Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#975)
- Signed By: Jon Waldman
- Date submitted: April 26, 2002
had a great time on a big mountain.
it was, though, pretty much a long slog, almost entirely non-technical.
you certainly don't need a helmet
and we (me and kevin) didn's use a rope or any pro. it's unnecessary.
it hadn't snowed in 3 weeks, so the glacier wall all
bumpy and slushy - no risk of sliding all the way to the bottom in a fall. in fact, on the way down, i tried to glissade, and failed - the snow just wasn't slippery and fast...so all you need is crampons and a mountaineering axe. no rope, no harness, no helmet; not much, really. (I travelled around mexico w/all my gear for 10 days w/only a medium sized - 3000 cu in. pack.)
warm gloves are a nice idea though. mine - just a thin windrpoof pair - were a bit thin.
funny thing about the rainy season - some say it comes in april, some say it comes in may. i dunno. but the prime season on the mtn is nov --> march...we squeezed in a trip right at the end of the season, and it wasn't very busy anymore... i know it can be climbed in
all months, but it sorta sounds like the rainy season sucks....late march was perfect though - sunny and mild (20's and breezy, perhaps) on top
Here's our itinerary:
day 1: arrive mex city - sleep at 7000'
day 2: travel - bus to puebla, then another bus to
huamantla. taxi from there to the alberges (cabins) at the base or la malinche - sleep at 10,000'
day 3: hike to summit of la malinche (14,600'), then
travel by bus back to puebla, then another bus to
tlachichuca. sleep at reyes' place (climber hangout,
super nice renovated soap factory, elevation 9,000')
day 4: take 4x4 truck to 12,000', hop out and hike rest of the way up the road to piedra grande hut at 13,700' and sleep there. (note: gear was taken up by 4x4 truck and dropped off at hut - this is good - costs $40 instead of $50)
day 5: hike up to 16,200' to check out route, acclimatize more - relatively easy day, relaxing. sleep at hut again, 13,700'
day 6: summit day. wake up 1:30am. hiking by 2am.
arrived at glacier (16,200') by 5am, summit at 8:30am. back down to hut at 11:30am. get picked up by 4x4 truck at 4pm, back down to tlachichuca and reyes place for a nice night of sleep
day 7, 8, 9: to the beach - elevation 0!
you dont need any permit or any such thing. good place
to talk to climbers and get info and latest conditions is
the reyes' place - very cool.
our acclimatization plan was better than most, and even
it isn't really that long. we did, however, fare better than most. the biggest bitch is taking your time on the glacier. whatever you do, don't look up and focus on the summit. keep your head down, your pace slow and steady, and count on 3 hours of exhausting slogging. eventually, you'll get there...
aspirin helps, as does plenty of food and water (clean spring is 3 minutes from the hut - my camelback froze halfway up the glacier, but quickly melted halfway down again)
....3 out of 10 kids from ohio who drove to the hut felt too crappy to summit, and
stayed in bed all day...the more time at altitude,
obviously, the better. i thought our plan was pretty good, and pretty fun too; la malinche is a really nice little warm up hike.
great time! after this, the peaks only get bigger...