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Pico de Orizaba in the next week; logistics, gear hire, and conditions questions

Original Post
Huzz Man · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2019 · Points: 0

Hi all,

As in the title, we have plans to attempt Pico de Orizaba in the next week at some point, largely depending on conditions, but our internet research has come up short on a few points.

1) Gear hire. My partner needs crampons and an axe. Several websites have mentioned gear hire being available in Tlachichuca, presumably at one of the guest houses, but can anyone confirm this? Secondly how much should we be expecting to pay?

2) logistics/ driving. We have an awd, however have seen mixed reports as to whether this would make it to the hut. If this is possible, is there adequate safe parking at the hut? If not, how much should we be looking to pay for transport and parking it at a guest house?

3) I saw mention of the possibility of splitting the ascent into two days by camping either at the foot of the labyrinth, or the foot of the glacier. My tent, however, is a bit shit and so I'm cautious of exposing it to high winds. Is there much in the way of wind breaks at either location?

[Before someone suggests just calling one of the guest houses, we have about a dozen words of Spanish between us, unfortunaly] 

Roots · · Wherever I am · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

Well I haven't been down there since 200-ish but....

I think gear is avail. It's a small town in Mex...it shouldn't be much to rent.

Awd and some clearance..

Stay in the hut if it's windy

Don't know how safe things are now. I assume worse than when I was there.

Call Senor Reyes. He speaks English.

Sean Tropsa · · Draper, UT · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 20

I just went and did this, see my TR in the comments of the standard route.

If you use one of the guide services, they will have gear for rent + fuel/tp/whatever else you need

AWD depending on the conditions, when we went it was suuuuper muddy so even a lifted 4x4 with burly tires had a bit of trouble. Definitely want some clearance. There are no trees or other shelter around the hut so you just park next to it. Its probably safe enough. Hiring someone to take you up isnt too big of a deal, cost goes down with a larger group size and is what i would suggest.

Could just be me but i dont see the point in setting a high camp on this- it is more than reasonable to do in a day plus you dont have to deal with shuttling gear up higher/sleeping at 16k ft. If you are so inclined, however, there are platforms at 15k ft, at the entrance to the labyrinth at 15.8k ish, at the exit of the labyrinth at 16.4k ish etc... all of these have small wind breaks and you might be able to set up next to a boulder or something right before the labyrinth. There are also plenty of spots for a tent around the hut, watch for shit tho... its everywhere
 
Def recommend servimont (reyes) the place is pretty interesting and he speaks english. If someone answers who doesnt speak english they usually hook you up with an email address to go thru and interface with someone who does speak english.  

JJ Colima · · Comala · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 0

I climbed Pico de Orizaba last Easter vacation.  I took the bus to Tlachichuca and got the Cancholas to drive me to the Piedra Grande hut and pick me up a few days later.  The Canchola hostel is near the Servimont hostel (Sr. Reyes) and both are walking distance from the bus station.  Maribel Canchola speaks English. I did it solo, so the transport cost was a bit more than if I had been with a group.  They rent crampons and ice axes, but I had my own, so I didn't see what condition they were in.  When I went the glacier was icy and I was glad I had my nice sharp crampons, ice axes, harness, slings and two ice screws.  I wanted to be well acclimated since it was my first time at that altitude, so I spent the first night at the Piedra Grande hut, the second night at "Los Nidos", the first campsites that you come to between Piedra Grande and El Labarinto, and the third night I left "Los Nidos" for the summit.  "Los Nidos" means the nests, and it's just a few tent sites with short stacks of rocks around them, which resemble birds' nests.  I enjoyed the solitude of camping at Los Nidos by myself to the Piedra Grande hut, where you have people coming and going, cooking, preparing gear for summit attempts at all hours.  The dirt road to the Piedra Grande is really bad, so unless you have a real 4X4, I recommend paying one of the guide services to take you up to Piedra Grande.  The only ATM in Tlachichuca didn't work, so don't show up with just your debit card.

Aaron Vix · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 25

I cannot comment on gear rental, but recall the ride being very bumpy going up so unless vehicle has high clearance, I wouldn’t recommend it. Guide services are constantly driving to and from. Also remembered a non guided group hiring a driver to drop them off and pick them back up. Don’t recall seeing any vehicles parked there though as seems everyone was dropped off.

+1 for not bothering with high camp. I think you could reasonably do the summit hut to hut in 12 hours which would make high camp pointless in my opinion.

sandrock · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115

1. both the Cancholas and Sr Reyes hostels in town have gear you can use.

2. I would not attempt to drive up there without a lifted 4wd with mud tires. There's a reason the guide companies have tricked up vehicles. I doubt the guards at the park entrance know English so it could be challenging to even get into the park on your own. Just book with either hostel company for a ride up, crampons, water and fuel. It won't be that expensive.

3. using a high camp is nice to avoid all the noise in the hut. People waking up at all times of the night. We had a lady singing loudly at midnight as she was cooking breakfast. Bring earplugs. One in our group just pitched his tent 50' away from the hut, i'd recommend this so you can get good sleep but still use the hut for cooking. It is windy at the hut and the higher camps so make sure your tent can handle it. If you do want a higher camp I'd recommend the spots before the labyrinth at 15-16k. You'll have to bring all your water with you. The summit climb can be done from the hut though. Doing a high camp gives you more of a mountain expedition feel and you're away from everyone else.

I'd recommend you plan two nights on the mountain. Day one ride up to the hut, setup camp, do an acclimatize hike to the labyrinth. Day two is summit and back to camp. Day three as a weather makeup.  We arranged for our driver to pick us up on day two after the summit, but had bad weather and had to turn around on the glacier, there is no way to call the driver so he showed up right on time on day two. If we would have stayed one more night we could have summitted as the weather was better.

JJ Colima · · Comala · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 0

When I stayed at a higher camp, I was able to get water that trickled down from the glacier late morning to mid-day when it wasn't freezing cold.  I used Aqua Mira drops, but wished I'd brought a filter also.  In one spot the water was a brown-orange color immediately west of my campsite, but just a little further east of my campsite the water was a gray volcanic ash color.  I chose the gray water.  It tasted fine, but was full of sediment.  

As others have mentioned, a high camp is not necessary, but gives you a nice alpine camping experience.  I live near sea-level, so I wanted to spend more time acclimating before attempting the summit.  

sandrock · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115
JJ Colima wrote: When I stayed at a higher camp, I was able to get water that trickled down from the glacier late morning to mid-day when it wasn't freezing cold.  I used Aqua Mira drops, but wished I'd brought a filter also.  In one spot the water was a brown-orange color immediately west of my campsite, but just a little further east of my campsite the water was a gray volcanic ash color.  I chose the gray water.  It tasted fine, but was full of sediment.  

As others have mentioned, a high camp is not necessary, but gives you a nice alpine camping experience.  I live near sea-level, so I wanted to spend more time acclimating before attempting the summit.  

Thanks JJ, I wasn't aware of a water source up there.

jackscoldsweat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

I've done most of the volcanic slogs in Mexico. If it's not too late, do yourself a favor, save your pesos and skip Mexico.

Instead, keep going South to Peru if you're looking for high altitude. The poor mans Himalayas. I don't speak a lick on español either, but never had a problem.

JCS

abandon moderation · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 239

When I was there a few years back I rented a cheap compact car, parked in the little town of Hidalgo (19.081, -97.315) and hiked to the hut. So, finishing the approach by foot is an option if your AWD doesn't make it all the way. Whether or not the parking is "safe" anywhere in the region I doubt, I would make sure to not leave anything in the car.

Thomas DeMasters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 0
Huzz Man wrote: Hi all,

As in the title, we have plans to attempt Pico de Orizaba in the next week at some point, largely depending on conditions, but our internet research has come up short on a few points.

1) Gear hire. My partner needs crampons and an axe. Several websites have mentioned gear hire being available in Tlachichuca, presumably at one of the guest houses, but can anyone confirm this? Secondly how much should we be expecting to pay?

2) logistics/ driving. We have an awd, however have seen mixed reports as to whether this would make it to the hut. If this is possible, is there adequate safe parking at the hut? If not, how much should we be looking to pay for transport and parking it at a guest house?

3) I saw mention of the possibility of splitting the ascent into two days by camping either at the foot of the labyrinth, or the foot of the glacier. My tent, however, is a bit shit and so I'm cautious of exposing it to high winds. Is there much in the way of wind breaks at either location?

[Before someone suggests just calling one of the guest houses, we have about a dozen words of Spanish between us, unfortunaly] 

1) Servimont has all that you need gear rental wise (and any other service)

2) If you stay at any of the services in Tlach, they'll drive you

3) You don't need to split the climb. It's very moderate. If you take your tent use it to sleep outside the hut the night before because sleeping in the hut blows.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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