12-day Volcanoes and culture in Mexico: La Malinche, Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba

Join Mick, an AMGA-certified mountain guide, for this 12 day mountaineering adventure and cultural journey through the Sierra Nevada of central Mexico!




Trip Duration

12 days

Mountain Range

Sierra Nevada

People per Guide

2 people

Trip Level


Offer Period


Type of Trip



  • Summit 3 impressive peaks in the Sierra Nevada during this 12 day adventure

  • Stand on top of Mexico as you summit Pico de Orizaba at 18,500 ft!

  • Discover anotherside of Mexico as we explore the countryside in Puebla


Explore several stunning peaks of Mexico’s legendary Sierra Nevada in an adventure that combines impressive mountaineering objectives with unique cultural immersion!

Explore another side of this multi-faceted country as we discover the stunning natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a volcanic belt of gorgeous snowcapped peaks that crosses central Mexico.  The highest peaks in the country, and some of the highest peaks in North America, are located within this range. Plus, two of Mexico’s most vibrant cities, Puebla and the country’s capital, Mexico City, are tucked away within the Sierra Nevada.

This 12 day program includes summits of 3 gorgeous peaks, plus plenty of wonderful cultural experiences and delicious authentic Mexican cuisine. We start the program with 2 days exploring La Malinche, which at 4,461 m/14,636 ft will serve as a great acclimatization climb.  The climb consists of hiking with some scrambling – nothing technical. Next, we head to Iztaccihuatl. This snowcapped peak rises to an impressive 5,230 m/17,160 ft and is Mexico’s 3rd highest peak. Depending on conditions, this may be the most technical peak we attempt, and our climb will last 2-3 days.

Finally, we head to Mexico’s highest peak, and the 3rd highest in all of North America: Pico de Orizaba (5,636m/18,491ft). We will follow the Japama Glacier route to the summit for a 2 day climb that may not be as technical as Iztaccihuatl, but is challenging in its own right due to the high altitude.  For more information on the itinerary, a day-by-day outline is provided below.

During our climbing days, we will sleep in campsites or mountain huts.  In between climbs, we will be based at comfortable cabanas and hostels in the Mexican countryside. We will have the chance to explore the surrounding towns, getting at taste of rural Mexican life, as well as delicious homecooked meals.  It is also worth noting that I have personally traveled throughout the area and I have never had any issues with violence.  The areas we will be staying in are not near the known cartel areas and we will stick to major highways and tollroads.

While there are technical aspects to these mountains and the use of crampons, ice axes, and ropes will be required, no previous experience is required to participate in this trip. We will have time for instruction and coaching so that you can familiarize yourself with  mountaineering equipment and techniques.  A good fitness level is required, however, to make tough ascents at altitude. Participants should be able to hike up to 8 miles per day for 8 consecutive days carrying a 25 pound pack.

Book this incredible adventure now and you will spend a magical 12 days  discovering the highest peaks and fascinating culture of Mexico!

Check out my other adventures: All levels mountaineering in North Cascades, 14-day Rock climbing and cultural tour of Liming, China, or Intermediate mountaineering course in North Cascades!

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Price per person

Group of 1
3300 USD

Group of 2
3300 USD

Group of 3
3300 USD

Group of 4
3300 USD

Group of 5
3300 USD

Group of 6
3300 USD

Group of 7
3300 USD

Group of 8
3300 USD


Price includes

  • Guiding fee
  • Accommodation
  • Permit and entrance fees
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 Price per person for joining a group. Includes: All accommodations in Mexico, all transportation in Mexico, professional guides, fees, permits, all meals (except when in Mexico City), group climbing equipment. Does not include: Flights to Mexico, visa fees, personal climbing equipment (we can help arrange rentals), personal climbing accessories, other personal items, gratuities, misc. spending money, drinks, meals in Mexico City.


  • Day 1Arrive in Mexico City

    Arrive into the busy metropolis of Mexico City (elevation of 7,350ft).  We will meet you at the airport and from there the group will head 50-60 miles outside the city to Cabanas San Luis Malinche.  Before dinner, we take a short walk to see the area, and prepare for tomorrow’s climb. We can leave items we don’t want to take with us on the mountain at Cabanas San Luis Malinche.

  • Day 2La Malinche - Campsite

    We head to La Malinche today. As Mexico’s 5th highest mountain, we will spend a couple of days acclimatizing before heading to even higher peaks. We ascend to the treeline until we reach a convenient saddle – the perfect place to camp. We will enjoy a relaxing evening together before heading to our tents for the night.

  • Day 3La Malinche - Summit

    Following breakfast, we begin our push to the summit of La Malinche, at 4,462m/14,640ft.  If someone isn’t feeling well enough to reach the summit, there are options for other beautiful hikes. On our way down, we break camp and return to Cabanas for a great night’s sleep.

  • Day 4Iztaccihuatl - Base Camp at La Joya

    We head to Iztaccihuatl, also called Itza, which is located 45 miles outside of Mexico City and is a more technical mountain than La Maliche. We’ll enjoy lunch in Amecameca.

    If we can, we will stay at the Altzimont Hut for the night, otherwise we will set up our own camp at La Joya (12,800ft). Before we fall asleep, we will conduct a gear check before beginning tomorrow’s ascent.

  • Day 5Iztaccihuatl - High Camp

    We typically follow the Ridge of the Sun Route (la Arista del Sol) during this climb (depending on conditions). This is considered the standard route up the mountain. The technical aspect of the mountain includes easily passable shallow crevasses and short ice cliffs.

    It should take us about 5 hours to reach our high camp at about 15,500ft. There’s a basic hut there with wood bunks.  After we arrive, we’ll take an opportunity to review our crampon and ice axe skills for the following day’s summit push.

  • Day 6Summit Iztaccihuatl

    Our summit day will last between 8-12 hours, so we will start early. Once we reach the summit, we’ll celebrate the moment with incredible views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the cities of Puebla and Mexico City. After we arrive back down at base camp, we meet our vehicle for our transfer back to Cabanas San Luis Malinche, where hot showers and comfortable beds await.

  • Day 7Rest/Travel Day

    A 150km vehicle transfer takes us to the town of Tlachichuca, where we arrive at the Servimont Climbers Hostel. This historic hostel has served climbers for over 40 years. In the afternoon, we have the chance to explore the town and market. After a delicious dinner, we get ready for our climb of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest mountain.

  • Day 8Orizaba - Piedra Grande Hut

    Following breakfast, a 4×4 vehicle transfer takes us to the Piedra Grande Hut, which will be our base camp for this climb.  We will further acclimatize by bringing some gear and water up the mountain to the labyrinth, before returning back to base camp. There, we have the opportunity for more ice axe and crampon training.

  • Day 9Orizaba - High Camp

    We head to our high camp, which sits at about 14,800ft. Once there, we’ll explore the terrain of the “labyrinth” section of the mountain, preparing ourselves to climb in the dark during the following day’s summit push. We’ll turn in early for the evening.

  • Day 10Orizaba - Summit

    We leave high camp at around 2am. We follow the Glacier de Jamapa route, which has a 35 degree slope that requires ropes, as there are patches of hard ice.  After passing the labyrinth, we reach the glacier, continuing until we reach the crater rim.  The rim eventually leads us to the official summit at 5,640m/18,500ft, where the view extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the central plateau of Mexico.

    We then descend to Piedra Grande Hut, where a 4×4 takes us back to Servimont Climbers Hostel.

  • Day 11Transfer to Mexico City

    We head back to Mexico City.  If we arrive early enough, we will have time for some afternoon sightseeing. You may want to fly out this evening, in which case we will take you to the airport. If not, we have the evening/night to enjoy the city.

  • Day 12Departure

    Transfer to Benito Juarez International Airport for your flight home.


Other details

Skill level required


Fitness level required


Meeting point

We will meet you at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City


We will be based at Cabanas San Luis Malinche, located on the Malinche Nature Reserve, during a portion of this trip. Our base during our climb of Orizaba will be Servimont Climbers Hostel, which is located in a converted soap factory and has been in business for 40 years. In Mexico City, we will be staying at a 3/4 star hotel in the trendy Roma District. Of course, during our climbs we will stay on the mountain - at times in camps we establish ourselves, at times in mountain huts.


About the Guide


Mick has traveled the world over in search of the perfect mountain experience. After working for years under other companies’ ethos and philosophies, nothing quite fit with his personal convictions and passions. In 2006 he set out on his own to make his vision of the holistic mountain experience a reality for anyone who shared his passion for the outdoors.

Having traveled all over the U.S. as the son of a railroad employee, Mick is accustomed to movement and new views. Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Taiwan, Europe, South America, Tanzania are some of the places and cultures that have shaped and influenced Mick.

Currently, Mick resides in Seattle, WA managing Kaf Adventures and continuing to hold the vision of this ever evolving company. He works tirelessly to continue to provide world-class experiences that provide knowledge and a greater perspective of the great outdoors.

Mick’s true passion is education. He has found a unique passion for educating aspiring instructors and guides in the U.S. You will find him outside helping new leaders gain confidence in their ability to make decisions in complex environments.

When he is not in the field (where he spends over 100 days a year) you can find him creating electronic music and making people dance. Mick has a habit of making those around him smile, and you might just wonder when he sleeps!

Mick is an American Mountain Guide Association certified Rock and Alpine Guide, SPI Program Provider, AMGA Instructor Team Member, LNT Master trainer, a Wilderness First Responder, a certified Level 3 AIARE avalanche graduate, an instructor for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, and speaks Spanish and a little Swahili.



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What People are Saying about -Mick Pearson


Kaf Adventures is fantastic. I could not have asked for a better experience with my Intermediate Mountaineering class I took with Kaf. The instructors were knowledgeable, excellent teachers, supportive, and fun. I felt like I was in excellent hands. And I actually got the chance to use my new skills on our climb of Mount Baker, as I took a short fall and self-arrested! I had a great time climbing Mount Baker and improving my mountaineering skills with Kaf. Highly recommended.
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Jonathan Todd
Just took an intermediate rock climbing course.  What a fantastic class.  Our instructor was Joel and we started off covering all the different types of gear, static vs dynamic force, etc. before going into how to correctly and safely use it.  There were only 3 of us and with an 8 hour day we got lots of practice in. Joel was super patient and adapted the class to our skill level and the questions we had.    I walked away feeling like I could do this on my own safely.  Cannot recommend Kaf enough, if you\'re thinking of transitioning to outdoor climbing, call them up
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Grace C
I just got back from a 3-day Mountaineering Intermediate course on Mt. Baker, and I couldn\'t be happier that Kaf Adventures lead the way. Weather was ideal the first 2 days but on summit day the decision was made to stay put as conditions were questionable and miserable. Our 3 guides (Joel, Archer and Todd) were absolutely fantastic - extremely knowledgeable and high-energy and I loved how they infused the trip with their own personalities and experiences. They were constantly assessing and checking in with us to make sure we were all comfortable physically, mentally, spiritually. :) It was a feeling of complete comfort, which was most welcome in an environment I\'m naturally a little terrified of. Can\'t wait for my Rainier climb with Kaf, and to take more courses. I definitely recommend them, and can\'t say enough good things!
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Ines T.
My next second training was an Intro to Mountaineering 3 day trip at Mt Baker. Our group included 5 clients, 3 instructors (Paul, Matt and Archer) and 1 Kaf intern (Austin). The Kaf team members were absolutely delightful people - very knowledgeable, approachable, patient and inspiring.  They did an excellent job preparing us for the mountain as well as keeping us safe & in high spirits despite some pretty gnarly weather that rolled through! Our summit attempt was cancelled due to a storm that hit Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning, but they kept us busy with training the entire time (not to mention very well fed!) The third training was a 3 night trip up Mt Rainier via Emmons Glacier. Paul, Archer and Austin again led our group (3 clients) up, up and to the summit! They were very attentive to everyone\'s condition the entire time - climbing Rainier was physically & mentally exhausting, and they knew when to encourage us to press on & hold back when needed. I definitely plan to climb more mountains in the NW and continue my training through Kaf Adventures. Absolutely recommend them to anyone who\'s excited to learn how to handle themselves up high
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Annabelle L.

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