Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#923)

  • Signed By: Jeff Gunther
  • Date submitted: May 07, 2003
  • Date(s) climbed: 3/23

Our party of four arrived at Piedra Grande at about 13:00 on Saturday and immediately headed up to high camp. One of the guys in our party started feeling bad as soon as we got our tent and bivies up and ended up having a pretty rough night at 16,100 feet. After a sleepness night for all we got up at 4:30 Sunday morning to find that another in our party had succumbed to altitude sickness. We spent about 2 hours getting ice melted and eating and then 2 of us took off for the summit shortly before 6:30. We had beta from some climbers that were coming down the previous day that the route was to the left so we headed that way. Lots of dinner plate ice but pretty easy going all the way up until the last 200 feet or so. At that point the ice became a sheet with lots of rocks mixed in and the slope was between 45 and 50 degrees. Pretty tough to get the crampons to bite and without a rope we were feeling pretty exposed but contiued up to the rim. At this point we were both pretty worked and there was some weather moving in so we decided not to go around the rim and bag the summit. The other two in our party started feeling better and ended up getting pretty far up the mountain before we regrouped on our way down. All in all a great experience but I think we will have to go back and get that last couple hundred feet. I would recommend taking a route to the right that will take you directly to the summit and avoid having to get around the rim to seize the top. We stayed at Hotel Gerar and were very happy with the accomodations and the gracious hosts.

-Jeff Gunther

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