Ascent of Volcán Iztaccíhuatl on 2015-02-01

Climber: Bradley R

Others in Party:Frank Esposito
Date:Sunday, February 1, 2015
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Volcán Iztaccíhuatl
    Elevation:16471 ft / 5020 m

Ascent Trip Report

Alright so this is a report on my second international mountaineering trip, this one on the high volcanoes in Mexico.

So, first a quick summary of the trip. We flew in on 1/31/2015 from 1,000' of elevation. On 2/1/2015 we attempted to climb Volcán Iztaccíhuatl. I did not reach the summit, our guide told us we reached the knees, but the GPS track clearly shows that that was not true. 2/2 we spent in the city of Cholula. 2/3 We climbed La Malinche (AKA Matlalcueitl). 2/4 and 2/5 were rest days. 2/6 We climbed Pico De Orizaba. I completed these climbs with our guides and Frank Esposito.

Now a review of our guide. We used HG Mexico. I would grade them as 2/5 Stars. I'll start with the good. 1st I felt safe at all times on the mountains and in the city. They did get us to the top of two of the three mountains, it seemed that they wanted to reach the top of these mountains but that the desire was not too strong.
OK now the bad. PLANNING it was terrible,and they made changes without sharing with us. On 1/31 we were supposed to fly in and drive to the Malinche shelters. We got there and they were full. Our guide then told us we could drive three hours to the Iztaccíhuatl shelter and drive the three hours back the next morning. We asked if we could climb Iztaccíhuatl instead to which they said "yes, and they had a group already climbing it". We got to the Iztaccíhuatl shelter at midnight, woke up at 3 AM on 2/1 and hiked for just over 13 hours.
2/2 we took a rest day in Cholula, later in the day our guide met up with us and we worked out plan the rest of the week. We asked to climb La Malinche the next day 2/3, take a rest day on 2/4, and climb Orizaba on 2/5. We were told that this would be no problem and that on 2/3 we would be picked up at 8 AM travel to and climb La Malinche. On 2/3 at 7 AM I received a call saying we wouldn't be picked up till 9 AM, in the end we didn't leave until 10:30. We arrived at Malinche a little after noon, at this time I asked where were spending the night and was informed we'd be in the shelter despite being told previously we'd return to the city. We were also pushed to wait until the next day so we could climb with another group, we said we were told we'd climb today and that's what we wanted to do. We did end up climbing, spent the night in the shelter. The next day we were told we couldn't leave the shelter till the other group finished climbing because our driver was with them. Practically the entire day of 2/4 was spent in the shelter waiting after we'd been told we'd be in a city we wanted to explore. Still we were under the impression we'd be driving directly from the Malinche shelter to the Orizaba shelter and climb there on 2/5. Instead we stopped, again unexpectadly, in Ciudad Serdan. and were told we would be going to the shelter on 2/5 and climbing on 2/6. Again we'd been told differently. On 2/5 we changed to a 4-wheel drive vehicle and drove to the Orizaba shelter. They fed us at the shelter and the food was awesome (FYI we paid $100 USD for mountain meals, and with this exception got verry little for the mountain meals. The total meals we received could have been purchased with $20-25 USD). At this point I noticed every couple hours they were cranking our vehicle and revving it up for several minutes. I had an idea, but asked why, they said we have to do this or it won't crank. At 1 AM on 2/6 we packed everything back into the 4-wheel drive and went as far as we could. We then climbed Orizaba (beautiful) and reached the top. Around 10 hours later we returned to the 4 wheel drive with the hood popped in a low point and not cranking. Of course the battery had died. We tried to push it off, but we were stuck in too much of a low point. We waited 3+ hours for another car to arrive to jump us off. Alright enough for the issues with our guides.

Next up let's talk about Iztaccíhuatl. The best part of this mountain was the view of the active volcano Popocatépetl which was absolutely beautiful giving off a smoke cloud about once an hour. The climb started around 13,000' and I reached around 16,500'. Altitude became an issue for me around 15,000' and got tougher and tougher, plus I was climbing on 3 hours of sleep. The guides told us it was time to turn around at about 1 PM, when we were told we reached the knees, after looking at my GPS track that clearly didn't happen. Beautiful tough climb
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3471 ft / 1057 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3471 ft / 1057 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.1 mi / 9.7 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3471 ft / 1057 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Start Trailhead:13000 ft / 3962 m
    Time:8 Hours 25 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3471 ft / 1057 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    End Trailhead:13000 ft / 3962 m
    Time:4 Hours 40 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley R
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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