|October 19, 2013|
|January 18, 2014|
|February 15, 2014|
|March 1, 2014|
"The Orizaba experience was unbelievable and RMI did everything right to make it a success."
— Brett F. | Read More Testimonials
Mexico's central valleys are home to several of the highest summits in North America; El Pico de Orizaba, at 18,701', is the third highest while its neighbor Ixtaccihuatl (17,340') ranks as number seven. Highlights include:
- Scale several of North America’s highest mountains over the course of one short climbing expedition.
- Climb with an experienced RMI Guide, benefiting from the background, training, and expertise of our guides as you venture to higher altitudes.
- Bring your climbing to new heights with multiple ascents that combine high altitude experience with basic technical difficulty.
- From it’s glaciers to the small traditional towns of the country’s heartland, visit a rarely seen yet captivating side of Mexico.
- Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.
We begin our adventures in Mexico City, staying mere footsteps from the "Zocalo" - the main square that is the physical and cultural center of the city. From Mexico City we head to La Malinche, an extinct volcano whose crumbling core juts above the Puebla Valley. We use La Malinche to build our acclimatization in preparation for the climbs ahead, hiking and sleeping in cabins on the mountain’s flanks.
We then turn our sights to nearby Ixtaccihuatl (Ixta), a broad ridged peak that overlooks Mexico City. Our ascent begins with a straightforward approach through alpine meadows to our high camp. Climbing the Ayoloco Glacier above we gain the summit ridge, making the airy ridge walk over a few "false summits" to the true summit of Ixta.
As the highest peak in Mexico, El Pico de Orizaba is the crown jewel of the Mexican Volcanoes and our final summit of the trip. An exciting twelve mile jeep ride takes us from the valley floor to our camp at the Piedra Grande Hut, perched above 14,000'. From our camp we make our way through the mountain’s rocky moraine to the toe of the Jampa Glacier, climbing the glacier’s ice and snow slopes to Orizaba’s summit.
Both climbs involve moderately steep slopes and prior knowledge of roped travel, crampon techniques, and ice axe arrest is recommended; a review of these basic mountaineering techniques is built into the itinerary. This climb is ideal for mountaineers looking to build their climbing skills, reach new heights on some of North America’s highest peaks, and take part in the excitement of an international climbing expedition.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Mexico climbs are led by RMI’s foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience in not only Mexico but on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide held to our standards cannot be understated. We are also fortunate to have Servimont as our partners in Mexico. Our close relationship with them offers our trips the support needed to ensure a seamless experience and is a major factor behind our climbs’ successes. We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. Our guides take the time to choose fresh food and excellent ingredients for our meals in the mountains, keeping our teams well fed, happy, and healthy throughout the climb. We use private vehicles to travel between the different peaks, minimizing our time spent on the road and allowing us to travel more safely. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.
Safety has always been RMI’s top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI’s experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Mexico’s Volcanoes. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles, daily weather forecasts via satellite, and diligent attention are taken as we venture to high altitudes. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.
RMI supports the MEX-AMbulance Project. Click here for more details.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or email@example.com.
Mexico's Volcanoes Itinerary
Day 1: Upon your arrival in Mexico City (7,300 feet), a taxi ride takes you to our hotel. Our hotel is near the heart of the city and the lively Zócalo (Constitution Square) with its many museums, shops, outdoor cafes, pubs and restaurants. We have an evening orientation meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the hotel lobby.
Around the hotel in Mexico City
Day 2: We meet for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and plan to leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m. We drive in private vehicles to the cabins at the La Malintzi Resort, a facility located at 10,000' at the base of La Malinche (14,636') and initially used by Mexico's Olympic Team for training. There we take an acclimatization hike on La Malinche to stretch our legs and lungs. While reaching the summit is optional, depending on our time and schedule, this beautiful hike provides an enjoyable opportunity for helping our bodies adjust to the altitude. (B, D)
Hiking on La Malinche The cabins on La Malinche
Day 3: We depart La Malinche and travel towards Ixtaccihuatl. We have some time to visit a local market in Amecameca and purchase any last minute items for our climb of Ixtaccihuatl. We then drive to the Altzimoni hut (12,000') where we take a short acclimatization hike and overnight in the Altzimoni hut. (B, D)
The markets and reaching Ixta
Day 4: We leave the Altzimoni hut and hike to our High Camp. We set up camp, review our mountain skills and prepare for an early alpine start. (B, D)
Climbing to High Camp on Ixta
Day 5: Summit Day on Ixtaccihuatl! We depart High Camp for our summit attempt. Depending on conditions, we will climb either La Arista del Sol (The Ridge of the Sun) or the Ayoloco Glacier route. After enjoying the views and celebrating on the 17,340' summit, we descend to High Camp, pack up, and return to La Jolla. We transfer to the colonial city of Puebla and check into our hotel. (B)
Climbing on the Summit Bid The Summit Ridge of Ixta
Day 6: Our hotel in Puebla is located one block away from the Zocalo (main square) in the heart of the downtown historical district of Puebla and has been on the city map since 1668. The day is free for you to relax and explore the city and the many historic sites.
Views of Puebla
Day 7: Today we drive to Tlachichuca located at the base of Pico de Orizaba. After lunch, four-wheel drive trucks take us to Piedra Grande, our High Camp on Orizaba at 14,000'. We spend the night in tents near the hut. (B, L, D)
Reaching Pico de Orizaba
Day 8: Summit Day on Pico de Orizaba! With an early alpine start we make our way through a maze of rock and scree. Upon reaching the Jamapa Glacier, we don crampons and ice axes and rope up for the remainder of the climb. The glaciers on Orizaba are relatively non-technical, with very few crevasses, and the ascent to 18,701' is fairly straight-forward. After celebrating on the summit, we begin our descent. Upon reaching Piedra Grande, we load our trucks and descend for a hot shower and a home cooked meal. We spend the night in a climbers' hostel in Tlachichuca. (B, D)
Climbing at sunrise on Orizaba The final pitches to the summit of Orizaba
Day 9: After breakfast we depart Tlachichuca and return to Mexico City. It's about a three hour drive, and we arrive at the airport around 12:00 p.m. Just to be on the safe side, we recommend booking your return flight for 3:00 p.m. or later. Our vehicle will continue back to the Best Western Majestic to drop off anyone who is extending their trip. (B)
Descending Orizaba and heading home
Key: B, L, D = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included.
Mexico's Volcanoes: Ixtaccihuatl & Orizaba Equipment List
The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.
Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI 2013.
Pack & Bag Guides' Pick
2 DUFFEL BAG(S): A 120+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers.
BACKPACK: A 70+ liter pack is the recommended size for this climb. A separate summit pack is not needed.
PACK COVER (OPTIONAL): Protects your pack from rain while on the trail.
DAY PACK: A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on, while traveling or sightseeing.
SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated 0° to 15° F. Either goose down or synthetic.
SLEEPING PAD: Full length inflatable or closed cell pad.
Technical Gear Guides' Pick
ICE AXE: The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm. axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm. axe; and taller, use a 75 cm. axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.
CLIMBING HARNESS: A comfortable, adjustable climbing harness.
HELMET: A lightweight climbing helmet.
CRAMPONS: The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended. Carry any repair kit/replacement parts and adjusting tools which are specific to your crampons.
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well.
TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible.
Head Guides' Pick
WARM HAT: Wool or synthetic. It should be warm and thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.
BUFF OR BANDANA: A buff or bandana provides good protection from the sun and dust as well as insulation from the cold, dry air.
GLACIER GLASSES: A pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type sunglasses.
GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. Additionally, contact lens wearers may find a clear-lensed goggle very useful on windy nights.
Hands Guides' Pick
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant insulated mountain gloves.
HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATED GLOVE OR MITTEN: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
Upper Body Guides' Pick
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top will be used as your base layer. Zip-neck styles will allow for better temperature regulation.
LIGHT INSULATING LAYER: A fleece or other insulation layer.
SOFT SHELL LAYER: A windproof, water-resistant and highly breathable layer.
HARD SHELL JACKET: A jacket made of rain/wind-proof material with an attached hood.
INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This item becomes of highest importance when we are faced with poor weather. This should be an expeditionary-type heavy parka that extends well below the waist and above the knees. Goose down is recommended versus synthetic fill. It does not have to be waterproof, but that is a nice feature. The parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day and as an emergency garment if needed. When sizing a parka, allow for several layers to be worn underneath; buy it large. The parka must have an insulated hood.
Lower Body Guides' Pick
1 - 3 UNDERWEAR: Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Light to medium weight synthetic bottoms.
CLIMBING PANT: Synthetic climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them alone on hot days, or in combination with the base layer on cold days. The thickness (insulation quality) should be based on how well you do in the cold and the temperatures expected on your climb.
HARD SHELL PANT: A pant made of breathable rain and wind-proof material will be needed. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons in cold, inclement weather.
HIKING SHORTS: Good for lower elevations and warm, sunny days.
Feet Guides' Pick
MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Insulated leather mountaineering boots are the preferred choice for ascents in Mexico. They provide the adequate insulation as well as the rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Plastic mountaineering boots are also adequate. Though their stiffness makes them somewhat less suitable during the approach hikes, they are generally a warmer option for summit day. Bring one pair of chemical foot warmers if you are using the leather mountaineering boots.
HIKING BOOTS: A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain.
LIGHTWEIGHT HIKING SHOES: Great for travel, day hikes, and camp.
GAITERS: A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampons on loose clothing.
3 PAIR SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Some people find liner socks useful for reducing friction.
Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick
MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
1 - 3 CHEMICAL HAND and TOE WARMERS
2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES: One-quart water bottles are required. Wide mouth bottles are ideal since their opening is less likely to freeze.
2 GARBAGE BAGS (Large): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.
2 SETS BATTERIES: For avalanche transceiver.
2 CASUAL PANTS
3 - 4 SHIRTS: For hotel dinners and while traveling.
Personal First Aid Kit
ASPRIN / IBUPROFEN / TYLENOL
PEPTO-BISMOL (STOMACH RELIEF)
SMALL ROLL OF ADHESIVE TAPE
ANTIBIOTICS: Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.
TYLENOL #3: Tylenol 3 for pain
ACETAZOLAMIDE: For Altitiude Illness
Utensils Guides' Pick
PASSPORT: Valid for six months beyond your return date.
COPY OF PASSPORT: The first two pages of your passport.
COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY
READING MATERIAL / JOURNAL
iPOD or MP3 PLAYER
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: huts, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, avalanche probes, shovels, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).
Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.
Purchase travel insurance.
Return the Participant Information Form to the RMI Office.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!
Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. Your trip fee does not included bottled water and drinks.
Please list any special dietary needs on the Participant Information Form. The form must be returned to the RMI Office 60 days prior to the program departure date.
You are responsible for your own mountain lunches for 6 days. Lunch items should weigh about 3 - 4 lbs. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Mexico, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take lunch foods that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Mountain Breakfasts and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars (Kashi, Kudos), hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
This trip is open to individuals in excellent physical condition who have prior knowledge and are comfortable with rope travel, the use of crampons, and ice axe arrest. This is a great first trip to altitudes above 15,000 feet.
Simply put, climbers perform better and enjoy the adventure more if they have a high degree of fitness and comfort with basic mountaineering skills. This program’s high altitude and snowy terrain contribute to make this a very worthwhile challenge.
Recommended climbing experiences prior to the Mexico volcanoes include climbs which introduce climbers to basic rope, ice axe and cramponing skills:
- 4-day or 5-day Summit Climb on Mt. Rainier
- Expedition Skills Seminar on Mt. Rainier
- Mountaineer’s route on Mt. Whitney
- Avalanche Gulch route on Mt. Shasta
Physical Fitness Training
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For Mexico Volcanoes, you are preparing for:
- Hiking/trekking with a 50-60 lb load
- Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 20-25 lb load
- A 12+ hour summit day
- Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support, both with regards to travel arrangements, evacuation policies and insurance options. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Even if you are a seasoned traveler capable of organizing your own travel arrangements, consider contacting her if you wish to avoid sifting through the variety of evacuation policies and insurance options on the market. Call (208) 788-2870 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellation Insurance, Medical Evacuation & Security Evacuation
We strongly encourage everyone to purchase Travel Insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, repatriation and more. The wise traveler, while perhaps able to walk away from the non-refundable cost of an adventure, recognizes that travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling. Note that many of the insurance options can be purchased under one policy but some coverage may only be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit or if purchased as an upgrade to an existing policy rather than as a stand-alone option.
Due to the remote nature of this particular program, we strongly encourage participants to consider both cancellation insurance and a separate medical & security evacuation policy.
Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation insurance offers protection of deposit and registration funds should you need to cancel from a program. This might be due to an injury during training, a personal illness, or it might be due to extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. Check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including adventure/sports coverage.
Medical Evacuation: An illness or injury in a remote area could require a medical evacuation costing well over $100,000. Travel insurance providers (such as AIG Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance) typically offer reimbursement for medical evacuations. Additionally, crisis response companies (such as Global Rescue) can orchestrate an actual field rescue as necessary in medical, security or other evacuation situations, even from extremely remote areas. Check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including details of what constitutes a medical vs. a non-medical emergency.
Security Evacuation: This policy offers crisis evacuation services in non-medical situations. Examples include evacuations from areas affected by natural disasters, war or conflict zones, terrorism, and other areas in which participant security is threatened. RMI purchases Security Evacuation Policies from Global Rescue for its guides on this program.
For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.
|AIG Travel Guard||Erin Rountree|
|Travelex Insurance||Global Rescue|
Most major US airlines offer daily flights to Mexico City (MEX). Flights should be booked to allow for an arrival time in the early afternoon on Day 1 of the itinerary. Departing flights should be booked for 3:00 p.m. or later on Day 7.
As of January 23, 2007, a valid passport is required when traveling to/from Mexico by air. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected date of return. U.S. passport holders can stay up to 90 days without special visas.
Upon arrival in Mexico City, you will be required to complete a currency declaration form which will be submitted to the authorities on your departure. You will need to retain the "stub" of your immigration form for the duration of your stay, and present it upon leaving. Loss of this stub usually results in a fine.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a back up. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as passport and visa requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Upon arrival at the Mexico City airport, follow the signs through Immigrations. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay.
After picking up your bags, proceed to Customs where there will be a random selection of bags for inspection. As you enter into the main terminal building, you will be greeted by a crowd of baggage handlers. The scene can be a bit overwhelming. Just keep your bags together and find one of the airport's Authorized Taxi booths - "Taxi Autorizado."
We recommend finding Taxi Sitio 300. Their website is in Spanish, but shows all the current fares. They have three locations right inside the airport. If exiting from the international arrivals hall "E1," there is an authorized taxi booth immediately to the right as you walk out the door. If exiting from arrivals hall "E2," there is an authorized taxi booth immediately to the left as you walk out the door. There is also a booth located at "Puerta 10." Once you purchase your ticket, you will be given a receipt. Show this to the driver. "Puerta 10" is where you will meet your taxi.
The drive to our hotel is approximately 3.5 miles, and located in "Zone 3." The current fare is 127 pesos (approximately $20 US) for the ride. Unless you are coming in with a group, you only need to hire a sedan car, and not a mini-van.
There have been occasional reports of baggage handlers escorting tourists from one taxi desk to another in an effort to get them to pay "additional" fees - baggage fees, excess baggage fees, over-sized baggage fees, etc. These are bogus fees and only intended to take advantage of tourists caught in the hectic pace of a strange airport. Simply be aware of this. You only need to pay the fare once, and you will be given a receipt.
Immunizations / Travel Medicine
For the most updated information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
The provided transportation in Mexico as stated in the itinerary is via private vans or buses.
Mexico Country Facts
The official language of Mexico is Spanish, and little English is spoken or understood outside Mexico City.
Mexico's attractions include its mountains, historical sites, archaeological ruins, fiestas, beaches, fishing, water sports, golf, bullfighting, handicrafts, music, dance, relaxation and moderate prices.
The time in Mexico City is the same as the central time zone in the United States. Daylight savings time is practiced.
The weather in Mexico City and while traveling to and from the mountains can be very warm. We recommend bringing a pair of light pants and a T-shirt. For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.
Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Tourists who flaunt such things as expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc may attract the attention of thieves.
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso. The recent exchange rate was about 9.8 pesos to the U.S. dollar. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com/ucc for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You will find that $300- $400 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Cash machines are readily available in Mexico City, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. There are several cash machines at the airport which makes it very easy and convenient to withdraw cash. While American dollars are widely accepted, we recommend changing money at the airport so that you have Mexican Pesos for airport porters, taxis, etc.
Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Traveler's checks are a good backup and the safest way to carry money, but are not easily cashed and usually have a much lower exchange rate. If you are planning to use travelers checks, we recommend that you buy America Express as they are most widely recognized and accepted.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Local waiters, drivers, mountain staff, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program.
Travelers often suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. Below are some basic guidelines to help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before all meals and after using any bathroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water; and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe dry excess moisture in drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Food - If you can cook it, boil it, or peel it; you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Mexico is very photogenic and the photos you take will be priceless. Install fresh batteries in your camera and/or flash before you leave the United States and take along an extra set. Bring plenty of film or storage space.
Ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly indigenous people. If in doubt, either ask or refrain. Don't photograph any government or military property or persons; this includes the airport.
Electricity in Mexico is the same as in the United States: the ungrounded two-prong plug is used for 110 volts, 60 hertz appliances. Appliances with 3 prongs or an enlarged prong will require an adapter.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is available in many destinations and in the event of more serious injuries or illnesses we recommend transport to any of the level I care centers in Mexico City. Our tour operator, Sr. Reyes, is an M.D. and is Chair of the local Cruz Roja (Red Cross). He has clinics near the base of El Pico de Orizaba, in Tlachichuca, and in Mexico City.
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
There are a number of books on travel health including: Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America by Dirk Schroeder. Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Fodor's and Frommers are all good travel guides. Information and updates can be found on the website for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, which provides medical information for travelers as well as the consular information.
R. J. Secor, Mexico's Volcanoes: A Climbing Guide. The Mountaineers, third ed., 2001.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/mexico/ is Lonely Planet's guide to travel in Mexico.
Wikitravel in Mexico offers good general information and links to explore.
A deposit of $1,500 per person secures your reservation. Final payment is due 90 days prior to the start of your program. Final payment may be made via check or wire transfer only. Trips departing within 90 days from the reservation date must be paid in full at the time of reservation.
We will send you a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment is due. If your final payment is not received within 90 days of the program your reservation will be cancelled and all fees forfeited.
Once we receive written notification (mail, e-mail, or fax) that you are canceling an individual participant or your entire reservation the following fees will apply. A fee of $750 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 90 days before departure. There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 90 days before your program.
Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.
The current fee includes:
- RMI Leadership
- Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
- All park entrance fees
- All group transportation in country as stated in the itinerary
- All breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain and other meals as stated in the itinerary
- All group cooking, climbing and camping equipment
The fee does not include:
- International airfare
- Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Passport and visa fees
- Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Bottled water and personal drinks
- Customary guide gratuities
- Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
- Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
- Transfer from the airport to the hotel upon arrival in Mexico City
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
* Single Travelers: If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate. If you wish to stay alone, a supplemental fee will be charged for a single room. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Safety is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them. RMI guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that improve your chance of reaching the summit without compromising the necessary margin of safety.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:
- is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber's own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
- honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.
Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions
In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines and restrictions on all climbing programs, domestic and international.
- Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
- Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
- Ages 18 & above: No restrictions
An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.
Accompaniment by parent or legal guardian is required for the program or climb.
Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.
RMI's program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person's own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.'s responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.
If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.