Climb Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba!
November 11 – 19, 2017
Join Science in the Wild for a scientific, cultural and culinary experience in beautiful Mexico! On this expedition, we’ll climb Iztaccihautl (17,120 ft.) and Pico de Orizaba (18,405 ft.) volcanoes, where you’ll get a taste of high-altitude mountaineering using ice axes, ropes, and crampons. You’ll learn about Mexican culture and food (<– and get to try a lot of it!); Aztec history; and the geology of the region. We’ll teach you how to use sampling equipment to study the condition of the snowpack on Iztaccihautl and the glacier of Pico de Orizaba.
This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants to run.
Includes: airport/hotel transfers; hotel in Mexico City; other lodging on-route to volcanoes; all meals while on volcanoes; group gear; all hut fees, park fees and permits
Excludes: international airfare; excess baggage fees (international); personal gear; meals in Mexico City; tips for guides and educators
November 11 - Travel and Arrival Day
Plan to arrive today in Mexico City (7,300 ft.) by morning or early afternoon, where you’ll be greeted by the SITW team and transferred to our luxury hotel. If time allows, we will have some time for sightseeing in downtown Mexico City (e.g., National Museum of Anthropology).
November 12 - Amecameca
Today we’ll have brunch in Mexico City and then travel to the small town of Amecameca (8,070 ft.). We’ll spend the afternoon in this colorful town getting permits and buying last minute supplies, and after an early dinner we will travel to Altzomoni’s hut at 13,000 ft. (base of Iztaccihuatl).
November 13 - Day hike
Today we will take a day hike to the the third “Portillo” at 14,700 ft. or the “Grupo de los cien” hut (15,042 ft.) and return to lower elevation to spend the night and further our acclimatization. This hike is a maximum of 5 miles long with 2000 vertical feet gain. We’ll have some time to talk geology and volcanology here, given the fantastic surrounding landscape.
November 14 - Rest day
Today will be a rest/acclimatization day at Altzomoni (13,000 ft.). We’ll talk more science, including geology, volcanology, and glaciology, as well as demo the scientific equipment you will be using. Bring your questions!
November 15 - Iztaccihuatl summit day
Today is the day to climb to the top of Iztaccihuatl (17,126 ft.)! The normal route takes us up a beautiful ridge with spectacular views. Our ascent includes some scrambling (class 3 terrain) up rock and crossing glaciated terrain (with little or no crevasse fall danger). Crampons and ice axe may be needed depending on snow conditions. The largest glacier on Izta highlights the summit and we’ll take some time to collect our samples there. This is the top of the 7th highest point in North America! The views from this route are outstanding with Popo volcano to the south, Orizaba and La Malinche to the East and Nevado de Toluca to the west. This climb requires 4,400 ft. of elevation gain and though the mileage is not long (less than 8 miles) it is challenging due to the altitude (the last mile is all above 16,500 ft.). That evening, we return to Amecameca to enjoy a hot dinner at a great restaurant and spend the night at a wonderful hotel in the forest (with hot showers and comfortable beds).
November 16 - Piedra Grande
Today we will drive to Canchola’s “Base Camp” in Tlachichuca. The Canchola family has been providing 4×4 transportation on Orizaba, lodging and great cooking to thousands of mountaineers from around the world for many years. We will enjoy one of their great home cooked authentic Mexican meals. We will then load our gear into 4×4’s for the drive up to Orizaba’s hut: Piedra Grande (13,943 ft.) where we prepare for our early morning departure for the summit.
November 17 - Pico de Orizaba summit day
Today we will climb to the top of Orizaba (18,405 ft.)! Our route takes us up the Labyrinth: a series of rock gullies recently exposed due to the retreating glacier. A bit of steep snow or rock scrambling gets us passed the Labyrinth and onto the Jamapa glacier where we rope up. The glacier steepens gradually from 20º to 45º at around 18,000 ft. After a climb of 2000 vertical feet on the glacier we reach the impressive crater rim and then the summit of Mexico’s highest peak and North America’s third highest! Given that it is not the climbing season in Logan or Denali we are now the highest people standing on the North American continent! On the descent, we will collect our snow and ice samples. That evening we continue on to Tlachichuca where we enjoy another great dinner and hot showers.
November 18 - Extra day/Mexico City
This is an extra day for a summit bid in case of bad weather or if we need an extra day for acclimatizing. Otherwise, we will drive back to Mexico City and celebrate our success, enjoy great live Mariachi music and the best tequila at the most famous and traditional cantina in all of Mexico: The Tenampa in Garibaldi Square. That night we enjoy a 4-star hotel in Mexico City.
November 19 - Departure
Plan to depart for home on this day. If interested, we can also arrange extra sightseeing (at your own expense), including Teotihuacan, which houses the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.
Ok, I'm interested, what do I do now?
Send us an email or give us a call to register your interest. We’ll provide you with a more detailed itinerary, route map, equipment list and required medical forms.
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