PRICE

$2,195

SCHEDULE

September – April
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DETAILS

6 days in Mexico
Grade: Beginner

 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Summit Mexico’s Itzaccihuatl, the eighth highest peak in North America. This trip is an excellent introduction to high-altitude, international mountaineering and features breathtaking views of the Mexican high country, including Izta’s neighbor, the active volcano Popocatepetl. Nicknamed the “Sleeping Lady,” Izta rises high above the Mexico City Valley. From a distance, the features of its long, iconic summit ridge resemble a woman’s head, breast, belly, knees and feet. Climbers traverse over and around these features on their way to the summit, making Iztaccihuatl one of the planet’s most unique and enjoyable high-altitude volcanic climbs.

Iztaccihuatl and Nevado de Toluca Climb • 6 Days

Mountain Gurus’ Iztaccihuatl Express Expedition is an ideal choice for anyone who aspires to climb big, glaciated mountains. At 17,160 feet (5,230 meters), Izta combines the rigors of high altitude climbing with relatively moderate terrain. It is an excellent training ground for taller, more difficult peaks such as el Pico de Orizaba, Cotopaxi, Elbrus or Aconcagua. At just six days, the Izta Express itinerary is also a good choice for those with limited free time.

Before ascending Iztaccihuatl, our expedition acclimatizes on Nevado de Toluca (15,350 ft) near the picturesque colonial city of Toluca. Also known as Volcan Xinantecatl, “the Naked Lord,” Nevado de Toluca is the fourth tallest peak in Mexico. Two beautiful lakes occupy its expansive summit crater: Lago del Sol, the “Lake of the Sun,” and Lago de la Luna, the “Lake of the Moon.”

From Nevado de Toluca we drive to Iztaccihuatl, Mexico’s third tallest mountain. We overnight at the historic Hacienda Panoaya in Amecameca at the foot of the mountain. Then we drive through Paso de Cortes, the saddle between Izta and Popocatepetl, to our basecamp refuge at 13,000 feet. From the La Joya Trailhead, we climb the mountain via the Arista del Sol or “Ridge of the Sun.” To shorten our summit day, we spend one night at a high camp at 15,400 feet. Our expedition is supported by high-altitude porters, allowing us to enjoy our ascent without the burden of heavy packs.

We suggest arriving in Mexico City one day early to acclimatize and visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids, a famous pre-Aztec archaeological site, before climbing Nevado de Toluca.

Combine our Orizaba Express and Iztaccihuatl Express climbs and summit four of Mexico’s highest volcanoes (12 days in Mexico).

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you.

Why choose Iztaccihuatl?

If you’re seeking a high-altitude adventure where you can learn the fundamentals of international expedition mountaineering, Iztaccihuatl is an excellent option. It is the eighth highest peak in North America, and it offers a spectacular climbing experience. On the standard Arista del Sol Route, we traverse the mountain’s long skyline with the lights of Puebla and the Mexico City Valley spread out far below us. Short sections of rock scrambling and glacier travel take us to the summit with the smoking cone of Popocatepetl immediately to the south.

Our Iztaccihuatl Express itinerary allows you to experience some of the best mountaineering that Mexico has to offer. If you would like to climb Mexico’s tallest peak, too, consider extending your trip to include El Pico de Orizaba (18,491 feet), the third tallest mountain in North America.

Who can climb Iztaccihuatl?

Iztaccihuatl is a non-technical climb accessible to anyone with good endurance and strong physical fitness. During the expedition, our professional guides will teach you the crampon and ice axe skills you need to safely reach the summit. Climbers will benefit from some previous backpacking or trekking experience.

As with any popular high-altitude peak, you have many guide services to choose from, but whether or not you summit depends largely on the experience of your guides. Our team of professional guides has decades of experience on the world’s tallest peaks, including numerous summits of Iztaccihuatl. Our teams routinely achieve 100% success on Mexico’s highest volcanoes.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • 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

Climb Highlights

  • 2 nights hotel in Mexico City
  • 1 night Hacienda Panoaya
  • 1 night mountain refuge
  • Tented camp on Iztaccihuatl
  • Ascents of Nevado de Toluca and Iztaccihuatl
  • Welcome dinner
  • Meals while climbing in the mountains
  • Land transportation
  • Friendly MG office staff will help prepare you for the adventure

ITINERARY

Iztaccihuatl Express

Expedition begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City

Arrive Mexico City International Airport, Mexico (MEX). Transfer from airport to hotel. We stay in the popular Zona Rosa District near the Plaza de la Reforma.

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City
Meals Included: None

Day 2 • Nevado de Toluca • 15,350 feet

After a quick breakfast we will be transported to the trailhead, 13,340 feet. 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.”

Vertical Ascent Trekking: 3,000 feet
Trekking Time: 5-6 hours

Accommodations: Hotel in Amecameca
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner (D)

Day 3 • Base Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 13,000 feet

After a hearty breakfast in Amecameca, we drive a winding mountain road to Paso de Cortés in the saddle between Izta and Popocatepetl, and then to our lodging for the night: Refugio Altzomoni at 13,000 feet. Paso de Cortés is named for the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes, who crossed it in 1529 en route to the thriving Aztec communities of what is now the Mexico City Valley. Our goal for the day is to settle in, hydrate, and take a short acclimatization hike.

Accommodations: Mountainside Refuge at Altzomoni
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 4 • High Camp • Iztaccihuatl • 15,400 feet

In the morning, we start climbing the Arista del Sol, gaining more than 2,000 feet to our high camp at 15,400 feet. Porters will carry most of group gear, including food, water, tents and climbing equipment (one way). We set up our tents and go to bed early in preparation for a pre-dawn alpine start.

Vertical Ascent Trekking: 1,800 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Summit Day • Iztaccihuatl • 17,159 feet

The day starts early. We climb for 3 to 4 hours to the summit of Izta via La Arista del Sol route passing several short bands of rock and false summits. We descend to the La Joya trailhead reaching our van and return to Mexico City to celebrate.

Vertical Ascent Climbing: 2,159 feet
Climbing Time: 4 hours to summit, 4 hours descent to trailhead

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 6 • Depart Mexico City

Transport to Mexico City International Airport (MEX) for flights home.

Meals Included: None

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 needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

DETAILS

Price

$2,195

Rates are quoted based on double/twin sharing hotel accommodations while in Mexico City and Amecameca. Single room fees apply.

Deposit and Payments

  • $700.00 deposit includes a $500.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
  • Balance due 120 days prior to start date.
  • The balance can be paid by check, wire transfer, or by credit card with a convenience fee of 3.0%

Price Includes

  • Park fees
  • Scheduled land transportation in Mexico
  • Hotels in Mexico City and Amecameca
  • Refuge or tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Scheduled porter service based on itinerary (limited to 5kg – 10lbs)
  • All group equipment for the expedition (tents, stoves, group climbing gear)

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Snack/lunch food during the expedition
  • Personal gear
  • Additional round-trip porter service to high camp $100
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $250
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees
  • Tips and gratuities

GEAR LIST

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

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.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated jacket
  • Insulated Jacket: 700+ fill down.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Single-weight synthetic/ leather mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated to 20ᵒ fahrenheit).
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 60-75L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal.
  • Duffel: One large duffel for transporting gear.
  • Liner Bags: Two large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.

Hydration

  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs

TRAVEL & FITNESS

Travel

Program Location:
Begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Mexico. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Mexico

Flight Travel Information:
Mexico City International Airport (MEX), Mexico

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the country’s destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

Gear:
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Iztaccihuatl Express Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Beginner   

The approach to high camp on Iztaccihuatl requires a 4- to 6-hour hike carrying a roughly 35-pound pack, while utilizing porter support for group climbing gear. On Iztaccihuatl summit day, we will be breathing heavily, moving slowly, and carrying 25-pound summit packs. To succeed on this climb, you must be in top physical and mental condition.

Prior to the expedition we recommend climbing a Cascade Volcano to master the skills essential for reaching the summit.

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Iztaccihuatl Express.

  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)

Note: Additional porter service is available to high camp, however this cost is not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Mountain Gurus

Since 2008, we have offered world-class Seven Summits expeditions, high-altitude climbs, and specialized treks around the globe from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from the heights of Africa to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. Our business is rooted in environmental and social stewardship. We also offer a wide selection of mountaineering courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest through our partner company, Northwest Alpine Guides. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Choose Mountain Gurus.

Where will we stay?

In Mexico City and Amecameda, we stay in centrally located, high quality hotels in easy walking distance of cafes and restaurants, shops, museums and other attractions. On Iztaccihuatl, we sleep in professional mountaineering tents and the Altzomoni Refuge with spectacular views of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl. Expedition prices are based on double occupancy (two team members per room or tent). Single occupancy accommodations may be available for an added fee.

How much will my pack weigh?

This Mountain Gurus expedition utilizes high-altitude climbing porters on Iztaccihuatl so that team members do not need to carry group gear, significantly reducing the weight you will carry. You will be responsible for carrying only your personal climbing gear. Your pack will be heaviest while ascending to Iztaccihuatl High Camp, roughly 35 pounds. On summit days you can expect to carry 20-25 pounds.

What technical skills do I need for this climb?

Izataccihuatl is a non-technical ascent suitable for anyone with good endurance and strong physical fitness. During the expedition, our guides will teach you the skills you need to safely climb to the summit. Participants will benefit from some prior backpacking or trekking experience, and/or our 3 Day Mount Baker Intro to Mountaineering or another of our classic courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest.

When is the best season to climb?

Mexico’s main climbing season coincides with the dry season from November through March.

What is the guide to climber ratio?

We strive to maintain a 3:1 climber to guide ratio on summit days. Additional assistant guides or American guides will be present for larger groups.

Will we stay at high camp on Iztaccihuatl?

To shorten our summit day, we typically spend one night in a high camp at 15,400 feet on the shoulder of Iztaccihuatl. If the group is feeling healthy and well acclimatized, we occasionally climb the entire route in one day from the La Joya trailhead.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMBS

Orizaba Express

Mexico Volcanoes

Cotopaxi

All Climbs