Peak(s):  Pico De Orizaba - 18,491 feet
Date Posted:  02/16/2013
Date Climbed:   02/12/2013
Author:  theguydog14
 Orizaba and La Malinche  

So here's another TR on Orizaba. This is my first trip report... I hope you enjoy.

2-10: My friend Alan and I flew to Mexico City and drove with Antonio to Tlachichuca to stay with the Canchola's
2-11: Drove up to Orizaba and hiked up to 15,050 ft.
2-12: Woke up at 1:15, started at 2:15 from the huts, summit at 9:00, stayed till 9:30, got back to the hut at 12:45. Drove back to the Canchola's.
2-13: Antonio took us to La Malinche, where we stayed at the government run campground.
2-14: Woke up at 7:00, started at 8:00, summit at 11:45, stayed still 12:30, got back to camp at 2:00.
2-15: Antonio picked us up for the airport in Mexico City.

Day 1:
I was nervous to go to Mexico with all the violence and everything. Once I got there, our driver was very nice and made me feel a lot better. 5 minutes into our drive we hear a gun shot. Antonio gives a concerned look and we continue to drive. After endless piles of trash and miles and miles of graffiti we made it to the very friendly Canchola's house in about 2 and a half hours. Maribel had good food ready for us and we went to bed a little before midnight. I didn't sleep much because of the constant gun fire throughout the night. I then learn three days later, the reason for all the gun fire is to celebrate a bike ride from Tlachichuca to Mexico City for Guadalupe. It would have been nice to know that before I slept like $h*t for both nights at the Canchola's.

Day 2 and 3: Arrived up at the huts at Orizaba at noon after a good breakfast thanks to Maribel. We stored our gear in the big hut while we went on a two hour acclimation hike to 15,050 ft. A guide from HG "High Guiding" told us to stay left through the approach to the Labyrinth for the easiest terrain. He also told us to get back before he left so nobody stole our gear. From the huts you see a giant rock face around 14,500 that you can either go to the right or the left. After the first aqueduct, when the trail runs close to the deep gully and you see the second aqueduct run left and right. Drop down into the gully and take the aqueduct left, pass a small metal cross and hop over some easy class 2/3 rock to get on the other side of the big rock face. Continue trending left past the several big rock outcroppings. Take the path of least resistance and the labyrinth never exceeds very easy class 3 rock with minimal snow. Image
The Labyrinth on the way down
On summit day, around 15,000 feet my friend puked up about a half liter and his breakfast. The concern look on his face made me very nervous we weren't going to summit. Luckily, I kept up some positive attitude and slowed down for him and it got his spirits up. He eventually felt better once we were at 16,500 ft. That would have been a bummer! At the very top of the labyrinth we encountered about 100 yards of easy snow. Kicking buckets and not using the ice axe yet, just trekking poles. We popped out onto flat terrain by a rock that had two large crosses and a "u" shape rock pile like you would see on a 14er. To our surprise we were not on snow yet. It actually was a much longer time before we got onto the glacier. We met up with three people from Idaho and being that we are from Colorado and all of us Colorado folk don't get slowed down too easily. Image
We past them and took the lead up the glacier. We decided during our acclimation hike that ropes and screws would do nothing but slow us down. We headed up the ridge and got to enjoy probably the most amazing sunrise of my life. Image
Orizaba's shadow
The Idaho friend
Image The shadow of Orizaba greeted us to the right. The alpenglow behind us with mountain ranges in the distance and the sunrise to the left. The setting was amazing. Now the hard part. Getting up the glacier one step at a time. We made it in pretty quick time but it was not easy. Looking at each other with pain on our faces we kept pushing up. Finally got to the crater rim and sat for a minute before pushing to the summit. Image
Summit Views
At the summit we were greeted with more trash and beautiful views. Image
After a while we made our way back down the glacier taking our time to prevent from falling. Slowly but surely we were off the glacier and making our way back down the easy labyrinth. The Labyrinth is not the crux of this route. Getting your @$$ up that glacier is the crux in my opinion. Finally back down to the hut we packed up and drove back to the Canchola's to finish off a 12 pack of Corona's and eat some more good food. Once again listened to gun fire all night. I then asked about the guns the next morning to learn about the festival.

Day 4: We couldn't decide between Ixta, La Malinche or going to the beach in Vera Cruz. The best option for safety, relaxation and money was La Malinche. We arrived at the very safe campgrounds with picnic tables, bathrooms, showers, security guards, mini market with beer and two restaurants with really good and cheap food. We drank 16 modelos, ate some food and went to bed early. We made a dog friend that day who slept next to our tent.

Day 5: We started up the nice wide trail through the woods up to La Malinche with our hiking companion the dog. Of course we couldn't escape the trash and the graffiti. Non the less, the woods were nice. Then we made our way up to the ridge, right of the standard route to stay on more solid ground. Once on the ridge it is not very long to the summit. Go up a standard Sawatch 14er with rock hoping and then reach a very short but fun class 3 scramble to the summit. At the top you are greeted with Orizaba to your left and Popo and Ixta to your right. Unfortunately, the summit is covered with spray paint. If you are looking for a pristine mountain... Mexico is not the place! We stayed up there and drank a Modelo each and enjoyed the views before making it back down to our camp. For dinner, we spent 12 american dollars at Don Julio's restaurant. That included 6 beers and more food than we needed. Gotta love that exchange rate. After the food we got more beer and hung out by our tent before going to sleep. Image Image Image

Day 6: Had breakfast at Don Julio's and got picked up for the airport. A long day traveling to Dallas and then Denver got us home right before midnight.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

02/18/2013 00:12
It's interesting to see different reports on the Labyrith. SOme people say it was easy, 3rd class, never got lost. Others report having a bear of a time and steep, sketchy ice. I guess its best to prepare for the worst and hope to be surprised.
Either way, nice report, looks like you had great conditions and congrats on the summit.


02/18/2013 22:12
to see you guys made it, despite Alan's mountain contribution and the gunshot celebrations. Looks like the Labyrinth has softened up fairly nicely. Malinche seems pretty cool too - will have to check that one out some day.


02/18/2013 22:13
I am planning on doing Orizaba this season...

Great pics!!



Well done, Tony
02/18/2013 23:42
Happy to see your success on the Big O. Congrats! Great to meet you on Culebra a few weeks ago.


That dog!
02/19/2013 04:15
Nice job!

Would you believe I saw that same dog last month on La Malinche?? It followed until over 14,000ft. Crazy!


02/21/2013 02:10
On a successful trip....glad it went well!

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