425.749.7421

North American Summit Climb

Mexico Volcanoes 18,490 ft

Price $2600-3000
Schedule
  • 11/03/2017 - Orizaba Express
  • 12/08/2017 - Orizaba Express
  • 01/05/2018 - Orizaba Express
  • 01/19/2018 - Orizaba Climb
  • 02/09/2018 - Orizaba Express w/ Dennis
  • 02/23/2018 - Orizaba Express
  • 03/02/2018 - Orizaba Climb w/ Dennis
  • 03/17/2018 - Orizaba Climb w/ Brian
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425.749.7421

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). 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.

Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Climb • 9 days

Our 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 “Ixta” via the less travelled Ayoloco Glacier route, North America’s seventh highest mountain at 17,158 ft and third highest in Mexico. From the summit of Ixta you will experience an incredible close up view of the highly active Popocatepetl volcano, 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 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. 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

You now have the option of departing for home or spending an additional day sightseeing Mexico City. Shop at a 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 which stands at 4,448 meters or 14,646 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 Tlaxcala. After summiting 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. Our express climb often uses a high camp at 4500 meters to shorten summit day. View slideshow from our Mexico Volcanoes Expedition

Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Mexico City
Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 12,000 ft
Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,000 ft
Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,158 ft
Day 6 • Puebla
Day 7 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,800 ft
Day 8 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 9 • Mexico City • Depart

Orizaba Express Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Base Camp • Malinche • 10,000 ft
Day 3 • Summit Day • La Malinche • 14,646 ft
Day 4 • Zoapan • Orizaba • 13,800 ft
Day 5 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 15,000 ft
Day 6 • Summit Day • Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 7 • Mexico City • Depart

Nevado de Toluca and Iztaccihuatl Itinerary

Day 1 • Summit Day • Nevado de Toluca • 15,350 ft
Day 2 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,000 ft
Day 3 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,158 ft

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


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 • 12,000 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)

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 • 17,158 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 Ixta 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, and knees of the mountain along the skyline. The La Arista del Sol route climbs steep terrain to gain the Rodillas (knees) 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 • 13,800 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 at 13,980′. (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 • Mexico City • Depart
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 • Malinche • 10,000 ft
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 in cabins at 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 drive to the village of Zoapan where we will spend the night. (B, L, D)

Day 4 • Base Camp • Orizaba • 13,800 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 • 13,800 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 offer the option of setting up a high camp on 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, L, 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 • Mexico City • Depart
Return to Mexico City and depart afternoon 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. (B)

Day 8 • Optional Departure
Transport to airport 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 Volcaneos Expedition
begins and ends in Mexico City

Visit Mountain Gurus for details!


Deposit and Payments
$700.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure


Services included
All scheduled land transportation in Mexico
Hotel accommodations in Mexico City
Hotel accommodations in Puebla
Huts or tented accommodations
Scheduled meals during the expedition
Professional guide
All group equipment for the expedition (including tent, stoves, group climbing gear)


Services not included
International airfare and meals during travel – USA – Mexico City
Non-scheduled meals
Snack/lunch food during the expedition
Personal gear
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
Staff gratuities

Northwest Climbs

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb departure information upon reservation. For your safety and comfort it’s extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Please click to see our gear rental items. We have a full selection of mountain gear and clothing items for rent.

camera20 Click on the camera icon below to view a sample gear item.

Head and Face:

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, One that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. camera20
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring plenty of batteries. camera20

Upper Body:

  • Upper Body Layers: We recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body. Items must be made of synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket. Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp.
  • Softshell Jacket and/or Fleece Pullover: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket is a key part of a mountaineering layering system. Medium weight synthetic, form-fitting, for use over base layers. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic short-sleeve shirt. One synthetic long-sleeve shirt for summit day is required. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight which can be nice on sunnier days.
  • Hardshell Jacket w/ hood: Snow and high wind can be common. GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof nylon shell that has been “seam sealed”.
  • Insulated Jacket w/ insulated hood: 700+ fill down. camera20

**An expedition down parka w/ hood is required for Mount Rainier. A mid-weight insulated parka is required for Mount Baker and climbs and courses in North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips.**

Handwear: camera20

  • Lightweight synthetic (fleece) Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair, Leather construction offers durability and grip on ropes and other gear.

Lower Body:

  • Quick dry Hiking Shorts: One pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain (summer only).
  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Hardshell Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants of GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof nylon shell that has been “seam sealed”. (full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hard shell pants without removing your boots). camera20
  • Softshell Climbing Pants: Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated, comfortable to climb in and provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn. Schoeller© fabric is recommended.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots. camera20

**Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips. Gaiters are optional on mid and late summer climbs.**

Footwear:

  • Double Plastic Climbing Boots or Leather/ Synthetic/ Hybrid Mountaineering Boots (full shank and crampon compatible) camera20
  • Medium to Heavyweight Socks: Two or three pair of wool or synthetic socks to wear for warmth with climbing boots.

**Read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy-weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier and early season Mount Baker and North Cascades NP climbs and courses. Single-weight synthetic/ leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid and late summer climbs and courses on Mount Baker, North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. NO Backpacking boots allowed on any trips, boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.**

Sleeping:

  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated 0 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit depending on season). camera20
  • Sleeping Pad: One full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad. camera20

Packing and Backpack: camera20

  • Backpack: One lightweight large size 70-80 liters (4500-5500 cubic inches) comfortable pack with good support, adequate to carry personal and group gear. The pack should fit properly and have a good waist belt. Carry gear between 45 and 65 pounds.
  • Bags: large plastic bag, large Ziploc bag or waterproof stuff sacks

**An adequate size backpack is required depending on the climb or course you’ve joined. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.).**

Climbing Gear: camera20

  • Ice axe with leash: 60-70cm mountaineering axe camera20
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates camera20
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight camera20
  • Alpine Climbing Harness w/ adjustable leg loops  camera20
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible w/ snow baskets camera20
  • Carabiners Locking: Two large pear-shaped, screw gate camera20

Drinking:

  • Water Bottle: Two, one liter wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE© camera20
  • Water Treatment: We recommend you bring one bottle of “Potable Aqua” or a “Polar Pure”, crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water, optional
  • Water Flavoring: Lemonade, Tang, Gatoraid, optional

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Camera
  • Toilet paper, Blue bag, or Wag bag

What are the physical requirements to climb the peaks of the Pacific Northwest?

Previous mountaineering experience is not required on most Northwest trips. Our guides will teach you the basic snow and glacier travel skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb. Although above average physical conditioning is required for most mountain climbs in the Cascades. Prior hiking, backpacking or climbing experience is very beneficial. High altitude experience is not required.

Most trips in the Pacific Northwest are rated as strenuous and we cannot over emphasize the importance of conditioning. By getting your heart, lungs, and legs in top physical condition, you can focus on learning, while being able to enjoy the high mountain environment. It is recommended that you have some hiking and backpacking (camping) experience prior to this trip. All participants are required to carry a share of the group food and equipment which includes tents, stoves, pickets, ropes. Be prepared to carry a 40 to 60 lbs backpack to high camp depending on the climb or course you choose.

Fitness Suggestions

The mountains of the Cascades Range are physically demanding and your ability to enjoy this adventure depends on your overall health and fitness.

It is often stated. The best training for mountain climbing is hiking, backpacking or climbing with considerable elevation gain (2000 vertical feet or more). Few other fitness activities truly replicate the physical demands of climbing steep mountains with a backpack.

We suggest you begin your training program at least four months prior to departure depending on your current conditioning. Walking up steep hills and stair climbing are both excellent ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. In order to condition yourself to carry the weight, it will be important to take long hikes (4-6 hours) with a weighted pack at least one or two times a week. The best training for mountaineering is to carry a loaded pack up and down hills or small mountains. Hike uphill without breaks for at least an hour at a time when possible. Then break 10-15 minutes at the most and then continue hiking uphill for at least another hour. Do this as much and as often as you can. This is certainly not the only way to train but is probably one of the best ways to train for climbing big mountains. Don’t worry about your pace, this will increase over time, instead hike uphill slower if needed without taking as many breaks. Work at maintaining an even respiratory rate.

Unfortunately, many of you don’t live near good hills or mountains so then you will need to find another activity that will help increase your endurance. Supplement this with running, cycling, swimming, cross-fit sports, weight training, etc. for additional aerobic conditioning your heart and lungs. Any time spent at altitude will also prove beneficial. Remember mountain climbing (unlike running) is an activity where you slowly climb uphill over long periods of time while carrying heavy to a moderate amount of weight.