XTACCIHUATL: 17,342 FEET
These two picturesque volcanoes are a great introduction to high altitude mountaineering. Both trips are designed as a quick escape from the United States - and a logical next step after a climb on Rainier, Shasta or Whitney. These climbs are moderately technical; the snow and ice conditions require the use of an ice axe, crampons and roped travel. Our itinerary includes a one-day mountaineering skills review.
The Sleeping Lady
Our route is via less-traveled paths to our camp located on a bench next to Ayoloco Creek at 13,800 feet. From here we climb through high altitude grasslands to a moraine trail leading to the Ayoloco glacier. From this point, we ascend the glacier and gain the summit ridge. One more push along the summit ridge takes us to the top of Ixtaccihuati 17,342 feet. This is well worth the climb!
EL PICO DE ORIZABA: 18,700 FEET
Third highest peak in North America
Known in the local Nahuatl language as "the Smoking Mountain," Orizaba is a strenuous and rewarding summit. We climb via the Northern Route. This is a straightforward glacier climb with a challenging steep and sustained slope. From the top of Orizaba's snow covered dome you can see the Gulf of Mexico to the east and Ixta to the west.