Pico de Orizaba is the highest volcano in Mexico and a popular destination for local climbers as well as guided trips from the US and Canada. It is situated in the state of Veracruz, within 80 miles of the southwestern shore of the gulf of Mexico. Access is via the town of Tlachichuca from the west and the town of Coscomatepec from the east. The routes are an enjoyable combination of snow and cinder slogging, and the mountain is climbable year-round.
As with many international ventures, the most difficult part of the climb is getting yourself and your gear to the base of the route. Mexico City is probably the cheapest city to fly in to, though the city of Veracruz is closer. Once on the ground, Mexico’s extensive and surprisingly luxurious bus system is the best way to get around. As mentioned above, the main points of entry to the mountain are the towns of Tlachichuca to the west and Coscomatepec to the east. Tlachichuca is a small town with a market typical of many small Mexican towns. Food of all sorts can be found there, but there is nowhere to buy any climbing stuff at all, and there are no banking facilities with ATMs, so bring cash. Most people stay at Joaquin Canchola Limon's Hostel. He has been operating it for decades, and used to climb the mountain extensively himself, so he has a good understanding of the needs of international climbers. He will also give you a ride to the hut on the north side of the peak for an additional fee. This service is well worth it. The hike in and out would add two days of wandering the (poorly mapped) Mexican countryside on unmarked roads. His place is very secure and seeing his guest book is like looking at a summit register. Apparently, Fred Beckey stayed there recently. By United States standards, the services are inexpensive but those on a strict budget should be wary. When I was there it was difficult to figure exactly how much everything would cost and when the final bill arrived I was caught with my financial pants down (admittedly, this was just as much my fault as his – take plenty of money and know exactly how much he’s charging and you’ll be set). Several routes on the mountain can be accessed from the hut, or “refugio” on the north side. Since the summit is over 18,000 feet, acclimatization makes the trip much safer and more pleasant, so plan on spending a day & a night hanging out at the refugio (which is at roughly 13,900 feet) before climbing. The facilities available at the refugio are bunks and tables with a cement floor, so bring your own cooking & sleeping gear. There are no lockers. There are rats. As of the fall of 2006, there was no fee to stay there and Mr. Canchola Limon hauled the trash down in his truck. For more information, check out RJ Secor’s book “Mexico’s Volcanoes: A Climber’s Guide.”
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Pico de Orizaba:
Espolón de Oro Easy Snow Snow, Alpine, Grade III
Featured Route For Pico de Orizaba
Espolón de Oro Easy Snow International : Mexico : ... : Pico de Orizaba
As of November 2006, this route had replaced the Jamapa Glacier as the standard route up the peak. Approach the glacier from the refugio by hiking up the obvious drainage. There is a well-traveled trail in the bottom half, but higher up the route-finding becomes very confusing, especially in the dark. There is an easy way, though there are tons of 4th & 5th class obstacles as well as legions of discarded wands that make it difficult to stay on the right path. In his guidebook for the area, Seco...[more] Browse More Classics in International