Welcome to the Volcanoes of Mexico – the perfect introduction to climbing at higher altitudes, or for the seasoned veteran, an easily accessible training ground for Ecuador, Denali, Aconcagua, and the Himalayas. El Pico de Orizaba (18,490’) and Iztaccihuatl (17,159’) serve as the prioritized goals of this expedition. Acclimatization peaks, such as La Malinche (14,501’) provide excellent opportunities for acclimatization while ticking off another summit in addition to the giants.
Like many of our international trips to Europe, Ecuador, Chile, and Japan, the Mexico Volcanoes Expedition naturally balances the efforts made in the mountains with rest days spent exploring the local culture, enjoying well-prepared cuisine, seeing the countryside when traveling to the next peak, and relaxing in restful, pleasant accommodations.
Our 10-day itinerary provides ample time for acclimatization and a back-up summit day (see the Sample Itinerary below for more details). Both Izta (Iztaccihuatl) and Pico de Orizaba have relatively small glaciers with easily avoided crevasses. These peaks require minimal technical skill to reach the summit. This trip does not involve tent camping – all nights are spent in hotels and on-mountain huts (except in the case of a potential high camp bivouac on Pico de Orizaba depending on participant acclimatization and physical needs, as well as mountain conditions). Pack weights are limited to 25-30lbs.
“Mexico is an amazing study in contrasts: from kicking crampons on a frozen glacier at 18,000 feet to ancient Aztec ruins, to picturesque pueblos and true Wild West cowboys. This trip is one of the best values for those interested in high altitude mountaineering and cultural exploration.” –Japhy Dhungana
Day 1: Welcome to Mexico City! Your guides will pick you up at the airport between 12noon and 3:00pm. From there, you will be driven 3 hours in a private vehicle to the town of San Jose Teacalco (9,000’) where you will stay three nights in a lovely private cabin.
Day 2: Hike 4-5 hours up to 12,000’ to acclimate to the altitude and the environment.
Day 3: Summit Malinche (14,501’) for acclimatization purposes, a 6-10 hour endeavor.
Day 4: Rest/Travel Day. Drive 3.5 hours to the Altzomoni Hut (12,800’) on Iztaccihuatl. After dinner and a summit talk, you will turn in early for the next day’s arduous summit/acclimatization climb.
Day 5: Summit Iztaccihuatl (17,160’). This will be an early start and a long climb of 10-12 hours. Izta is considered a difficult challenge due to the steep climb to 16,000ft and then the long traverse across the summit ridge to 17,000ft. Some say this climb, though at a less elevation than Pico de Orizaba, is a harder climb. Participants who are having a harder time at altitude and with less fitness will use the hike to the Grupo de los Cien Hut (15,470’) as an acclimatization hike. The day will end at a hotel in the town of Amecameca. (Wifi available)
Day 6: After sleeping in and resting, you will drive 3.5 hours to Tlachichuca (9,000’). Along the drive, you will stop in the old town of Puebla to enjoy lunch and the baroque-style 16th-17th century Puebla Cathedral.
Day 7: You will leave some luggage at the climber’s hostel and travel 2.5 hours in vehicles to the hut at Piedra Grande (14,000’). Once at the hut, you will hike 2-4 hours to 15,500ft for acclimatization and return to the hut for the night.
Day 8: Summit El Pico de Orizaba (18,490’). The summit climb will be 10-15 hours and will start early in the morning. After returning to the hut, you will ride back to town and your hostel.
Day 9: Back-up summit day. In case of weather or team members are not feeling well, this day will serve as a second opportunity to climb Orizaba. If you summit earlier in the trip, this day will consist of cultural activities. You will end up at your hotel in Mexico City (wifi available) and celebrate your accomplishments with the team with a final evening out on the town.
Day 10: You will be dropped off at the airport by your guides or by a chartered taxi service.
Terminal 1, Puerta 8. Your guides will be waiting for you with a Colorado Mountain School sign as you exit the customs area.
Hotel, cabin, hostel or bivouac; double+ occupancy
*single option available for additional $500
· 50% deposit due with an accepted application
· Balance due 90 days before Day 1 of trip
Expedition Cancellation Policy:
· A non-refundable $100 application fee will not be refunded from your initial deposit.
· 100% (minus application fee) will be refunded 120 days prior to trip start.
· 50% (minus application fee) will be refunded 91 to 119 days before trip start.
· 25% (minus application fee) will be refunded 46 to 90 days before trip start.
· 0% will be refunded 0 to 45 days before trip start.
· This expedition requires a minimum of three clients, but may be booked individually. If we cancel a trip prior to its start for low enrollment, we will fully refund your payments. You will be notified at least 75 days prior to the trip. We recommend you confirm your flight itinerary with Colorado Mountain School before booking travel.
Private Trip / Alternative Dates:
· If you’d like to join this trip but want a private experience or the scheduled dates don’t work for you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Upcoming Dates and Locations:
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Kenneth Lambert –
My experience with CMS and guide Japhy Dhungana, really couldn’t have been better. It started out with an immediate phone call from owner Russell Hunter when I first filled out my application, to welcome me to the expedition and introduce himself. From there the care and attention to detail far exceeds any experience I’ve had thus far.
CMS guide Japhy Dhunganas knowledge of travel, local culture and food is only second to his knowledge of the mountains and climbing. Here Japhy is truly in his world as a climber, guide and coach. He does such an amazing job of reading his clients and letting them proceed according to their comfort level and knowledge.
Empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, feel how they are feeling and see what they need at any given moment is a desirable trait in any industry, especially an industry as personal as this, where safety is paramount and you as a client rely so much on the knowledge of your guide, literally putting your life in his or her hands. Japhy again, excels here and knows what his clients need long before they do.
If you have down time, Japhy’s knowledge of local culture and CMS’s commitment to client experience will offer plenty to do, see and experience. You will come back from this trip knowing more, not only about yourself, your limits and the mountains but more about ancient cultures, civilizations and food.
It is a truly adventuresome/educational experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. For me, it was the beginning of what will be a long relationship with CMS and their guides.
Sean P –
I can’t recommend this trip enough. Best guides anyone could ask for. Not only are they some of the most competent climbers out there but also a great group of guys to travel with. An amazing experience.
Bob V –
Our guide, Japhy, and the expedition was such an amazing trip. So much fun, climbing, hanging out with cool people and experiencing the culture!! I highly recommend this trip. Hmm, maybe I’ll go again!
Cory D –
Good times to be had by all!