Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Climb Report

So the big weekend finally came, and we set off for the climb up Iztaccihuatl. We went with High Guides Mexico, who picked us up at midday at a location of our choice (COyoacan turned out to be the convenient meeting place for us all) and drove us to our destination in a big van along with two other climbers from the US.

First stop was the small town of Amecameca, just outside the Popo and Izta National Park for lunch, last minute food supplies and a short walk around. Then on up the mountain to Paseo de Cortes. This is where you pay your entrance fee to get in the park - very cheap, just 20 pesos per person I think. It also has the last toilet you'll see! It's just a big building and car park really, not a town.

Popocatapetl was a prominent view throughout the hike.

The drive up to La Joya takes a while, and we arrived at about 5pm. The original plan had been to go straight from there to the Grupo de los Cien hut, about a four hour hike away. But the hut was full, probably because in Mexico it was a long weekend with a public holiday on the Monday. So instead, we set up a couple of tents, got out the sleeping bags and went to bed at a very early 9pm, ready to begin the hike at 2 to 3am the next morning.

In hindsight, this turned out to be just as well. There were six of us in all, including the guide, Hilarion. Myself, my English student Adrian, his cousin Victor and a couple of his friends, Enrique and Angel. The altitude took it's toll on some of the party and the four hour hike turned into a 10 hour hike!

The Knees came into close view at the Grupo de los Cien hut.

The downside of this was that, having reached the hut, which lies at the base of the first main peak, the Knees, we had to turn around and head back. So there was no chance to reach the summit on this trip! The highest point attained was 5,000 metres, just a couple of hundred metres short of the main peak. So not bad, really!

I'm not going to give up though. I shall go again, and this time, with a new plan, reach the summit! Personally I had no problem with the altitude which was good. I will also have more to write about the trip over the next week or two!


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