great opening hike to get a little used to the altitude. After that, we made out way to Iztaccihuatl which sits at Where you can camp either in the basecamp hut or in a tent just around the corner. There are a few other mountains that you could hike. Malinche is another mountain that is very close to Orizaba and while not the most beautiful hike a really good acclimatization hike and close to your starting point. Once we got to Orizaba we also did an acclimatization hike up through the labyrinth almost to the bottom of the glacier.
We ended up getting a little lost but eventually found our way due to the fact we had already hiked it. The other option is to contact Roberto at OMG whose is above. They have different packages that you can customize that include several acclimatization hikes.
When you read about hiking routes for Pico de Orizaba there are officially four. I only researched two of them, the Jamapa Glacier route which is the most common route and the one we ended up taking. The other route we researched was the southern route. The southern route is shorter and faster however it is steeper, the main thing that turned us off though was the fact that there is no permanent glacier which we wanted as part of our experience. The are other more technical routes on the east, one called the Serpents Head that is 10 pitches and grade 3 ice.
This route is the most popular route. This only lasts for a few hundred meters and there are several small tracks to follow. Sections on this part of the track are loose so just watch where you put your feet. Although climbing Pico De Orizaba was pretty straight forward this is the section of the hike where we got lost on the way. On our way up it was Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy fairly clearly defined rock path that was mostly easy to follow and really just required a little experience and common sense even in the dark.
After a massive dump of snow through the track completely disappeared and with no one else on the mountain, there were no other tracks to follow. The track splits into two sections here, the section on the right is steeper while the section on the left is a windy path with less of an incline.
On our acclimatization hike we took the track to the left, in the dark we missed this and ended up on the steeper route to the right which ended up being fine also but there was a couple of small slightly technical section that we had not expected. We did, however, take the windy track down, it was the route we had planned on and we kind of knew the way.
It was also easier and the way would have liked to have gone in both directions. We had no problems but if one of you had a tumble it is extremely steep. The angle of the glacier reaches up to 40 degrees and once we reached about meters despite all the acclimatization I started to struggle terribly and it became a matter of one foot in front of the other, but it slowed our progress.
Sara had very few problems though and she was really the only thing that pushed me through it. Obviously there were two of us doing this hike but climbing Pico de Orizaba solo is completely possible. The day we left one guy arrived and went for the summit by himself.
We also met another guy in town that had done it a few days before us solo. Depending on the time of year the glacier as discussed can be extremely slippery and is probably your major concern. We got caught in a crazy thunderstorm that rolled in about 50 meters before the summit. At first, it was just a lot of hail but then the lightning rolled in. This was by far the scariest experience I have ever had with a thunderstorm.
I grew up in a region when they were a daily occurrence all summer, Sara had never really seen them and it scared her a lot. I, however, had not experienced one on top of a glacier, I kind of took the whole thing a little light because I suppose I was just so used to lightning and thunder. That changed pretty quickly after the first few cracks started to hit around us. The air changed, it was literally charged with electricity, every single bit of metal we had on us started to charge, it stung, or burnt or was somewhere in between these two feelings, it was something I had only ever really felt when you touch a cable that is not well insulated or metal that has electricity running through it that is not well grounded or something like this.
With this new feeling came the noise, we could hear this loud low vibrating noise and it proceeded to get louder and louder as the sensation burning our faces grew stronger and stronger and as it peaked bright light and thunder would surround us immediately. The thunder was like nothing I have ever felt, the ground shook like crazy thunder but this was more extreme, this was more like when you shoot a gun I have only ever shot a guns once and all the air around you completely compresses, you could feel it push on you. We realized pretty quickly that this was a far more serious situation than we both realized at the start and we started to run as best we could down the glacier.
We were actually extremely lucky there was so much snow as it allowed us to have very steady footing even Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy we were moving really quickly. We got down from the summit to the bottom of the glacier in about 15 minutes, but we were still not safe, there was nowhere to hide, it was still just bare rock and the hail and snow had completely covered the trail and our tracks from the way up.
We kind of scrambled down as fast as we could until we managed to find a massive rock that had a small overhang and we took a break under there and tried to wait out the storm. It eventually started to pass but even as it did it still took several hours of gnarly lighting that was far too uncomfortably close to us. The smart thing for us to do would have been to dump our gear and go up the next day and get it.
I do not know if we would have done this again in hindsight. Nothing ended up happening so it was all good in the end but are a few cameras really worth our lives, hell no, I just hope this is not a situation we end up in many more times.Looking for that special down to Orizaba guy
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Ascent of Pico de Orizaba on