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Mexico's Volcanoes

Mexico´s behemoth volcanoes are ideal for advanced beginners looking to extend their mountaineering experience.

The combination of good weather, spectacular climbing, high altitude and cheap beer makes Mexico an excellent mountaineering destination.

The volcanoes are very accessible and the climbing is technically moderate, involving easy rock scrambling on Malinche and Itzaccihual and basic ice axe and crampon work on Orizaba's Jamapa glacier.


Malinche (4461m)

  This is a large Stratovolcano located about 50 miles from Mexico City, only it's blown-out crater and rocky rim remain. We climb this mountain as a warm-up before tackling the higher peaks and it can be easily climbed in about 7hrs from the Butlins style Malinche National Park Cabanas located at 3100m.

The route consists of an easy path through a pine forest, followed by a steeper climb over rock and volcanic sand to the summit itself.

We spend two nights in the Cabanas to boost our acclimatisation. There are comfortable beds, hot showers and swings!

Iztaccihuatl (5220m)

 

Iztaccihuatl is the third highest mountain in Mexico. This is an interesting ridge traverse with low grade snow, ice and rock scrambling terrain and fantastic views of smoking Popocatepetl and Orizaba.

We usually climb the 'La Arista del Sol' (The Ridge of the Sun). The route climbs crosses various false summits and the remains of the Ayoloco glacier before reaching the summit. We spend the night before the climb at the Grupo de Los Cien hut at 4700m (also know as Refugio de los Pies).

 

Orizaba (5636m)

 

This huge, glaciated volcano offers a serious challenge to climbers with basic snow and ice experience on glaciated terrain of 25-45 degrees in steepness.

We climb the standard (North) Jamapa Glacier route. A long and strenuous day in the mountains.

The climb from the Piedra Grande Hut to the summit involves almost 1400m of vertical ascent. A tough day by any standards. 


Programme:

Day 1. Arrive in Mexico City (2400m). Transfer to the hotel.

Day 2. Transfer to the beautiful Cassa Malinche (2700m). Rest and acclimatisation at this remote 300 year old Hacienda. 3hrs drive.

Day 3. Drive to the Cabanas in the pine forest at Malinche National Park at 3100m (45mins drive). Further acclimatisation.

Day 4. Climb Malinche (4461m) easy paths over rocky volcanic terrain, steep in places. Good views of Itza and Orizba. 7hrs round trip, 1361m of ascent.

Day 5. Transfer by car to the Altzomoni refuge (3950m) on Iztaccihuatl. 4hrs driving, plus 1 hour at the ancient pyramids near to Puebla. It´s a 1 mile drive from here to La Joya, the trail head.

Day 6. Trek to El Grupo de Los Cien hut, at 4725m (4hrs). Carry sleeping bags, camping mats and extra food. Easy walking terrain - sometimes snow covered. The hut is very basic.

Day 7. Early start to climb Iztaccihuatl (5220m) by La Arista del Sol (Ridge of the Sun). It takes 8 to 10 hours to climb to the summit and back down to La Joya. Transfer to Cholula (2600 m).

Day 8. Free day at Cholula (2600m), hotel accommodation at the 3* Puebla Plaza Hotel in the center of town.

Day 9. Transfer to Piedra Grande Hut (4260m) on the northern flanks of Pico de Orizaba. We travel approximately 150 kilometres by road in our 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Day 10. Spare day for bad weather (some groups use this day to establish a high camp at 4,600m).

Day 11. Climb to the summit of Pico de Orizaba (5636m). A pre-dawn start is needed to reach the summit before snow conditions deteriorate in the midday sun. The route follows the Glacier de Jamapa, which is a straightforward slope at an average angle of 30° (with the occasional 45deg section). The round trip, back to the Piedra Grande Hut will take around 13 hrs. Return to Mexico City. Hotel accommodation.

Day 12. Return home.

View from Iztaccihuatl, Arista del Sol.