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Ski Mountaineering on Pico De Orizaba

Listed under Cross Country Skiing in Mexico.

  • Photo of Ski Mountaineering on Pico De Orizaba
  • Photo of Ski Mountaineering on Pico De Orizaba
Photo of Ski Mountaineering on Pico De Orizaba
Photo by flickr user drmtoiber
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This is an amazing peak for high altitude ski mountaineers and it feels like a proper adventure. You’re skiing in a exotic, challenging to get to, location and the descent isn’t too challenging. The summit - the goal - is distinct and sticks out like a beacon calling you on - in the Himalayas this wouldn‘t even be classed as a mountain but here it spikes higher than anything else around. This is Mexico’s highest mountain, some estimates have it over 18,800 feet high but the accepted estimate is 18,490. When you get to the top, looking down into the volcano’s crater is definitely not a scene you get to survey every day. It’s not too tough an ascent - but it can be harder up the top where the air is thinner - and the views once you’re up there stretch from the jumble of rocks which litter the volcanoes sides to the temperate forests on the lower slopes, the other volcanoes in Mexico’s range and past the flat desert, to the gulf coast beyond. If you drive from Mexico City to get here you’ll see your whole trip laid out before you which makes it an interesting cultural experience as well as a great adventure.

It’s the fun coming down which really makes the trip though. Most of the ski route down is north facing and when I was there the snow was a sort of chunky powder which cascaded down behind you. Snow conditions are variable though and it was icier as you approach the glaciers, but it was a pretty great descent.

Naturally you need to take you skis with you so it’s better to shuttle into the hut - Senor Reyse is the man to get you to the hut. From there you can do it as a day trip, up and back in a couple of hours if you’re in good shape - it‘s 4000 feet up from the hut. Everyone will respond to the high altitude - we’re at 18,000 feet remember - differently and a single day of acclimatisation can make a lot of difference.

Read a full trip report.

Written by  Steve Romeo.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

When did you ski the Orizaba

Could you tell me the date when you skied Orizaba volcano? Which period

of the year seems the best to have good snow conditions.

Thank you

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