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Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

Mexico's central valleys are home to several of the highest summits in North America; El Pico de Orizaba (18,701'), is the third highest while its neighbor Ixtaccihuatl (17,340') ranks as number seven.


  • 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 its 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 near from the quiet Zona Rosa that is one of the famous historical centers 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, Grupo de los Cien. Climbing directly up the Knees Route toward La Arista del Sol, 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.

Our climb of Orizaba starts with an exciting twelve mile jeep ride that 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 Jamapa Glacier, climbing the glacier’s ice and snow slopes to Orizaba’s summit.

Climbing in Mexico includes 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. These climbs are 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.


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 Denali 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.

MexAmbulance ProjectRMI 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 info@rmiguides.com.

Climber Reviews

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I was there for the summits but the cultural part of the itinerary was a nice surprise. I knew we would have some time to ourselves but I didn't count on how much I would enjoy Puebla and the local people. The program was excellent and I can't imagine a better way to see the authentic side of Mexico. Great job to all
Curt C.

We had a great group that was very experienced (I was the only one who hadn't climbed Rainier already). Everyone got along really well and knew how to have fun.
Courtney R.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to improve my mountaineering skills from our wonderful guides. I respected their advice based on their vast experience and was amazed with their patience during challenging times on the volcano.
Daniel D.

The way the team got along. Jake and Kristina's leadership styles definitely brought the whole group together as a team.
Paul S.

Trying new things.....all of this was new to me. I don't think I could say what I enjoyed most, everything was great.
Eric U.

Guides and fellow climbers. Good mix of time on the mountain and culturally stimulation during rest days.
Tom J.

Excellent knowledge by the guides and a caring atmosphere created a great group to travel with.
Jason A.

It made a nice prelude to upcoming Denali climb with rmi. Good gear shakedown and lung stretcher. The logistics were seamless which allowed me to focus on my prep and performance.
Will W.

Elias gave us good direction and helpful tips to make our climb a lot less stressful on our bodies. Really professional. Our in country guides were friendly and extremely helpful. Reyes compound was warm and friendly we felt like family when we left.
Rebecca C.

We had a solid group of climbers with lots of camaraderie and support. We enjoyed each others company.
David H.

I enjoy using mountain climbing as the focus while visiting a new place, getting to interact with some locals and experience their environment and culture. Stopping in a small town to have a taste of their homemade tortillas and having a day to explore Puebla was particularly memorable.
Merrie V.

Challenge of multiple types of terrain during the climbs, two summits and the locations in Mexico
David P.

The ability to see two cities in Mexico. We actually arrived a day early and visited many sites such as the Pyramid of sun and the moon. We truly enjoyed this extra day to tour Mexico City. Also, I loved the on day rest between Ixta and Orizaba and thought La Malinche was a perfect warm up hike. I also thoroughly enjoyed both Adam Knoff and Alfredo Chavez. They were both absolutely fantastic guides.
Michael F.

The local guide and driver were very eager to share their extensive knowledge of both the geography and the culture. They also helped us find great food that we never would have known about otherwise.
Sarah S.

Reaching the summit.
Martha S.

Beautiful mountains, good comraderie.
Kent M.

The climbs were fascinating and scenery breathtaking, but the comradery developed between this particular group of people and the guides was far greater than any other trip I have taken.
Neil Y.

It was kind of a fun group. All the details seemed really well worked out and organized.
Kirk L.

A challenging experience that will push your mind and body hard with the payout of million dollar views and experiences. We had a great group of climbers with world class guides.
John J.

Great team, awesome guides. The expertise of RMI guides is outstanding.
Barbara S.

The leadership and professionalism of our guides.
Fatima W.

Challenging myself and sharing this experience with an old friend and new friends.
Debbi L.

It was a challenge to me physically and mentally. I thought it was an experience of a lifetime being able to be guided by Seth who (at the time) had summitted Everest twice. There is a lot you can learn from individuals with that much experience. Plus I have met some life long friends from this trip.
Brandon G.

  • Upcoming Climbs

      • January 16, 2016 Guide: Solveig Waterfall Guide: Billy Haas
      • Full
      • March 5, 2016 Guide: Geoff Schellens Guide: Eric Frank
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  • Price
    9 days
    Level 3
Table of Contents
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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 Zona Rosa 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.


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)


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 Altzomoni hut (12,000') where we take  a short acclimatization hike and overnight in the Altzomoni hut. (B, D)


Day 4


We leave the Altzomoni hut and hike to our High Camp. We set up camp, review our mountain skills and prepare for an early alpine start. (B, D)


Day 5


Summit Day on Ixtaccihuatl! We depart High Camp for our summit attempt. We will climb either the Knees Route to the Ridge of the Sun (La Arista del Sol). 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)


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.


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)


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)


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. Your outbound flight should be booked for 3:00 p.m. or later. Our vehicle will continue back to the hotel to drop off anyone who is extending their trip. (B)



Key: B, L, D = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included.

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This trip is open to climbers 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'.

Our experience shows that 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 programs prior to Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl include:

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

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.

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What You’ll Need

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.

  • RMI Climbers Get 10% Off
    All New Equipment At
    Whittaker Mountaineering

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

    • 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.


      The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.


      A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.


      You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.


      We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • MEALS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.


      We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.


      For avalanche transceiver.

    • CAMERA
    • 3 - 4 SHIRTS

      For hotel dinners and while traveling.


      Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.

    • TYLENOL #3

      Tylenol 3 for pain


      For Altitude Illness

    • iPOD

      Valid for six months beyond your return date.


      The first two pages of your passport.

    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

Provided Equipment

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.

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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.

Mountain Lunches

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.

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Deposit Payments: A deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation. Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check, or wire transfer.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 90 days prior to the start of your program, and we will send a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment is due. If your balance payment is not received within 90 days of the program, your reservation will be cancelled and all fees forfeited. Trips departing within 90 days from the reservation date must be paid in full at the time of reservation. Please note that balance payments may be made via check, e-check or wire transfer only.


Once we receive written notification 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.

Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.

Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.

Land Cost

The current fee includes:

  • RMI Leadership
  • Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
  • 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)

* Accommodations are based on double occupancy.  A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.

Risk Management

Managing risk 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.

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.

Climber Responsibilities

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

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 programs are assessed on an individual basis.

Summit Attempt

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.

General Policies

Any Participant under the age of 18 must be accompanied on the trip by a parent or legal guardian and both the Participant and parent or legal guardian must sign all forms.

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).

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.

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.

RMI recommends and strongly advises that the Participant have or purchase personal life, medical, accident, travel, baggage, trip cancellation, and other insurance that may pertain to participation in the program. The Participant understands that RMI provides no such insurance coverage in connection with the trip.

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Is it safe to travel in Mexico?

Because violence in Mexico remains in the news, questions about safety are among the most frequently asked.

We hold the perspective that travel to Mexico (and in fact any developing nation) includes risk, but not high risk. In order to safeguard our trips:

  • We have hired a reliable professional in-country tour operator to coordinate our in-country logistics.
  • We have hired a local guide familiar with the language, roads, customs, etc.
  • We follow popular tourist thoroughfares, using private vehicles (not public transportation).
  • We travel in groups and have tourist safety protocols in place (not flashing cash, not wearing expensive jewelry, etc.).
  • RMI guides are well-versed with our program and are accustomed to travel in a foreign country.
  • Very importantly, we avoid areas associated with drug activity or violence (such as the US-Mexico border towns).
  • Regarding corrupt policemen on the highways, we called our in-country operator and he offered the simple suggestion that you wear your seatbelts and don't text/use cell phones when driving, as these are illegal offenses which could prompt being stopped.

Take some time to visit the consular and travel warning pages at the U.S. Department of State. These pages offer good information and should be revisited occasionally as trip departure dates approach.

What is the food like on the mountain?

Please see our Food details for an example of meals while on the mountain.

Is the water okay to drink?

We strongly advise against drinking tap water in Mexico. Bottled water is readily available and should be used for all drinking water. Personal water filters or water treatment tablets are not needed.

What is the approach to Ixta like?

Overall, Ixta is generally considered to be the most demanding of the Mexican volcanoes we climb. Much of this is due to the 5 to 6 hour approach with heavy packs needed to get to high camp. The approach, while difficult, is also beautiful and covers varied and rugged terrain, from forests near the Altzomoni hut through fields of grassy hummocks to the barren landscape near high camp.

After reaching high camp (normally by early afternoon) we have the afternoon to review necessary mountaineering techniques for the summit climb, as well as some time to rest, relax, or read a book.

How much weight am I carrying in my pack?

Backpacks should weigh approximately 15 to 20 lbs as we only carry the day's snacks, water, clothing, etc. as needed on our acclimating hikes or summit climbs. The approach to Ixta is the exception. Then we carry 50 to 60 lbs (depending on the size of the climber) in order to establish our high camp.

What is the pace like?

We travel at an appropriate speed to cover the distance we need for the day without going too quickly or too slowly, regardless of whether we are on an acclimating hike or on a summit climb. While the actual distances are relatively short, the altitudes to which we travel are very high and the days of hiking and climbing are still challenging.

What are the camps like?

We prefer to stay in tents rather than the climber’s hut and set up camp a short distance away. We provide three-person tents for every two climbers.

What are the toilets like?

Basic pit-toilets are available near the hut on Orizaba and at the Ixta trailhead. En route, where no toilets exist, we use bio-bags to collect our solid waste so that it may be transported off of the mountain. We recommend that you bring hand sanitizer to use after visiting the toilets.

How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?

We suggest bringing a smart phone or a wi-fi enabled device and using it where WIFI and internet services are available, as in Mexico City and Puebla. On the climbs, however, WIFI access is not available. Cell service is widely available across most of Mexico, see below.

Should I bring a cell phone or a satellite phone?

Sure, cell phone coverage is generally available in and around towns. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Mexico and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.

RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.

Do iPhones function well at high altitude?

Yes. However the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip.

Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?

Yes, but if you wish to take it up on the mountain you will certainly need to recharge it once in a while using a personal solar charger. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Mexico.

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