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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.

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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.

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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.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES

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

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated mountain gloves.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS
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™

Image of RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL)
RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL)

An uninsulated, waterproof shell jacket with hood.

Guide Pick™

Image of INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD
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™

Image of HIKING BOOTS
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™

Image of CASUAL SHOES
CASUAL SHOES

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

Guide Pick™

Image of GAITERS
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™

Image of PAIRS OF SOCKS
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.


Image of BOWL
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™

Image of SPOON OR SPORK
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™

Image of WATER BOTTLES
2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

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

Guide Pick™

Image of STUFF SACK(S)
STUFF SACK(S)

Bring as needed.

Guide Pick™

Image of LARGE GARBAGE BAGS
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™

Image of LIP BALM
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

Image of TRAVEL CLOTHES
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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