Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

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nomad_games
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Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by nomad_games » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:37 pm

hey folks. almost exactly 2 years ago I attempted Izta on short notice due to a cheap flight deal from NYC. I had been in NYC a month from Denver, didn't have the proper time to acclimatize, attempted to do the climb the second day I was there after sleeping for one night at the Paso de Cortes gate, got to about 16400 and got a crippling altitude headache and didn't make the summit. Oddly, I find myself in a similar situation now. I bought tickets with the GF to go to Mexico City for 3 days in Feb. We broke up and I'm going solo now unless I find someone else to go. I will be flying there from Denver (if I go. I may cancel and eat the trip cost and save the PTO to go to Peru or NZ). The last time I went, I found Mexico City far less interesting than the first time, so I'm considering either attempting Izta again or taking on Orizaba.

Will a day be long enough to acclimate from Denver? Would it help if I slept at higher altitudes for a few days here (say at 9k in winter park or frisco or something) before I left? How does Orizaba compare to Izta? I was thinking if I did Ixta, maybe I would land and drive directly to La Joya and sleep there, hike partway up, maybe to the hut, and summit the next day. Don't know what a similar strategy would be for Orizaba.

thoughts? Should I can it and stay home and save the PTO, or maybe get a flight from Mexico City to Oaxaca or Cancun/Tulum and take it easy? Or just find new things to do in CDMX? It does bug the s**t out of me that I didn't summit Izta.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by Scott P » Sat Dec 28, 2019 4:57 pm

Will a day be long enough to acclimate from Denver
Didn't your previous attempt on Izta already answer this? The results would likely be the same. Why would it be different this time around?

Three days is not enough for Orizaba and Izta. Also be aware that it usually takes more than a day to get all the way Mexico City to the trailhead at Orizaba, though I guess it could be done if you rented an SUV.

Also Mexico is a lot more than just Izta and Orizaba. Why not climb lower, but still very nice peaks such as Nevado Colima (though you'd want to take a short flight to Guadalajara), Nevado Toluca, or Cerro Pelon? I'd consider them to be as interesting as Izta or Orizaba. February is prime for Cerro Pelon and the butterfly show is one of the most beautiful spectacles produced by nature.
Or you could take a short flight to Veracruz and go rafting, canyoning, or hiking.

Also there are many caves in region to explore. There is a lot to do around Mexico City besides
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by nomad_games » Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:36 pm

last time i flew in from spending a month at sea level. This time I would be flying in from spending a solid year in Denver. actually, i spent most of the last year living at 8k in the mountains, but at any rate I'm not flying to 7k ft from sea level. I also didn't spend a day acclimating last time. I was in Mexico City half a day and drove up to Paso de Cortes, slept in the car, and hiked Izta in the morning. I had considered Toluca, I'll look at the others. It only took me two hours to get to the gate at Paso de Cortes from the airport in Mexico City. I'm saying Orizaba OR Izta, not both.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by nyker » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:47 pm

I think it's too ambitious to fly down there, get to the trailhead, sleep, prepare and climb either of those peaks and make it back in three days. Wait until you have a solid 5 days or better a week+ to get them done assuming you have some acclimatizing under your belt.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by CaptainSuburbia » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:18 pm

Go for Izta if it's bugging you!
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by mtnjim » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:06 pm

It's possible to do Izta in that time frame, just do as much acclimatizing as you can before leaving. There are 14ers you can access all winter, loads of 4000ers and you have over a month to prepare. It sure looks doable but you might not feel so good.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by Eli Boardman » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:43 pm

I did something similar. Lived in Colorado, flew in to Puebla at night, next day drove to Paso de Cortes, second morning successfully climbed Izta. (We stayed for more peaks after this, but you could have flown out that night.)

It sucked. I felt like I was going to die the night after climbing it--kept waking up with my lungs feeling "dry" and unable to breath in. I would not reccomend ever ascending 12,000 vertical feet in 2 days like we did. That said, it's possible...

For reference, I felt great at 22,000 feet after proper acclimatization.

If you did a bunch of 14ers right beforehand, preferably sleeping on the summit of one, that might change the picture.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by desertdog » Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:55 am

I did Ixta and Orizaba several years ago. Both are fun straight forward climbs. I did quite a bit of acclimatization at home and in Mexico before attempting them. We had a great time and the altitude came relatively easy because we had acclimated. While things might work out, I would definitely save the trip till you can do both peaks “the right way” and not rush it. Altitude sickness is not worth risking plus you would be miserable without doing the work to get ready for that altitude. What’s the point of putting yourself in that situation?
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by nomad_games » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:15 am

thanks for the perspective guys. I'll probably make it a mellow city trip or just stay home and save the PTO days for a longer trip to NZ or Peru. I just got back from China and Thailand and that trip was a rush and I don't really care to rush while traveling anymore. I've been doing it forever and it's a habit I need to break.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by Ptglhs » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:49 am

Slightly off topic but how high would one need to live to go for Orizaba without acclimatization forays? Plenty of people live at 5k and day hike to 14k in this state. Would someone who lived at 10k (with proper fitness of course), be similarly able to bag orizaba without multiple days up there?
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by Broken Knee » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:00 pm

Ptglhs wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:49 am
Slightly off topic but how high would one need to live to go for Orizaba without acclimatization forays? Plenty of people live at 5k and day hike to 14k in this state. Would someone who lived at 10k (with proper fitness of course), be similarly able to bag orizaba without multiple days up there?
People vary more in their response to altitude than your question would presume. An elite high altitude climber living at sea level may be able to pace their way up Citlaltépetl. A person that acclimitizes poorly and lives at 10K might tank like a led zeppelin at the same pace.
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Re: Iztaccihuatl or Orizaba?

Post by jscully205 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:40 am

I'm in the camp that believes Orizaba can be done in 3 days from someone who lives and trains in Colorado with average fitness. With some training prior going to 13-14k relatively close to trip, you should be able to acclimate quickly. I base this off recent experience. Day 1: Fly in and travel all the way to Tlachichuca. Day 2: Drive up and do a short hike up 1k ft Day 3: Wake up at midnight summit and leave. My climbing partner (who had never been past 14k) and I followed this itinerary and had no problem doing the peak in 7.5 hours RT from the hut. The key we thought, was doing the acclimatizing hike up to 15k the day before.
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