Peak(s):  Pico de Orizaba - 18491
Date Posted:  12/30/2015
Date Climbed:   12/19/2015
Author:  mikefromcraig
 Orizaba, just the facts   

As the cold wind pierced my skin with seemingly laser precision, I reflected on how the day had begun... WAIT, WAIT, I don't write those kind of reports!

Here's some information that should be valuable to you if you are planning to do Orizaba.

1. I wore tennis shoes from the 14,000' hut to the base of the glacier. This was well worth the extra weight. Obviously this only works if there is no snow on that first half.

2. Some people recommended stashing gear on the mountain and then, on summit day, you can go lighter and just pick up the gear on the way. I wouldn't risk it. The one time I set down my pack there immediately was some kind of mouse that ran straight toward it. No telling what might happen overnight. Plus, you could misplace it or someone else could steal it.

3. The main hut at 14,000 feet sleeps about 50 people so there is a good chance that one of them will be a very loud snorer. Plus, people wake up as early as midnight to cook breakfast and get ready to start climbing. I slept in the smaller hut about 80 yards toward the mountain from this hut. This hut sleeps about 6 and has no cooking area but I was the only one there and slept like a baby!

4. The toilets are open air, no privacy.

5. Get the guidebook on Amazon. It's extremely thorough.

6. There is a webcam pointed at the mountain:

7. I wish I would have downloaded a Spanish/English dictionary for use when I didn't have cell service at the hut.

8. I have seen claims of round trip 6.6k to 7k. That's 4.1-4.3 miles. Based on my experience, if you take the perfect route, it would probably be 4.5 miles.

9. If you stay with the Concholas hostel in Tlachechuca (highly recommended) they have a propane stove at the 14,000' hut you can use with pots and pans.

10. Just because it's an 18,500 foot peak in winter doesn't mean it will be cold. I was on the summit with clear skies and had only a smartwool shirt with thin outer shell jacket and thin shell pants with nothing underneath and was fine. On the way down I was down to just the thin pants and my smartwool shirt unzipped past my chest and was too hot.

11. Everybody seems to want to know the grade for the labrynth. If you find the absolute easiest route it's probably only class 2, maybe 2+. In reality you will probably have to do a class 3 move.

Well, I hope you got some valuable info out of this. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Comments or Questions

12/30/2015 21:56

Thanks Mike, short and sweet. Still waiting to get this one.


Good info
12/31/2015 09:09
Thanks. Which guidebook?


12/31/2015 20:23
The guidebook is: Climbing Citlaltépetl: The hiker’s helmet, crampons and ice axe guide to the most prominent volcano in the Americas

Great info,
01/01/2016 10:17
Mike! Timf and I are heading down on 1/16 and it’s been raining in Tlachichuca all week, so I reckon we won’t see the conditions you did, unfortunately. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!


Nice Summary
01/27/2016 16:24
I agree with everything you said. Sounds like you got lucky with the temps on the summit, it was the only place that I was cold because the winds were howling. Otherwise it was pretty mild and actually got pretty hot on the descent with the sun reflecting off the glacier. I recommend bringing layers for any temp.

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