PRICE

$2,995 based on 2 or 3 climbers
$2,695 based on 4 or more climbers

SCHEDULE

For those interested in traveling to Mexico during Covid-19, Mountain Gurus is able to operate small group, private, and semi-private climbs of Pico de Orizaba. Acclimatization peaks such as La Malinche and Iztaccihuatl are currently closed for climbing. Until those national parks open we plan to operate a modified acclimatization schedule on the lower slopes of Pico de Orizaba. Orizaba is currently open for climbing.

January 16 – January 22, 2021
Lead Guide: Terray Sylvester

February 27 – March 5, 2021
Lead Guide: Terray Sylvester

DETAILS

7 days in Mexico
Grade: Beginner

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Summit Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, the third-highest peak in North America. This trip is a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering and includes breathtaking views of the Mexican high country.

Pico de Orizaba and La Malinche 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 14,646 feet high and is located near the colonial city of Tlaxcala. The mountain’s position offers amazing views of Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl and Pico de Orizaba. On our way to Malinche, we visit the Teotihuacan pyramids and the beautiful 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 Pico de Orizaba, locally known as Citlaltepetl, to continue our acclimatization and ascend North America’s third highest peak. From Tlachichuca (Zoapan) we travel by 4×4 jeep up the mountain to the Piedra Grande Hut at 14,010 feet. Our express climb may use a high camp at 15,200 feet to shorten summit day. After an alpine start, our guide leads the group by headlamp through the rocky Labyrinth to the toe of the Jamapa Glacier above 16,000 feet. We rope up and ascend 35-degree slopes to Orizaba’s final summit crater at 18,491 feet / 5,396 meters.

Related climbs: Mexico Volcanoes, or 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.

Who can climb Pico de Orizaba?

The ascent of Pico de Orizaba is considered non-technical. Although not required, some previous experience at altitude is beneficial. You will need basic mountaineering skills, including strength, endurance, and good physical conditioning to be successful on North America’s third highest summit. Mountain Gurus offers two distinct itineraries depending on your goals and time commitment.

Our seven-day Orizaba Express itinerary first acclimatizes on La Malinche, a non-technical high altitude hike and then heads straight to Pico de Orizaba for the final acclimatization hike and summit ascent. The alternate nine-day Mexico Volcanoes climb allows more time for acclimatization and recovery between climbing Mexico’s two most prominent mountaineering peaks: Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba.

As with any popular high altitude peak, there are many guide services to choose from, but summiting can be largely dependent on the experience of your guides. Our team of professional guides has years of experience in the mountains, as well as numerous summits of Pico de Orizaba. We routinely have 100% success on Mexico’s highest volcanoes.

Why Mountain Gurus is the best choice for climbing Orizaba?

At Mountain Gurus, we strive to provide challenging, enjoyable, and safe climbing adventures. We pride ourselves on our high summit success rates and, more importantly, our strong safety record. Our in-depth knowledge of Orizaba and the surrounding region allows us to give all of our climbers a rich and rewarding experience. 

At Mountain Gurus, we plan our expeditions to optimize your climbing experience while respecting the people and environment of our host countries. We adhere to Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impacts of our adventures and ensure that the mountains remain pristine for future generations. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Choose Mountain Gurus.

What are the risks of an Pico de Orizaba Expedition?

Every high-altitude adventure involves risk. You can mitigate some of these risks through proper physical and logistical preparation. Our professional guide staff will work diligently to minimize risks you may encounter during the expedition. 

Any issues, physical- or altitude-related, are best dealt with early to ensure a safe and successful trip. All Mountain Gurus staff are well-versed in wilderness first aid and have extensive experience working at altitude. Our staff is trained to give you a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you. Each of our expeditions requires a different mix of fitness, technical climbing skill, altitude and expedition experience. We use a simple system to help you find an itinerary that fits your goals and your abilities. The trip you choose should offer you just the right mix of challenge and enjoyment.

Climb Highlights

  • Co-led by an American and Mexican mountain guide
  • Tours of Teotihuacan and Tlaxcala
  • 2 nights hotel in Mexico City
  • 2 nights Hacienda Soltepec
  • 2 nights mountain refuge
  • Ascent of La Malinche and Pico de Orizaba
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Meals while climbing in the mountains
  • Land transportation
  • Friendly MG office staff will help you prepare for your adventure

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City
Day 2 • Teotihuacan • Tlaxcala • Soltepec
Day 3 • Summit La Malinche • 14,646 ft
Day 4 • Zoapan • Base Camp • 14,010 ft
Day 5 • High Camp • Orizaba • 15,200 ft
Day 6 • Summit Pico de Orizaba • 18,490 ft
Day 7 • Depart Mexico City

“Mountain Gurus delivered again. This was my second trip with them and it proved to be a trip of a lifetime. It is a perfect blend of culture and exercise while acclimating as efficiently as possible. Terray and our Mexican guides were all professional and knowledgeable and led us safely to the top of Mexico! While there, we were lucky enough to have a crystal clear morning to see Popocatepetl have a small eruption from 90 miles away! Would definitely recommend.” ~ Patrick D, March 2020

ITINERARY

Orizaba Express

Expedition begins and ends in Mexico City, Mexico

Day 1 • Arrive Mexico City • 7,382 feet

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: Welcome Dinner (D)

Day 2 • Teotihuacan • Tlaxcala • 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.

Accommodations: Hacienda Soltepec
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 • Summit Day • La Malinche • 14,646 feet

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.

Vertical Ascent Trekking: 4,500 feet
Trekking Time: 6-8 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Hacienda Soltepec
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 4 • Zoapan • Base Camp • Orizaba • 14,010 feet

We eat breakfast and drive to the mountain town of San Miguel Zoapan, where we organize our gear, eat lunch and take a four-wheel drive shuttle up the mountain to Piedra Grande Refuge.

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

Day 5 • Acclimatization Climb or High Camp • Orizaba • 15,500 feet

Today we climb to the base of the Labyrinth for acclimatization. We return to Piedra Grande Refuge and prepare for an early alpine start. We will review climbing techniques, including ice axe and crampon skills and roped glacier travel. Overnight at the refuge.

Vertical Ascent Trekking: 1,490 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours roundtrip

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

If the group is acclimatizing well, we have the option to set up a high camp below the Jamapa Glacier at approximately 16,000 feet. High camp requires pre-planning because we will use tents and other group equipment. Porters can be hired at additional cost.

Day 6 • Summit Day • Pico de Orizaba • 18,491 feet

The climb takes 9 to 12 hours round trip. After descending the mountain we meet the 4×4 shuttle at Piedra Grande Refuge and return to Zoapan. After dinner we return to Mexico City in late evening.

Vertical Ascent Climbing: 4,500 feet
Climbing Time: 9-12 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Hotel in Mexico City
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Depart Mexico City

Transport to Mexico City International Airport for flights home.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

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

$2,995 based on 2 or 3 climbers
$2,695 based on 4 or more climbers

Rates are quoted based on double/twin sharing hotel accommodations while in Mexico City and Tlaxcala. 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 Tlaxcala
  • Refuge or tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide. Groups of 4 or more are accompanied by an American guide in addition to a local guide
  • All group equipment for the expedition (stoves, group climbing gear)

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Snack food during the expedition
  • Personal gear
  • Additional round-trip porter service to high camp $150
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $300
  • 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. A category 4 lens is required.
  • 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. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Heavy weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.

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.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Approach Shoes: Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes.
  • 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 0ᵒ Fahrenheit).

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 65-75 liter pack for personal gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying 45-60 lbs.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag.
  • Duffel Bag: One large, waterproof PVC duffel bafor transporting gear.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (2) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Nylon Slings(2) 60 cm nylon slings

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: 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-country in the 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 a pre-departure information packet upon booking. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Orizaba Express Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Beginner   

While summitting La Malinche and Pico de Orizaba we will be breathing heavily, moving slowly, and carrying 25-pound summit packs. You must be in top physical and mental condition to succeed on this climb. 

Before the expedition we recommend that you climb a Cascade volcano to master the skills essential for reaching the summit. 

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Pico de Orizaba.

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

Note: Additional porter services are available to high camp on Pico de Orizaba. However this cost is not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will we stay at high camp on Pico de Orizaba?

If the group is feeling healthy and well acclimatized, we offer the option of spending one night at high camp on Pico de Orizaba at roughly 16,000 feet near the base of the Jamapa Glacier. This allows for a shorter summit day. If we use this option, team members must carry their personal overnight equipment to high camp in packs weighing 35 pounds or more. We also incur additional fees of roughly $100 to $150 per team member for extra equipment and porters to carry it. In dry conditions, we may need to higher additional porters to carry water to high camp. This option requires pre-planning and is dependent on porter availability.

What are the accommodations like?

We stay in a variety of accommodations during the expedition, including a hotel in Mexico City, an excellent hacienda in Tlaxcala, a climbers’ refuge or expedition base camp high on el Pico de Orizaba, and high-quality mountaineering tents if we choose to spend one night in high camp during the ascent. All accommodations are double occupancy. Single-occupancy hotel rooms and tents may be available by request, for an added fee.

How much will my pack weigh?

During acclimatization hikes and summit ascents you will be responsible for carrying only your own personal gear, including food and water, warm clothing layers, and your personal climbing equipment. You can expect to carry 20-25 pounds. If we choose to utilize a high camp on Orizaba, you will need to carry your personal overnight equipment, resulting in a pack weight of roughly 35 pounds.

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 2:1 climber to guide ratio on summit days. Additional assistant local guides or American guides will be present for larger groups.

What technical skills do I need for this climb?

Climbers should have basic snow climbing and mountaineering experience. We recommend taking our 5 Day Glacier Mountaineering Course or 4 Day Alpine Skills Course.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMBS

Mexico Volcanoes

Cotopaxi

Ecuador Volcanoes

All Climbs