Ascent of Pico de Orizaba on 2015-02-06

Climber: Bradley R

Others in Party:Frank Esposito
Date:Friday, February 6, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico de Orizaba
    Elevation:18491 ft / 5636 m

Ascent Trip Report

Alright so this is a report on my second international mountainieering trip, this one on the high volcanos 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 attemted 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. The 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 not that the desire was 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 previousl 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 tht's what we want 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 drive 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 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. Laright enough for the issues with our guides.

Now for Orizaba. This is now the highest point I've ever been to! The climb was short by distance, 3.11 miles but it took almost 10 hours! I run 3.11 miles in under 22 minutes. The terrain was very tough. We began the climb at 2:30 AM. It took around 8 hours to go up, the first 30 minutes werent too bad but then the steepness began. I'm unsure of the route we took, but we never walked on glacier, and near the top walked by a small plane wreckage from 1998. The climb was very steep, altitude began to effect me around 16-17000'. I was having to stop every several steps to catch my breath. the altitude never effected me on this trip like I was effected in Peru.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3507 ft / 1068 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3507 ft / 1068 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3507 ft / 1068 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.5 km
    Start Trailhead:14984 ft / 4567 m
    Time:8 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3507 ft / 1068 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.5 km
    End Trailhead:14984 ft / 4567 m
    Time:1 Hours 27 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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