Ascent of Pico de Orizaba on 2014-02-22

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Geoff Schellens (Guide)
Zeb Blais (Guide)
Gato (Guide)
Michael Doherty
Dave Parker
David Llewelyn
David Wilson
Raj Joshi
Date:Saturday, February 22, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico de Orizaba
    Elevation:18491 ft / 5636 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our rest day in Puebla on Thursday, we made our way to Tlachichuca to set up for our climb of Pico de Orizaba. We shuffled gear and loaded into 4WD trucks for the drive to the hut. The hut was full, but I was not too disappointed as it would be quieter (though colder) in the tents. We woke up around midnight for our alpine start on Pico de Orizaba. The initial trail up was easy to follow, and turned into the labyrinth of ice and rock below the main summit snowfield. After we were through the labyrinth, we headed up the main summit snowfield, which seems endless and the top never gets any closer until all of a sudden, we were at the rim of the crater. The sun came up about an hour below the summit. We rested at the rim of the crater, enjoying the views for a few minutes before we headed for the summit. The summit had some bare ground and a few crosses in various states of disrepair. We took plenty of photos and then began to make our way back down the mountain. The descent was easy and the snow was softening as it warmed up. Again, Gato, Dave P, and I were the first ones back to camp. I immediately set out to pack up. We enjoyed some quesadillas before we loaded into the trucks for the drive back to Tlachichuca. We stayed the night at Dr. Reyes' mountain climbing compound before departing for Mexico City the following morning.

After the climb, I talked with Zeb about the next step up for me in the guided climb realm. These peaks were on the easier side and I want another challenge. He suggested Alpamayo, Peru or the West Rib route on Denali. I have an old friend that I miss who has taken a few trips to Peru, so I will have to look at the Alpamayo option sometime in the next few years. She can give me pointers for Peru if I make a bigger trip out of it, or maybe even come along...

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4383 ft / 1335 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Guide, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4383 ft / 1335 m
    Route:Normal Route
    Start Trailhead:14108 ft / 4300 m
Descent Statistics

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