Peak(s):  Iztaccihuatl - 17159
Date Posted:  02/19/2009
Date Climbed:   02/14/2009
Author:  CRAIGO
 Valentine‘s Day in Mexico   

I need to preface this report. I am turning 30 later this summer and felt the need to do something a bit bigger and different. After exploring some options with my very understanding and loving wife, we decided on the sleeping woman, Iztaccihuatl.
Day 1- February 12
We arrived in Mexico City at about 2:30pm. We bought some last minute supplies and water, then had some dinner and went to sleep early.
Day 2- February 13
We left our hotel early for TAPO bus station. Only 24 pesos buys a ticket to Amecameca.

On the bus ride we saw LOTS of traffic and construction that may or may not ever be completed. The first views of the volcanoes were incredible as they are so much bigger than anything in Colorado. Permits were easy to get at the Park Ranger Station in Amecameca but have increased in price (still really cheap at 22 pesos/person/day).

We then hired a taxi (negotiated down to 200 pesos each way) to take us up to the trailhead at La Joya (~13,000').

The trail to the Grupo de los Cien hut switches sides of the mountain a few times. Soft dirt and loose rock plague the entire mountain, which makes for a difficult and steep hike. Also, since there is no water on the mountain, we had to pack enough water for 2 days which made our packs pretty heavy. The first goal is to hike up to a small saddle just past the pies (feet).



The trail then switches sides and climbs steeply, until it switches sides again at a blue box which is where a Canadian woman wanted to be remembered.

For me, the altitude started getting to me above 15,000'. Keep climbing until the trail crosses over the mountain again and hits the Grupo de los Cien hut (~15,500').



We decided to stay the night here. As we were settling in for the night, we noticed that the hut was infested with mice. Amy has a rodent phobia so we decided to pitch the tent outside. As we were setting up the tent, I noticed a coyote not more than 15 feet away from us. Amy still liked our chances better outside in the tent with the coyotes nearby than inside the hut with the mice!
Day 3- February 14
We both slept about as well as one possibly can at 15,500'. The temperature got down into the mid 20's that night. We started on the trail at about 6:30 am. We gained the Arista del Sol just in time to see the sunrise on el Pico de Orizaba, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

Our next goal was a sharp class 3 scramble to the top of the rodillas (knees). There were one or two cairns to aim for but mainly we stayed close to the ridge crest until we made it to the top of the rodillas (about 1100' in a short distance).



The remainder to the summit is straight forward following the ridge. We climbed to high points and dropped down into small saddles several times until we reached the Ayoloco Glacier at about 16,600'.




We donned our crampons to walk across the ~half mile long glacier. Locals had told us that it had melted away considerably in recent years, but to us it was still enormous. After crossing, we just had a short but steep hike to the summit, the pecho (breast). The altitude was really kicking in and we both were sucking wind. The summit was amazing. We had great views of all the high volcanoes. If Mexico City wasn't so polluted, we could have had a great view of the city, also. We had pretty mild temperatures on the top, so we spent about a half an hour up there before heading down.



Going down was no easy task as we had to regain several ridges going back to the rodillas. When we returned to the Grupo de los Cien hut, our stashed backpacks had been rummaged through by a couple of kids. They stole all of our food and water, but left all of our expensive camping equipment. I should have hid our backpacks better and waypointed them. Oh well, we just went the last 4 hours without and food or water. We were late getting back to the trailhead and missed our taxi, but some guys from Mexico City took us back to our hotel in the city. (Thanks Joaquin and Ivan!!)
Day 4- February 15
Sightseeing in Mexico City.
Day 5- February 16
Return home. What an AMAZING trip! New altitude records for us and a chance to see some amazing sights in Mexico. I have satisfied (for the moment) my "I'm turning 30" blues!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Comments or Questions

Nice Job
02/20/2009 03:27
Images 15 and 18 are pretty sweet. Congrats on a great time in Mexico.

02/20/2009 20:50
Nice pics and great job. I can‘t tell if in pic‘s 15 and 18 if the volcano across from you is blowing ash out of its cone or if it is the clouds. Great stuff!


02/21/2009 04:53
Is that Popo in the background? Great pictures and sounds/looks like a great trip.


02/21/2009 14:59
That is Popo in the background, smoking the entire time. Beautiful mountain to stare at the entire way down.


Nice Trip Report...
02/22/2009 15:58
Ixta is a great mountain...for sure the highlight of my trip down there last year. That‘s too bad your food and water got stolen, but at least you had already made it to the top by then. Thanks for posting.

Great pictures
03/02/2009 00:03
I was there with a group in November and its interesting to see how much snow was missing on top at this point in the year. On the summit there was about a 2-3 ft. drift piled up in mid-November. Great trip report.


Nice Trip Report
11/23/2010 17:27
Looks awesome, lets go climb Orizaba!

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