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Resources for Orizaba & Ixta
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blueman


Mar 2, 2002, 8:38 AM
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Resources for Orizaba & Ixta
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Hey Mountain freaks!
I was wondering if anyone could point me towards some good resources on climbing Orizaba and/or Ixta. I've found one book that looks good, "Pico de Orizaba" by- Winston Crausaz, but it is out of print, and can not find a place that has it for sale.
Andrew, I know you've climbed these, what time of year do you think is best, type of gear needed, about how much time should I plan for, weather conditions, and difficulty levels? And, does anyone plan on climbing these in the near future?
Thanks,
Ben


atg200


Mar 3, 2002, 3:01 AM
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Orizaba and Ixta are best from November - March, though both can be climbed all year long. RJ Secor has a fantastic guidebook to the Mexican volcanos that gives you more than enough beta. The best website for info is www.xpmexico.com Note that the access to Ixta from Paso de Cortes is sketchy because of Popocateptl. Check http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/mvolcan.html for the latest info about road closures. You can still get to routes other than the normal route when the road from Paso de Cortes is closed.

As a warmup, I recommend doing either Nevado de Toluca or La Malinche to acclimatize. Both are 14 or 15K high and nice hikes.

Orizaba - only route I've done is the Jamapa Glacier. You need crampons and a mounatineering axe, but roping up is usually unnecessary. I did it in late March when the glacier had no snow on it, and the one crevasses I saw was about 6 inches wide. It is very straightforward and a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering then you can find in the US. Technically, the route is a little easier than Disappointment Cleaver or Emmons Glacier on Rainier, but you start at 14K so that makes a difference. I had a great experience staying with and getting a ride to Piedra Grande from the Reyes family in Tlachichuca. Make sure you buy fresh fruit at the market in Tlachichuca before heading up-it is wonderful to eat at basecamp.

Ixta is a complicated mountain. The easiest route is the Arista del Sol which starts at La Joya. Take a cab from Amecameca(short bus ride from Mexico City), and make sure he takes you all the way to the end of the road at La Joya. My first driver charged me full price but let me out about 2 miles early ecause I didn't know any better. Don't count on being able to stay in the refugio-it has been completely full both times I've been up there. Bring a map and compass for sure. If you are up for it, the Ayoloco Glacier route looks much nicer and less crowded, but you should bring crevasse rescue equipment and know hot to use it.

Finally, make sure you take them seriously even though they are very easy. I was soloing Ixta back in early January while on a business trip to Mexico City, and a whiteout hit during the night. Another soloist and I(also very experienced and had been on the mountain before as well) were very grateful to tag along with a large group of Mexican climbers to get down. The trail is marked by very small cairns and arrows pointed on the rock, and were completely buried overnight. The weather was beautiful every day before and after for a week, but I was pretty miserable for that day.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


blueman


Mar 3, 2002, 4:02 PM
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Sweet
Thanks alot, I'll look into those sources and get back with you.


graniteboy


Mar 7, 2002, 5:59 PM
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I've done the trilogia a couple of times, and managed to ski popo and ixta. I guess popo is still verboten...
Ixta: arista del sol is kinda boring. We did the glacier route to it's left one time(as you are walking up arista del sol). It was way better. I think they call it the ayolocco glacier or something or other. it was easy and fun.
Orizaba is fun too. people steal your stuff at the piedra grande hut sometimes, though. All these things are just big volcanoes. not much technical climbing to be had. No real need for overpreparing and getting a bunch of guidebooks and fretting over every detail. I've gone both times around christmas. Head down, drink a few beers, bring your septra tabs for the inevitable gastrointestinal disorders, and have a blast.
Sleeping in the warm summit sands of orizaba on a lazy afternooon is good fun.


jbur


Mar 7, 2002, 7:52 PM
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Like graniteboy said, keep an eye on your stuff. I did Orizaba a couple of years ago and a few people had some trouble with gear wandering away. Have another group keep an eye on it while your away.


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