North American Summit Climb

Mexico Volcanoes 18,490 ft

Price $2200-3000
Schedule
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The Mexican Volcanoes offer an excellent introduction into the world of high altitude mountaineering. Snowcapped El Pico de Orizaba at 18,490 ft is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America also locally known as Citlaltépetl (Mountain of the Star). Iztaccihuatl at 17,159 ft is the 3rd highest peak in Mexico and the eight highest in North America also know as the Sleeping Woman. These mountains while never technical are interesting and offer straight forward glacier climbing at moderately high altitudes. After climbing Mount Rainer, Mount Baker or other Northwest peaks the Mexico Volcanoes are a great next step for those seeking to expand their international mountaineering experience or planning future expeditions to peaks like Elbrus and Aconcagua.

Pico Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Climb • 9 days

Our Pico Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl climb allows more time for acclimatization as well as enjoying the chance to discover and learn about Mexico’s rich history and cultural sites with a tour guide. While in Mexico City we stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma. We visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan (a famous pre-Aztec archaeological site) and tour the Museum of Anthropology known as one of the world’s best museums. We climb Iztaccihuatl the “Sleeping Lady” also referred to as “Izta” via the less traveled Ayoloco Glacier route, North America’s eighth highest mountain at 17,159 ft and third highest in Mexico. From the summit of Izta you will experience an incredible close up view of the highly active Popocatépetl volcano (the smoking mountain), also known as “Popo”, Mexico’s second highest peak which is restricted from climbing. During our rest day, we enjoy another cultural tour of the beautiful and historic city of Puebla and nearby colorful Cholula town. Our expedition then heads to the village of Tlachichuca near the base of Pico Orizaba where we plan our ascent. We now travel by jeep up the mountain’s western flank through pine forest to the Piedra Grande Hut at 13,980 feet. After waking early, our guide leads the group by headlamp to the toe of the Jamapa Glacier at 5000 meters. We rope up and ascend 35-degree slopes to Orizaba’s final summit crater. View slideshow from our Mexico Volcanoes Expedition

Before departing for home, consider spending an extra day sightseeing Mexico City. Shop at the local artisan’s market, visit the historic downtown area and its Metropolitan Cathedral and enjoy an evening at one of Mexico City’s fine restaurants.

Orizaba Express Climb • 7 days

Our Orizaba Express climb first acclimatizes on La Malinche, Mexico’s sixth-highest peak (also known as Matlalcueye) which stands at 4,461 meters or 14,636 feet high and is located near the colonial city of Tlaxcala. The mountains position offers amazing views of Iztaccihuatl, Popocatépetl and Pico de Orizaba. On our way, we visit the Teotihuacan pyramids and the city of Tlaxcala. We overnight at the historic Hacienda Soltepec near the base of Malinche, offering fine dining and comfortable accommodations. After summiting La Malinche we head to Orizaba, locally known as Citlaltépetl and continue our acclimation and ascent of North America’s third highest peak. From Tlachichuca we travel by 4×4 jeep up the mountain to the Piedra Grande Hut at 13,980 feet. Our express climb often uses a high camp at 4500 meters to shorten summit day. View slideshow from our Mexico Volcanoes Expedition

Iztaccihuatl and Nevado de Toluca Climb • 6 days

The Izta express climb is a great option for those seeking to climb a big glaciated peak but may not have the experience or skills to summit Pico Orizaba. The mountain requires the use of crampons and glacier travel but overall is a less demanding climb. This trip offers a scenic and enjoyable mountain experience. Our climb first acclimatizes on Nevado de Toluca which stands at 15,350 feet high and is located near the colonial city of Toluca, the capital of Mexico State. The mountain also known as Volcán Xinantécatl (The Naked Lord) is the fourth highest peak in Mexico. Two picturesque crater lakes sit on the floor of the basin at 13,800 ft, the larger Lago del Sol (Sun Lake) and the smaller Lago de la Luna (Moon Lake).

After summiting Nevado de Toluca we head to Iztaccihuatl, also referred to as Izta or “The Sleeping Woman”, taken from the mountains shape when viewed from the town of Amecameca. We then continue our acclimation and ascent of North America’s eighth highest peak. From Amecameca we travel up the mountain to the Pass of Cortés (Paso de Cortés), the saddle between the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl to our base camp refugio, at 13000 feet. From the trailhead at La Joya we ascend the La Arista del Sol (Ridge of the Sun) route at 13,040 feet. Our express climb uses a high camp at 15,400 feet to shorten summit day as we make the long traverse to the summit of Izta at 17,159 feet.

We suggest arriving in Mexico a day early to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan (a famous pre-Aztec archaeological site) and have a chance to rest up before heading to Nevado de Toluca.

Pico Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Mexico City • Teotihuacan
Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 ft
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,400 ft
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
Day 6 • Puebla
Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,980 ft
Day 8 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 9 • Depart Mexico City

Orizaba Express Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Hacienda Soltepec
Day 3 • Summit Day • La Malinche • 14,636 ft
Day 4 • Zoapan • Orizaba • 13,980 ft
Day 5 • High Camp • Orizaba • 15,000 ft
Day 6 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 7 • Depart Mexico City

Iztaccihuatl and Nevado de Toluca Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Summit Day • Nevado de Toluca • 15,350 ft
Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 ft
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,400 ft
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
Day 6 • Depart Mexico City

For more information about international adventures, please visit our partner company Mountain Gurus.

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Flight Schedule: USA – Mexico City (MEX)
Expedition begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico


Pico Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Climb • 9 days

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Transfer airport to hotel. We stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma.

Day 2 • Mexico City
Today we tour Teotihuacan with a cultural guide, one of the world’s oldest archaeological sites (Pyramid of the Sun) near Mexico City. In the afternoon we have an expedition orientation and equipment check.

Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 ft
After breakfast we tour the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. We then head towards the volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Ixta stopping for lunch in the village of Amecameca. Our drive continues towards Popo-Ixta National Park and to the Paso de Cortez, named after the Spanish General Cortez who crossed the pass in 1529 en route to the city of Teotihuacan. We spend the night in a high mountain Altzomoni refuge. (D)

We also have the option of skipping the museum and heading up to Izta base camp early for an additional acclimatization hike.

Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,000 ft
In the morning we hike to high camp at the base of the Ayoloco Glacier on Ixta. We spend the night at the Ayoloco Hut. (B, D)

Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
The day starts early. We climb for 4 to 5 hours to the summit of Ixta via the Glacier de Ayoloco route passing several short bands of rock and false summit. We descend to the Ayoloco Hut, pack, and return to Izta base camp and drive to Puebla where we will spend the evening. (B)

(We also have the option of climbing the La Arista del Sol route (Ridge of the Sun) depending on weather conditions and the strength of the group. Ixta is known in Aztec mythology as the “Sleeping Lady” and with your imagination, you can see the head, breast, belly, knees and feet of the mountain along the skyline. The La Arista del Sol route climbs steep terrain to gain the Rodillas (knees) at 16,500 feet and then traverses multiple false summits before reaching the top.)

Day 6 • Puebla
After breakfast we have a cultural tour of Puebla (7000’) known for its excellent local cuisine and nearby colorful town of Cholula. The afternoon is free to take a rest or walk the city on your own.

Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,980 ft
We eat breakfast and depart to the village of Tlachichuca (Zoapan) at the base of Orizaba. We then take a four wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Hut. (L, D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft 
The climb takes 10 to 12 hours round trip with an alpine start. After reaching the glacier, we ascend moderate 35-degree snow slopes of the Jamapa Glacier before reaching the crater rim and final summit high point marked with a steel cross. After descending the mountain, we meet the shuttle and return to the village of Tlachichuca. We have an opportunity to clean up and then drive to Mexico City late evening. We spend the night in Mexico City. (B, D)

Day 9 • Depart Mexico City
Depart for flights home or enjoy an optional day in Mexico City. Our last full day in Mexico City is spent shopping at a local artisan’s market, the historic downtown area and enjoying a celebratory lunch. Overnight at hotel. That evening sample some of Mexico City’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 10 • Optional Departure
Transport to airport for flights home.


Orizaba Express Climb • 7 days

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Transfer airport to hotel.

Day 2 • Base Camp • Hacienda Soltepec
After breakfast we drive east towards La Malinche. On the way we tour the Teotihuacan pyramids as well as the beautiful colonial town of Tlaxcala where we enjoy lunch. We spend the night at the historic Hacienda Soltepec near the base of Malinche.

Day 3 • Summit Day • La Malinche • 14,646 ft
We wake early for our ascent of La Malinche. After reaching the summit we’ll descend the mountain and return to the Hacienda Soltepec where we spend the night. (B)

Day 4 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,980 ft
We eat breakfast and gear check and then take a four wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Hut. (B, L, D)

(We also have the option of spending a rest day in Puebla on Day-4 and driving to Piedra Grande Hut on Day-5. After breakfast we have a cultural tour of Puebla (7000’) known for its excellent local cuisine and nearby colorful town of Cholula. The afternoon is free to take a rest or walk the city on your own.)

Day 5 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,980 ft
Today we climb to the base of the Labyrinth for acclimatization. We return to Piedra Grande Hut and prepare for an early alpine start. We will review climbing techniques including the use of crampons ice axe and roped glacier travel. Overnight at the refuge. (B, L, D)

(We also have the option of setting up a high camp on Pico Orizaba at 15,000 feet. After climbing to the Labyrinth we will take a short acclimatization hike to the glacier. High camp requires the use of tents and porters.)

Day 6 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft 
The climb takes 10 to 12 hours round trip. After descending the mountain we meet the shuttle and return to the village of Zoapan for the evening. (B, D)

(We have an opportunity to stay in Zoapan or clean up and then drive to Mexico City late evening. Overnight in Mexico City.)

Day 7 • Depart Mexico City
Depart for flights home or enjoy an optional day in Mexico City. Our last full day in Mexico City is spent shopping at a local artisan’s market, the historic downtown area and enjoying a celebratory lunch. Overnight at hotel. That evening sample some of Mexico City’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 8 • Optional Departure
Transport to airport for flights home.


Iztaccihuatl and Nevado de Toluca Climb • 6 days

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Transfer airport to hotel. We stay in the popular Zona Rosa district near the Plaza de la Reforma.

Day 2 • Nevado de Toluca • Amecameca
After a quick breakfast we will be transported to the trailhead. Today we will ascend Nevado de Toluca which stands at 15,350 feet. After the climb we will descend to the trailhead by late afternoon and transfer to our hotel in Amecameca. This sleepy little town at the base of Iztaccihuatl is the ideal place to rest and recover. If time allows we will walk up the ancient cobblestone steps to the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe to view Izta, also known as “The Sleeping Lady.”

Day 3 • Basecamp • Iztacihuatl • 13,000 feet
We will wake up for a hearty breakfast in Amecameca before being transported to the Refugio Altzomoni located at 13,000 feet. Our goal for the day is to settle in, hydrate, and take a short acclimatization hike. (D)

Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,400 ft
In the morning we start our climb up La Arista del Sol, gaining over 2000 feet to our high camp at 15,400 feet. Here we will set up our tents and get to bed early. (B, D)

Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 ft
The day starts early. We climb for 4 to 5 hours to the summit of Izta via La Arista del Sol route passing several short bands of rock and false summits. Afterward we descend to the trailhead, return to Izta base camp for a break, and then drive back into Mexico City to celebrate. (B)

Day 6 • Depart Mexico City
Depart for flights home.


Itinerary Notes: Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the particular needs of the group. Please request a detailed itinerary for a list of scheduled and non-scheduled meals.

Mexico Volcanoes Expedition

Visit Mountain Gurus for prices and dates!


Deposit and Payments
$700.00 deposit includes a $500.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to start date. Please read NW Alpine Guides Reservation/Refund Policy for details.


Services included
Park Fees
All scheduled land transportation in Mexico
Hotel accommodations in Mexico City, Puebla, Tlaxcala
Hut, cabin or tented accommodations
Scheduled meals during the expedition
Professional guide and city tour guide
Scheduled porter service based on itinerary
All group equipment for the expedition (including tent, stoves, group climbing gear)


Services not included
International airfare and meals during travel – USA – Mexico City
Airport transfers
Non-scheduled meals
Snack/lunch food during the expedition
Personal gear
Non-scheduled porter service
Single room supplement ($300)
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
Staff gratuities

425.749.7421