Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#1027)

  • Signed By: Chip Muser
  • Date submitted: March 23, 2001

Went on a trip with Camp5 Expeditions to gain some high altitude experience and had a great time. Al Burgess and Jason Kraus were fantastic guides, always ready with advice, encouragement, and a sound acclimitization plan. After about 4 days of acclimitization we left our camp at La Joya just after 1AM for the summit of Ixta. We found the snow on the Ayoloco Glacier in good condition and reached the top in high winds. Great views and excellent practice for the summit attempt on Orizaba two days later. Following a great night's sleep at La Joya, we drove to Tlachichuca to stay with the Reyes family. Delicious and plentiful food were great fuel prior to heading up to the Piedra Grande Hut where we stayed for about 12 hours. Just after midnight, our group of 14 left the hut with our path lit by a nearly full moon that made our headlamps unnecessary. After about an hour and a half of hiking we reached the base of the Jamapa Glacier where we put our crampons and begin the long trek up the snow and ice. A lot of snow had fallen the previous few days, but had consolidated nicely for our ascent. Once we got out of the shadow of the Sarcofago the wind hit us at about 30mph and stayed that way all the way to the summit. Unfortunately, only one rope team consisting of Jason, Albert, Brian, Mark, and myself were able to move quickly enough to stay warm in the wind. We reached the summit in about 6 and a half hours from the time we left Piedra Grande to be greeted by a spectacular sunrise above the clouds covering the Gulf of Mexico. As Mark said in his summit log entry, the pyrmidal shadow of the mountain was beautiful. All in all, the mountain is challenging physically for your first time at altitude, but proper acclimitization and training before your trip can help ensure success. I live at sea level and felt no ill effects due to the plan we followed. Thanks to everyone on the trip, we had a great group of people and that really added to the enjoyment of the entire group.

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