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Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

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  • Show Trip Info

    $3600 *
    9 days
    Level 3

    *We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs.


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Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico

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


  • Scale several of North America’s highest mountains over the course of one short climbing expedition.
  • Climb with an experienced RMI Guide, benefiting from the background, training, and expertise of our guides as you venture to higher altitudes.
  • Bring your climbing to new heights with multiple ascents that combine high altitude experience with basic technical difficulty.
  • From its glaciers to the small traditional towns of the country’s heartland, visit a rarely seen yet captivating side of Mexico.
  • Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

We begin our adventures in Mexico City, staying near from the quiet Zona Rosa that is one of the famous historical centers of the city. From Mexico City we head to La Malinche, an extinct volcano whose crumbling core juts above the Puebla Valley. We use La Malinche to build our acclimatization in preparation for the climbs ahead, hiking and sleeping in cabins on the mountain’s flanks.
We then turn our sights to nearby Ixtaccihuatl (Ixta), a broad ridged peak that overlooks Mexico City. Our ascent begins with a straightforward approach through alpine meadows to our high camp, Grupo de los Cien. Climbing directly up the Knees Route toward La Arista del Sol, we gain the summit ridge, making the airy ridge walk over a few "false summits" to the true summit of Ixta.  

As the highest peak in Mexico, El Pico de Orizaba is the crown jewel of the Mexican Volcanoes and our final summit of the trip.

Our climb of Orizaba starts with an exciting twelve mile jeep ride that takes us from the valley floor to our camp at the Piedra Grande Hut, perched above 14,000'. From our camp we make our way through the mountain’s rocky moraine to the toe of the Jamapa Glacier, climbing the glacier’s ice and snow slopes to Orizaba’s summit.

Climbing in Mexico includes moderately steep slopes and prior knowledge of roped travel, crampon techniques, and ice axe arrest is 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.


Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.

Our Mexico climbs are led by RMI’s foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience in not only Mexico but on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide held to our standards cannot be understated. We are also fortunate to have Servimont as our partners in Mexico. Our close relationship with them offers our trips the support needed to ensure a seamless experience and is a major factor behind our climbs’ successes. We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. Our guides take the time to choose fresh food and excellent ingredients for our meals in the mountains, keeping our teams well fed, happy, and healthy throughout the climb. We use private vehicles to travel between the different peaks, minimizing our time spent on the road and allowing us to travel more safely. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.


Safety has always been RMI’s top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI’s experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Mexico’s Volcanoes. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles, daily weather forecasts via satellite, and diligent attention are taken as we venture to high altitudes. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.

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

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

Experiencing a new culture.
Nunzio C.

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

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

Meeting the guides and fellow climbers. Experiencing Puebla and the rich history of Mexico.
Aaron K.

The climbs, Food, and Guides were great!
Jace D.

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.

Guides were great and both peaks were awesome.
Brian V.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Our group came together and we really encouraged each other well.
Whit R.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

You guys are doing great. Keep it up.
Glenn O.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The variations in the climbing. Multiple mountains to climb.
Jeff B.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Reaching the summit.
Martha S.

Beautiful mountains, good comraderie.
Kent M.

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

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

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

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

The leadership and professionalism of our guides.
Fatima W.

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

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

the sense of accomplishment when finished. can't underestimate that.
Ryan M.

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

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  • Price
    9 days
    Level 3

    *We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs.

Table of Contents
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Day 1

MEXICO CITY •  7,300' | 2,225m

Upon your arrival in Mexico City, a taxi ride will take you to our hotel. Our hotel is near the heart of the city and the lively Zona Rosa with its many museums, shops, outdoor cafes, pubs, and restaurants. We have an evening orientation meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the hotel lobby.


Day 2

LA MALINCHE (14,636' | 4,461m)  •  10,000' | 3048m

We meet for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and plan to leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m. We drive in private vehicles to the cabins at the La Malintzi Resort, a facility located at 10,000' at the base of La Malinche (14,636') and initially used by Mexico's Olympic Team for training. We take an acclimatization hike on La Malinche to stretch our legs and lungs. This beautiful hike provides an enjoyable opportunity to help our bodies adjust to the altitude. (B, D)

La Malinche

La Malinche

Day 3

LA JOYA  •  13,047' | 3,977m

We depart La Malinche and travel towards Ixtaccihuatl. We have time to visit a local market in Amecameca and purchase any last-minute items for our climb. From here, we head into the mountains and enter the Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park. This is one of the highest roads in Mexico, and at the end of the road is La Joya (13,047'). We set up camp, and take a short acclimatization hike before dinner. (B, D)

Altzomoni Hut

Day 4

IXTACCIHUATL HIGH CAMP  •  15,430' | 4,703m

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

High Camp

Day 5

IXTACCIHUATL SUMMIT DAY (17,340' | 5,285m)  •  7,000' | 2,134m

Summit Day on Ixtaccihuatl! We depart High Camp for our summit attempt. We will climb the Knees Route to the Ridge of the Sun (La Arista del Sol). After enjoying the views and celebrating on the 17,340' summit, we descend to High Camp, pack up, and return to La Jolla. We transfer to the colonial city of Puebla and check into our hotel. (B)

Summit Day

Summit Day

Day 6

PUEBLA  •  7,000' | 2,134m

Our hotel in Puebla is located one block away from the Zocalo (main square) in the heart of the downtown historic district of Puebla and has been on the city map since 1668. The day is free for you to relax and explore the city and the many historical sites. (B)


Day 7

ORIZABA HIGH CAMP  •  14,000' | 4,267m

Today we drive to Tlachichuca, located at the base of Pico de Orizaba. After lunch, four-wheel drive trucks take us to Piedra Grande, our High Camp on Orizaba at 14,000'. We spend the night in tents near the hut. (B, L, D)

High Camp

Day 8

ORIZABA SUMMIT DAY (18,491' | 5,636m)  •  8,583' | 2,616m

Summit Day on Pico de Orizaba! With an early alpine start, we make our way through a maze of rock and scree. Upon reaching the Jamapa Glacier, we don crampons and ice axes and rope up for the remainder of the climb. The glaciers on Orizaba are relatively non-technical, with very few crevasses, and the ascent to 18,491' is fairly straightforward. After celebrating on the summit, we begin our descent. Upon reaching Piedra Grande, we load our trucks and descend for a hot shower and a home-cooked meal. We spend the night in a climbers' hostel in Tlachichuca. (B, D)

Summit Day

Summit Day

Day 9


After breakfast, we depart Tlachichuca and return to Mexico City. It's about a three-hour drive, and we arrive at the airport around 12:00 p.m. Your outbound flight should be booked for 3:00 p.m. or later. (B)



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

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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

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For Mexico Volcanoes, you are preparing for:

  • Hiking/trekking with a 50-60 lb load
  • Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 20-25 lb load
  • A 12+ hour summit day
  • Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.


The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.

Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.

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What You’ll Need

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 when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

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

Equipment List

    • 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.


      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.

    • Image of 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.

    • Image of 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.

  • Hands

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

  • 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.

  • Guide Pick™


      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.

  • 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.

  • Guide Pick™


      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.


      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.


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


      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:


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


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


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


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


      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.

    • Image of MEALS & SNACKS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • Image of 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 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.

    • Image of 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.

    • Image of WATER BOTTLES
      2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

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


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


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

    • Image of SUNSCREEN

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

    • Image of EAR PLUGS

      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.

    • Image of CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

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


      For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.

    • Image of TRAVEL CLOTHES

      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.


      Valid for six months beyond your return date.


      The first two pages of your passport.

    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the best shape of your life!

Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: huts, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, avalanche probes, shovels, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.

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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 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.


The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars (Kashi, Kudos), hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.


Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

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covid-19 procedures

We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs. You will need to upload a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card into your RMI Account before you can be confirmed on the program.

We also require climbers read, sign, and agree to RMI's COVID-19 Operating Procedures and complete two Health Screenings (one 14 days before your program date and one upon arrival) in order to participate in the program.


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 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.


The $900 per person deposit is non-refundable.

  • 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


  • 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


  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
  • RT-PCR or Antigen test required for return to United States
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $100 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
  • Any expenses from COVID-19 or COVID-19 testing that causes delays or quarantine requirements such as additional lodging, food, transfers, border issues, delayed test results, etc.
  • 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 a hazardous sport. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rockfall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.

You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.

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 be in violation of 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-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines:

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of the program
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example, a 15-year-old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany the minor climber throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.

A parent or legal guardian must sign for any Participant that is under 18 years of age. On behalf of any minor participant, the parent or legal guardian understands and accepts all the terms of the Program Policies.

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, or 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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