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iztaccihuatl Volcano Mexico, MX
mini location map2014-12-04
17 by photographer avatarVolcanoCLMBR
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iztaccihuatl Volcano Mexico, MX 
iztaccihuatl Volcano Mexico, MX
Hike & Climb avatar Dec 04 2014
Hike & Climb8.35 Miles 7,593 AEG
Hike & Climb8.35 Miles2 Days         
7,593 ft AEG36 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
11 months ago the weather defeated my attempt at a bid for its summit. So less than a year later i was there to go for it again. This time around it could not have been any more perfect in every way. Weather conditions were as calm as they could ever be. I knew the route up to its steepest climb from a year ago. This time i made the three hour hike to the Refugio de los Cien hut by crampons needed on this first section although i did have to deal with lots of sandy/gravel-y slippery areas.
When i arrived at the hut i was the first person there that day at a little past 2PM. I made it there in 3:12 hr/min, it was a 2.25 mile hike up to 15,682 feet.
Slowly as the afternoon went and more climbers started showing up, even the ones that started a few minutes after i did at the trailhead.
Then a large group of 9 Mexican climbers showed up, part of the Mexican government workers union who where part of an alpine club.
Everyone in the hut became friends with one another, we passed around some tequila as we lividly made dinner. The sun treated us to an amazing sunset, it seemed almost like an instant that the wind immediately picked up after the sun disappeared on the horizon.
By 830AM we were all ready to sleep, we had an early morning tomorrow. The previous night i had been invited to join the climb with the other climbers and i happily accepted as the crux of the route is a rock face that must be done in the pitch dark.
At 330AM my alarm went off even though i had been awake for a while......My mind was running 100 miles per hour, i was anxious, i was nervous, i was excited and ready to go. As i put on all my warm clothes i took my time making some cereal with warm milk and extra sugar. Also took some Advil pills to prevent any altitude issues once at 17,000 feet.
At 445AM we set of to tackle this great volcano. It was such a clear morning with plenty of stars becoming brigher as we walked (The near full moon was setting almost simultaneously as dawn was happening to our east.) I spotted 2 shooting stars as we climbed the rock wall with just our headlamps on.
After what seemed like a long time we reached the top of the "knee" but only stayed there for a minute and decided to take a real break just below to avoid the exposure. I had a granola bar, some orange juice and water, took some photos before we started to climb the second of the false summits. From here it was up and down through sandy dirt and mixed ice, the remnants of glaciers that continue melting due to climate change.
Once we reached the "belly" of the mountain we also came our first glacier traverse and put on our crampons. The ice was rock hard and almost seemed impenetrable for our crampons. We then reached another saddle in which took another quick break to get the group back together and continue to the last false summit, we were almost there, i thought only to reach it and see the summit another summit away. Finally after what seemed like a very long climb we reached the summit at 834AM. We all had our celebratory hugs and photos. The view from 17,000 feet was as you could imagine.....pretty awesome!! I put on my crampons to go explore the Glaciar oriental, the biggest still left at Iztaccihuatl but one that is also receding. We spent over an hour exploring around and taking in the views, the glare from the glaciers made you have to cover your face to avoid getting sun burned. Before heading down one of the climbers had secretly brought a bottle of wine which we passed around in a circle until it was gone.
A few minutes later we started our descent from the summit, once we reached the belly glacier we had a small ceremony for the virgen de Guadalupe and I being a first timer with the group was baptized by getting glacier ice dumped on my head as i kneeled down. My mountain name became Chapin montañero (Guatemalan mountaineer).
Once the official procedures were finished we continued making our way down the mountain until we reached the knee again where we all gathered together and decided to go down the "arenal" or the sand box......a loose rock, scree and sand slope that was part of the Totonacos glacier that disappeared a few years ago. This was by far the most dangerous part of the entire climb. Coming down a 50 degree slope, being solely aided by ones ice ax to stop a fall and with imminent danger of fallling rocks and boulders the size of cars. After what seemed like an eternity but only was about 25 minutes we reached the safe zone above the hut and a few minutes later were back full of many smiles and in high spirits. We promptly cleaned up the refugio before packing our stuff and continue our way down to the trailhead. At about 4PM we reached the parking lot with not much trouble and place where we had people waiting for us with some cold Coronas and some hot and tasty chicken soup. Once again i was left with a great impression of Mexico the country, Mexico the people and Mexico the food. I will continue to go explore more of this great country in the years to come!
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