Volcanoes of Mexico

El Pico de Orizaba (18,850ft.), Iztaccihuatl (17,343ft.)

Mexico Volcanoes Expedition Itineraries

Day 1: Flight to Mexico City, early afternoon arrival (not evening). After arrival we'll spend the evening visiting Mexico City's Central Square which includes the Metropolitan Cathedral and various federal buildings. We'll have a nice dinner near the square and spend the night in Mexico City, where we'll prepare for our first climb. We'll also have a thorough equipment check and orientation, including a discussion of Leave No Trace practices.

Day 2: We'll be driven to the small town of Amecameca (8,200 ft.). Situated in the highlands, Amecameca rests at the base of Volcanoes National Park along the foothills of the mountains. We'll have lunch and spend part of the afternoon enjoying this beautiful traditional Puebla town. The people in this region are known for their warmth and hospitality. The marketplace is filled with foods and spices indigenous to the area while the surrounding countryside is covered by rich vegetation. After final preparations, we'll drive to La Joya (12,200 ft.) our Base Camp for our first objective, Iztaccihuatl, and overnight in tents during this first phase of acclimatization. We will stay tonight and the next night at the Altzimoni Hut (space permitting) or La Joya.

Day 3: We'll actively begin our acclimatization today, and then return to spend the night once again at the Altzimoni Hut or La Joya. We'll spend the rest of the day relaxing and prepare to move to our high camp.

Day 4: We'll break camp, load our packs, and slowly climb above 15,000 feet, where we'll establish a high camp, and prepare for our summit bid and early morning summit departure.

Day 5: We'll depart for the summit of Iztaccihuatl (Sleeping Lady) in the pre-dawn hours via the Ayaloco Glacier. On clear mornings, the sunrise has proven to be exquisite and will find us climbing high on the mountain. We'll don crampons and ice axe for the upper regions of the volcano where we'll encounter an easy rock ridge, navigate across ice cliffs and finally traverse into a couloir just before our final push to the summit. Viewing the terrain, it is easy to visualize the geologic cataclysms which created these giant mountains and look across to Popo keeping watch over the sleeping lady. By late afternoon, we'll return to La Joya and drive to Puebla for much-deserved showers and rest.

Day 6: We'll take a rest day in the colonial town of Puebla and visit the local market, shops and cultural sites such as churches and other prominent buildings in the town. We can do some laundry at our hotel and relax by the pool while we organize equipment and make preparations for the early morning wake-up and following day's journey to Orizaba.

Day 7: Our second objective is Mexico's highest mountain, known as Citlalcotepetl or El Pico de Orizaba. (Mountain of the Star). At 18,850 feet, it stands almost 1,000 feet higher than legendary Popo. We'll drive to Tlachichuca, where we'll meet our outfitter and load our gear from transport vans into rugged 4x4s for the drive to our Base Camp at Piedra Grande (14,000 ft.), the lower slopes of Orizaba, where we'll spend the night.

Day 8: We'll pack up our camp and move to 16,000 ft., furthering our acclimatization and putting us in a better position for a successful summit attempt. We'll set high camp and prepare ourselves for an early morning departure for the summit. We'll spend the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for tomorrow's climb.

Day 9: Our ascent of Orizaba is similar to Izta; we'll begin before dawn to take advantage of optimum snow conditions and provide ample time to complete the climb before dark. En route we'll climb through a rock ravine, make a moderate roped ascent and traverse a series of crevasses. On the final stretch, we'll maneuver the ridge along the crater's edge. From the summit, we can scan the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the central plateau to the west. We'll return to Mexico City and spend the night

Day 10: Depart for the U.S.

In the instance of poor conditions on Ixta, we will attempt an alternate itinerary consisting of a three-summit climb (Nevada de Toluca, La Malinche, and Orizaba) without Ixta.

Day 1: We'll fly to Mexico City, arriving in the early afternoon arrival. We'll spend the evening visiting Mexico City's Central Square, which includes the Metropolitan Cathedral and various federal buildings. We'll have a nice dinner near the square, then prepare for our first climb. We'll also have a thorough equipment check and orientation including discussion of Leave No Trace practices.

Day 2: We'll drive toward the town of Valle de Brava, where we'll have lunch at an outdoor restaurant. We will also visit an area along the way that has a large population of monarch butterflies. We'll drive to High Camp at around 11,000 feet, at the base of Nevada de Toluca, and stay in a refugio. 

Day 3: We'll drive early to around 12,500 feet near the Lakes of the Moon and Sun. We'll climb to the 15,500-foot summit of Nevada de Toluca and return to our van, where we'll drive to the town of Valle de Brava (the adventure sports capital of central Mexico), have dinner at a restaurant in Valle de Brava, and stay at a hotel.

Day 4: We'll have lunch at a Hacienda and continue -style beds. We can do a short hike if the members of our group are feeling up to it. We'll have a home-cooked meal and go to bed early. 

Day 5: Early rise, home-cooked breakfast, and leave for our summit day on La Malinche. Summit La Malinche, at around 14,500 feet. We'll be back in the late afternoon for a home-cooked meal.

Day 6: We'll drive to Tlachachuca to meet our 4x4 driver, and continue to the refugio at Piedra Grande 14,000 ft. 

Day 7: Leisurely morning; we'll do our move up to 15,600 feet, to our High Camp, and go to bed early.

Day 8: We'll wake up early and summit Orizaba, then go to Tlachachuca and continue on to our hotel in Puebla.

Day 9: Half-day of sightseeing in Puebla, and drive to Mexico City for a group dinner.

Day 10: Fly home.

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