We are off this morning via Phoenix. We’ll be in Mexico City tonight where we’ll have dinner and meet the rest of our climbing group. We are not bringing our laptops and we won’t have data roaming for our iPhones, so any updates will have to come via wi-fi while we are off the mountains. So, in other words, don’t expect too much. I anticipate wi-fi at our hotel in Mexico City, but that’s it. Sorry. Looks like we’ll be doing this vacation the old school way.
I am also unaware of any cybercasts that RMI is doing during the climb. It’s really too short to do that in real time. We’re only gone for a week. For those wondering what we are doing on what days, I have included a copy of our itinerary below in this post with some links. That should give you an idea of where we are at and what we are doing.
I’m also putting some links in this post for the weather reports for the various areas we are going to visit, including the summits of the two mountains.
Here is RMI’s official website’s overview of our trip.
See you all next week!
Friday, December 3: Depart Boise and arrive in Mexico City (7,300 feet). We have made plans to meet one of our group members at the airport and split a cab with him to the hotel. The hotel (Best Western Majestic) is near the heart of the city in the lively Zócalo (Constitution Square) with its many museums, shops, outdoor cafes, pubs and restaurants. We have an evening orientation meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the hotel lobby.
Saturday, December 4: We meet for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and plan to leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m. Then drive in private vehicles to the cabins at the La Malintzi Resort, located at 10,000′ at the base of La Malinche (14,636 feet). This facility was initially used by Mexico’s Olympic Team for training and provides an important role in our team’s acclimatization. We take an acclimatization hike on La Malinche and return to the cabanas for overnight.
Sunday, December 5: At 8:00 a.m. we depart La Malinche and travel towards Ixtaccihuatl (17,159 feet). We have some time to visit a local market in Amecameca and purchase any last minute items for our climb of Ixtaccihuatl. We then drive to the Altzimoni hut (12,000′) where we take a short acclimatization hike and overnight in the Altzimoni hut.
Monday, December 6: We leave the Altzimoni hut and hike to the toe of the Ayoloco Glacier at 14,750 feet where we establish our High Camp. We spend time today reviewing ice axe arrest, cramponing and rope travel practices. We set up camp and make preparations for our early alpine start.
Tuesday, December 7: Shortly after leaving camp, and depending on the snow and ice conditions, we put on crampons and rope up for the ascent. We gain the summit ridge shortly after sunrise and continue to the summit of Ixtaccihuatl. Now, I have seen the elevation of Ixtaccihuatl as 17,349 as well as what I found on Wikipedia, so I don’t really know how tall it is. I will have my GPS, so I will find out. After enjoying the views and a photo session, we descend to High Camp, pack up and transfer to the colonial city of Puebla (and drug cartel capital of Mexico) and check into our hotel.
Wednesday, December 8: Our hotel in Puebla is located one block away from the Zocalo (main square) in the heart of the downtown historical district of Puebla and has been on the city map since 1668. The day is free for us to relax and explore the city and the many historic sites. Nearby is the Great Pyramid of Cholula. That might be one stop for us on this day.
Thursday, December 9: We drive to Tlachichuca located at the base of Pico de Orizaba. After lunch, four-wheel drive trucks take us to Piedra Grande, our High Camp on Orizaba at 14,000 feet. We spend the night in tents near the hut.
Friday, December 10: With an early alpine start we make our way through a maze of rock and scree. Upon reaching the Jamapa Glacier, we don crampons and ice axes, and rope up for the remainder of the climb. The glaciers on Orizaba are relatively non-technical, with very few crevasses, and the ascent to the 18,701 foot summt is fairly straight-forward. Again, Wikipedia lists Orizaba as 18,490 feet. You’ll notice the weather links I listed above have a third elevation for these two mountains. Craziness. After our summit celebration and photo session, we begin our descent. Upon reaching Piedra Grande, we load our trucks and descend for a hot shower and a home cooked meal. We spend the night in a climbers’ hostel in Tlachichuca.
Saturday, December 11: After breakfast we depart Tlachichuca and return to Mexico City. It’s about a three hour drive, and we should arrive at the airport around 12:00 p.m. Our vehicle will continue back to the Best Western Majestic to drop us off as we are staying one extra night in Mexico City.
Sunday, December 12: Depart Mexico City and return home.