Pico de Orizaba Trip Report (#994)
- Signed By: Roy Whitaker
- Date submitted: November 13, 2001
Travel to Tlachichuca was an absolute dream. We (Roy Whitaker, Steve Kolk, Dave Schoenenberg, and Dan Karlsen) flew into Mexico City on 11/7 arriving at 3pm or so, immediately got on the Estrella Roja bus to Puebla which took us to the private bus line terminal, took a cab (one cab for four huge bags and people)to CAPU (the main terminal), then got a bus to Tlachichuca after asking a few people where to find the bus. We got to Tlachichuca about 8 or 9 pm and had a tiny bit of a time finding the Reyes compound since the store across from the gas station was closed for the night. We just asked a lot of people and banged on some doors until we found it. The town of Tlachichuca is a great little town with parties every night. The next day 11/8 we got our ride up to the Piedra Grande huts with a group Phil and Sue Eschler were guiding, took a short hike back down the valley an hour or so then had dinner and went to sleep. On 11/9 we packed up and lugged our 50lb packs up to high camp getting off track practically the entire time. Get very detailed instructions on the trail from Piedra Grande. The top part is icy and you'll need crampons unless you go a longer and circuitous route like we did. The clouds can come in any time and obstruct the view of the glacier which made us wonder if we were in the right place. We eventually found high camp (16,000ft) and the clouds cleared so we knew we were at the right place. We then spent 2 hours making water and not enough, ate dinner, slept until 1:45am or so then hit the glacier about 2:30am with perfect weather. We did use ropes, I'm glad we did because of the icy crust which may have made self arrest questionable. It is very steep in parts. We worked our way across the main slope to the other ridge for a view of both sides and a larger traverse. We summited about 8am, longer than we expected, and decided to hike straight down to our camp. The snow was great by then and we saved several hours. At the lower glacier we could even safely glissade a few hundred yards. At camp we packed up and headed back down the long and "interesting" way followed by a bunch of locals looking to avoid the ice too. By 3:30pm we were at Piedra Grande and on the truck back to the gracious Reyes compound. A successful summit for all in our party, and a personal best for 3 of 4 in our group. The haul to high camp was excellent acclimatization and a nice added adventure. The Reyes accomodations were perfect! I highly recommend their services. Everyone there was perfectly gracious. Feel free to email me with any questions.