ORIZABA A.K.A. Citlaltepetl or Star Mountain.  Nov 22- Dec 01 2002. Thanksgiving week.

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Orizaba on the TOP
Piedre Grande Base Hut

Summit Day 1998

Friends on 1998 Trip

All 1998 pics

Summit La Malinche 2000

Gclub host Michael Railey , has an "OPEN" invite for Friends and Gclub members to join him on " his "

Sometimes annual trek to Pico de ORIZABA, also known as Citlaltepetl or Star Mountain.

Orizaba is the highest peek in Mexico and the third highest peek in North America.
It is a dormant mid-Pliocene volcano on the continental divide. It is located at the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla. Orizaba rises above the semi-tropical forests of Veracruz and the semi-dry forests of Puebla to make a almost perfect Ice and Snow covered Volcanic cone. It reaches an altitude of 5,747meter (18,400ft-Some debate). It was first climbed in 1847-8 by US soldiers (then occupying Veracruz) led by Lt. WF Reynolds ( Back packing in Mexico Pg.161, 1997).

The best season to climb is November-March. Thus our semi-annual trek over Thanksgiving week. Why Thanksgiving week? Save your vacation time.

Trip Summary:
RATING: Most Strenuous:
  Hiking  over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations  with substantial altitude gains. This trip has  elevation gains over 4,000 Ft . Orizaba on summit day consisting of a 3,000ft snow packed slope and normal summit day takes between 5-14 hours   and La Malinche has 7 miles and 4,100ft gain over 8 hours. (OK now I have your attention: How hard is it really.. It WILL be difficult if you DO NOT prepare! This trip requires you to prepare physically. Four weeks prior to departure you should begin an exercise program that stars with Treadmill and power lifting. Goals: Cardiac and base strength building. I give weekly updates to where you need to be in your training program once you sign up. Final level: With a backpack weighing 40lbs, 45minutes on a treadmill with elevation of 15degs traveling at 3.0-4.0 miles per hour with your hiking boots on. That's it. Not all that hard. )

You will be going on a nice walk above the clouds ( and airplanes!) You need Crampons, Ice Axe, Alpine Bod harness, crampon compatible "BACKPACKING/MOUNTAIN " climbing boots-not sneakers, not weekend light boots-FULL Leather UPPERS with firm soles and preferably water proof and breathable.
Backpack and Day summit pack, sleeping bag(20degs),

OUTTER GEAR: waterproof-breathable outer shell and 200 pile fleece full body-recommended 2 100 pile fleece tops and 2 100 pile fleece bottoms. Think Skiing with water proof-breathable shells. Skier's can get by with Ski gear, mit's, head cover, sun block , de-hydrated foods, water bladder, GORP, Bevy Sac recommended, however not required, shared back packing tent. ( Ok, I have quite a bit of this gear, first come first serve on "Borrowing" my gear. )

Trip Outline: One Week and two weekends. Two summit's: La Malinche (4461meters, 14,600ft) as our "Acclimatization climb: 3 days" followed by a "Bus run" to Tlachichuca, (2,750m) at the base of Orizaba. While in Tlachichuca we will be staying with Senor Gerar at his clean and friendly hotel. This hotel has a roof top view of our beloved mountain. Senor Gerar will offer transportation to the Base Hut at Piedra Grande. Piedra Grande sits at 14,500ft up the side of Orizaba. It is below cloud level and usually "fogged " in with poor visibility , rain, fog and the BIGGEST MOUSE you have ever wrangled. Some people from previous trips prefer to start their camping here and stay in a tent, others prefer the " security " of stone walls and many people. either way we are all sharing the same pit toilet with the "Incredible View and No privacy ".

Costs: Airfare to Mexico City, Club donation: $35.00. Ground costs: Normally below $400.00. I have done this trip for less than $250 however that leaves very little for Beer! and shopping.

Previous Trip STATS:
Orizaba 1998: 7 people , Two ladies, Five Guys, Five Submitted, One Guy and One Lady "Hit the altitude " Wall and were not able to summit.  
Orizaba 2000: 3 Guys, 3 Summitted.
Orizaba 2002: 1 Gal 3 Guys. We drove, first time driving, wrong turn cost us 1.5 days. Time too short to summit safely and White Water Kayak. Opted out 400 below upper camp.  

Orizaba 2003 OPEN: ADDing La Malenche back into schedule for aclimization Total Mountain climbing days, 5 1.5 days on La Malenche Plus 3.5 days on Orizaba.

BELOW from 2002, needing updating for 2003. Trip Schedule/Muster Points: (Recommended Final:TBA)
??    11/22/2002 Friday/Late/Early arrivals Mexico City-Staying near Zocalo-Best Western ($70/night ) Hotel Marlow ($25/night) Hostel-( $12/night TBA) I will probably arrive in Mexico City a day or two early to attend a play at Teatro de Foro and visit with friends in the city, You are welcome to join me.
Fri    11/22/2002 Arrive Mexico City, bus to Puebla- TOPO Station (EAST) Bus to Puebla.
Sat   11/23/2002 Hotel Colonial (Puebla $25/night) Saturday Morning 9am muster in front of hotel. We will do a short sight seeing trip to Chalula city of many churches and great views of Popoctlepetl.
Sun   11/24/2002 Sights see and Bus trip (5 hours) to Olympic village at base of La Malinche(14,600ft)

Mon 11/25/2002 CLIMB La Malinche-This is a pleasant day walk with day pack only about 3.5 miles of steady incline through Pine forest with last half mile up scree slope to summit of Mountain. Normally, leave in morning after (CAFE-breakfast! around 9:15am) and arrive at Summit for Lunch by 1:00pm. Wonderful views of valleys and alpine area around mountain. This is a very accessible trip and you will not be alone, many children, grand parents and day hiker's -Poor families rarely bring enough food and water after assuming it is a simple walk in the park. It is NOT a walk in the park, however, because we only need day pack and no heavy clothing it is rated an EASY-Moderate day. You may experience AMS-Altitude Mountain Sickness due to the elevation gains!   This will be your first Face to Face experience with the Altitude and how it affects your body on this day is a good indicator of how your body will adjust to these altitude's. We will adjust our schedule accordingly.

Tues 11/26/2002 Return to Puebla and bus to Tlachichuca. Dinner at the world famous White House! Ok it's the only game in town and world due to the Mountain climbers all showing up here. With luck, we may leave same day for PeIf you arrive late and have missed the group head to bus station in Puebla and take the bus to Tlachichuca ($12).

Wed 11/27/2002 Travel to climbing hut(14,200ft), hike above hut for aclimization (This is a required hike! You need to climb "High" and sleep low. In order to accomplish this, upon arriving at the Hut we will need to leave promptly in the early morning and arrive before noon-barring problems with car, carburetor, transmission, bandit's, driver, gas availability-OK it's Remote village in Mexico, anything can and may go wrong) This area is normally safe and the travel to Base Hut is wonderful and "Gorgeous " with many scenic spots.

Thurs 11/28/2002 Thanksgiving! and Summit day! Start our wonderful day in the wee hours based on your abilities on La Malinche, we will be leaving between 1:00am and 3:00am from base Hut. Contingency: If we were able to get to base Hut on Tues, we will bivy camp at 16,500ft. This will greatly reduce time needed to Summit today. Expect to arrive at summit around 10am-1:00pm. ABSOLUTELY NO-ONE is to continue up the Mountain after 2:00pm! This is an absolute rule due to Solar Heat on Slope resulting in Avalanche risk and the delays it costs at base camp and logistics with Driver.
Fri. 11/29/2002 Sightsee , 2nd attempt of Summit if needed, Return to Mexico City to CELEBRATE and sight see-Museums, Buildings, Plaza Mayor, Zocalo, .....
Sat. 11/30/2002 If we have returned to Mexico City, Saturday Mercado is WONDERFUL, between 10am-2pm. This is one of the places along a "Professional " path for Mexican artists. Many famous artists found their audiences at this space. It is a juried exhibition of both artisan crafts and high art. Very peaceful village within a city with many old Mansions and restaurants..
Sun. 12/01/2002 Return to USA.  

 PLEASE RSVP : (email preferred)
Michael Railey
CELL: 469-387-2530

Looking forward to climbing with you,
Michael Railey