Pico De Orizaba

No, Pico de Orizaba isn’t a dip for tortilla chips. That is pico de gallo. Get your picos right people. So what is Pico de Orizaba, you ask? Well you see the thing is I haven’t been completely honest with you. Not that I have been actively lying to you, but I haven’t been as vigilant as I could have been about keeping you abreast of our upcoming adventures.

Pico de Orizaba is a mountain in Mexico. Not just any mountain, it is the third highest peak in North America, and we are going to climb it. We leave in two weeks.

I know this is a lot to take in but believe me, it gets better. Next week we leave on Friday to fly to Mexico (only after spending an entire night in LAX first though). We spend one night in Mexico City and then take about four busses to a very small town called Tlachichuca. After spending a night there at a climbing hostel we are driven up to a climbers hut at 14,000+ feet. At that point things get flexible. We have given ourselves a week to do the climb, so we can sit around at the hut for a day or two if we want to for acclimatization purposes. Eventually we plan to head up to 16,000+ feet to set up high camp where we will make our summit bid from. Fingers crossed we make it all the way up to 18,600 feet and back down safely. Then back to Tlachichuca, and Mexico City, and home. Or if everything goes swimmingly and we summit quickly maybe we will be laying on a beach in Veracruz for a few days, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

We won’t be going at this mountain alone either. We are feeling lucky and thankful to be reunited with our friends and climbing buddies, Sarah and Carl, who will be kicking our butts all the way up the climb.

With two weeks left to prepare we had another planning sesh last night with everyone and have another one planned for next week to nail down any loose ends. Kyle and I are waiting on pins and needles to see if our new four season tent (thank you to Kyle’s amazing parents) will make it here in time, along with a warmer pair of mitts for Kyle. Food prep is under way, clothing layers have been discussed, the camera is being cleaned, and our sleeping bags are getting some much needed TLC at the Rainy Pass. Oh, and I am practicing my Spanish. So far I know that rope is cuerda, route is ruta or linea, and get me the off this mountain is sácame de esta montaña. Also, I still remember how to type using accents and tildes so that’s gotta count for something.

Can we have some real talk? I am an equal amount completely stoked and totally terrified. I am so excited to climb something covered in glaciers again, but I also haven’t climbed something in what feels like such a long time. This will be our first time combining international travel and adventure, which completely elevates the whole experience in my mind to a new level, and will also come with a completely unique set of challenges. But the most important most exciting thing about this whole trip, I am two weeks away from stuffing my face with authentic legit bomb-ass tacos al pastor.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

I am also really excited to write about the trip. It is going to be hard and new and we will be literally pushing ourselves to new heights. Beautiful photographs will be taken and sufferfests will be had by all (no doubt). So hopefully you aren’t too angry with me for keeping this information from you, and instead are as excited as I am for what’s about to happen.

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

22 thoughts on “Pico De Orizaba

  1. So this is interesting, I’ve never heard of this mountain until your post here. Then the very next post I read from another acquaintance of mine (Shepherd PCT ’15, CDT ’16) is of climbing the same mountain! Here is his hot off the press post. I don’t intend to intimidate you but they had a scary fall but are okay.

    Good luck, have fun, be safe!



    1. Ah yes, bikehikesafari, I follow them as well. Yeah fingers crossed we stay safe and it’s good to read reports like this so we can be prepared! Thank you!!

      1. Good to go in eyes wide open right? 🙂 Glad you’re on top of it. If really enjoyed your blog this year and look forward to your trip reports. I was connected to your blog from my friend Wired. Cheers!

  2. Did this climb exactly one year ago. Malinche was our acclimatization climb followed by Pico two days later. We had successfully climbed Cotopaxi six months before but tried to acclimatize for Pico in a week – coming from Florida – and that was way too fast! My blog account is at FromSwamptoSummit.com. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, the altitude is definitely what I am most nervous for, we don’t have a hike we are doing ahead of time, just a slow ascent up to 16,000 where we will summit from. Fingers crossed!

      1. You may want to consider diamox – I have taken it each time I’ve gone over 15,000 feet and I do think it really helps – with very few side effects.

      2. We take 125 mg in morning and at night (split a 250 mg tablet). The first Florida doctor (who clearly knew nothing about altitude) prescribed 500mg at once! That did cause excess “tingling” – fortunately I had experimented taking it before the climb (Kilimanjaro). Look forward to reading about your adventures!

  3. Have fun!!! My husband did Orizaba and Popocatepetl several years ago. I’ve not climbed that high but did various 14ner’s in Colorado. Someone once told me that if you take a low dose aspirin it will thin your blood enough to make oxygenation easy. I always worried that if I cut myself, I’d bleed out, but it never happened and aspirin helped tremendously. Thought I’d pass that on. I don’t know if there’s evidence to prove it wrong or not but I guess it can’t hurt. In Peru, my friend said you can also buy or carry small oxygen tanks to breathe in. I don’t know if they are readily available in Mexico. In any case we’ll be thinking of you as usual!! Buena Suerte y que le vaya bien!

    1. Commit yourself to them ahead of time, when you’ve got the money 😉 It helps that we have all the gear and know how, we don’t have to use a guiding service or rent stuff. Just get there and go.

    2. She’s right, you do have to be determined. My dad had a small SS pension (no rent bill though) and he traveled all over the place. He’d save, pinching pennies of course. He went to Italy twice and did a number of other tours as well. There used to be a book called Europe on 25cents a day, granted it was in the 70’s but I’m sure the concept could apply. Look for deals online etc. I got all my high tech equipment working at a sporting goods store and that helped tremendously. Once you own good quality stuff, you’d be amazed. Start small and aim for climbs (no fees there) you can do for free like in Utah, Colorado and easy places you can drive. Online has suggestions as well as AAA

  4. Wow! International travel + adventure is a combo I’ve been too shy to really try so far. I can’t wait to read all about it! Good luck!

  5. EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!! In the meantime, I am happily climbing around in the rocks at City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico. The only real comparison is that I am happy to be doing it – taking photos and writing blogs. Best of luck in your adventure and looking forward to new blogs.

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