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Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $4100
    Deposit
    $900
    Duration
    9 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Mountaineering
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Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

dollar sign Price / Deposit

$4,100 / $ 900

Meter Difficulty

Level 3

Clock Duration

9 days

Climber on cliff Type

Mountaineering

The volcanoes overlooking Mexico's central valleys challenge mountaineers with high altitudes and exciting glacial climbing in an expedition to two of North America's highest mountains.

Jump To…

Mexico's central valleys are home to several of the highest summits in North America; El Pico de Orizaba (18,491'), is the third highest while its neighbor Ixtaccihuatl (17,340') ranks as number seven.

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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 required; 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.

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 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

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.

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 protected].

Climber Reviews

Filter By
03/26/2024
The whole experience was fantastic. We didn't get to summit Ixta, but given the conditions created by Popo, we all understood and appreciated our guides' expertise and caution. I am not sure I can single out any part as my particular favorite, but the entire group, including the guides, porters, driver, hotel staff....we all got along so well. So while the Orizaba summit was an amazing moment, I will take away lasting friendships and memories of our amazing "downtime." And while some of those experiences are due to the group and the quality of people in it, some of it is due to the RMI itinerary, organization, and the guides' willingness to let us be us as a group and as individuals.
Jared W.

03/13/2024
Felt very well-supported and empowered to give it my absolute best, but without being pulled up the mountain!
Eric O.

03/12/2024
the camaraderie created by Dominic and Ben in such a short period of time was fantastic!
Thinus K.

03/12/2024
The people who were on the trip with us (both guides and clients) as well as all the support staff. Everyone was friendly, helpful and supportive.
Erica K.

02/16/2024
The camaraderie we had as a team was truly awesome. We were able to accomplish so much, and much of this was due to team work. The guides ensured that we stuck together, while also allowing us to move as fast or slow as needed.
Christopher J.

02/16/2024
I loved the schedule and how we had some rest and down time after each hike. The food was also a highlight for me.
Aleeza Y.

02/14/2024
We had a great group of people that got along well.
Greg W.

02/13/2024
Climbing big mountains while having so much catered to us - the local service company cooked (great) meals for us at all the base camps and we had a good mix of staying in tents and hotels throughout the trip.
Connor L.

02/13/2024
Obviously climbing big mountains in a foreign country is great, and they were. But- The most unexpectedly great part of this trip was the cultural and culinary experience. The provided food had local flair, where I thought it might be standard camp food, we had fajita bowls, Mexican BBQ, and quesadillas, and cake!
Andrew B.

03/02/2023
I enjoyed the camaraderie; singing in the bus, group dinners out, and getting to know everyone. The mountains were super tough but I feel that with Dustin and Lauren we were more than prepared.
Patricia F.

02/01/2023
The mix of mountains and leisure time. The "gourmet meals" at high camp and post climb
Daniel F.

11/16/2022
I really enjoyed the progression of the trip from La Malinche to Orizaba. Down time in Pueblo was also great.
Jonathan S.

03/18/2022
Experiencing a new culture.
Nunzio C.

03/16/2022
The summit pushes on each of the peaks felt very adventurous without being overwhelming.
Justin J.

03/07/2022
Dominic was excellent. The program was well paced. There was zero logistical snafu. This was truly remarkable to me.
Mo E.

02/28/2022
Meeting the guides and fellow climbers. Experiencing Puebla and the rich history of Mexico.
Aaron K.

02/25/2022
The climbs, Food, and Guides were great!
Jace D.

02/22/2022
It's an amazing trip. Parts of it are tough but that is the idea, it is not a vacation but an adventure and it lived up to every moment of it. I think it is also the guides who really make it special.
Andrew W.

02/21/2022
Guides were great and both peaks were awesome.
Brian V.

11/19/2021
Getting to both summits was the highlight. The whole itinerary to help me get acclimated worked great. The rest day in Puebla was an ideal length of time and relaxing location.
Frederick M.

02/29/2020
This trip was so much more than I ever dreamed it would be. Phenomenal in every aspect.
Matt R.

12/04/2019
The program was great and the guides and logistics were right on - as usual with RMI. I recommend your company to everyone.
Scott C.

11/25/2019
Pretty hard to top the summit day on Orizaba. I was also highly impressed with the overall logistics. We moved all over the place with different hotels, mountains, sleeping and eating arrangements and there was not one single hiccup. I know that does not happen by accident but rather it is a result of careful planning and hard work. Extremely impressive
John B.

11/23/2019
I had such an incredible experience on this trip. I enjoyed every stop and every person along the way. You just can’t beat being outside in a beautiful place while someone else takes care of all of the details. Such a treat!
Amy L.

05/15/2019
Planning to use RMI again and would love a chance to work with guides again
Melissa T.

05/15/2019
Absolutely right on par with my experience level and that was adequately communicated pre-trip. Great trip to improve skills and get some expedition experience.
John W.

03/26/2019
The combination of travel and mountaineering. We had wonderful meals and local experiences in Mexico City and Puebla. The high camps were well run. Porter service was very friendly and helpful.
David C.

03/26/2019
Standing on top of Mexico was an Incredible experience for this farmboy but in all honesty the best part of the trip was from when I landed in Mexico city until I left Mexico city . The whole trip was PERFECT!!!
Dave K.

03/24/2019
Awesome guides. Great group that really quickly became a team. Enjoyable rest day in Puebla. Good mix of culture and climbs. Perfect logistics.
Lindsay N.

03/01/2019
I loved everything about this trip. The guides were superb and the itinerary was very well thought out.
Kevin K.

02/12/2019
The guides were fantastic. I loved the mix of mountaineering/camping and recovery time to explore some of the local towns/people.
Mark A.

02/11/2019
Aside from the climbing itself, I think this trip edged out Ecuador in terms of the cultural experiences -- though both were fantastic. It seemed we had a good amount of time in Puebla to really experience the food and people.
Kerry J.

02/03/2019
Our group came together and we really encouraged each other well.
Whit R.

02/03/2019
We had great weather which puts a positive glow on everything we did. Fun, close team and guides.
Larry S.

02/03/2019
Overall outstanding trip. Guides were Awesome & quite frankly the group really meshed well and became a family by the end of the trip! Cudos to everyone!
Ron S.

02/01/2019
The best part of the trip was getting to know some amazing new people. From the guides to the other clients, we had a great team that really got along and encouraged each other. The climbing was tough but so rewarding. Really inspiring to want to continue the sport.
Mychal W.

12/01/2018
Summiting the first and third highest peaks in Mexico. Visiting a country I'd never been in before. Climbing and traveling with a fun bunch of folk.
Hubey F.

11/29/2018
The journey up the gorgeous volcanos with great friends. The day off in Puebla was an unexpected great experience as well. It's a beautiful city.
Mark M.

04/01/2018
The organization and logistics were awesome and allowed for a stress free trip.The itinerary, lodging, and transportation was fantastic.
Richard A.

03/05/2018
You guys are doing great. Keep it up.
Glenn O.

03/04/2018
The team was strong, experienced and dialed in. We had great group cohesion and Chase and Lucas blended well. It felt like family.
Bryan W.

02/18/2018
I think if people only knew how much fun this trip was from start to finish, it would fill up even faster than your DC climbs do. I would certainly consider doing it again myself, especially if I could do it with Christina and JT. And I definitely will be recommending the Mexico Volcanoes trip to other climbing friends of mine.
Craig F.

02/12/2018
This is a great trip that offers high altitudes in a convenient little package!
Jason P.

02/02/2018
The group of people (including the guides) that it was shared with. Not only that I have an opportunity to climb on some beautiful and challenging mountains, but I also spent most of the week laughing so hard my sides hurt.
Ted L.

10/24/2017
RMI seems to draw good people to it -- the guides are obviously fantastic but the reputation of RMI brings good climbing parties together. I truly enjoyed getting to know the whole Team, whether that occurred on the mountain or on the bus, it was great!
Steve D.

03/29/2017
The climbs were challenging but kept safe via Eric and Jenny's leadership. The additional cultural background was a big plus I learned allot form both Eric and Jenny and they were very well informed
Jeff S.

03/28/2017
Guides were fantastic, especially in finding the delicate but important balance between safety, goals, and fun. The itinerary is great as it allowed us to climb 2-3 peaks but also see Mexico City, Puebla, some other small towns, and also have portions of team down time. Great memories that will last a lifetime.
Jared E.

03/18/2017
The variations in the climbing. Multiple mountains to climb.
Jeff B.

02/27/2017
Cutting my teeth on higher altitudes and the easy going team. The guides made the trip enjoyable and a success and I eager to get back out and climb.
Kierstie C.

11/17/2016
I really enjoyed being able to see so many different places and be on so many different peaks in such a short period of time. The friends I went with all agreed it felt like we had done a three week vacation in 9 days due to the variety. The guides were also fantastic and perfectly balanced when it was time to help and when it was fine to let people be a bit more independent.
Lucas K.

11/15/2016
Hiking! Getting to know our fellow hikers and guides was great and the cities were beautiful but we went there to hike and get in some mountains and that's what I like best. Even when it's cruddy it's awesome.
Sierra O.

10/31/2016
Obviously, being in the mountains and getting to climb some major summits on the continent. I was pleasantly surprised at how well we ate at high-camps, the guides did a very good job of making the meals plentiful and also enjoyable to eat, even with the limited options up high. The hotel lodging in Mexico City and Puebla greatly exceeded my expectations. Also, Puebla is the perfect place to spend a rest day. There were many historical sites, as well as interesting architecture and festivities. It was very easy to fill up a whole day there.
Alexander S.

02/06/2016
The climb was excellent. The guides are knowledgeable and experience. I enjoyed the cultural immersion of the climb.
Mong L.

02/04/2016
Solveig and Billy were great. Wonderful attitude and very skilled in the mountains. Loved both mountains; very nice climbing.
David P.

01/29/2016
The summit climbs, crushing some personal goals, talking with my guides on the mountain, meeting some new friends.
Courtney T.

11/23/2015
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.

11/10/2015
Jake did a great job - My sincere thanks. Safety came first, but he kept it funAlfredo was also a really good guideWe had a small but really good groupBoth volcanoes provided outstanding hikingAccomodations in Puebla were really good - The rest of the accomodations were fine
Mike M.

04/07/2015
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.

04/07/2015
The people in our group really made the experience fantastic. Jake and Christine included. The mix of culture and hiking made for a great mix. I came away with a totally different impression about the Mexican cities. The people were great towards us. Terrific hospitality throughout. The challenge of Pico was certainly there and I certainly would have been let down if we did not summit anything during our trip. Appreciate very much that our guides gave us a shot without compromising safety. Look forward to finding another RMI trip that blends cultural and climbing elements.
Scott A.

03/23/2015
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.

03/20/2015
The way the team got along. Jake and Kristina's leadership styles definitely brought the whole group together as a team.
Paul S.

03/20/2015
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.

03/20/2015
The camaraderie and real spirit of teamwork and caring for each other during the trip.
Dom M.

03/11/2015
Guides and fellow climbers. Good mix of time on the mountain and culturally stimulation during rest days.
Tom J.

03/03/2015
Excellent knowledge by the guides and a caring atmosphere created a great group to travel with.
Jason A.

03/03/2015
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.

11/22/2014
I liked the variety of the 3 climbs and the rest day in Puebla was a nice break.Was a great combination of van rides, hotels, tents and climbing days.Zeb, Robby, and Alfredo were great guides with very good organizational and teaching skills.
Tim K.

11/03/2014
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.

11/03/2014
We had a solid group of climbers with lots of camaraderie and support. We enjoyed each others company.
David H.

11/01/2014
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.

03/23/2014
Challenge of multiple types of terrain during the climbs, two summits and the locations in Mexico
David P.

03/21/2014
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.

03/17/2014
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.

03/16/2014
Adam and Alfredo really made the trip an outstanding experience.It was a great blend of sightseeing, cultural enrichment, mountaineering and meeting new people
Bruce F.

03/16/2014
Reaching the summit.
Martha S.

02/04/2014
Beautiful mountains, good comraderie.
Kent M.

02/04/2014
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.

02/02/2014
It was kind of a fun group. All the details seemed really well worked out and organized.
Kirk L.

02/02/2014
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.

11/10/2013
Great team, awesome guides. The expertise of RMI guides is outstanding.
Barbara S.

11/03/2013
The leadership and professionalism of our guides.
Fatima W.

11/01/2013
Challenging myself and sharing this experience with an old friend and new friends.
Debbi L.

07/26/2013
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.

03/25/2013
the sense of accomplishment when finished. can't underestimate that.
Ryan M.

03/22/2013
2 summitas in olny 9 days, great logistics, professional and fun guides.
Stefano B.

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Contents
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Qualifications

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition with previous climbing experience. Prior knowledge and experience with rope travel, the use of crampons, and ice axe arrest is required. It is a great first trip to altitudes above 15,000'.

Our experience shows that individuals 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.

Qualifying Programs

Recommended climbing experiences prior to Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico include:

 

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

Create A Fitness And Training Program

 

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.

Acclimatization

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.

Contents
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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!


  • Whittaker Mountaineering 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.

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

Equipment List

Pack & Travel

Image of DUFFEL BAG(S)
2 DUFFEL BAG(S)

120+ liter bag(s) made of tough material with rugged zippers.

Guide Pick™

Image of LUGGAGE LOCKS
LUGGAGE LOCKS

Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.

Guide Pick™

Image of 65+ LITER BACKPACK
65+ LITER BACKPACK

Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and your share of group equipment. You will not need a separate summit pack.

Guide Pick™

Image of 25+ LITER DAY PACK
25+ LITER DAY PACK

A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on or while sightseeing.

Guide Pick™

Sleeping Bag & Pad

Image of SLEEPING BAG
SLEEPING BAG

We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.

Guide Pick™

Image of COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
Guide Pick™

Image of SLEEPING PAD
SLEEPING PAD

Full-length inflatable or closed cell pad.

Guide Pick™

Technical Gear

Image of ICE AXE
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of CLIMBING HARNESS
CLIMBING HARNESS

We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

Guide Pick™

Image of TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER
1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER

Used for clipping into the climbing rope.

Guide Pick™

Image of CRAMPONS
CRAMPONS

12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use.

Guide Pick™

Image of AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES

Bring extra batteries appropriate to the duration of the climb.

Guide Pick™

Image of TREKKING POLES
TREKKING POLES

We recommend lightweight and collapsible poles with snow baskets.

Guide Pick™

Head

Image of HELMET
HELMET

A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™

Image of WARM HAT
WARM HAT

Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™


Image of BUFF
BUFF

A Buff provides versitile head and neck protection. A neck gaiter is also acceptable.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEADLAMP
HEADLAMP

Start with fresh batteries and bring extra set(s) of batteries appropriate to the duration of the trip.

Guide Pick™

Image of GLACIER GLASSES
GLACIER GLASSES

Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

Guide Pick™

Image of GOGGLES
GOGGLES

Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

Guide Pick™

Image of SAFETY GLASSES (OPTIONAL)
SAFETY GLASSES (OPTIONAL)

Helpful in keeping blowing dust out of the eyes at night. If you wear prescription glasses, make sure they can fit over.


Hands

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

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LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES

Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.

Guide Pick™

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MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated mountain gloves.

Guide Pick™

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HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency backups if you drop or lose a lighter-weight glove.

Guide Pick™

Upper Body

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, softshell, down, and synthetic options.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY
LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY

Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

One step up in warmth and bulk from a baselayer. A technical fleece makes an ideal light weight insulating layer.

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

A down, synthetic, or softshell hoody makes a great midlayer.

Guide Pick™

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RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL)

An uninsulated, waterproof shell jacket with hood.

Guide Pick™

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INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD

Your expedition-style heavy parka must extend below the waist, have an insulated hood, and be able to fit over the rest of your upper body layers. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it also serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill.

Guide Pick™

Image of SPORTS BRA
SPORTS BRA

We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.

Guide Pick™

Lower Body

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.



Image of SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS
SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS

Softshell climbing pants can be worn in combination with a base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)
RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)

Non-insulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and softshell climbing pants. Full side zippers or 7/8 side zippers are required so that shell pants can be put on while wearing boots and crampons.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANTS OR SHORTS
LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANTS OR SHORTS

A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.

Guide Pick™

Feet

SINGLE OR DOUBLE MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS

Boots are one of the most important pieces of mountaineering gear, and bringing the right pair is critical to your safety and success.

Either single or double boots will work for this climb.

Most climbers prefer the single mountaineering boot because they provide the best balance of weight, comfort, and insulation. The biggest disadvantage is that they do not have as much insulation as a double boot, so your feet may get cold on summit days. Bring one pair of chemical foot warmers per summit day if you will be using single mountaineering boots.

Double mountaineering boots will also work for this climb, but they are better suited for climbs where you do not need to wear your boots on a long approach, the route is mostly on snow, or your feet tend to get cold.


Image of RAINIER AND 5000 METER SINGLE BOOT TEXT

SINGLE BOOTS: Insulated, full-shank, and crampon-compatible leather or synthetic boots designed for mountaineering. Single boots tend to be lighter and more comfortable than double boots at the expense of warmth.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAINIER AND 5000 METER DOUBLE BOOT TEXT

DOUBLE BOOTS: Insulated double boots designed for mountaineering. Plastic-shelled models are acceptable, though modern synthetic models are lighter and more comfortable.

Guide Pick™

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HIKING BOOTS

A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.

Guide Pick™

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CASUAL SHOES

Great for traveling and wearing around town. A pair of tennis shoes or light hikers works well.

Guide Pick™

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GAITERS

A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing. Not needed if using a boot with an integrated gaiter.

Guide Pick™

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3 PAIRS OF SOCKS

Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.

Guide Pick™

First Aid & Medications

MEDICATIONS

We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.

We require each climber to have the following medications:


ANTIBIOTICS

Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).


ACETAZOLAMIDE (DIAMOX)

125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 15 - 20 tablets.


DEXAMETHASONE

4mg tablets for the treatment of altitude illness. Recommend 12 tablets.


NIFEDIPINE

30mg slow-release tablets for the prevention or treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Recommend 8 - 10 tablets.


Image of SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT
SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT

Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.

Guide Pick™

Personal Items

Image of MEALS & SNACKS
MEALS & SNACKS

See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


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BOWL

Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.


Image of INSULATED MUG
INSULATED MUG

Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.

Guide Pick™

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SPOON OR SPORK

A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

Guide Pick™

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2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

Guide Pick™

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STUFF SACK(S)

Bring as needed.

Guide Pick™

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2 LARGE GARBAGE BAGS

Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.


Image of POCKETKNIFE
POCKETKNIFE
Guide Pick™

Image of READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
Guide Pick™

Image of PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG
PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.


Image of SUNSCREEN
SUNSCREEN

We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

Guide Pick™

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LIP BALM

We recommend SPF 15 or higher.

Guide Pick™

Image of EAR PLUGS
EAR PLUGS

SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.


Image of PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)
PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)

Practice using this before coming on the climb!

Guide Pick™

Image of CAMERA (OPTIONAL)
CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.


Image of POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)
POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)

A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.

Guide Pick™

TRAVEL POWER ADAPTER

For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.


Travel Clothes

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TRAVEL CLOTHES

We recommend bringing a selection of clothing to wear while traveling, site seeing and dining.  


SUNGLASSES

Travel Documents

PASSPORT

Valid for six months beyond your return date.


COPY OF PASSPORT

The first two pages of your passport.


COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY

Pre-Trip Checklist

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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MEALS

On Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico you will need 5 mountain lunches. All of your mountain lunch items should weigh 3 - 4 lb.

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. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.

MOUNTAIN LUNCHES

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

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).

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.

BREAKFAST

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

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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Payments

Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $900 per person secures your reservation.

  • Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, or check from a U.S. bank.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.

  • Balance payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.**
    • **Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
  • A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees will be forfeited.
  • Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.

*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.

Cancellation

The $900 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
    • If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $900 per person deposit will not be refunded.
    • If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, we strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.

Cancellation Insurance

We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.

Land Cost

INCLUDED

  • 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

NOT INCLUDED

  • 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
  • Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $125 per person)
  • 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.

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.

Risk Management

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently hazardous. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, but they cannot eliminate them.  Objective hazards include rockfall, icefall, avalanches, slides or falls by individuals and rope teams on steeper slopes, weather-related problems including cold, heat, high winds, and other unnamed dangers that can occur while climbing.

You are choosing to engage in an activity in which guided and non-guided climbers have been injured or 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 risks and hazards of mountaineering and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity. 

PARTICIPANT Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:

  • Possess the climbing prerequisites required for this program.
  • Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
  • Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
  • Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
  • Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
  • Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
  • Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
  • Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
  • Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
  • Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
  • Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
  • Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.

Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.

RMI may consider conduct to violate the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.

Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.

Age requirements

All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.

Photo Release

RMI’s Photo Release outlines the terms and conditions for using your likeness in photographs, videos, or other digital media. 

I hereby grant Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) or its affiliates permission to use my likeness in a photograph, video, or other digital media (“photo”) in any and all of its publications, including web-based publications. By granting permission, you allow RMI to utilize these media for lawful purposes. 

Here are the key points:

  1. Authorization: You authorize RMI to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, or distribute the photos.
  2. Ownership: All photos become the property of RMI and will not be returned.
  3. Compensation: You will not be compensated for these uses.
  4. Rights: RMI exclusively owns all rights to the images, videos, and recordings and to any derivative works created from them. 
  5. Waiver: You waive the right to inspect or approve printed or electronic copies.
  6. Release: You release Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. and its assigns and licensees from any claims arising from these uses, including defamation, invasion of privacy, rights of publicity, or copyright.
  7. Hold Harmless: You hold harmless, release, and forever discharge RMI or its affiliates from any and all claims, demands, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators, or any other persons acting on my behalf or on behalf of my estate have or may have by reason of this authorization.

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 group may have to turnaround 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 conditions, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in a refund, credit, or reschedule.

General Policies

RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).

Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including, but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.

The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees to enter another country, tests required to return to the US, and/or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, etc.

Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies 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. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.

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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 40 to 55 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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