Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Safety and Surfing

The whole climb isn't just about getting to the top off Izta. I'm raising money too, for WildCoast, a charity that works to protect the Pacific coast. Including, of course, turtles.

So I've been posting bits and pieces from WildCoast's website to give you an idea of what they do, and there is a recent video that makes for very interesting reading.




Originally uploaded by Luis Manuel Guaida

Another photo of Izta, this one a stunning shot from an angle. This photo shows the sheer size of Izta, and how much hard work is going to be involved in climbing her!


My new mission....where can I rent crampons from in Mexico City?! I've come to the conclusion that we could do without them if need be, although it might limit how far we can go. But if they can be found for rental, then it seems silly not to take them. I say it's my new mission.....this will actually be a task for one of my students!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Climbing Guide

I've been getting some excellent tips in the comments of my blog and the link to this book is one of the best. I've had a load of good reading from this book, Mexico's Volcanos - A Climbing Guide. A seriously big help. Wish I could buy it! But the online version will have to suffice.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hiking Boot Bother

Progress continues as far as planning for the climb goes, but I have hit one little snag. Finding a pair of decent walking boots that are my size in Mexico! It's not easy. I am a UK size 11, and it's very rare I find a shoe in Mexico bigger than a 9. Even then it's a 9 and a half, with a couple of tens, in a very limited range of styles. By limited I mean one or two! The search goes on. Failing that - how much of a bad idea is it to climb Izta in a pair of trainers?!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Training Day

There are at least 6 of us who are going to climb Izta, and we've arranged a training day visit to the Nevado de Toluca. It's a pretty big mountain itself, being the fourth biggest in Mexico. So it's only one place behind Izta itself!

But it has an advantage. You can drive up to the crater where there are two lakes. Really, it's a get together, to experience altitude, wear in any new boots, and climb to the very summit.

We will be doing it on my birthday, 19th October which will be a nice change to the normal beer drinking parties! Although we will have a BBQ while we're there. You can see from the satellite photo below the lakes and the snow...it will be the first time I've seen snow in a few years!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Altitude Sickness

I was aware of Altitude Sickness, or ACM (Acute Mountain Sickness) as it's sometimes called, but it doesn't hurt to go have another look at the details, as suggested by a response in my last post. The symptoms?

Headache is a primary symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness, although headache is also a symptom of dehydration. A headache occurring at an altitude above 2,400 meters (8000 feet = 76 kPa), combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, can indicate altitude sickness:

  • * Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting * Fatigue or weakness * Dizziness or light-headedness * Insomnia * Pins and needles * Shortness of breath upon exertion * Persistent rapid pulse * Drowsiness * General malaise * Peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face).

Symptoms that may indicate life-threatening altitude sickness include:

  • * pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs):- o persistent dry cough o fever o shortness of breath even when resting * cerebral edema (swelling of the brain):- o headache that does not respond to analgesics o unsteady gait o increased vomiting o gradual loss of consciousness.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Help Received!

I have recieved a couple of very helpful bits of info on climbing Izta on the SummitPost forum. They are both below. It would appear my original idea of camping half way up the mountain wasn't such a good one!

Info on a few points:
I climbed to the summit in hiking boots and trekking poles in Jan 04 so it is possible to reach the summit. Warm hiking gear is all that is needed unless there is a lot of snow.
The route is very clear for most of it but if you aren't that experienced and have a bunch of students a guide might be wise. One of the best is local to you--Oso.
Roberto Flores Rodriguez aka Oso



There are lots more than just two routes, but I think you mean you'll go up from La Joya. As I recall it, you don't need a permit to climb the mountain but you need a permit to enter the park. There is a ranger's station right there where you enter the park. I think it is still a few miles into La Joya. The cost of entering the park is almost nothing. It was a couple dollars. In principle you're supposed to send in some forms a head of time, but we didn't do that either of the two times I've been there.
The first time we used a guide because my buddy in Puebla insisted. I'm trying to remember his name. He was a linguistics professor in Puebla as I recall. He was pretty cheap.
We didn't cross the glacier and stand on her breasts (the true summit). THey said that would take about 4 more hours or something. As I recall, we left at 4AM, and reached our highpoint on her stomach at about noon and were back to La Joya at around 5PM. The stomach is very nearly the same elevation as the summit, maybe a few hundred feet lower.
You'll need to pay attention to altitude sickness if you're going to go up and camp somewhere high on the mountain. I think that, after La Joya, the first place you can camp is at about 14,000'. Coming from DF at 7,000' and then sleeping at 14,000' is a little risky. People do it, but someone might get AMS (acute mountain sickness) from that. You should read something about AMS and learn what the symptoms are and how to gauge their severity. You might be better off just camping at La Joya, and then breaking camp at say, 2AM and start walking at 3AM Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Search For Information!

Today I posted a message on the SummitPost forum looking for some extra info to help me plan with my trip. But I copied and pasted it below so if someone comes across this post first, they can give me a few details to help!

I'm looking for as much info as possible about climbing Izta. I live in Mexico City, teaching English, and am arranging a trip for me, a few of my students and a few other English teachers. None of us have ever climbed a mountain before!

There will be 6+ of us, and we intend to do the trip over two days - set off from Mexico City early Sat morning and return Sun evening/night. We intend to camp overnight on the mountain. We're looking to do it as cheaply as possible, and would be happy to reach the knees and stop there. It would be great to cross the ice field and reach the true summit, but if this would mean a lot more expense for extra equipment, then we'd possibly forego that. It's not that we're broke, but this is probably a one off so it seems a shame to spend a lot of money on equipment we'll likely never use again.

We'd have plenty of warm clothing, hiking boots, tents and sleeping bags etc, but what other equipment would be essential?

Is the route up Izta (we'd be taking the easy route of the two) obviously marked and easy to follow, is there a map, or would hiring a guide be better? How much would a guide cost?

If we need extra equipment, where can we rent it, and what sort of cost are we looking at?

If anyone wants to join us, you're welcome to do so! There's a mix of English and Spanish speakers amongst us, so there is the opportunity to practice speaking one or the other! (Whilst we squeeze mountaineering info from you!)

Really appreciate any help anyone can offer!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project

It might seem a weird subject for me to be writing about, I know. But I've received the first contribution to my Climbing Izta - Wildcoast event, from a chap who works at the Peregrine Project....so it seems only fair to say thanks and give them a mention!