Canada West Mountain School
Expeditions: North America: Mexica Volcanoes










Denali, Alaska
Mount Logan, Canada
Mount Waddington, Canada
Gunnbjorns Fjeld, Greenland
Volcano Climbs, Mexico




Mexican Volcanoes: Orizaba, Ixta and La Malinches
(12-day program)

Join us this winter on an exciting expedition to climb Pico de Orizaba (also known as Citlaltépetl), Ixta (Ixtaccíhuatl) and La Malinche. Orizaba and Ixta are two of the highest mountains in Mexico. Pico de Orizaba at 5,636 meters is the highest mountain in Mexico, and the 3rd highest in North America, while Ixta at 5,230 meters, is the 3rd highest mountain in Mexico. La Malinche (also known as Matlalcuéyetl) at 4,460 meters is the 6th highest mountain in Mexico and provides a great acclimatization summit.

Dates Cost Prerequisites Location
Guides Itinerary Equipment Logistics
Related programs Registration

This trip is arranged on a Custom basis, please contact our office directly to speak with our Expedition Lead Guide, Brian Jones.
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Included in the cost of the Mexican Volcanoes climb:

  • All guiding services and organization with Canadian Guides
  • All return ground transportation from Mexico City to the start of the climb
  • All food while on the mountains
  • All expedition fees and permits
  • Technical climbing and safety equipment as required
  • On-mountain accommodation and hut fees where required
  • Tents and camping supplies
  • Use of satellite phone (excluding airtime charges)
  • Two nights lodging in Mexico City

    Participants are responsible for:
  • International airfare to and from Mexico City
  • All transfer and travel costs while in Mexico City
  • All meals while in Mexico City and other towns
  • Personal clothing and equipment (see equipment list)
  • Medical and rescue insurance valid for travel in Mexico
  • Visa’s and proper travel documents for travel to Mexico
  • Miscellaneous personal costs on and off the mountain
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Any costs incurred by travel delays, lost or delayed baggage, or for any other reason
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* Emergency Travel Insurance
All participants are encouraged to obtain Emergency Travel and Trip Cancellation insurance. We recommend Ingle International Insurance, for details please visit their site here.

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Though non-technical, the climbs of these high-altitude volcanoes can be very strenuous and requires a good degree of fitness. The terrain on both Pico de Orizaba and Ixta varies from scrambling on loose rock to climbing steep glacier ice at altitudes above 5,100 meters.

The conditions on the summit days can be challenging, with possible bad weather and high winds. Though we will travel at a slow pace, being fit is the best way to avoid excess fatigue on the mountain and will greatly increase your chance of summitting.

Anyone attempting these peaks should be in excellent physical shape. You will spend much time at altitudes above 4,500 meters and will need to be as fit as possible to help with your performance.

While previous climbing experience or glacier travel is not required, previous backpacking and wilderness camping is.

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Orizaba, Ixta and Malinche are located in the south-central region of Mexico, just south and east of Mexico City.

We will be climbing these mountains by routes that involves few technical difficulties, though the mountains can still present a serious challenge due to the altitude, weather and extensive glacier travel required. Crampons and ice-ax are required for the ascent as there is always snow and often ice encountered, though previous technical climbing experience is not necessary to climb these Mexican volcanoes.

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This Expedition to Mexico will be lead by IFMGA Mountain Guide and CWMS Owner Brian Jones.

Group sizes on this expedition are kept small to increase the enjoyment of all members of the team, and to improve the chance of success for all. There will be a maximum of 5 members per each guide, with a maximum of two guided groups per trip.

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Day 1
Arrive in Mexico City. You will be picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel for the first evening in Mexico. We’ll spend the night here at 2,240 m (7,349’).

Day 2
This will be our day to adjust to the change in culture, review gear, do our final pack and also enjoy the fascinating sights of Mexico. Markets, 15th century cathedrals and archaeological sites such as the amazing Teotihuacán Ruins are all options. We will spend this night in Mexico City as well at 2,240 m (7,349’)

Day 3
We will drive to the small town of Puebla at the base of the Volcanoes. This is about a 1.5 hour drive, leaving us ample time to relax and enjoy the local sights around the town. We’ll spend the night here at 2,175 m (7,136’)

Day 4
We will get up early for our 1st acclimatisation climb of the nearby volcano of Malinche at 4,462 m (14,640’). This is a perfect acclimatization hike, easy but still strenuous enough to get us working at altitude in preparation for the upcoming climbs! We will return to Puebla for the evening and spend another night there at 2,175 m (7,136’).

Day 5
Today we will drive up through the Paseo de Cortez, the pass between Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl, named after the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who crossed this pass in 1519. Tonight will be spent in a hut or tents at the base of Ixta at approx. 3,800 m (12,500’).

Day 6
This will be another acclimatization day, with a hike up to the ridge at around 4,600 m (15,000’) where we will set up our high camp. An early dinner with great views to Popo, then rest for the night in preparation for our climb of Ixta the following day. We will sleep tonight at approx. 3,800 m (12,500’).

Day 7

This will be our climbing day for Ixta, with an early am start. The climb will be between 6-9 hours, with plans to return to camp by mid afternoon.  After the climb, we will descend to the trailhead and join our driver for the ride back down to Puebla, where we will celebrate with a well deserved dinner. We’ll sleep this night down lower at 2,175 m (7,136’).

Day 8
This will be a rest and short travel day. We will have a relaxing morning, then off to the town of Tlachichuca, at the base of Pico de Orizaba. We will spend our night in the town at 2,600 m (8,530’).

Day 9
From the town of Tlachichuca we will drive up to the Piedra Grande Hut at 4,250 m (4,000’) and set up camp nearby. A short acclimatization hike above the hut will allow us to stretch our legs after a couple of days rest and travel. We will spend the night here at 4,250 m (4,000’)

Day 10

We will move up to a high camp on the upper mountain, in order to further acclimatize and increase our chances for an enjoyable and successful summit bid the following day. We will sleep at a camp between 4,700 m (15,500’) and 4,900 m (16,200’), depending on conditions.

Day 11
This is our summit day for Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico and 3rd highest in North America. We will leave our high camp very early in the morning and make our way up the Glaciar de Jamapa directly up to the summit. After the climb, we return back down to the town of Tlachichuca, where we will have a fine dinner and celebrate our climbs!

Day 12
Drive to Mexico City

Day 13

This is an extra day included in case of delays (weather, logistics, delayed baggage, etc); extra rest and acclimatization days; or, for sight-seeing.

Day 14
Return home, or onwards to more adventures in Mexico!

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Equipment list for Orizaba and Ixta
To download a printer friendly .pdf equipment list, please click on this Mexican Volcanoes gear list link. You will need Acrobat reader to download this file.

We will supply all other technical equipment that is required

When organizing your equipment, remember that the conditions on the volcanoes may vary from +30 to -20 degrees Celsius, with possible extreme high winds and snowfall. The climbing and camping is mainly on snow, glaciers and volcanic rock. Outer clothing should be capable of venting, and you should be able to get in and out of it easily. Inner layers should be able to dry easily and retain warmth when wet (no cotton on upper mountain). Take into account your own personal "warmth rating". If you know that your hands don't warm up easily, or your feet are always cold, keep that in mind!

As well as the above gear and clothing, be prepared for a few days based out of a towns and villages. Casual street clothes should be brought for this portion, as well as for the time spent in Mexico City.

Please contact the Canada West Mountain School office at or by phone at 604 878-7007 for complete equipment requirements and details

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Logistics and transportation
When you register, a pre-trip package of information will be sent to you, as well as follow-up discussions via phone and email to ensure you are well prepared for your adventure!
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Related Programs
Vinson Massif
Mountaineering Courses

Please contact the Canada West Mountain School office by phone or email directly for more details.
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