Lead guide, Terray Sylvester, provides this detailed recap of our very successful Mexico Volcanoes expedition – the first of two this month!
Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition that is just ending today, October 12th. Over the last 10 days we had a great trip!
It started out with a day in Mexico City. We visited the Teotihuacan pyramids on the outskirts of town – those are the biggest pyramids in Latin America. And then we drove to Iztaccihuatl, which is the third highest volcano in Mexico and the third highest volcano in North America – it’s 17,160 ft. tall. We spent three days climbing that and on our summit day, we had absolutely beautiful weather. Right now the rainy season is starting to taper off, so weather can be a little wet but we had sunny skies all day and we also had fantastic views of Popocatépetl erupting just to the south. Some of the eruptions were big enough that they made the local news.
From Izta we traveled down to Puebla where we spent two nights and took a rest day. Puebla is a beautiful, historic city so we had time to visit museums and enjoy some great food. And then we drove to the little town of San Miguel Zoapan, which is where our lodge is located at the base of el Pico de Orizaba, which is the third highest peak in North America and the highest volcano on the continent.
We piled all of our gear into 4WD vehicles and then we drove up the rough dirt roads to our base camp at about 14,000 ft., spent the next day acclimatizing, and then we climbed to the summit of Orizaba the following day. Yet again we had just perfect weather – beautiful sunny, cool, fall day. The mountain had recently recieved some snow, so climbing conditions were about as good as they get on Orizaba – not too icy, excellent path all the way to the top. At the top, you look down into a circular, deep, dramatic, summit crater. You can look out toward the Gulf of Mexico to the east. While you are climbing, you see the lights of Puebla down to the west and lights of Vera Cruz and smaller towns near that city, also down to the east. There’s also a big telescope array on Sierra Negra, which is a smaller volcano just to the south.
After the climb we were back down in our lodge in Zoapan by about 2 PM. We had a steak lunch and then we drove back to Mexico City. And now, today, our guests have time to visit museums – we’re going to the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City and the Frida Kahlo Museum. We’ll have a farewell dinner this evening and then everyone will head home.
We have another Mexico Volcanoes itinerary starting on October 17th, so check back here – we’ll post regular updates as that trip progresses.