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Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

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Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby kaiman » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:58 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am in the early stages of planning a climbing trip to Mexico in December 2013 and am looking for advice from others who have been there on the best way to organize the trip. Although I have been to Mexico a few times I am not familiar with this part of the country at all. The plan so far is for our group of 3-4 people to start with La Malinche, then Itza, and finish with Orizaba. We aren't planning on using a guide for climbing any of the mountains, but would consider using them for where they would be helpful in transporting us and our equipment, etc.

Actually my biggest questions are regarding transportation and the time needed to complete the trip. I estimate we will need 5-7 days, but what are other people's opinions - is this too little/much? What are people's recommendations for getting around? Bus? Taxi? Rental Car? Guide Service? Should we fly into Mexico City or elsewhere? Also as far as guides/lodging in Tlachichuca and the surrounding areas go do people have favorites or advise on who to stay away from?

Thanks in advance for all your help,

kaiman
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

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"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby I Man » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:02 pm

This Report has a lot of great info

http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=13170&parmuser=I+Man&cpgm=tripuser


We flew into Mexico City. We took buses and enjoyed the experience. The climbers Hostel in T -Town is your best bet. i did not climb Itza, but some other members on this site have recently.


Feel free to PM me and I would be happy to help with planning.

You will have a great time, I know I sure did! :-D
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:11 pm

kaiman wrote:Hi Everyone,

I am in the early stages of planning a climbing trip to Mexico in December 2013 and am looking for advice from others who have been there on the best way to organize the trip. Although I have been to Mexico a few times I am not familiar with this part of the country at all. The plan so far is for our group of 3-4 people to start with La Malinche, then Itza, and finish with Orizaba. We aren't planning on using a guide for climbing any of the mountains, but would consider using them for where they would be helpful in transporting us and our equipment, etc.

Actually my biggest questions are regarding transportation and the time needed to complete the trip. I estimate we will need 5-7 days, but what are other people's opinions - is this too little/much? What are people's recommendations for getting around? Bus? Taxi? Rental Car? Guide Service? Should we fly into Mexico City or elsewhere? Also as far as guides/lodging in Tlachichuca and the surrounding areas go do people have favorites or advise on who to stay away from?

Thanks in advance for all your help,

kaiman


Stay with the Cancholas (summitorizaba.com) in Tlachichuca. They'll take care of everything you need, and it was a very enjoyable experience. Buses are perfect for getting around if you or someone in your party can speak Spanish. I'd think you could cram all three climbs into seven days, but it'd be really tight. I wrote the TR that I Man linked. I think you'll find the answers to many of your questions there, but let me know if you need anything else. Good luck!
Last edited by SurfNTurf on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby Scott P » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:13 pm

Actually my biggest questions are regarding transportation and the time needed to complete the trip. I estimate we will need 5-7 days, but what are other people's opinions - is this too little/much?


Too little in my opinion. Getting around can take some time, there are some nice side trips, plus even in the dry season it is still possible to have a day or two of bad weather.

What are people's recommendations for getting around? Bus?


Bus is probably best if you don't want to go guided. Driving is hectic and taxis are expensive long distance. You will probably need to hire some transport to get to the hut at Orizaba from Tlachichuca. Izta is easy to reach with a fairly short taxi ride from Amecameca or cheaper from the town closer (Nextapa I think).

Also, the order you have the peaks in would require backtracking, but that's not so much a problem.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby kaiman » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:32 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:Stay with the Cancholas (summitorizaba.com) in Tlachichuca. They'll take care of everything you need, and it was a very enjoyable experience. Buses are perfect for getting around if you or someone in your party can speak Spanish. I'd think you could cram all three climbs into seven days, but it'd be really tight. I wrote the TR that I Man linked. I think you'll find the answers to many of your questions there. Let me know if you want to know anything else. Good luck!


Thanks for the info and link, I just read the trip report that you and I Man put together (nicely done BTW), and am thinking that the 7-10 day range may work better for this trip particularly if the weather rolls in as Scott P pointed out.

There is just 2 of us on this trip so far and no Spanish speakers (if you don't count the year of Spanish I took in high school which I remember little of), but I will probably brush up on my language skills before I go and have used a Spanish/English phrasebook to get around in the past when in Costa Rica, etc.

Scott P wrote:...there are some nice side trips, plus even in the dry season it is still possible to have a day or two of bad weather.

Bus is probably best if you don't want to go guided. Driving is hectic and taxis are expensive long distance. You will probably need to hire some transport to get to the hut at Orizaba from Tlachichuca. Izta is easy to reach with a fairly short taxi ride from Amecameca or cheaper from the town closer (Nextapa I think).

Also, the order you have the peaks in would require backtracking, but that's not so much a problem.


I realize it will require a bit of backtracking, but it seems inevitable unless we climb Itza and La Malinche last. Any side trips that you would recommend? Would you recommend flying into Mexico City and taking buses from there or should we land somewhere else?
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby JB99 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:52 pm

Hi Kaiman, it's been a few years, but we took a pair of trips down there in 2009. We went to Izta and Orizaba on the first trip, just Orizaba on the second. Here's a few links that might help... First trip (with Izta): http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5606&parmuser=JB99&cpgm=tripuser; Second trip: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5749&parmuser=JB99&cpgm=tripuser; And an article I posted on SummitPost about climbing Orizaba: http://www.summitpost.org/a-colorado-climber-s-guide-to-the-roof-of-mexico/684957

We didn't attempt Malinche on our first trip and just Orizaba and Izta felt relatively rushed. It was our first international trip, though, so it probably felt more hectic than it actually was. We speak minimal Spanish and got by, though often by the seat of our pants or because someone helped translate for us. Compared to Costa Rica, at least the Pacific side and Arenal area, you'll need to speak significantly more Spanish.

Although I've heard nothing but good things about the Cancholas, I'll throw a recommendation for Servimont and the Reyes family. They took care of us on both trips, including providing coolers full of fresh food for the hut on our second trip, and couldn't have been better hosts. Plus, the soup the chef, Lucia, cooked up was worth the trip alone.

Buses down there are good, though we needed to take a taxi part of the way to get to Amecameca. More details about that in my first linked trip report.

Hope some of that helps. It's a great trip.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby kaiman » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:56 pm

JB99 wrote:Hi Kaiman, it's been a few years, but we took a pair of trips down there in 2009. We went to Izta and Orizaba on the first trip, just Orizaba on the second. Here's a few links that might help... First trip (with Izta): http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5606&parmuser=JB99&cpgm=tripuser; Second trip: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5749&parmuser=JB99&cpgm=tripuser; And an article I posted on SummitPost about climbing Orizaba: http://www.summitpost.org/a-colorado-climber-s-guide-to-the-roof-of-mexico/684957

We didn't attempt Malinche on our first trip and just Orizaba and Izta felt relatively rushed. It was our first international trip, though, so it probably felt more hectic than it actually was. We speak minimal Spanish and got by, though often by the seat of our pants or because someone helped translate for us. Compared to Costa Rica, at least the Pacific side and Arenal area, you'll need to speak significantly more Spanish.

Although I've heard nothing but good things about the Cancholas, I'll throw a recommendation for Servimont and the Reyes family. They took care of us on both trips, including providing coolers full of fresh food for the hut on our second trip, and couldn't have been better hosts. Plus, the soup the chef, Lucia, cooked up was worth the trip alone.

Buses down there are good, though we needed to take a taxi part of the way to get to Amecameca. More details about that in my first linked trip report.

Hope some of that helps. It's a great trip.


Thanks for the detailed reply JB99, I'll take a look at your trip reports when I have a chance. One more question for everyone - do you have any recommendations on maps, both for climbing and travel/roads?

Thanks again,

kaiman
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

- Edward Whymper

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby Monster5 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:41 pm

Orizaba is well cairned/flagged. A braided scree trail above the aqueduct followed by a strong trail to the Labyrinth. Piece the 2nd couloir straight up. DO NOT screw around traversing or overthinking it. Pull the britches up and front point straight up an icy 37ish degrees. Once you're back on rock, hook a right behind the pyramidal Sarcaphago and follow the Espolon del Oro to the crater and ridge walk briefly to the summit. I think Mountainhiker or somebody has a map on SP and Secor's guide (note: most of his snow routes no longer form) has a decent image. Google also has good route images.

For Ixta, I took a cell phone pic of the trailhead map and used that. Unfortunately, the route is outdated. Do not drop 200 ft to the old refugios as it shows. Go up and over the point until you hit the new huts.

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Otherwise, the route is pretty simple and I'd view it in thirds: 1) Simple side-hill trail over four minor saddles to the new hut with puff the magic dragon smoking away at your back. It starts out steep and it was fairly hot as we didn't start until 8:30ish (park doesn't open until 7:00).

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2) hellaceous scree above the refugio. Escape this as soon as you can for scrambling along the left/far margin.

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3) The part that makes it all worth it and even more enjoyable than Orizaba. Follow the glaciated, Cimarron-esque points and ridge until the summit. Comment on the puny crevasses and glaciers. We used no techy gear and I really wish I had simply worn trailrunners in our conditions. Figure out which of the three summits is highest (far right is the most decorated).

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby I Man » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:53 pm

Monster5 wrote:Orizaba is well cairned/flagged. A braided scree trail above the aqueduct followed by a strong trail to the Labyrinth. Piece the 2nd couloir straight up. DO NOT screw around traversing or overthinking it. Pull the britches up and front point straight up an icy 37ish degrees. Once you're back on rock, hook a right behind the pyramidal Sarcaphago and follow the Espolon del Oro to the crater and ridge walk briefly to the summit.


This is an excellent description of the route and all that you really need as far as route info, imo. It was probably more like 37.5 tho :lol:

I didn't figure this out until I was halfway through the Labyrinth and regretted screwing around on the lower sections. For the descent we followed the route above and it seemed to be over before it begun. Much more direct.
Last edited by I Man on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby Scott P » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Any side trips that you would recommend?


Plenty. If flying into Mexico City, there are nice pyramids at Teotihuacán of course. Cholula on the east side of Izta is really great and has several historic sites (old church on top of an Aztec pyramid, etc.). After your climb, the river rafting around Veracruz is fantastic. Nevado de Toluca near Toluca makes a good climb as well.

Would you recommend flying into Mexico City and taking buses from there or should we land somewhere else?


It depend on what airfares are. It's nicer and less hectic to fly into Puebla, but usually more expensive. Compare airfare for both Mexico city and Puebla. If they are close to the same price, definitely fly into Puebla. More than likely, flying into Mexico City will be cheaper though, so make sure to check.
Last edited by Scott P on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby I Man » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:07 pm

Scott P wrote:
Would you recommend flying into Mexico City and taking buses from there or should we land somewhere else?


It depend on what airfares are. It's nicer and less hectic to fly into Puebla, but usually more expensive. Compare airfare for both Mexico city and Puebla. If they are close to the same price, definitely fly into Puebla. More than likely, flying into Mexico City will be cheaper though, so make sure to check.


The bus ride from the airport in Mexico City to Puebla is very comfortable. it has Wi-Fi, a bathroom, A/c, and is pretty secure feeling. It takes 2 hours and costs less than $25.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes Logistics Help

Postby Scott P » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:13 pm

The bus ride from the airport in Mexico City to Puebla is very comfortable.


Yes, very true, but flying in and out of Puebla is much nicer. Especially flying back out (at least in my experience). Security lines, etc., was what I was referring to.
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