Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#930)

We finally made it to the summit after a failed attempt two years ago. This was the last mountain on our trip to central Mexico. Our basic team had only three members, Nèstor from Ciudad Juàrez, Servando from Monterrey and myself from Houston. I drove to Monterrey on Wednesday to pick up my friend and then we drove to Mèxico City the next day; Nèstor flew down there and we all met at our friend Beto Carrillo`s apartment. We slept two nights there and then headed for Iztaccìhuatl on saturday guided by Beto and joined by two of his frinds, Fernando and "la borrega" to try and climb it on a single push from La Joya. Only being able to get to the knees(5010m) because of a strong "ventisca" (spanish for winter storm) we got off the mountain and then headed for La Malinche National Park and as we drove we saw the storm vanish from Izta. We ended up camping because all the cabins were booked that day. On Sunday we climbed La Malinche in perfect weather conditions, after a mostly sleepless night because of the strong winds blowing and a big party at the IMSS resort; while we were up there we met Rafael from Puebla who offered his services as a guide for Orizaba wich we all agreed for. Then we spent another night at the resort now in a comfortable cabin. On monday we headed for Pico de Orizaba taking several back roads out of Huamantla to get to Atzitzintla on the southern side of the mountain, I kept driving my Pathfinder past the saddle between Orizaba and Sierra Negra all the way to about 4200m and then hiked to the hut at 4660m, the winds picked up again that night and never subsided, keeping us awake most of the night. The next morning we got up at 3:30 and feeling well acclimatizad we started hiking at 4:30 on the completely dry ruta sur, with lots of loose sand and scree. The temperature was not too bad (about 15 degrees) but the wind was creating a chill that my friends started to feel, specially Rafael, who was climbing only in sneakers and one pair of socks. As we climbed and got to the ridge the winds kept getting stroger and stronger, and this posed a threat specially on the section below the pùlpito where the traction was almost nonexistent; as they had warned us, some rocks started to fall fron this part of the mountain and a couple of them passed really close to me, so I hurried to join the others at the base of the pùlpito; from there it was another 10 minutes to the summit on the crater rim, wich turned out to be quite a challenge with winds blasting at about 70 mph, because of this our stay on the summit was very brief, it was very difficult to stand still or even breathe. At 8:30 after four hours of torture we had made it to the summit only to head back down after a couple of minutes. After we got back to the hut at 10:30, we were glad that we chose to do the ruta sur instaed of the jamapa glacier, that would have been almost suicidal with the prevailing conditions wich lasted all day. WE got back on the road and spent the rest of the day and the night in Puebla clebrating, before going back home.

Pico de Orizaba Trip Report Index