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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transfer to Benito Juarez International Airport for your flight home.
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.
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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