Dec 10, jamapa g. Pico de Orizaba

Posted by danhelmstadter on 12/17/06 2:21am
Mexico is a bueatifull place, the people are nice and the food is great, it wasent too hard to get to the pico from mexico city, a couple buses, i got by fine without knowing to much spanish. Hired a driver at the base of the mountain in Tlachichuga to get up to "base camp" at about 14k, spent a couple days up there aclimateing, and heard the news of icy conditions from the many failed summit attempts, in the three days i spent there no one includeing several guided groups were able to make the summit due to icy "rock hard" conditions on the glacier, the route finding throught the moraine would have been very difficult if it wasent for all the cramponprints to follow. the glacier started at about 16k and surface conditoins were entierly ice in various forms. aparantly there were powder conditions about a week ago up there, then it rained a bunch and froze over. when the angle got into the 40s i was wishing i had brought  my tech ice axe in addition to my gen mountainerring one,  I was thinking that i would have to walk my skis back down for sure beacuse of the ice. The summit was amzeing, a much more dramatic crater than rainier's,, the west side of the summit (18600') had a couple hundred feet of attractive smooth rime, wich made for some excellant skiing, and the  slow transition to the ice below gave me the confidence to continue, however the ice did not soften or melt asi was hopeing. i did downclimb a particularly steep and ice/blocky rollover for about 200' then skiied the rest of the way down, breaking chunks of ice and the mini pientits along the way, then lived like a king for a few days in puebla, staying in super nice hotels for $15 a night,  $1 cervezas,  and takeing buses all around for pennies
Congratulations, Dan!  Sounds like a great trip.  You went by yourself?

Nice work. I would love to go down there at some point.  ;D

Getting to the summit by yourself and skiing down, while dangerous, must've been very rewarding. Glad all turned out well, and we got to see some photos from the southern reaches of the globe.

Cool. Thanks for the inspiration, Dan!

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2006-12-17 10:21:01