Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#897)
- Signed By: Wayne Morris
- Date submitted: February 17, 2004
Arrived in Tlachichuca after a night in Mexico City - we stayed at Hotel Gerar which I can recommend and used his transportation to get to Piedra Grande the following day ($65 for 1 night accomodation and return transportation to BC). The day after arrival we did a couple hour hike to 15,300' ready for our summit attempt that night - that gave us an idea of the route from the hut to near the glacier. We set off at 12.30am as the night before the wind and cloud was so bad that nobody seemed to have summited, and we had noticed that at 7am the summit seemed clearer! So we planned on summiting as early as possible - we eventually arrived at the glacier where 2 of us continued to climb (the other 2 in our party decided to return as 1 of them was not too well equipped and the other had summited before!). The wind was howling across the glacier and some of the gusts nearly blew you off your feet - not ideal weather to be walking to the crater and on up to the summit. We continued anyway hoping that it may calm down, although it wasn't to be and when we arrived at the crater rim we could hardly even hear each other speak - the summit was anther 15 minutes or so where we took a couple of pictures and got off as quickly as possible. It was certainly an experience as we were the only climbers anywhere near the summit (we noticed a few other people slowly ascending the glacier but whether they got there we don't know). We nearly quit on a couple of occasions due to the high winds and from listening to what people had previously said about going round the crater rim in such conditions but we were extremely glad we fought through it and made the long hike to the top of Mexico. A very enjoyable trip where ideally more acclimitization would be favourable as my head was going to explode on our first night in the hut, but technically easy - as long as glacier travel on steep faces is familiar then only crampons and ice axes are necessary - we found it far more enjoyable travelling unroped at our own pace, although 1 crevasse was found near to the crater rim!! I underestimated the temperature on summit day and went in windstopper gloves giving me cold hands most of the way up and 1 of our party wore leather boots which was his downfall - ideally plastics were the way to go and my Scarpa Alphas were adequate. We arrived in Mexico City from the East coast of the US late Wednesday night, summited at approx 7am on Sunday morning and departed Mexico on Monday afternoon - so if you have a long weekend then this is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend it!