Elevation: 18,490 ft
GPS: 19.03, -97.27 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 15,008 total · 131/month
Shared By: Dustin Clelen on Dec 2, 2009
Admins: Mauricio Herrera Cuadra
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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.

Getting There

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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Classic Climbing Routes at Pico de Orizaba

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Easy Snow
Espolón de Oro
Snow, Alpine
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Espolón de Oro
Easy Snow Snow, Alpine
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Brett Winterbottom
Park City, UT
Brett Winterbottom   Park City, UT
Here is a description on finding the correct road that will link you from the town of San Miguel Zoapon to the Piedra Grande Hut. This information seems to be a secret within the little community of local guides so please feel free to spread. Reset odometer and use this guide but be aware the road is rough and can change quite drastically so if something is different then listed you'll have to figure it out on the go but hopefully this makes life a little easier than no info like our first go.
Mile 0, Just as you enter the town of Zuapon take your first right at the Y in the road. Follow around a bend to the left and drive .2 miles to take the 3rd right turn possible. Continue on this dirt road passing farms and even park to the first sign on Pico de Orizaba at Mile 2.2. Mile 3 you'll see a cross and elevated hut stay left on the well worn road. Mile 4.2 the town of Miguel Hildago y Castillo will be on the left stay right. Mile. 5.2 Scattered old huts/ houses will be spread out in a field to the left stay right but do not cut onto any roads that do not look well traveled but dirt road standards. Mile 5.5 you'll come to a 3 way fork, take the right most road and get ready for some wheelin. There are many ways of getting to the next mile marker here so you may have to scout out little sections to make sure the road hasn't been diverted in a new direction. Mile 6.4 The Entrance to the National Park of Pico de Orizaba, there is a gate and house but was not occupied or closed off when we drove through keep driving down this road. Mile 6.6 This part of the road can be super muddy and full of deep ruts so I advise driving earlier in the morning while the ground is still hard or when its dry unless you feel like flinging lots O mud. Mile 6.8 This was a 4 way intersection with lots of different options get out and scout. We chose the right most direction, they all meet up back at the same road eventually. Mile 7.3 you will encounter a Y stay left where the road drops down and turns left then heads back up hill. After that intersection there were no other obstacles and the road lead directly to the hut. Be aware that you may encounter the jeeps of the guiding companies on this road which is rough since its one car wide but just know if you see there jeeps your on the right road!! Hope this helps and happy summiting.
Dec 23, 2016